What is the best dual sport motorcycle?

Discussion in 'Motorcycles' started by Matt H, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. Matt H

    Matt H New Member

    I know this has probably been asked a million times. I was wondering what your opinions were of the best dual sport. I looking for a good mix of power/streetability/dirt. I've hear alot of good things about the KLR650, however have heard its really heavy and doesn't do dirt well. I've heard good things about the DRZ400s but heard they don't do street well and have a very limited size gas tank. Please help me decide what to get. Thanks
  2. JJ

    JJ New Member

    The people I've heard from with the DRZ400S Suzuki flat love them(except for the seat).There are two Yahoo group for DR400.One is a Euro-DRZ or something.Go to Yahoo ,then Groups,and do a search for DR400.Also the DR650 is a great bike,but Suzuki may have dropped it for the US market for 2002-dam shame if they did.I think the 400 is the bike for more serious dirt riders,but I hear it does fine on the street.If your more street oriented then the DR650.Also check out the Honda XR650L.
  3. Bagwell

    Bagwell New Member

    The idea of there being a 'best dual sport' is a myth. There aren't really many bad dual sport bikes out there, they're just suited for different tastes, riding conditions, rider dimensions and budgets.

    Here's a quick guide to the most popular:
    KLR650 - very dependable, designed to be a better street bike than the other Japanese DS bikes (XR, DR, DRZ, XT) but naturally not as nimble in the dirt. Electric start. HUGE fuel tank available if you're thinking of going into the middle of nowhere, lots of rack and pannier options. Probably the most aftermarket DS stuff available for this model, and probalby the most bang for your buck if you're going to spend a lot of time on and off road. Cheap even brand new (4500 I think)!

    XR650L - great on the dirt, tall, not comfy for long road trips without a modified seat. Most people agree that air cooling makes a bike slightly more reliable since there's one less thing to break out in the middle of nowhere. Electric start. This is what I ride. I've raced it, used it as a commuter bike, and taken long road trips on it. I think it's better suited on dirt than on the highway - bought an 1150GS for road trips and kept the XR for off-roading. XR250L was also a great lightweight bike but hard to find.

    NX650 (or Dominator if you're in Europe) - Same bulletproof engine as XR650L but in a more street-oriented package. A better choice than the XR if you're going to spend more time on the road. Not easily found in US/Canada.

    DR650 - haven't ridden one, but owners rave about them. Low seat height. Electric start. THey say they're right in between an XR650L and a KLR.

    DRZ400 - awesome in the dirt, seat is like sitting on a 2x4. Electric start models are really nice.

    DR350 - Similar general characterstics as DRZ400, but no electric start. Air cooled. Can be found real cheap.

    XR650/XR600/XR400 - Great dirt bikes than can be made sreet legal. No electric start, torture-device seats, no speedometer, dim lights with standard Baja kit. Pannier racks usually need to be hand-made. Higher compression ratios than Dual sport bikes probably means that crappy third world gas makes them unhappy. Can be found cheap.

    Yamaha XT 225- great lightweight dirt bike, not suited for long highway trips. Good starter bike.

    Yamaha XT500/600/Tenere, etc - tough old bikes that can be found for dirt cheap (except Tenere which has high resale value), have made many trips across Africa/Sahara and people love them to the point about being religious about them. The Teneres are awesome adventure bikes but weren't sold in US/Canada. Shame. Should be noted that the MZ Bhagira has a Yamaha XT or TT-R 600 engine - can't remember which one.

    KTM Adventure - awesome right out of the box. They seem to be a little less reliable than the Japanese bikes, but also perform much better. Parts not as easily obtained as Japanese bikes. Powerful motor, great suspension, big tank. Consequently, much more expensive than Japanese bikes. Lots of cool Rally accessories available.

    BMW F650 GS - Awesome road bike with acceptable dirt performance. Very heavy. Expensive. Best for masochistic dirt riders. Dakar model is preferable if going off-road.

    BMW 1150 GS- Most awesome road bike and most awesome price tag. Heavy enough to have its own gravitation field. BMW has done an awesome job convincing people these are great dirt bikes, but in the end they're really road bikes with marginal dirt capability. Can be ridden well in the dirt but only by very good riders. Tons of goodies availble to drain your pocketbook. Adventure model is preferable to standard GS if you take it off road. Very cool to hang with the guys on crotch rockets on this bike and then be able to take it off-road.

    BMW r80GS, r100GS, PD's, etc - Tank-like bike that's proven to be a great balance of mechanical simplicity, great performance, and great parts availability. Roadworthy and dirtworthy. Not awesome performers on either surface, but really designed for street use. TONS of goodies available to make it suit your needs. Can be made into a great road bike or a Paris-Dakar Rally bike. Better in the dirt than the 1150GS since they're lighter and lower. The choice of many Round-the-world travellers.

    There are more obscure models out there but these are most worth your time.
  4. Dave S

    Dave S New Member

    Here's a "sleeper"...

    The Honda TransAlp. XL600V 600cc watercooled V-twin. Not quite as obscure as the NX650, but smooth if you're likely to ride to your off road destination than throw it in the p/u or trailer it. @ 399 lbs and 50hp its more in the category of a BMW's than a motocross bike w/ a light kit as current Hondas seem to be. These bikes are long distance dual-sporters, suitable for month long third world adventures. Parts readily available, great internet support and a loyal following. Still made in Europe as a 650; was a sales floor orphan stateside. Market price:$2500-$3500 depending on mileage and condition of "tupperware". Side panels easily broken in a fall, but $90 crashbars from Givi are cheap insurance. 1990 models bring a premium as they were imported in limited numbers and in two colors: Fighting Red and Moonstone. '89s in white only.
  5. caldwell

    caldwell New Member

    Hmm what might fall between a KLR650 and a DRZ400? Might I recommend a DR650. It's a better dirt bike then a KLR650 and a better streetbike then a XR650. It also has the lowest seat height of the big three 650s. I'm currently setting up my DR650 for adventure touring
  6. Russell

    Russell New Member

  7. avery

    avery New Member

    I've got a klr 650.I've put 8000 miles on it in the last four months.I bought it for touring and I'm more that happy with it.

    It's true it's not very good in the dirt.I do it anyway,don't let the talk scare you!

    It's very comfy for 85 mph 100 mile jaunts.it's reliable,easy to work on and all round pretty friendly. I'd recommend it.
  8. Randall

    Randall New Member

    You can't not mention KTM's.........

    I have a KTM LC4 Adventure R, 28 litre fuel tank, so no problems there, excellent off road, the seat gives you a numb bum after 1 hour though :-(

    Big grin factor, trying to get some super moto wheels for mine :)
  9. james03x

    james03x New Member

    I think DRZ 400S is wonderful bike and it's really nice in the dirt. Suzuki DRZ 400S is suitable for daily commute.
  10. Bikal

    Bikal New Member

    For me it is Honda’s new, $4499 CRF250L ......... It is really a very great bike and i also have this with some kind of graphics work on its body.
  11. NX4rider

    NX4rider New Member

    I know that its not available in the US, unfortunately, but I really like the Honda NX4 Falcon. Especially for the South American continent. It has a tuned down XR 400 motor. Air-cooled, carburated and reliable. Handles the bad gas and bad roads without complaint. There are aftermarket luggage racks and accessories available.

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