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Old 09-16-2012, 12:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Help me choose a motorcycle

This will be my first bike, will use it mostly for riding around town but my dad likes to do trips on his so if/when I get one it would be nice to have something comfortable enough for long rides as well. I like riding trails too, so significant bonus for dual-sport capable. I would rather it not look like a dirt bike though. And as you might guess by the fact that I'm posting it here, cheap and fuel efficient are priorities as well.

Looking through stuff online the v-strom kind of jumped out as far as doing the type of things that I want, but the smallest they make is a 650. What are some models I could look at that might be similar but maybe in the 250-400 size?

Very open to other options as well, anything you think might fit my description.

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Old 09-16-2012, 08:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Suzuki and Kawasaki make great dual sports, 650s, and 250s. If you want to go into the 80s and 90s, try a Kawasaki KDX 200 or 220.

All fun bikes, all street legal- just don't try to break any speed records.
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Old 09-16-2012, 01:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks. After looking at these though,the DR-Z, KLX and KDX all seem like dirt bikes that can go on the road where I'm more looking for a road bike that can go on the trails.

Is there anything along those lines?
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justjohn View Post
Thanks. After looking at these though,the DR-Z, KLX and KDX all seem like dirt bikes that can go on the road where I'm more looking for a road bike that can go on the trails.

Is there anything along those lines?
Go back to the 1970's and get a Honda CL200 or CL350, they are not dirt bikes but are more the road bike of the time with dual sport tires, higher exhaust and higher suspension.
Road bikes don't hold up well going off road and off road bikes are not good on the highway for long trips because the ridding position is not the same.

A lot of the off road and trial bikes will work fine for short commuting in town because you are sitting more upright, like the Honda CFR250.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You should have a look at a used BMW F650GS single too. It's 650cc, but it's definitely smaller than a V-Strom, and it's still pretty comfortable. FE-wise it's more like a 250 than a 600+. If you happen to be tall, the Dakar version is for you.

New models are called G650GS and Sertao - but they're not as cheap as the older ones.
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah those both seem like they're heading in the direction I was thinking. However, the CLs seem like they're running $3000 in my area which seems awfully steep for a 40 year old entry level bike.

The old F650 I actually found for 3400, but a little far from me. The new ones are expensive of course.

Would prefer something cheap for my first one. Black Magic was only $2500.
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Used Ninja 250.

Ninja250 Riders Club :: Index

Kawasaki Ninja Forum

or a used CBR250R

Honda CBR250R Forum : Honda CBR 250 Forums

A mid-size enduro is also a good choice.

Read the forums for a while. You'll see there are lots of new and experienced riders that use 250s for all types of riding - from track days to sport touring.

A 650 is too big (EDIT: and heavy) for most to learn on - especially a VStrom. I ride a SV 650, and feel that it's not a good beginner bike either.

Starting your riding career on a small cycle like a 250 is the best idea IMO. Take a MSF or similar riding course before hitting the streets. Buy a complete set of good quality gear and wear it every time.


Jay

Last edited by jkv357; 09-16-2012 at 11:50 PM..
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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When I was learning my main concern wasn't engine capacity (but it was, because their fuel consumption), but height and weight. And I still agree with my past self that you should choose a bike you can flat foot from (at 5'9" it rules out many dual sports for me). This is why I mentioned the F650GS (and because I know it's capable of a decent FE).

A 'strom really feels like a mother ship, though The 650 is not too heavy, not very tall, but it's still BIG.

But I have nothing against 250s - if they meet the first criterion. They won't probably fail at handling and weight

Last edited by alvaro84; 09-16-2012 at 11:54 PM..
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:23 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I've ridden a crf 150, dr 200, and klr 650 all a fair bit. I feel perfectly comfortable with all of them on the road, the klr I'm a little more cautious with on the trails because it's harder to just stick out a foot and catch yourself. I think it's too tall to flat foot even for me, and I'm just over 6 feet. I think I'd be really comfortable with something just a tiny bit smaller/lighter than that. I believe the v-strom is nearly identical? So I think I'd be fine with it, I'd just prefer something a little lighter/cheaper.

The closest match to that so far seems to be the old CLs, but as I said they seem a little pricey for what you're getting at least on craigslist in my area.

In light of that I guess I might go with the ninja or cbr 250 since I at least know I can get one at a decent price and it would also be a good hypermiling platform. Not really putting much stock in their long trip comfort, and I'd be missing trail going ability but maybe just something cheap to ride while I figure out what I really want would be good too.
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Look at the Honda NX125 and NX250. They are more street oriented dual sports. Much newer than the CLs. I have the NX125, it goes 65MPH and gets 80MPG riding as hard as you can. or over 100MPG going easy on the throttle.

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