Anybody Dirt Bike Savvy? Particularilly Dual Sport.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Anybody Dirt Bike Savvy? Particularilly Dual Sport.

    I'm REALLY itching to by a Dual Sport Dirt Bike that I can use for close commutes to save some gas and have some fun while doing it. Plus, I can hit some good power-line trails/fire roads with it as well. So far I've narrowed it down to three choices, the 2012 Kawasaki KLX250S, the 2012 Yamaha XT250 or the 2013 Honda CRF250L. Does anybody have any direct experience with these bikes? It's hard to find any actual "Pro" reviews on these bikes since it's such a niche market.
    2013 KLX®250S Dual Purpose - Kawasaki.com
    2013 Yamaha XT250 Home, information
    2013 CRF250L Overview - Honda Powersports

  2. #2
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    The KLX and the CRF look more serious, more like they could actually be ridden off road. The XT looks a little girly-ish.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  3. #3
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    One of my ex's had the XT250. The power output was weak, the gears were very short and it's max speed was 50 mph so any highway commuting if over 45 was out of the question. I would stay clear of that one. Depending on how much cash your willing to spend I would highly look into the KTM 2013 KTM 350 EXC-F - Highlights if you have that much to spend. If not another to check out which is better then those listed would be the Suzuki Cycles - Product Lines - Cycles - Products - DR-Z400 - 2012 - DRZ400S followed by the Kawi then Honda. As for the Kawi it weighs less then the Honda and has more suspension adjustability which is the reason it cost more. So out of your three I would say the Kawi. Check out the two I also listed as well, the KTM is pretty expensive but totally bad ass.

    Posted this awhile back about the KTM freeride 350 and it's potential of how hard you can ride it.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/general-discu...ed-750072.html

    Here is the video if you don't feel like clicking the link.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/n2eUucG4gwU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hutch3637 View Post
    One of my ex's had the XT250. The power output was weak, the gears were very short and it's max speed was 50 mph so any highway commuting if over 45 was out of the question. I would stay clear of that one. Depending on how much cash your willing to spend I would highly look into the KTM 2013 KTM 350 EXC-F - Highlights if you have that much to spend. If not another to check out which is better then those listed would be the Suzuki Cycles - Product Lines - Cycles - Products - DR-Z400 - 2012 - DRZ400S followed by the Kawi then Honda. As for the Kawi it weighs less then the Honda and has more suspension adjustability which is the reason it cost more. So out of your three I would say the Kawi. Check out the two I also listed as well, the KTM is pretty expensive but totally bad ass.

    Posted this awhile back about the KTM freeride 350 and it's potential of how hard you can ride it.

    https://forums.mtbr.com/general-disc...ed-750072.html

    Here is the video if you don't feel like clicking the link.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/n2eUucG4gwU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    Thanks a bunch for your input! Man, I LOVE KTM's as I used to have a 250 EXC. I'll attach a picture below. The thing is, that, and those bikes you listed are just too tall. To make them a good height, I have to jack up the suspension. I'm only 5 foot 9. Plus, 10K is a little out of my budget as this is really an impulse buy, lol. The Suziki "might" work but the seat height is just so high still. If I do get the Kawi or Honda, I would add a lower tooth front sprocket, header, pipe, and re Jett if it has a carburetor and I'm sure I could wake it up quite a bit. I did the exact same mods to my Honda CRF 230 and it turned it into a pretty peppy bike from the slug it used to be. So you think the Kawasaki would be better despite the Honda being a new for this year model? Thanks! And badass video!!

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    Used Drz 400, or DR350. There are such good deals on Craigslist for bikes like these. out of your new choices I would go with Kawi.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StopTheExcuses View Post
    Thanks a bunch for your input! Man, I LOVE KTM's as I used to have a 250 EXC. I'll attach a picture below. The thing is, that, and those bikes you listed are just too tall. To make them a good height, I have to jack up the suspension. I'm only 5 foot 9. Plus, 10K is a little out of my budget as this is really an impulse buy, lol. The Suziki "might" work but the seat height is just so high still. If I do get the Kawi or Honda, I would add a lower tooth front sprocket, header, pipe, and re Jett if it has a carburetor and I'm sure I could wake it up quite a bit. I did the exact same mods to my Honda CRF 230 and it turned it into a pretty peppy bike from the slug it used to be. So you think the Kawasaki would be better despite the Honda being a new for this year model? Thanks! And badass video!!
    No problem, as for the DRZ400 I would look online for one that is used if you can at least see if you like it. Honestly, the new 2013 version isn't as good as the older models and with an older model you could buy street as well as dirt tires. As for the KTM ya, that's like the top of the dual sport bikes. Honda typically has the strongest motors. Not power wise but overall longevity IMO. I've had Honda, Kawi, Suzuki street bikes as well as dirt bikes and out of all of them the Honda gave me the least headaches. This could be different for you. Kawi in recent years have stepped their game up. I would defiantly look used as this will give you a better bang for your buck. Sense you have had a bike in the past you most likely know what to look for when buying used then. Also I wouldn't change the gearing just yet if your buying new to give the motor a chance to break in. If your going new the Kawi still gets my vote. Used DRZ 2007-2012 then a Honda 2012 CRF250L. There is also another route for going used. Get a actual dirt bike used and make it street legal.

    Nice looking bike BTW.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hutch3637 View Post
    No problem, as for the DRZ400 I would look online for one that is used if you can at least see if you like it. Honestly, the new 2013 version isn't as good as the older models and with an older model you could buy street as well as dirt tires. As for the KTM ya, that's like the top of the dual sport bikes. Honda typically has the strongest motors. Not power wise but overall longevity IMO. I've had Honda, Kawi, Suzuki street bikes as well as dirt bikes and out of all of them the Honda gave me the least headaches. This could be different for you. Kawi in recent years have stepped their game up. I would defiantly look used as this will give you a better bang for your buck. Sense you have had a bike in the past you most likely know what to look for when buying used then. Also I wouldn't change the gearing just yet if your buying new to give the motor a chance to break in. If your going new the Kawi still gets my vote. Used DRZ 2007-2012 then a Honda 2012 CRF250L. There is also another route for going used. Get a actual dirt bike used and make it street legal.

    Nice looking bike BTW.
    Thanks again for your input. I actually have a Honda CRF230F right now. I've just heard that here in NC that if the title doesn't say for road use I'm screwed. You can see the bike in the picture below. If I do get the dualsport, I would keep the Honda for the more technical, demanding trails as it's actually a damn good trail bike once I did some mods. I'm leaning hard towards the Kawasaki because it has a huge aftermarket for it already. The Honda not so much as it's technically not out yet until the 15th of August locally. But, I do agree, it seems as if the Honda bikes are durable as hell.

  8. #8
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    I'll 2nd the DRZ400. Three guys I work with have them (2009 I believe) and they like the DRZ quite a bit. I have the LTZ400 Quad and it runs fast. I'm sure you're aware of the whole jetting, air filter and exhaust routine.
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    If your gonna do anything above 45mph you need atleast a 350cc really your best bet would be atleast a Drz400. Keep in mind you can adjust your suspension to lower your seat height "some". Also as others have said, Craigslist will be your best bet at keeping it in your budget.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1of4Horsemen View Post
    I'll 2nd the DRZ400. Three guys I work with have them (2009 I believe) and they like the DRZ quite a bit. I have the LTZ400 Quad and it runs fast. I'm sure you're aware of the whole jetting, air filter and exhaust routine.
    Oh yeah, the jetting/air filter/exhaust/airbox mods really open up just about any bike. I like the DRZ as well but it's just a wee bit too tall!

    Quote Originally Posted by flynbryan19 View Post
    If your gonna do anything above 45mph you need atleast a 350cc really your best bet would be atleast a Drz400. Keep in mind you can adjust your suspension to lower your seat height "some". Also as others have said, Craigslist will be your best bet at keeping it in your budget.
    The thing with lowering the seat height with the suspension is you can throw off the travel and suspension characteristics/wacky preoload/sag. So, it's kind of a ghetto way to lower the seat if done in excess. Trust me, I love more power but I want it to be nimble and be able to touch the ground.....


    So far I'm leaning towards the Honda. It's the cheapest, the newest design and technology, and is FI. I'm thinking with exhaust, a lighter battery, removing some uneeded things and tuning it with a Power Commander, I can get a good amount of power out of it and lighten it up a bit. People say they run 90 on them pretty easily, so 70 on the highway shouldn't be bad. I just figure with exhaust/air filter/tune it will really wake up the bike. It's the same motor in the CBR250 and guys make pretty good power out of it AND some have gotten 100mpg. Insane!!

    Any more thoughts?? Thanks!

  11. #11
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    WR250R is hands down the best bike in the 250 class for what you are looking for. KLX250 would be second, then the Honda, then the XT250. The KTM 350 Free Ride has a lower seat height and will make it's way into US showrooms very soon from what my reliable resources tell me That would be a sweet bike, but it's going to cost double what you can probably buy the Jap 250's for. Honestly though, if you have good riding skills and will be sticking to powerline trails and fire roads, the DR650 would work really well. It has a very low seat height.

    Oh, and I have a 250EXC (and a few other dual sports)
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/nkbI07K_UJM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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    Quote Originally Posted by OhioPT View Post
    WR250R is hands down the best bike in the 250 class for what you are looking for. KLX250 would be second, then the Honda, then the XT250. The KTM 350 Free Ride has a lower seat height and will make it's way into US showrooms very soon from what my reliable resources tell me That would be a sweet bike, but it's going to cost double what you can probably buy the Jap 250's for. Honestly though, if you have good riding skills and will be sticking to powerline trails and fire roads, the DR650 would work really well. It has a very low seat height.

    Oh, and I have a 250EXC (and a few other dual sports)
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/nkbI07K_UJM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    How do you like your EXC? I've heard the Yamaha is an awesome bike, it just has a seat height of 36.6 inches which is about an inch too tall. I wonder if they make a different seat that lowers the seat height some? I did a bunch of reading and it seems like a really nice dual sport.


    *I did some research and found this....http://www.yamahawr250r.com/wr250r-lowering/*
    So, the Yamaha might can work!

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    Quote Originally Posted by StopTheExcuses View Post
    How do you like your EXC? I've heard the Yamaha is an awesome bike, it just has a seat height of 36.6 inches which is about an inch too tall. I wonder if they make a different seat that lowers the seat height some? I did a bunch of reading and it seems like a really nice dual sport.
    I have several bikes: a '09 Husaberg FE570, a '06 KTM 640 Adventure, the 250EXC, and a DR-Z250 (bought it for my wife to learn on). The 250EXC is my go-to bike for really technical single track. I can ride anything on my Husaberg, but it zaps a little more energy when I want to go really fast in single track. I did a 100 mile trail ride last month with this guy on the 250
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/qGr2yAZUkew" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Yeah, you can get this seat with the low foam: Seat Concepts - Products

    If that's not enough, add lowering links (aka, dogbones) on the rear linkage and slide the forks up in the triple clamps to keep the balance right. As long as you don't lower it more than 1/2" to 1" or so, you should be fine.

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    My buddies and I started a group called SMHooligans (SM For Supermoto) some years ago that fizzled out. We had trackways, dual sport rides, OHV parks, etc. all on supermotos. Have you considered a Supermoto? They're great especially if you're riding mostly on the street.

    My last SM was a DRZ400SM. I hopped it up with exhaust, intake and a Stage 1 kit with a sprocket upgrade. It was a dope bike.

    Those 250's are fine in the dirt, but truly suck for street riding: they are geared like dirt bikes and you have to ring them out to keep up wih car traffic. Very underpowered... you'll find yourself getting passed and you'll feel like a road block.

    Sometimes you can find DR350's with big bore kits. I had one that was hopped up to a DR435, but still sucked for the street. Great for dual sport riding where I wouldn't be mixing it up with cars or going on the highway.

    The KLR650 is a great bike. I had one that I used for dual sport touring. I had a Husky 450SM (track/race bike), and a XR650 Supermoto.

    BTW, I've ridden skateparks and urban trials (loading docks, stairs, jumps in San Francisco) on my DRZ. Those 17" tires and wheels do suprisingly good on dirt fire roads.

    DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT lower a dual sport. I ruins the handling. Unless you absolutely have to do it. I bought my XR650 with a lowering link kit. HORRIBLE. switched it back to stock height and it made a world of difference.
    Last edited by Dion; 08-02-2012 at 10:17 PM.

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    The WR250R has an excellent wide ratio 6 speed transmission, and the 6th gear is over driven enough to make 65+ mph speeds very tolerable. You just will have less power than a bike with more cc's. The DRZ400's 5 speed is actually pretty bad for dual sport riding: first gear is very tall and 5th gear is relatively short. I know because I used to own one. The KLX250s has a decent wide ratio 6 speed as well.

    FWIW, the DR350S is a really nice dual sport, with it's wide ratio 6 speed. The '98 and '99's had better suspension. Weight is not bad, and it's a simple oil-cooled motor.

    If you lower a bike a conservative 1/2 to 1", at both the rear AND front, the handling will be fine. The downsides: You will loose some ground clearance, and the lower links will place more leverage on the rear shock, effectively making the spring rate lower by ~10-15% (i.e., easier to blow through the stroke). Most bikes are only sprung for riders up to 170 lbs, so if you are heavier, you will need a stiffer shock spring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post

    Those 250's are fine in the dirt, but truly suck for street riding: they are geared like dirt bikes and you have to ring them out to keep up wih car traffic. Very underpowered... you'll find yourself getting passed and you'll feel like a road block.
    .
    This fella worded it better than I did. It "may" go as fast as you have read, but you will be wringing its neck to do it. Unless its really geared down to go that fast and then your going to have very poor acceleration and will have poor response for the trails. The lowering of the suspension by taking out preload was really just a simple/redneck way of trying to help the problem. The PROPER way is a lowering link and modifications to the travel on the front, but I was under the assumption you were trying to be cost efficient. You could as others have also said find a company selling lower foam setups or have an upholstery shop set up something for you.

    In the end it sounds like you pretty much have your mind made up on getting a 250. As you already know there are performance products that will give you "some" improvement, but I think you will be disappointed w/ anything more than in town speeds. We may be completely wrong though. Good luck w/ it. It should be fun on mild trails / fire roads no matter what.

  17. #17
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    Update

    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    My buddies and I started a group called SMHooligans (SM For Supermoto) some years ago that fizzled out. We had trackways, dual sport rides, OHV parks, etc. all on supermotos. Have you considered a Supermoto? They're great especially if you're riding mostly on the street.

    My last SM was a DRZ400SM. I hopped it up with exhaust, intake and a Stage 1 kit with a sprocket upgrade. It was a dope bike.

    Those 250's are fine in the dirt, but truly suck for street riding: they are geared like dirt bikes and you have to ring them out to keep up wih car traffic. Very underpowered... you'll find yourself getting passed and you'll feel like a road block.

    Sometimes you can find DR350's with big bore kits. I had one that was hopped up to a DR435, but still sucked for the street. Great for dual sport riding where I wouldn't be mixing it up with cars or going on the highway.

    The KLR650 is a great bike. I had one that I used for dual sport touring. I had a Husky 450SM (track/race bike), and a XR650 Supermoto.

    BTW, I've ridden skateparks and urban trials (loading docks, stairs, jumps in San Francisco) on my DRZ. Those 17" tires and wheels do suprisingly good on dirt fire roads.

    DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT lower a dual sport. I ruins the handling. Unless you absolutely have to do it. I bought my XR650 with a lowering link kit. HORRIBLE. switched it back to stock height and it made a world of difference.
    Thanks for you input. So, after hearing the Suzuki DRZ400 tossed around so much I went into the closest Suzuki dealership to talk numbers with them. They say there is only 2, 2012 models left on the east coast but they can have it for me in a couple of days. After about an hour of negotioating, The LOWEST I can get them to go is $6400 out the door. I don't think that's too bad considering the MSRP on the bike is $6,199. So, with no discount, out the door price was right at $7,100. So, $700 off. It's right at $1000 more than the Honda. My question is how much MORE actual bike is it than the Honda? I think I'm going to jump on the DRZ400!

    Quote Originally Posted by flynbryan19 View Post
    This fella worded it better than I did. It "may" go as fast as you have read, but you will be wringing its neck to do it. Unless its really geared down to go that fast and then your going to have very poor acceleration and will have poor response for the trails. The lowering of the suspension by taking out preload was really just a simple/redneck way of trying to help the problem. The PROPER way is a lowering link and modifications to the travel on the front, but I was under the assumption you were trying to be cost efficient. You could as others have also said find a company selling lower foam setups or have an upholstery shop set up something for you.

    In the end it sounds like you pretty much have your mind made up on getting a 250. As you already know there are performance products that will give you "some" improvement, but I think you will be disappointed w/ anything more than in town speeds. We may be completely wrong though. Good luck w/ it. It should be fun on mild trails / fire roads no matter what.
    Thanks for your input. I'm going to try the DRZ at stock height, and if its too tall I will do a lowering link/and or a lower gel or foam seat/lower the forks a hair. But, I'm only going to do this if it doesn't screw with the handing in a major way. Dion's comment above has me cautious. Thanks all for your help, and any knowledge anybody has about the DRZ400 would be great!

  18. #18
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    i've been working on this project for a while...



    though been digging vintage dirt bikes/dual sports...

    interesting build here...

    Vintage dirt bike from Atom Bomb Custom
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    i've been working on this project for a while...



    though been digging vintage dirt bikes/dual sports...

    interesting build here...

    Vintage dirt bike from Atom Bomb Custom
    Wow, that's awesome How much does it weigh? How does it perform? Do you own any other motorbikes?

    BTW, I love that most mtn bikers and dirt bike guys get along It's a very similar experience for those who have done both extensively, especially coming from the enduro side of motorbikes. I think you would see a lot more cross-over if there was better trail access. That seems to be the number one issue for why people quit riding, or never start riding, dirt bikes. For me personally, there are a bunch of mtn bike trails close by, but few dirt bike trails. So I find myself on mtn bikes more when time is limited.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by StopTheExcuses View Post
    Thanks for you input. So, after hearing the Suzuki DRZ400 tossed around so much I went into the closest Suzuki dealership to talk numbers with them. They say there is only 2, 2012 models left on the east coast but they can have it for me in a couple of days. After about an hour of negotioating, The LOWEST I can get them to go is $6400 out the door. I don't think that's too bad considering the MSRP on the bike is $6,199. So, with no discount, out the door price was right at $7,100. So, $700 off. It's right at $1000 more than the Honda. My question is how much MORE actual bike is it than the Honda? I think I'm going to jump on the DRZ400!
    I toy with this idea from time to time so have been toying with the idea of a 250 dualsport. For me the brand new Honda 250 is the obvious choice. MPG should be around 80 and the water cooled engine is has a great balance off power and fuel economy. The reviews of the thing have been very good. The msrp is only $4500 too. I wasn't aware they were actually in dealerships yet though. A bigger engine would be nice but not if you're going after fuel economy.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhioPT View Post
    Wow, that's awesome How much does it weigh? How does it perform? Do you own any other motorbikes?

    BTW, I love that most mtn bikers and dirt bike guys get along It's a very similar experience for those who have done both extensively, especially coming from the enduro side of motorbikes. I think you would see a lot more cross-over if there was better trail access. That seems to be the number one issue for why people quit riding, or never start riding, dirt bikes. For me personally, there are a bunch of mtn bike trails close by, but few dirt bike trails. So I find myself on mtn bikes more when time is limited.
    90lbs give or take, should preform ok (around 120cc). putting together the lighting system using a old nightrider storm.

    i come from a dirt bike background (used to race enduro), had quite a few dirt bikes but sold all of them (first wife ). now getting into it again (second wife ). though around here dual sport is the way to go. this build is for my wife to learn on, plus it's pretty neat to have in the garage.
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    Nice!

    Every once in while, I'll google "SMHooligans" - the group myself and a core group of guys founded. It cracks me up my videos are still floating around the webz. We didn't have GoPro back then, so we had to get real creative with camera mounting.

    SM Hooligans*Home Page.



    My friend made this one. He's on a DRZ400SM - You can see we could keep up with sportbikes in the twisties, and most times, pass them:



    Sliding in the rain



    And here's me on a PIG of a bike: XR650L. On board at the end.



    You're going to have a TON of fun on that DRZ. Great bikes with a good platform for upgrades. Did I mention that they wheelie like magic??

    I used to love to go at speed and hit the rear brake to slide into a 180 all the way around, and wheelie out of it. On descends, I would hit the kill switch and coast down, trying to not use my brakes as much as possible. I also mounted a bicycle bell on my handlebar that I would ring at roadies when I passed them. A thumper brings the hooligan out in you! It's like a BMX bike with a motor.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Nice!

    Every once in while, I'll google "SMHooligans" - the group myself and a core group of guys founded. It cracks me up my videos are still floating around the webz. We didn't have GoPro back then, so we had to get real creative with camera mounting.

    SM Hooligans*Home Page.



    My friend made this one. He's on a DRZ400SM - You can see we could keep up with sportbikes in the twisties, and most times, pass them:



    Sliding in the rain



    And here's me on a PIG of a bike: XR650L. On board at the end.



    You're going to have a TON of fun on that DRZ. Great bikes with a good platform for upgrades. Did I mention that they wheelie like magic??

    I used to love to go at speed and hit the rear brake to slide into a 180 all the way around, and wheelie out of it. On descends, I would hit the kill switch and coast down, trying to not use my brakes as much as possible. I also mounted a bicycle bell on my handlebar that I would ring at roadies when I passed them. A thumper brings the hooligan out in you! It's like a BMX bike with a motor.
    Man, you guys didn't mess around! Whoever that is in the video's are riding the fvck out of those bikes! Also, the production value is top notch and very well made. I could only imagine what you could do with today's technology. It put's most youtube videos to shame. Thanks for posting those. And, I hope the DRZ does wheelie like magic, that would be bad ass. I'm off to pick it up in the morning!

  24. #24
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    Thanks for everybody who had input on this thread. I ended up with the DRZ and just took it on her Maiden Voyage. This bike is a blast to ride in stock form, I can only imagine once I let her breathe!! Anyway, here is a picture! *edit* I almost forgot to mention, these stock tires BLOW in any kind of slick stuff. Any reccomendations for a good 60/40 or 80/20 tire? Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by StopTheExcuses View Post
    Thanks for everybody who had input on this thread. I ended up with the DRZ and just took it on her Maiden Voyage. This bike is a blast to ride in stock form, I can only imagine once I let her breathe!! Anyway, here is a picture! *edit* I almost forgot to mention, these stock tires BLOW in any kind of slick stuff. Any reccomendations for a good 60/40 or 80/20 tire? Thanks!
    Congrats!

    Put a knobby on the front: I think all the Pirelli front are DOT, with the MT16 or XCMH being the best for dual sports. The Dunlop D606 and Pirelli MT-21 are a little better on road, and worse on the trail. If you ride somewhere dry like California, you don't need the extra grip offroad.

    For the rear, the Kenda K270 is a decent dual sport tire. No as good as a knobby offroad, but it will last way longer. The MT-43 is nice, but has a tall sidewall and will make the seat height higher, which you are trying to avoid. All the true knobby tires will wear out in 800-1000 miles, max, so unless you are riding mostly trail, I'd try the K270 first, or the Shinko knock-off of the K270.

  26. #26
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    I'll stick with my KLR650

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