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Long-life dirt bike?

Discussion in 'Adventure/Enduro' started by Shibboleth, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. I'm looking into getting an off-road bike. It seems that most off-road bikes require rebuilds at very low intervals (between 10-15k km's).

    What off-road bikes don't require these kind of frequent rebuilds? It seems like the CRF250 (with the CBR engine) is a likely candidate, as are the bigger bikes like the Vstrom, KLR650 and the GS BMW's.

    Are there any other bikes that have long-life engines?

    What causes this short engine life? Is it due to the small oil capacity of these engines, or is it like go-carts, where the riders are looking to extract every hp of performance from these engines?
  2. Depending what you mean by 'Off-road riding'?
    But the DR650 is tried and tested. Good all-rounder, cheap, reliable, easy to maintain yourself, plenty of info and parts available. Current model/shape has been around since 1996 with little change, and are still being sold from dealerships in 2013.
    644cc, air/oil cooled single cyl engine.
    Will do the big kilometre trips or a bit of single trail; by no means a 'race weapon' just an old faithful tractor.

    Something a little more trail based, take a look at the DRZ400E.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. The DR650 will last ok but they're often got issues by 60,000 to 80,000, the KLR650 is good for 150,000 to 200,000 OTOH (as long as they're fitted with the Doohickey mod as it is called - really a balancer chain tensioner mod).


    Having said that a DR650 is roughly 30kg lighter than a KLR650 and somewhat more biased towards dirt riding.
  4. For riding trails the DRZ400E is a good reliable bike long service intervals and still a light weight for throwing around the bush compared to the DR or KLR. But there are not meant for long road trips although many people have set them up for it.
  5. Four wheel drive tyres are normally rated by road vs off road percentages, if I was to do the same for the 3 most common choices of road/trail bikes then I'd say it'd look something like this -:

    DRZ400E 80% off road/20% on road
    DR650 50% off road/50% on road
    KLR650 20% off road/80% on road

    (making the assumption that 'road' includes dirt roads)

    They are all good choices and all can be modified to shift their road/dirt bias one way or the other somewhat but it's probably best to identify your intended use as far as practicable and purchase the one that's the closest match to your particular needs.
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  6. Thanks, that's a really useful breakdown. I guess that the more 'on road' a bike is, the longer it will last without an engine rebuild?
  7. #7 positron, Sep 2, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
    The high performance bikes have pistons with much smaller skirts to reduce friction and mass, but this also means the pistons tend to rock more. Not sure if this is what causes early wear of piston rings but I suspect so.

    The 2 best bikes that can do most things well and still be relatively bullet proof are the DRZ400E and CRF250L.
    If you are a short guy eg less than 175cm the DRZ may feel tall and need suspension and seat modification. The seat height on the crf250l is much shorter.

    If you want a bike more for having fun on dirt roads rather than trail riding then the DR650 is probably the best bike in terms of long mileage.

    But just get the bike that is the most fun to ride.
  8. You also have the Honda XR400, pretty bullet-proof. But if you get one, check the condition of the cam chain tensioner and replace if necessary or you may end up with a broken timing chain. And the XR650L, which is a dual sport while being even more dirt biased than the DR650 with a lot less weight, and water cooling.
  9. Yeah the XR400 is a great bike but they're not really good value for money second hand. It is much easier finding a low mileage DRZ400E in very good condition at a low price compared with the XR.
  10. If we were really to do this then we'd all buy euro 2 strokes (and spend half our time rebuilding them and the other half of the time laughing like crazy people) :)
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    • Agree Agree x 2
  11. #11 positron, Sep 2, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
    Yeah KTM 300EXC
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Yeah, one of the guys at work has one of those. It's so damn loud that the Harley riders come to his house and tell him to keep it down. :ROFLMAO:

    He's got it up for sale, but it only gets 70km out of a tank of fuel o_O, so I'm not that interested in it.
  13. In that case go test ride a DRZ400E, CRF250L, and a DR650 and decide which is the most fun to ride.
  14. I'll match that and raise ya 5cc. :D

  15. Most off-road motorcycle tour companies will favour the DRZ400E as their rental bikes (check out Cape York motorcycle tours).
    The reason I chose a DR650 over others, came down to 'no water cooling', cheapness, and the availability of parts and accessories.
    you can trim them down if you want lighter or farkle the hell out of them for outback touring.
    In my stable I have 3 x MX bikes (all 2 strokes), the DR650 and a XJR1300, but I can say I would ride the DR the most, as I find it a great all-rounded.

    As for the fun-factor.... yep, I go with a 2 stroke everytime, but realistically, it is not going to do all the things I want to do.
  16. Nothing lasts forever, but dirt bikes by definition will not last as long as a road bike. I have heaps of friends who have V-Stroms and when it comes time to buy another bike, they buy another V-Strom...
  17. I have seen the wr250x with 70000kms on it, so the wr250r might be good for something smaller than other suggestions.

    The xtz660 is my choice for rtw that thing is overbuilt
  18. Hi there mate, essentially its that the offroad market is driven much like the onroad market... by weight, power and performance. Another thing is that all this equals low rebuild intervals - as little as 10 to 20 *hours* on a race spec bike.

    I would not recommend the DR650 for offroad - they're a pig. They're a great combo for onroad/offroad where you'll realistically be riding dirt roads.... but throw them at a berm and some tight dirt tracks and you'll quickly be looking for another ride. Trumped solidly in most regards by the younger DRZ-400E stablemate. For long distance (or even just the ability to pillion) up they are hard to beat...

    ...but are beaten in most regards by the XR600R. These things are monsters. Lighter, better suspension, and more powerful than a DR650 with an aftermarket that's equal if not larger, and that's saying something! They were on top of the enduro world (Australia Safari, Baja 1000 etc) for about 15 years before they finally stopped making them. I had one and am soon buying it back. 5L/100km efficiency at worst, huge speed potential (GPS'd mine at 170km/h) with the right gears and pretty good both on and offroad. Services are a breeze, allow 30min for a valve adjustment / oil change / filter clean session once you get used to them. Some getting a bit long in the tooth by now but still a remarkable ride.

    Suzuki DRZ-400E's are good bikes, I had one as my first Learner weapon. Highway cruising isn't as good due to less power (sit happy on 100 but 110 maybe a bit strung) and shortish gearing but overall the package is very hard to beat. Lighter than both above by a large margin and probably more usable then either as well for the average rider. Better through tight sections due to less weight (than XR and DR) and improved ergos (over the DR). Great fuel economy as per both above, good road manners and plentiful on the secondhand market.

    All three above are very reliable stock and will last a good deal of time doing almost anything. My XR600R had a disgusting life before I got it; flogged chain/sprockets/oil/filters and valves which were looooong overdue for a change. Spent an hour going servicing it and it was like a new bike again, smooth mountains of torque everywhere and way better noises from the valvetrain. The DRZ-400E was a great, easy handling bike and had few faults other than a reluctance to cruise over 100km/h with stock gearing.

    I haven't owned a DR650 but rode one of a mates a fair bit. The feeling compared to the DRZ was that it was heavier, slower to accelerate but more comfortable onroad while being less capable off. Freeway manners were miles ahead. Compared to the XR it had similar road manners but nothing in the go department and would have been fairly trounced offroad.

    I'd go any three but would steer away from the DR if you're any more serious about riding offroad than a country dirt road once in a while. If you really want offroad ability in tight sections and with mates who own motorcross bikes then go the DRZ-400E, but forget long distances on it while keeping relatively sane offroad gearing. It doesn't have the flexibility. If you want a great combo of offroad and onroad, plus the reassurance of Honda reliability and race-winning prowess... go the XR600R.

    I know that's a lot of text right there but you honestly would be well served reading it. They might not be the most modern options but they are certainly the ones I would suggest people look at, the DRZ and XR in particular.

    Cheers - boingk
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  19. This gives you a good idea of what an XR600 can do:

    - boingk