Midwest Dualsport Motorcycle Community 

Pull up a couch. It's cool in the Lounge. Just remember to be a good neighbor.
 #21631  by Stu
 06 Dec 2018 08:19
With snow still around and winter getting cranked up it is time to chew over the latest fads and categories for bikes. I'm starting with the rather loose definition of dual sport and adventure bikes. The former seem to be focused on single cylinder bikes from the now discontinued KLR 650 through the new Royal Enfield Himalayan and then off the deep end of singles, into racing singles with lights. Cycle News just ran this comparison or racers with lights to include the new Honda 450L.

https://magazine.cyclenews.com/i/105604 ... mber-27?m4

For the rider wanting a bike that can do it all with an emphasis on hard core dirt riding Cycle News's choice is the KTM 500 EXC-F. What didn't they like? The rear turn signals & rear fender. Enter Sicass Racing with their substitute rear fender and Tuff Lites turn signals. End of problem.

For those wanting a bike that can take them across Kansas on paved roads and still handle gravel roads and easier trails the multi-cylinder bikes work great. You can ride them in difficult terrain. I rode for a bit with a rider from Overland Park on a 1250 KTM Adventure on some of the trails at Perry Lake's off road riding area. He seemed to be having fun. Dropping that bike in some of the more inaccessible parts of the riding area would have created problems but that didn't stop him.

If you plan on dropping your bike the lighter singles probably would be a better choice. I seem to crash mine in the bottom of draws where getting it upright is compounded by terrain so that definitely is my choice. How is my single cylinder dirt scoot on the road? Not bad at all. Vibration is minimal as it seems to be on most of the new bikes. The Seat Concepts soft seat makes the ride pretty cushy.

What's your choice? Why? How do you really use it?

Got another winter-is-here-blahs topic?

 #21632  by troy
 06 Dec 2018 08:38
I feel somewhat qualified on this topic, but of course my opinions are just that--opinions. I've owned several bikes that fit squarely in both categories. I've enjoyed rides on both that span multiple days where I have to carry stuff with me. I try to be minimal with my camping gear, but there are guys who can do it with half the bulk I carry for camping. My Adventure bikes with their wider seats and rear-ends also have stock rear fender racks that can accommodate a big bag plus strapping another on top of that. To do the same on my dirt bike, I'd have to install an expensive, after-market rack system to accommodate the full camping gear plus clothes, tools, parts, etc.

Also consider that once I have 50+ lbs of gear on the back of a dirt bike, I've lost a lot of what made me want to take a super-light machine.

I love how my F800GS handles the load and the terrain and then is almost a joy for 200 miles of pavement. However, there are times it becomes TOO MUCH.

 #21633  by DirtFarmer
 06 Dec 2018 10:27
I have two friends that have bought 2018 KTM 500 EXC-F.

One has lived in Pueblo his whole life and is a hard core 300 - 2 stroke, very technical good rider. He has or is about ready to sell his late model 300. To me, that says a lot of how good he thinks the new 500 is.

But, KTM is living high right now. I think they are one of the few motorcycle manufactures that are showing growth.
To get that bike bought and set up for self support and a 200 mile range would probably be $14,000 + (probably $12,000 to get it bought with sales tax). I can run self supported on my WR, but the bike is tired (and so am I). I don't think I have enough fight left in me to get this pass the wife as a replacement for the WR.

WR on the DAKAL, did about 1000 mies in 5 days, camping 3 nights.


I have fun on the WR. But I don't think i would give up the multi day trips leaving from the house self supported and the WR or the 500 cannot fill the requirement.

I had lots fun doing the Sante Fe Trail on the GS. And sometimes you do have to do (or should) a retreat, but a cold beer when you stop for the day and a glass of wine with your fried steak and potaoes is hard to beat.

 #21636  by Stu
 08 Dec 2018 08:45
Great pix & stories! I should have started this post a long time ago.

 #21641  by Creekside
 10 Dec 2018 09:41
DAKAL - that looks pretty cool, I'll have to read about that.

Boy I second that link!

Earlier this year I thought about changing bikes and selling the 990. Maybe get a 690 or 790. or BMW 800. Most of us have done fire roads on some 500# twin cylinder pig, and we know that sometimes it can quickly become the pit of hell. That stuff is hard on bikes & they are expensive to fix. It seems like I was always breaking something. But who would willing ride a 690 or smaller to Denver or Chicago on 70? So do you get a $20k+ GSA and beat the &$%^ out of it in somewhere Arkansas? Or give up interstates and just trailer everywhere?

I wouldn't get much for the 990 with all of the scratches & miles, so I decided might as well keep it and get a smaller bike also.

But two bikes sounds like a money pit. To me two bikes just seems like a waste of money, divided time, double the maintenance hassles, tires, & parts. Two KTMs. OMG. The 990 was a maintenance nightmare this year, do I really want to double down on that?

I have ridden with many 500exc riders. I talked with BigDog who uses his 350exc-f for Baja and any dual sport weekend - calls it his cheater bike for DS riding. Ridden a 690 for a bit, too close to my 990, but nice & light. I really wanted something smaller after that. Those are cool bikes. But your trailering.

I looked for a 350 instead of the 500 because I would like to do some single track w/o the extra hp.

I still love the 990 raw hp and pavement/gravel/dirt road driving. But if I am going into south MO, ARK, or Colorado - I am taking my husky FE350S cheater bike. It's just so much more enjoyable. With a seat concepts seat you can ride ride it 100+ miles a day. I put 2000 miles on it this year.

I like having both an adv and ds bike.
 #21642  by Hank Moody
 12 Dec 2018 10:16
Having the right tool for the job is an age old problem. Can you drive a screw into a 2x4 with a hammer? Sure but using a screwdriver is a lot easier. Same can be said about which bike to buy. I've rode my F800 around Perry, but riding a 300 XC-W was a lot easier.

So you will find a lot of riders will have both a larger Adv bike and a smaller "cheater" bike and they choose the correct bike for the riding they are planning on doing. Otherwise you will have to put up with the limitations of the motorcycle you have.

If I had to only have one bike, I would like go with the KTM 500 or the KTM 690. Of course modifications are required for both like seat, tires and luggage racks... Maybe in a few years electric motorcycles will solve this problem for us???
 #21673  by Stu
 21 Dec 2018 11:15
Electric motorcycles are about twice the weight of my 500 EXC (241 lbs., weighed after modifications to it) which puts electrics back in the heavy D/S category. They don't have much distance with the current battery technology. My 500 is pretty comfortable at 55~70 MPH with stock gearing & a Seat Concepts soft seat. It gets 55~60 MPG with easy (road or gravel) riding so the 3.1 gallon Acerbis tank is more than adequate for the distances I want to travel. The Mako 360 handlebar clamp with isolastic inserts eliminates a lot of handlebar vibration as well. It makes for a good D/S choice for me since hoisting a 450+ lb. Adventure bike up after dropping it is more than I want to do.