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New rider... help with bike choice

Discussion in 'Adventure/Enduro' started by AaronJ, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. Hi gang,

    My first post here having just got my Ls on the weekend and about to start the fun of finding a bike.

    I’ve search and read, searched and read, then done a bit more and I’m at a point where I still have a few unanswered Q’s I am hoping you can help with.

    As with so many posts here the ultimate Q really revolves around WHICH BIKE!

    I’ll try and give all the info and goals I have.

    Specs on me are 185cm (6’1â€) and mid 90’s kg. Very little bike experience, but cautiously confident and want a bike at the larger end of the LAMS list.

    I have a highly modified custom road bike lined up for when I get off LAMS (1990 GSXR750 with all the goodies) so am looking for something that is more touring/trails orientated (I’m a cross country and downhill mountain biker, so want that off-road capability too). However, that being said, I’m not after a pure trail bike for jumping and ripping around the place as I don’t think I’d do much of that. I’m more after something that I can do the odd commute to the city, do a road trip with a tend and few things on the back rack, but most importantly head into the country and do some fire trails, not too tricky singlet rack, etc.

    Other considerations are that I’m very comfy with something that I can do some upgrading on to improve handling/performance and to personalise some what, and something not too long in the tooth.

    Price-wise I’m looking around the $5K mark.

    I was originally looing at something like an XR400 with semi-road tires, as once off LAMS it is more trail based and would give me the two extremes with a pure road and trail bike. However, they seem to be in a really niche market (or high demand) with it looking like $5k will only get me in a sub-2004/05 model.

    Accordingly, I’ve been looking at some more touring type bikes like the Translap 650, DR650 and KLR650 as they seem to offer more ‘bike’ for the buck. The downside and question going this way is the limitation of their off-road capability and whether that would become an issue.

    So I guess I just wanted to get some feedback and thoughts from those of you with experience to help me make up my own mind.


  2. DRZ400E. Electric start, tallish, low maintenance and tons of fun!
  3. Owned a KLR and ridden with DR's before and they'll tackle fire trails all day beyond the skills of most riders :wink:

    Single track riding you'll be wanting not much more than a 250 (or at a pinch the above mentioned DRZ400).

    The larger Thumpers will also commute well, and with a sprocket change get an extra gear for lower revving highway running :cool:
  4. The XR400 would be my first pick closely followed by the DRZ400. The honda is virtually bullet proof but the suzuki is not far behind. The xr is more trail orientated, air cooled and kick start and lighter.
  5. Thanks guys,
    Still very unsure which way to go.

    Newbie question here, but is kick start a plus??? I would have thought not given the ease of electric?
  6. IMHO, kick-start only bikes are a pain. But if the bike has both e-start and kick-start, then you're on a winner.
  7. It really depends, id rather go kick start on a thumper because they are piseasy to start and take zero effort once you find the sweet spot. Theres also the huge bonus of not having to carry a battery at all. Trail bikes have pretty measly generators and batterys so your goingto run it flat if you stall alot.
    Ive done 10's of thousands on an XR400 and they are the best first trail bike you can buy if you want to go on the tar aswell. Avoid the electric leg ones, save some cash amd get the suspension done they need it... well all off road bikes need it.