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Old August 8th, 2017, 06:45 PM   #21
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I Ride: 16 Honda CRF250l, 2016 Hyperstada 939
I just rode another CRF across the United States in the past 11 days. Didn't see another 250 the whole way. Stopped in Sturgis and hung with all the big boy Harley's for a day.
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Old August 18th, 2017, 06:10 PM   #22
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I'm kinda leaning in the direction of buying a regular dirt bike. Possibly a DR, KLR, KX, KTM etc. and use that for my off-road foolishness.
Then I can focus on making the Hyper a better behaved commuter.

I was thinking about the time I dropped poor Daisy Duck in the mud - 3 times!
If I'd have dropped her a 4th time it's likely I would have had to leave her there and get help. After that 3rd lift I was in too much pain and too tired out to do it again. That's 450 lbs so imagine it with 500 lbs AT? Forget about it. If I had others to ride with then maybe but I don't so it's me lifting it all. I'm getting up there in age.
Then there's the age question - should I be riding an actual dirt bike and going all the places one can go on one at my age?
I eat my heart out every time I see a trail Daisy don't have ground clearance for. I still do have some reflexes and muscle memory from my younger experiences. And I'm not so out of shape.
But am I just too damn old to be trying to go back to it?

Honestly I feel safer off-roading than riding my daily commute despite all the really scary things that can go wrong out in the woods.

My hat's off to Marty for that long haul on a CRF. pretty awesome dude!
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Old August 18th, 2017, 08:11 PM   #23
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I Ride: '13 Hyperstrada, '06 DR650, 2017 KTM 690 Duke
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Originally Posted by MartyGarrison View Post
I just rode another CRF across the United States in the past 11 days. Didn't see another 250 the whole way. Stopped in Sturgis and hung with all the big boy Harley's for a day.
Wow! That there is some tough duty!
Good for you Marty! Did you do much off road? What was your basic route to Sturgis .. and after that?
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Old August 18th, 2017, 08:40 PM   #24
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I Ride: 16 Honda CRF250l, 2016 Hyperstada 939
I did 8 miles of off road which happened to be road construction in Montana. I was on a pretty tight schedule for a family reunion. I took 50 strait across Virginia and West Virginia into southern Ohio. 56 up to Springfield Oh, (sort of, as 20 miles in on 56 a bridge had washed out so I backtracked and took 33 instead). Took 40 to Indianapolis then 74 all the way to the Mississippi crossing into Iowa. Made my way east and north on a bunch of roads to Albert Lea Minnesota then 90 straight across to Sturgis. It was 102 degrees and windy as heck going across South Dakota. From Sturgis I took 212 to Billings Montana. 212 is the same as the Beartooth Highway only that portion is further south. The ride from Sturgis to Billings is like the back side of the moon, although I did stop for a couple of hours at the Little Bighorn National Monument which is really cool. From Billings back on 90 over the Bozeman pass where I had to get in full gp tuck mode to keep it in 6th gear up and over. I cut off on 287 to Helena then 12 to some back roads and up the Swan Valley to Kallispell. Finally up 93 to 8 miles south of the Canadian border.

I decided to ride a motorcycle around the world last October only I had never ridden nor owned a motorcycle. So I took a course, bought the Honda, and set about learning. I liked riding so much I bought the Ducati as well. Before this trip I had never ridden in the rain (which I had plenty of) or dual carriage way. I only passed one car in 2615 miles and it was a truck pulling a trailer with a flat tire. I was passed by untold thousands of cars and trucks. I winterized the bike and stored it at my family home. I have a sabbatical next summer when I am riding the bike to Vancouver, flying it to London and completing my RTW across Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Laos and ending up in Bangkok where I will then ship the bike back to the west coast.

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Old August 18th, 2017, 09:14 PM   #25
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I Ride: '13 Hyperstrada, '06 DR650, 2017 KTM 690 Duke
Ktm 500exc

Quote:
Originally Posted by philthymike View Post
I'm kinda leaning in the direction of buying a regular dirt bike. Possibly a DR, KLR, KX, KTM etc. and use that for my off-road foolishness.

Then I can focus on making the Hyper a better behaved commuter.

I was thinking about the time I dropped poor Daisy Duck in the mud - 3 times!
If I'd have dropped her a 4th time it's likely I would have had to leave her there and get help. After that 3rd lift I was in too much pain and too tired out to do it again. That's 450 lbs so imagine it with 500 lbs AT? Forget about it. If I had others to ride with then maybe but I don't so it's me lifting it all. I'm getting up there in age.
Then there's the age question - should I be riding an actual dirt bike and going all the places one can go on one at my age?
I eat my heart out every time I see a trail Daisy don't have ground clearance for. I still do have some reflexes and muscle memory from my younger experiences. And I'm not so out of shape.
But am I just too damn old to be trying to go back to it?

Honestly I feel safer off-roading than riding my daily commute despite all the really scary things that can go wrong out in the woods.

My hat's off to Marty for that long haul on a CRF. pretty awesome dude!
Good stuff Mike!
I'm an old guy too ... and have ridden and still ride with a with a few crazy old geezers. My friend Brian is 73, and Grossi is 86!!!.

I've owned and ridden most all the dual sport bikes on your list, ridden many to Baja, out to Mojave Desert, Moab and Black Rock Desert. (and tested a few others)

I love my DR650 ... but for you ... buy a REAL dirt bike. As an older rider this will give you a HUGE advantage off road. There is only one, IMO ... well maybe two bikes that are, IMO, THE BEST. Since two younger and very talented riding
buddies own one of the two ... well ... the KTM 500EXC wins by a mile.

When I got on the 500 ... I felt like I was a kid again. So easy to ride. Fast as lighting, yet docile if need be. Stays on line in ruts, great climber over rocks, floats through deep sand/mud. The 500 EXC is street legal. Expensive ... but really nothing comes close for serious off road. YOU MUST RIDE THIS BIKE!

But the KTM 500EXC won't work for me as a long range travel bike. My DR650
tops the charts there. IMO, the perfect adventure bike. As I said, I've owned quite few and ridden them places: Honda: XR250, XR400, XR600, XR650L.
Yamaha: a few 250 2 strokes during racing days. Kawi: KLR650 (2)
Suzuki: DRZ400E, DR650 (3)

Aside from the 2 strokes the best trail bike among all was the Honda XR250.
Amazing on tough, technical enduro trails. I did not compete on it, but could have. I always raced 250 2 strokes in AMA enduro. That XR250 was really good. The XR400 made a good Baja bike. The XR650L was a disaster in every setting. The KLR? Same. Kawasaki lent the magazine a NEW KLR650 in '98. I
rode it to Baja, Copper Canyon, down to Guatemala and home. I hated that KLR. But since then I've ridden a couple KLR's that were really well set up and they were a lot better than stock.

But as a travel bike with some decent dirt skills, none beat my DR650. Look at all the DR650's that have been the bike of choice for so many RTW riders.
Owner serviceable, Elegant simplicity and Tough as Nails.

Now compare that number with KTM's ... and how many KTM's have done RTW or even cross continent rides? "Ready To Race" does not really cut it for touring or RTW travel.

For those whinging about Carbs ... uh, please! Sure, F.I. is nice and I've had plenty of F.I. street bikes going back to 1999. But when you add F.I. to a dirt or dual sport bike you bring along quite a bit of extra elements. Some of those can: fail, add weight, take up space, cost lots to replace, make getting to other components harder.

F.I. adds lots of extra wiring, computers. If even one component fails, you're done ... unless you carry spares (with KTM's, many do).

The DR BST40 CV Carb is dead simple and field repairable. But if set up correctly, it is very unlikely to ever act up.

I could go on ALL DAY about how amazing and underrated the DR650 is ... but I won't.

Please start reading the most popular thread on ALL of ADV Rider. It's in the Thumper forum:
the DR650 thread | Adventure Rider

This thread has 25 million views and 150K posts. So, suffice to say, the DR650 has lots of fans ... and a HUGE knowledge base among the 10's of thousands of owners of this machine.
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Old August 18th, 2017, 11:24 PM   #26
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Good stuff Mike!
I'm an old guy too ... and have ridden and still ride with a with a few crazy old geezers. My friend Brian is 73, and Grossi is 86!!!.

I've owned and ridden most all the dual sport bikes on your list, ridden many to Baja, out to Mojave Desert, Moab and Black Rock Desert. (and tested a few others)

I love my DR650 ... but for you ... buy a REAL dirt bike. As an older rider this will give you a HUGE advantage off road. There is only one, IMO ... well maybe two bikes that are, IMO, THE BEST. Since two younger and very talented riding
buddies own one of the two ... well ... the KTM 500EXC wins by a mile.

When I got on the 500 ... I felt like I was a kid again. So easy to ride. Fast as lighting, yet docile if need be. Stays on line in ruts, great climber over rocks, floats through deep sand/mud. The 500 EXC is street legal. Expensive ... but really nothing comes close for serious off road. YOU MUST RIDE THIS BIKE!

But the KTM 500EXC won't work for me as a long range travel bike. My DR650
tops the charts there. IMO, the perfect adventure bike. As I said, I've owned quite few and ridden them places: Honda: XR250, XR400, XR600, XR650L.
Yamaha: a few 250 2 strokes during racing days. Kawi: KLR650 (2)
Suzuki: DRZ400E, DR650 (3)

Aside from the 2 strokes the best trail bike among all was the Honda XR250.
Amazing on tough, technical enduro trails. I did not compete on it, but could have. I always raced 250 2 strokes in AMA enduro. That XR250 was really good. The XR400 made a good Baja bike. The XR650L was a disaster in every setting. The KLR? Same. Kawasaki lent the magazine a NEW KLR650 in '98. I
rode it to Baja, Copper Canyon, down to Guatemala and home. I hated that KLR. But since then I've ridden a couple KLR's that were really well set up and they were a lot better than stock.

But as a travel bike with some decent dirt skills, none beat my DR650. Look at all the DR650's that have been the bike of choice for so many RTW riders.
Owner serviceable, Elegant simplicity and Tough as Nails.

Now compare that number with KTM's ... and how many KTM's have done RTW or even cross continent rides? "Ready To Race" does not really cut it for touring or RTW travel.

For those whinging about Carbs ... uh, please! Sure, F.I. is nice and I've had plenty of F.I. street bikes going back to 1999. But when you add F.I. to a dirt or dual sport bike you bring along quite a bit of extra elements. Some of those can: fail, add weight, take up space, cost lots to replace, make getting to other components harder.

F.I. adds lots of extra wiring, computers. If even one component fails, you're done ... unless you carry spares (with KTM's, many do).

The DR BST40 CV Carb is dead simple and field repairable. But if set up correctly, it is very unlikely to ever act up.

I could go on ALL DAY about how amazing and underrated the DR650 is ... but I won't.

Please start reading the most popular thread on ALL of ADV Rider. It's in the Thumper forum:
the DR650 thread | Adventure Rider

This thread has 25 million views and 150K posts. So, suffice to say, the DR650 has lots of fans ... and a HUGE knowledge base among the 10's of thousands of owners of this machine.
"how many KTM's have done RTW or even cross continent rides? " A lot - in fact it's an industry outfitting them for just this purpose.

As for carbs, Walter Colebatch disagrees with you. Here's a quote from Siberski Extreme:

"EFI is many times more reliable than a carb. The failure rate among modern ECUs or actual injectors is near zero. The argument that ECUs canít be fixed by the side of the road is rendered mute by the complete absence of ECU failures, even on the most brutal of adventure rides."

A lot more interesting analysis: Adv Bike Selection 2 - Sibirsky Extreme

It's great you like your bike, but that doesn't mean others are bad or worse.
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Old August 19th, 2017, 05:52 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Hyp Noob View Post
Good stuff Mike!
I'm an old guy too ... and have ridden and still ride with a with a few crazy old geezers. My friend Brian is 73, and Grossi is 86!!!.

I've owned and ridden most all the dual sport bikes on your list, ridden many to Baja, out to Mojave Desert, Moab and Black Rock Desert. (and tested a few others)

I love my DR650 ... but for you ... buy a REAL dirt bike. As an older rider this will give you a HUGE advantage off road. There is only one, IMO ... well maybe two bikes that are, IMO, THE BEST. Since two younger and very talented riding
buddies own one of the two ... well ... the KTM 500EXC wins by a mile.

When I got on the 500 ... I felt like I was a kid again. So easy to ride. Fast as lighting, yet docile if need be. Stays on line in ruts, great climber over rocks, floats through deep sand/mud. The 500 EXC is street legal. Expensive ... but really nothing comes close for serious off road. YOU MUST RIDE THIS BIKE!

But the KTM 500EXC won't work for me as a long range travel bike. My DR650
tops the charts there. IMO, the perfect adventure bike. As I said, I've owned quite few and ridden them places: Honda: XR250, XR400, XR600, XR650L.
Yamaha: a few 250 2 strokes during racing days. Kawi: KLR650 (2)
Suzuki: DRZ400E, DR650 (3)

Aside from the 2 strokes the best trail bike among all was the Honda XR250.
Amazing on tough, technical enduro trails. I did not compete on it, but could have. I always raced 250 2 strokes in AMA enduro. That XR250 was really good. The XR400 made a good Baja bike. The XR650L was a disaster in every setting. The KLR? Same. Kawasaki lent the magazine a NEW KLR650 in '98. I
rode it to Baja, Copper Canyon, down to Guatemala and home. I hated that KLR. But since then I've ridden a couple KLR's that were really well set up and they were a lot better than stock.

But as a travel bike with some decent dirt skills, none beat my DR650. Look at all the DR650's that have been the bike of choice for so many RTW riders.
Owner serviceable, Elegant simplicity and Tough as Nails.

Now compare that number with KTM's ... and how many KTM's have done RTW or even cross continent rides? "Ready To Race" does not really cut it for touring or RTW travel.

For those whinging about Carbs ... uh, please! Sure, F.I. is nice and I've had plenty of F.I. street bikes going back to 1999. But when you add F.I. to a dirt or dual sport bike you bring along quite a bit of extra elements. Some of those can: fail, add weight, take up space, cost lots to replace, make getting to other components harder.

F.I. adds lots of extra wiring, computers. If even one component fails, you're done ... unless you carry spares (with KTM's, many do).

The DR BST40 CV Carb is dead simple and field repairable. But if set up correctly, it is very unlikely to ever act up.

I could go on ALL DAY about how amazing and underrated the DR650 is ... but I won't.

Please start reading the most popular thread on ALL of ADV Rider. It's in the Thumper forum:
the DR650 thread | Adventure Rider

This thread has 25 million views and 150K posts. So, suffice to say, the DR650 has lots of fans ... and a HUGE knowledge base among the 10's of thousands of owners of this machine.
My little Savage has the Mikuni BS40 CV carb. A popular upgrade is to replace it with a VM unit for better throttle response, better torque spread and a slight HP bump. I'm still on the fence about getting a VM carb for my little hotrod thumper.
I've found with careful tuning and a larger main jet I can get all of the above benefits except better throttle response - CV's just by design do not have good response. My power band is now so much more improved over a stock S40 though it's a night and day difference. And when I need to pass somebody on the highway that bigger main jet kicks in and I get a burst akin to 2-stroke hitting it's powerband. And this carb has not given me any troubles even in the cold of winter. i ride the little thumper year round. I also like that the bike doesn't have any complicated electronics. I don't have to reflash an ECU to smooth out the idle, I just go turn a screw. I think I would prefer that level of simplicity out in the mountains. The Ducati is the 1st bike I've rode with FI and I have to say I am not terribly impressed so far. I suppose the blame is on the poor mapping in this case but I don't relish having to lay out $500 for a gadget that remaps it. I wish almost daily that I could get out my screwdriver and deal with the problem on the shoulder of the road on my way to work.

Don't get me wrong I am well aware of the benefits of FI. And the reliability of it too. I just don't love the cost of it when you need to tweak how it works.

Ok back to bikes. I have to agree about the XR650L. I keep saying I rode a XL650 but that's really just my grizzled old brain mixing up facts on me. Especially considering they didn't make an XL650 in 1989. The bike I was riding was the XR650L. I don't remember stuff about it because it wasn't my bike, it was a loaner. I like it for the most part but a few things stand out in my memory. One was the bike sucked in sand. I was riding on Eastern Long Island which itself is a big sand bar. So I'd be on beaches or just riding through woods and hit areas where it got sandy frequently and the bike would quickly get uncontrollable. I dumped it in sand on a few occasions. My buddies on their little two strokes didn't have any troubles in those places. And neither did I on smaller bikes. The XL was just a bit too top heavy or something and got unstable very quickly. She was also too tall. Lots of getting smacked in the face by branches. She was a great bike for the power lines road though. Absolutely kicked ass through there and left my oil burning friends in the dust. The constant 4 stroke torque was a real asset going up and down those steep hills.

I wouldn't buy that bike. I wasn't sad to give back the one I had either.

I'll look into the DR. And the KTM although the pricing seems steep to me.

Since I'll be saving a lot of money compared to buying the AT maybe I'll look into picking up an old trike too - maybe an ATC350X. I miss riding those things too.
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Old August 19th, 2017, 05:57 AM   #28
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Just tossing it out there the the DRZ400 checks a lot of your boxes. That is kind of what I have settled on for a smaller dirt bike as it is cheap, nice and torquey, and semi bullet proof. The front brake even works. unlike ALL of the small KTM's I have owned.
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Old August 19th, 2017, 06:11 AM   #29
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One other thing. i noticed that nowadays my ability to automatically compute trajectories and pick the best lines with only a glimpse of the trail ahead has diminished.
At lower speeds I'm ok at it still. Once i get going I find my brain just doesn't provide that data to me fast enough and I pick lines that aren't ideal or just plain dumb. I'm hoping with more practice that auto-mapping will wake back up again.
Back in my hare scrambling days this was my greatest asset. It really didn't matter what bike I was on because the ability to assess the landscape, identify 2 or 3 possible lines and then pick the best in half a second is really the important factor, well that and tire selection.

As I get older my brains getting more like this...


I think the "your ad here" part is where I used to pick lines while riding.
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Old August 19th, 2017, 06:32 AM   #30
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Posts: 146

I Ride: 2013 Hyperstrada
The dRZ is pretty impressive too. I love how it's 400CC power plant comes out of the factory with 3 HP more than the 650 engine Suzuki puts into the S40 (Savage). Apparently there was a time when you could swap the cam from the DRZ engine into the Savage engine but they changed the design of the cam and it won't fit now.

Not that I would buy the SM version for off-road use but it's a sexy little bike and wildly popular on the East Coast.

I've read that the DRZ's are also extremely reliable machines.

Here's my old flame


Weighing 120 lbs soaking wet as a kid this little 200CC was plenty of power. I think I'd need the 350 at my current weight.
But the 200X was pretty much the most perfectly engineered off road machine I'd ever ridden. It was a perfect balance of power, maneuverability and weight. Riding it was like a high speed ballet dance. It could carve tight technical trails up like it was going out of style and do it twice as fast as any two wheeler. The downside, as was the case with all trikes, was riding slow off-cambers, traversing the faces of hills or cliffs when you couldn't ride fast could make you hate life very quickly. Something two wheelers shine at.
But Honda really did get it all right with this machine. When they want to do something right they can manage it.

The AT looks like they got it right too. But I don't think for my uses it's perfect solution. I wish they would lift the bogus ban against off-road trikes. Especially now that we have so many on-road ones. It would be exciting to see what modern technology would bring to these machines.

Last edited by philthymike; August 19th, 2017 at 06:57 AM.
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