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FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / Motorcycle guys, suggest a good dual sport, please!

Contributing Member


Dec 22nd, 2017 07:45 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm a LONG way away from getting one, as I just got my 1974 Suzuki TS100 I mentioned in a previous thread. But I'm wondering what modern dual sport is considered the best, or which few are considered the best now days. I imagine one day I'll upgrade to a more modern bike.


Contributing Member

California Escapee

Don't look at me with that tone of voice
Dec 22nd, 2017 08:45 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

You can get a good idea of what is out there in the article linked below. I was surprised to see that Yamaha still has an XT250 dual sport model. I bought one of those brand new in 1981 for $1500. A new one is $5199!

2017 Dual Sport Bike Buyers Guide

Moderator Emeritus
(with many stars)

NW Pennsylvania

Dec 22nd, 2017 09:18 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic


They're all fun.

The KLR is my speed.

Contributing Member

East Tennessee

Dec 22nd, 2017 10:52 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hey Blacksunshine, I think it really depends on what you want to use the bike for.

Dual purpose motorcycles nowadays tend to be split into "dirt-focused" and "street-focused" ie Adventure bikes.

The dirt focused bikes are more traditional: single cylinder, light weight, 21 inch front tire, higher suspension travel. They look and ride more like dirt bikes.

If your use is to ride the bike 5 miles on pavement then explore off-road trails, single track, heavy mud, jumps, etc, these are what you need. An example would be the Yamaha XT250 or Suzuki DRZ400. Larger bikes that you could do some longer distances would be the DR650, XR650, or the Kawasaki KLR650, although nowadays the KLR has some mild fairing/windscreen that almost makes it more of an ADV bike than the older models.

On the other end of the spectrum are the true full sized ADV bikes like the BMW R1200GS, Ducati Multistrada and Yamaha Super Tenere. These bikes make >120hp, weigh > 500lbs, and can tour the world in comfort. If a fire road, stream crossing, or other light off-road duty is involved the bikes are fine, but they aren't good for single track or heavy mud, due to the sheer size.

There are other bikes that kind of fall in between, such as the BMW GS650 (single cylinder but modern comforts) and their parallel twins the F700GS, or the Suzuki V-Strom, Kawasaki Versys, etc.

These are smaller more manageable bikes than the full sized liter models that are made for majority street riding, but can do light off roading as well.

So if your goal is to load the bike up for camping, ride a hundred miles of backroads/freeways, do some sport riding along the way, take a jeep trail up to the top of a mountain and camp, you probably need an Adventure bike. Now you can certainly do the same on a single cylinder (people ride KLRs all over the world) but you may not be as comfortable.

I grew up with dirt bikes and initially thought I wanted a true dual sport ala the DR650. Then thought about it a little more and ended up buying a Suzuki V-Strom 650 a month and a half ago. Have put about 2k miles on it and have no regrets. I wanted an R1200GS for a while but am glad I went with the lighter, cheaper (maybe more reliable?) bike.

Have taken it off road a few times and while it's not as nimble as my KX125, it does simple stuff fine. You can also ride it like a sport bike in the twisties, commute on it, tour on it, ride it 2-up, and make safe passes on the highway. It's got ABS, decent wind protection, twin disc front brakes, headlights better than my car, and overall is very comfortable. Suspension is a bit soft but that can be fixed. Overall a great motorcycle.

I think this is really a golden age of motorcycles, and any bike you buy from one of the big manufacturers is going to be great. you just have to figure out what you need..

Contributing Member

Who's we sucka?

Smith, Wesson and me.
Dec 23rd, 2017 06:11 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

My brother had a V-Strom and had a tank slapper at 90+mph. When he got the replacement bike he added a steering damper.

He came out of that with a broken wrist and lots of bruises. He retired from riding 2 years ago at age 70.

He loved the bike and still moderates an internet forum focused on the V-Strom.



Bobby Roadrunner
Dec 23rd, 2017 01:24 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

There are a good selection of 2018 Harley-Davidson’s which may suit your needs.

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Nine mile skid on a ten mile ride
Dec 23rd, 2017 01:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

While I'm done with motorcycles, I always liked the Kawa KLR models.

Contributing Member

State of Jefferson

Dec 23rd, 2017 05:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Cagiva Elefant, Moto Morini Camel, (1980-1986) BMW GS 80. I have owned all three.

The GS650s to include the Sertao and the PD models are caricatures and according to a professional in the BWM bike world.. throw aways.

Currently a KLR (with an after market adult explorer fuel tank) would be my choice.. BMW s have become the HUMMER of off-road... silly and over-bloated as if Harley made them.

V-Strom's are cool but a bit too civilized.

KTMs have an absurd 1 year warranty with prices that rival the top line BMW models. Small fuel tanks and built more for speed than durability and distance.

The Triumph off road bikes are also rans and have serious problems. I am not speaking of the cartoon Classic Scrambler ( which it is not) but the triples. Lots of interesting stories about these.

Too bad .. I like Triumphs.

I have put more off road miles on pre 69 BMW Earls fork models ( and so did Danny Liska of Darien Gap Fame) with some gnarly off road tires and a brain than most folks have with all out "expedition " bikes.

Go KLR...

I was down near Independence CAlif ( Near Whitney) doing some exploration mining back in the late 80's early 90s.

We had our camp at the foothills of the Inyos...

ABpout dusk I heard a bike in the distance.. and eventually the bike rolled into our camp, attracted by the campfire.
It was a guy from Germany.

He was riding a KLR. Loaded with gear and obviously had gone some miles.


He decided to take 6 mo nths off work and travel the USA and CANADA.

He flew his BMW 10000 GS to New York. Rode across Canada and up to Alaska where his rear single arm drive shaft exploded at 5K miles. Under warranty he contacted MW.. Short story it took 90 days to get warranty approval and get the parts and repaired, He incurred 90 days of motel and living expenses. Pissed him off when BMW would not compensate him.. and rightfully so. ( Not the BMNW I worked for in the early and mid 80s.)

He road to Seattle, traded the 6K bike in for a KLR and completed his trip. A year later he repeated the trip with his KLR and that's when I met him east of Independence at the foothills of the INYO Mtns.
He said he would never own another BMW, not just for the failure but be cause he had been a lifetime BMW owner and the f'd him over.

He "loved" his KLR. Minimalistic, reliable, excellent fuel mileage, light and nimble, cheap parts, able to go where the ponderous BMW would not, simple chain replacements and simple maintenance and an after market (adult exploration style 8 gal) fuel tank.

Contributing Member


Dec 24th, 2017 01:39 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks everybody, and thanks for the article link, BobbyMac.

"If your use is to ride the bike 5 miles on pavement then explore off-road trails, single track, heavy mud, jumps, etc, these are what you need."

Yes, I imagine my usage will be 70% on road and 30% off.

Contributing Member

Wichita, KS USA

It's all gravy from here on...
Dec 24th, 2017 03:39 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

A physician friend of mine bought a KLR650 about 5 years ago and rode it from Wichita, Kansas to LA, California, then up the coast to Barrow Point, Alaska and back. Did a little humanitarian aid with some of the Eskimo villages in Alaska. He had the chain and sprockets replaced once and went through 2 sets of tires and a few oil changes over a 3 month trip and that was it. No breakdowns, no issues other than normal wear. He sold the KLR on returning and bought a new one which he still has. He swears by that bike.

(This message was last edited by jhawkr at 05:40 AM, Dec 24th, 2017)

Contributing Member


Dec 24th, 2017 10:46 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have my dual purpose fixes..a GSXR600 when I want to go fast..a BMW F800R when I want to go steady

Contributing Member

Edmond, OK

Dec 27th, 2017 07:12 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic


FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / Motorcycle guys, suggest a good dual sport, please!

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