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Dual Sport appropraite for a learner?

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by axertes, Oct 31, 2010.

  1. First off, hi everyone! I'm new here.


    I'm completely inexperienced with motorbikes, bar scooters and postie bikes. I will have to find someone with a paddock to practice in because I've never even used a clutch on a bike. I ride my bicycle nearly everywhere though, so I might have an advantage with riding like everyone's-out-to-get-me, and with balance and leaning, perhaps. I digress.

    I'm considering a second-hand Kawasaki KLR650 or an older Honda 650 Transalp, but if I want "which bike?" advice I'll make a new one to avoid confusion. Just to give you an idea of the bikes.

    I really want a dual sport bike, but I'm a bit concerned about a few things:

    1. They are tall. My bicycle is tall too, but it weighs 12kg. I'm 6' tall.

    2. A mate who is pretty new to bikes recommends against anything bigger than a 250. He rode a 250cc crotch rocket of some variety though, and said he nearly crapped himself when he got on a 400. On the other hand, I compared the power-to-weight ratio for a Honda CBR250 to a KLR650 and the CBR was higher. Does this really mean that a dual sport has less of the "oh s**t!" factor?

    3a. Once I've had my Ps for a year I'd like to take my GF for rides. Maybe even do some overnight trips (or longer!) when I'm more experienced. Which means luggage. She's not small, so with an 80kg me, and a 65kg her, and 20kg of luggage, is a 650 going to be rendered useless?

    3b. My GF is 5'2". How the hell will she get on the thing? Is it workable? My bikie workmate said I should get a cruiser, but he's biased as he rides a Harley Softail. I can see the logic though.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

    Edit: damnit, I can't edit the title of the thread. "A-P-P-R-O-P-R-I-A-T-E".
  2. 1) If you're 6' tall, you won't have any problems with the seat height on any motorbike. If you do have any problems it would probably more from the distance between seat and peg being too small for you.

    2) Learner approved motorbikes these days are all based on power / weight. So no matter what you pick it will be less than 150kw / tonne. For an average weight motorbike this makes learner bikes around 35kw in power. And as you pointed out, you can get 250cc bikes that "feel" more powerful, its all in how that power is delivered. With the big singles you've mentioned, they top out at about 6k - 8k revs, which is where the smaller multi-cylinder bikes are just hitting their powerband. So the big singles take off like crazy from a stand still, then run out of oomph fairly quickly.... they're not designed for speed.
    Short answer, you'll be able to hang just fine.

    3a) As they are big singles, they are torque as hell and they're nicknamed "tractors". So taking a pillion is right up their alley. Not to mention another 100kg of luggage. (I'd recommend getting the rear spring adjusted before going that far though)

    3b) How she gets on... she climbs on, just use the footpegs like climbing onto a horse :)
  3. A dual sport would be fine for what you are thinking of doing.
    Ulness you plan on dirt roads a fair bit I would suggest some touring road , specifically over the cross-breed tyres that usually come with such bikes.

    You might want to look at suzuki v-strom 600 as well.

    Now ...there is one little problem. While such bikes will do an admirable job, once you get a pillion and luggage on board you will find engines in the 600cc range wanting in power. They will do it ok, but there will be no overhead of power to call on when needed. And it always is!
    Plus the frames of this range of bike will be maxed out, and showing their lack of strength when fully laden.

    I would seriously consider such bikes like the Suzuki v-strom 1000 , and like machines.

    Good luck with the bike hunting.
  4. If you want a Lames bike capable of carrying you on 2 up touring, you want a 650.

    If you want to tour on the back roads, national parks and state forests, you want something like a KLR, DR or similar. The Kwaka is very reliable.
  5. a compromise to learn on might be a 400 motard. xr400m or dzr400m. don't have much of a tank for touring though. don't know if you've sat on a klr650 but they are big mothers.
  6. An' if he feels adventurous -and has the money for it- he could even try a TRZ660.
  7. They're 650, and not LAMS as far as I know. Correct me if I'm wrong. Sucks, 'cause the more road-oriented spectrum of a dual sport is what seems the most logical for me. Whence the interest in the Transalp.


    Yeah, so I hear. And cheap. There's an older ('03) model in the paper here (Toowoomba, QLD) for $4300. The owner didn't put the mileage down in the ad though; I'll give him a buzz tomorrow.

    Was that a typo? Or does it have a more common name? Google doesn't know what a TRZ660 is. Oh, and I prolly don't have the money for it if it's all fancy-like. I have a spare 6 grand or so which I will probably have to supplement with either a personal loan, or a loan from The Bank Of Dad if I want to get some decent gear to go with the bike.
  8. A 650 dual sport would be near the ideal learner bike. They're docile, manouverable, dirt cheap to run, simple to maintain and survive drops quite well. As a learner, I doubt if you'll find the performance lacking and they have the advantage of not being too fussy about gear selection so it won't matter much if you get lost in the box whilst concentrating on traffic. I've had mine two years and ridden it in all kinds of conditions and not found it lacking in any fundamental respect. It cruises happily at 120km/h (on an NT trip, natch :wink:) and has enough left for overtaking if you're not too ambitious and plan ahead. All told, the on-paper numbers are are comparable to a decently quick four-stroke 250 (tired CBR, good VTR) but the extra cubes make it easier to ride at a good pace.

    The only issue is the height and, at 6', you should be able to flat foot with both feet on pretty much anything so that won't be a problem. If your GF is short, she'll have to mount by putting one foot on a peg and then swinging the other leg over. It's an easy enough technique to learn and, at her height, she'd almost certainly need to do it to get on the back of any bike.

    Personally, I'd recommend the Suzuki DR650 over the KLR as it's mechanically simpler and has fewer bits to break in a drop. It's a little quicker and lighter too. Balanced against that, the tank is smaller (but, as I discovered, still good for 300 km if you baby it) and it's got no fairing.

    Good luck and enjoy yourself :D.
  9. Yeah, a typo, sorry. XTZ660 :)roll:), better known as the Téneré. And out of your price-range, most likely; the new version came out only a year or two ago (not going to be many second hand) and costs ~15,000 new. Though one of the old ones from the nineties might be within your price-range.
  10. Yes, sorry-typo. The smaller Vstrom IS a 650, and no, not LAMS.
  11. A few bikes mentioned here that I have been comparing for some time now.... as its the direction of riding I want to get into. So hopefully you get something out of this.

    Yamaha XTZ660 (Tenere)
    • Fuel Injected
    • Water Cooled
    • Power: 47hp (35kw)
    Suspension Travel
    • Front - 210
    • Back - 200
    • Front: 2 x 298mm Disc
    • Back: 1 x ?
    Fuel Tank: 23l
    Seat Height: 895mm
    Weight: 210kg
    Power / Weight: 6
    Price: $15,000

    Suzuki DR650
    • Carbs
    • Air Cooled
    • Power: 34hp (25kw)
    Suspension Travel
    • Front - 260
    • Back - 260
    • Front: 1 x 290mm Disc
    • Back: 1 x 240 Disc
    Fuel Tank: 13l
    Seat Height: 885mm
    Weight: 166kg
    Power / Weight: 6.6
    Price: $8,000

    Kawasaki KLR650
    • Carbs
    • Water Cooled
    • Power: 45hp (33kw)
    Suspension Travel
    • Front - 200
    • Back - 183
    • Front: 1 x 280mm Disc
    • Back: 1 x 240 Disc
    Fuel Tank: 22l
    Seat Height: 890mm
    Weight: 194kg
    Power / Weight: 5.8
    Price: $8,000

  12. If you shop around, you should be able to get either the Kwak or the DR for ~$7500 OTR. The Yam is way overpriced for what a big single, however sophisticated, offers IMHO. Which might explain why I never see any.

    Incidentally, I'm sceptical of that power figure for the DR. There's dyno curves around on the net showing stock DRs giving 35 hp at the wheel, so 35 at the crank seems a bit low. Or, if the KLR is quoted at the wheel, 45 hp seems very high. I doubt if there's a lot of real difference between the DR and the KLR TBH.
  13. Hi axertes,

    I have a KLR650 which is my first bike - its easy to ride, I'm 6ft and a bit of a porker :) and pulls well.

    I've done about 1200K's on it and its comfy, quick enough while I'm on LAMS. The only thing you may have to do it tweek the suspension and up the tyre pressure...kawak say 21 F 28 R once I'd change these the ride was much improved.

  14. Pat, all the info I posted was from nothing more than my own Google searches. It was hard finding the power of the bikes because the manufactures never quote them, so its always from other user reviews and wiki. No idea how close they are to reality.

    I have managed to test ride the DR and the KLR though. Never bothered with the Yamaha as it is way out of my price range and I'd rather buy both the DR and the KLR instead of the Yamaha.

    From my own observations the DR seems to be more of dirt bike thats been modded to make street legal. It was really easy to lift the front (being 30kg lighter helps there). I'd say 60/40 off-road/on-road.

    The KLR seems to be more the other way around, more street oriented and modded to make off-roading possible. I'd say its more like 30/70 off-road/on-road.

    Either way, they were both stupid easy to ride (wasn't allowed to take their test bikes off-roading though) and I think would suit any learner that can get a leg over the seat.
  15. Not having a go at you Spenze, just pointing up to anybody reading the thread that there may be a comparison between apples and bananas :D. It looks to me like the DR figure is at the wheel and the KLR figure is at the crank, that's all. Both valid but not directly comparable.

    In reality, there doesn't seem to be much between them. My DR appears to be marginally quicker than the KLRs I come across but away from a standing start, drag situation, I doubt if there's a lot in it. As stated, I like the lighter, simpler approach of the DR and I'm a Suzuki loyalist anyway, but that's entirely subjective.

    I think we're agreed, though, that they're both cracking bikes for the money :D.
  16. I have a Transalp 05 650 and love it.get 300ks to a tank.well balanced,mine is just for commuting (on road tyres). im 6.1 and beefy and have no problems with the 52 or so horse power.if your close by you can try it out.
  17. My KLR650 has a slightly higher ultimate top speed but a bit less acceleration off the mark than my mates DR650.

    His DR650 feels a lot lighter and more like a proper dirt bike but has a annoyingly small tank and no wind protection and the stock seat is a shocker.

    If you're 6 foot tall either will work for you but you might find the seat/bars relationship on the DR a bit tight for standing up off road (and you really should be standing up off road).

    Honestly either will do the job, buy the one that fits you better and you like best.
  18. I agree that the tank could be bigger. Nonetheless, I get a comfortable 260km out of mine in my current commuting regime and have stretched it to 300 under desperate circumstances. More than that and you'll be pushing though :oops:. It's enough for two days commuting for me and probably four for people sensible enough to live in the same galaxy they work in :D.

    No wind protection is a given. Whether this is an issue or not depends on the rider. The popularity of nakeds of all kinds suggests that, for many, it is not.

    The seat? No, it's not very good. I've done a 500 km return trip in a day a couple of times and I'll admit that things were starting to hurt a bit. When I get round to it I'm going to glue some temperfoam to it as a cheaper alternative to a Corbin. I think it's exaggerated by the fact that the pegs are a bit too high for me. Can't be that bad, though, as I've managed to live with it for the past two years and it's still not way up my priority list.

    Regardless of that, though, big DSs of whatever flavour are otstanding value for money and pretty goold allrounders. As I've said elsewhere, "cost nothing, do everything" :D.
  19. Looking at a KLR650 tomorrow. 27,000km on the clock and the bloke wants $4600. Taking it down to a mate's bike shop to have it inspected. Seems like a good deal so far. Wish me luck!
  20. I've got a klr650 2010. Is my second bike. Does all I ask of it and more. Im gettin the derestriction done this weekend so then should have some more oomph. The amount of aftermarket crap you can get for them is ridiculas (much to my gf displeasure). Havnt ridden a dr but I liked the fact of the wind protection of the klr as I tend to go from Wagga to melb every couple of weekends. 900k round trip.