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Road/Trail Bike vs Road Bike for my first Bike

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by Stocky, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. I am just learning to ride and I have been advised to get a road/trail bike.

    I was originally considering a road bike but now several people have advised me otherwise so I wanted to find out some more opinions…

    My Background History…

    I am just learning to ride…
    I won’t be commuting on the bike… I will be just using it for weekend fun
    I live in The Dandenongs and I live close to national parks
    I go camping a few times a year

    My riding aims:
    1. To build up my riding skills
    2. To build up my confidence and skills for riding on the road
    3. To go for rides in the hills and scenic areas close to Melbourne
    4. And most importantly have fun!!

    The arguments provided so far:

    I will learn advanced handling skills by taking the bike on to trails.. and that will help me become a better rider!
    A road/trail bike has a better road gripping capability.
    And I can still ride on the roads.

    But aesthetically speaking.. I love the look of road bikes..

    I am sure there a many more things that fall into the equation… and being new to riding I am interested to hear any comments, questions or experiences you may have!
  2. Hi Stocky

    Welcome to the Forum and maybe the world of dual sport bikes.

    Sorry to sound like a Site Nazi - but do a search on trail bike and dirt bike and you should get a few posts to read through as some good information has been posted here already

    A road/trail does not have better road gripping capability. The higher centre of gravity of the trail bike will make it easier to tip over than a road bike, with dual sport tyres there is less rubber contacting the road and suspension made for travel rather than road performance leaves the trail bike a fair way behind.

    And if you like the "look" of road bikes - a road trail may not be for you. It is meant to be dropped and dumped as you increase your skill level and have a differnt type of fun to what others have on a road bike.

    My only suggestion is to look for an electric start model.

    Good luck with it all and let us know how it all works out
  3. I have been in the same position as you before, I had a TTR250 and used it on the road as well, bloody not a good idea on the road because the ride is not so good, and the top end speed is not high.

    If you want to ride trails get a dirt bike...
    If you want to ride road get a road bike...

    That's what I would recommend, because you will find that in a few months if the majority of the bikes use is on the road then you will be going out looking for a road bike.
  4. Thanks for the responses Steve and Toecutter

    I will be riding on road the majority of time... but I do like the idea of going on trails every now and again...

    The thought of going through the bush appeals to me but that was never my main priority in riding a bike... it is to ride on the roads.

    The possibility of doing both and increasing my skills sounds attractive but if riding a dual purpose bike will compromise my comfort on the road I should concider getting a trail bike at a later stage.
  5. If I was in charge all new riders would start with a dirt bike of some description and have to prove they could ride it competently on a dirt circuit ( not a motoX track :twisted: ) before they were allowed anywhere near the pre-learner road course.
  6. Getting a road/trail that would be competent in either scenario in a 250 is going to be difficult.

    You occasionaly read comments on how trail bikes are good for commuting, but I'm very skeptical for a number of reasons;
    1. the seat height means you can't put both feet firmly on the ground
    2. they are geared for low speed work, so won't accelerate around the 100 mark.
    3. They are top heavy
    4. the tyres chew out on roads and don't provide much grip
    5. the folk dive is too much
    6. the brakes are pissy for road work

    All of those points also make them hard work as a learner bike.
  7. Hi Ibast,

    They are really good points..

    What does this mean?
  8. When you hit the brakes on any bike the folks compress. so long as this is controlled and predicable this is not a bad thing. It actually helps to stabilise they bike and get more weight on the front wheel.

    Trail bikes have long travel suspension, with soft springs. This means that when you hit the brakes they dive a lot in the front. This is so much, that under heavier braking, it actually unsettles the bike. Not the best thing for the street.
  9. I think he means "forks" not folks.
  10. I didn't realise I was typing that until you wrote.

    A dyslexic bloke walks into a rab.
  11. I am normally not into pointing out typos but I though you were talking some biker lingo...in which being a newbie... I didn't understand.

    I needed to know the physics behind it aswell.. so thanks for that...

    All of this decision making is pointing me to an early finish for the day, to look at a few bike shops and to mull over a drink at the local rab

  12. 1. Depending on the cc of the bike and the height of the rider, also remember it the seat and spring can be lowered a bit.
    2. Change ya sprockets
    3. True but still the whole bike is no where near as heavy as a road bike
    4. Get hard compoud tyres. or if doing mostly road then chuck a set of motard tyres on and change them back to knobblies when going bush
    5. Stoppies are fun :p
    6. things you can do to improve that : braided brake lines, not some brands arnt road legal, bigger brake discs and fancy wave ones otherwise just remember your bikes braking abilty and dont go beyond that :wink:

    Just my 2 cents
  13. heya Stocky,
    i can identify with the direction you have been pointed toward
    (incidentally i also live in the Dandenong Ranges)

    riders that start on dirt/endro bikes
    are much more capable of handling less than ideal road surfaces
    (IMHO that makes them safer riders)

    currently i ride a Dual Sport (Suzuki DL1000)
    i would like to suggest a scaled down <250cc equivalent

    here are some suggestions;

    Kawasaki : KLR 250 (My Favourite)
    http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/model/kawasaki/kawasaki_klr250 02.htm

    Kawasaki : KL250 Super Sherpa

    Yamaha : TW 200; TW 225E (For the Vertically Challenged)
    http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/model/yamaha/yamaha_tw225 05.htm
    http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/model/yamaha/yamaha_tw200 02.htm

    Yamaha : XT 225 Serow / Dual Sport
    http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/model/yamaha/yamaha_xt225we_serow 99.htm

    Yamaha : XT 250 Serow
    http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/model/yamaha/yamaha_xt250_serow 05.htm

    Honda : XR 250 Motard
    http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/model/Honda/honda_xr250_motard 05.htm
    http://www.motorbikes.be/en/Honda/2004/XR 250 Motard/

    [Melb] 2004 honda xr250r ..SOLD..
    http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/model/Honda/honda_xr250_motard 05.htm

    Yamaha : TDR 250 (Hooligan's Delight; Beware the 2-Stroke)
    http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/model/yamaha/yamaha_tdr250 89.htm
    http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/model/yamaha/yamaha_tdr250 93.htm

    here is an article that has always been very inspiring;

    you may also wish to have a look at this thread;
    Dirt/Enduro bikes vs. Sports Bikes
  14. Howdy Carver,

    Thanks for the links... I have been looking at xr250's and the kawazakis but your info gives me a few more options

    I didn't realise that this topic has been discussed in depth recently (I did do a search but didn't come across that thread) so thanks for revisiting it for me..

    A big sorry to the others because I know what its like to read the same questions over and over and over


    I'll keep an eye out for your Suzuki..

    There have been some very valid points mentioned and I guess I won't know until I test ride some bikes..
  15. Yep, I can't argue with that, though remeber making the gearing more roadworthy is tricky on a 250. You quicly run out of grunt.

    If I were getting a lisence under LAMS at the moment I would be looking seriously at some larger dirt bikes. I don't think I'd want to do it on a 250 traily however.
  16. depending on ya budget and if on LAMS, a larger CC Dirtbike and SuperMotard :)

    Get some spare wheels so that you can take it bush
  17. I had a clapped out DR200 for my L's bike. Best thing I ever did. Dropped it, dumped it into a gutter and generally smacked it into things. Go the dirtbike mate, don't worry about the sportsbike nuts on the forum :grin:

    Also, you might end up keeping a good 250 or motard bike. If you get a 250 sports or even a 500GS you're going to upgrade it after a year.
  18. Sure, riding on the dirt is a great way of learning bike control skills in an environment where you do not have traffic to negotiate or run over you if you fall off. Though the behaviour of the bike on dirt is different than the road which you must be aware of before you eventually get onto the road. Its a much safer option to learn if you dont have the skills to ride on the road just yet.

    Most bikes with a more upright position are easier to ride at slower speeds which I think is a better option...and more comfortable.
  19. I currently have both a road and a dirt bike. Its just a pity that the VTR does not have the power of my cr125 :(

    I am looking at a motard (yamaha wr450) for an upgrade but they can be expensive to convert to a decent road bike.

    Things I have looked into:

    New rims/tyres(wider than stock dirt, same size front and rear) - $2500
    New brake caliper,disk,re-location kit(320mm front disc) - $600-700+
    New springs in the front to stiffen the ride - $300

    and then around $1,000 for trick bits :)

    If you are into riding trails, which I find to be an absolute blast and much more fun than my work commute then go the dual purpose
  20. I can recommend the motard route cause I am doing it at the momment.

    The DRZ400SM is my first bike and I would definately compare it to a standard learner 250cc sportsbike except that it is more fun IMO. The overall performance gives me a tiny peek at what a race bred motard might be like while more or less matching the sub 100kph performance of larger dualsport thumpers like the Aprilia 650 Strada or the BMW 650GS which are both very cool bikes.

    If you really like the look of road bikes but wanna try some "light" trails then a second hand BMW 650GS would be a great choice. According to google they are LAMS approved.