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Opinions for a dualpurpose commuter

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Driven, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. Hi all,

    I've been bike-less for about 10 months now, and it's driving me crazy ! I'm looking to buy a cheap commuter bike to tie me over for the time being before I can buy my "ideal" bike [VTR1000].

    I've decided to go for a dual\trailie bike with a road bias, because I havent ridden one before, and would prefer the high seat height, slim profile of the bike, and the low maintenance costs. Plus, I'm a recreational mt. biker and would like to get into trail riding on a motorbike.

    I dont know much about them, but are these suitable candidates ?

    - Honda NX650
    - Suzi DR650SE
    - Kawi KLX650

    Any info on these bikes is much appreciated.
    Budget is around 3-4 grand for a mid-late 90's model. It's a budget commuter first and foremost.

    My riding history: 5 years.
    Bikes Owned- CBR250RR, RS125, RS250, GSXR600\750, TRX850.

    Thank you for your time and inputs.
    Also, nice forum u got here.
  2. I'd also chuck in a kawasaki KLR 650 as well, I've heard some good things about it as a dualie. I think they've been making them much the same way since the 80's, and I'm sure you could find one in your price range fairly easy.
    Not nessisaraly a powerful or light bike, but might be worth you looking into.
  3. I think any big Jap thumper would be unkillable,just pottering to work..flip a coin :LOL:
    'Been thinking about a Triumph tiger,myself(amongst others)...still on a special with all the gear....$16k on road....And I dont plan on doing much more than gravel roads into rally sites...
    That way I can do the odd trip away comfortably...as well...
  4. For a real-cheap-to-run/own item...the trusty old XT600.
    Doesn't make much power but if ridden hard can just about hang with more modern liquid-cooled thumpers. No waterpump/hoses/radiators to deal with, plenty of accessories and good aftermarket supplies of consumables.
    Last ones sold about 18 mths ago @ $7k new plus o/r... a good one, low km around the $5k mark/ 2001-02 models?
  5. mid 90's xr650 supermoto converted. I've heard the are WHEELIE fun to ride
  6. Hey what about a zx9 with knobby tyres :shock:
  7. I ride a KLR650 and as a road based I think it would be another good choice since it has the biggest tank of all the above (~23L) and has more windscreen than the othres (althoguh the NX650 I think does as well). It is more road biased than the other bikes you mentioned (apart from NX650 maybe).

    Out of the choices only the KLR and the DR650 are still manufactured new if that concerns you. At the bike show I sat on a DR650 and that seat is like a plank of wood and will get very painful over moderate to larger distances. Although the NX650 kind of lives on though as the XR650L (at least engine wise) so it is kind of still produced.

    My KLR650 is currently at about 96 000km so they can last at least that long (even if it is blowing a little smoke when cold :p).
  8. I'm with Pete. When the XT600 first came out it created a sensation, and a class of riding. And nothing has changed; if you can find one, get one one......
  9. Thank you all for your suggestions. :grin:

    My commute will be around ~30km per trip, so a plank seat isnt a big problem. My posterior has copped a beating from my mt bike seat over the years, so I'm used to it. :p If need be, I'll put a gel seat in there.

    I'll start doing some research on the following bikes -

    XT600 [I'm sure I've seen them b4, as they're popular commuters]

    Btw, do they make road tyres to fit onto those rims ?
    I heard that knobbies arent great for roads and wears out quickly [5-6000kms]. Also the fact that a single 600cc puts out lots of grunt down low.

    The thought of getting back on a bike have me very excited. I'm starting to think about bikes 24\7...........much to the dismay of my gf, who thought my "silly" phase was over.
  10. Most of them run 17" rears and 21" fronts.
    Plenty of dual-purpose tyres around, like the Metzeler Enduro4/Tourance, Pirelli Scorpions/ Bridgestone Trailwings of different patterns, Avon Distanzias, Michelin Anakees? (not sure on the 21 front with those).
    All of those should last at least 8-10.000km and have WAY better grip than knobbies onroad (very, very close to a normal road-tyre). Generally their construction is like a sport-touring-tyre at least.

    XT600 [I'm sure I've seen them b4, as they're popular commuters]
    (personal choice)

    (good, but somewhat more "chookie" than the others, rougher, more single-purpose)

    (very hard to come by a good one, last new about 2000, many been thrashed to the crappers)

    (usually a good 2.hand selection of those around, checking carefully will pay off)

    Big singles also chew chains (between 17-22.000km), sprockets and the odd set of cush-drive rubbers.
  11. Thanx for the inputs Glitch ! :grin:

    This is good info. I've been searching the web and there's not much reviews or comparisons on these bikes.
  12. Thumertalk.com has some good info on these kinda bikes...I have a klx 650 98 r version..it goes like the clappers.Was thinking of selling it but just could not bring myself to doing so...I use it for the commute...turned it into supermoto style 53 ponies:) fcr flatside carb..wheelies all day...couple big 650's on ebay at moment..another is the yam tt600 good bike but small tank...All these big singles can be easily tweaked and worked on by yourself pipe change of jetting and opening the air box makes a difference...cheers
  13. Hi Driven,

    As someone who owns a KLR (2002 'small tank' model), and commutes from Moonee Ponds to Clayton, I can certainly recommend a dual sport for the job - almost perfect.

    I picked up my bike as a two yr old with 20,000 kms on it for just a touch over $5000, and have put nearly another 40,000 kms on it since with not too many problems, apart from the speedo drive destroying itself.

    Cheap to run (21kms per/l on the commute, less when out and about :roll: ), cheap to service (only one of everything to adjust) and cheap tyres (Bridgestone trailwings last 6-8000kms, have got some Pirelli Scorpions on at the moment which have just gone through 9000kms and the rear has still got a little juice left in it - about $120 for trailwings and $140 for the Pirellis).

    The real beauty of these bikes is their versatility - you can buzz down the highway, get to the twisties and have heaps of fun, and when the road turns to dirt you just keep on going.

    One thing to keep in mind with the aircooled models (DR, XR, XT?), is that if you sit in traffic a lot you should change the oil regularly, as the heat from the motor doesn't dissipate as much as with the watercooled jobbies.

    Have fun searching for a bike - guarantee you'll have fun once you've got one.
  14. Big Jap thumper = fun with a capital F!
  15. Thanx for the inputs P76.

    I quite fancy the DRZ-400SM 06 or that Yamaha one, but alas, dont have 10K to spend.

    On paper, I prefer the KLR650, then the NX650, then the DR650. The XT\XR are apparently too dirt orientated, and not as suitable on road, where I'll be riding 95% of the time.

    I still havent had time to check them out and see if the seat height is a problem for an average height person (5"8).
  16. No worries Driven,

    I think you're on the right track with what you are looking at.

    And if I had $10K burning a hole in my pocket I'd definitely get the Suzuki 'motard. Have ridden the dirt version and it just HONKS - way more lowdown grunt than the KilLeR :grin:
  17. Oh yeah, and at 5'8", it will be wise to check them out.

    I'm 6'2" and it's getting harder and harder to get the leg up and over, if you know what I mean :wink: