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Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

  1. #1
    Senior Member Spooler's Avatar
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    Looking for advice on cheap dual sport


    I think I'm going to start looking for a cheap dual sport to get more comfortable off road. Probably won't buy until off season/next season, but if the right deal comes along before then... so what should I look for? I know most people around here are into KTM and WR250, but finding those cheap can be tough. Maybe I'll upgrade to something like that down the line. I'm looking to spend less than $2000 and need something street legal because I don't have a truck or trailer. Old is fine. I'm thinking a 250 cause I'm fairly big (6'2" 220), and they seem most plentiful. Thoughts?

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  2. #2

    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    Drz400/klx400

    Or skip model loyalty and find the lowest hour/best condition plated bike you can find

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    Last edited by breakdirt916; 05-27-17 at 09:59 AM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Spooler's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    Those are definitely on my radar, worried they might be a little heavy but I'm willing to give it a try if the right deal comes along.

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    Awesomeness, Inc. MattR302's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    You can pick up a 90's DR350 for $1500 or less. For the street model ones 90-92 are kick start 93-99 are e-start. Cheap, Simple to work on, a little lower than the DRZ that replaced it, and a 6-speed.

    Give this one a carb clean and you're in business
    1996 suzuki dr350 - motorcycles/scooters - by owner - vehicle automotive bike sale

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    Last edited by MattR302; 05-27-17 at 11:50 AM.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Spooler's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    Thanks. Yeah, I saw that one, I'd just need to find a trailer... or maybe convince my dad to bring his pickup out from Albany.

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  6. #6
    Lifer bryco13's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    Cheaper and quicker to rent a pickup or van from Home Depot or I haul. I have a like new wr250r. You aren't too big for it, but it's more than you're looking to spend.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Spooler's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    Yeah, I'd love a wr250, but we just bought a new car and a bike for my wife, having trouble convincing her I need a second bike... so the cheaper the better.

    Any opinions on klx300/250?

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    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    Just today, I put another 130 miles of mostly dirt on the klx400 I bought a couple weeks ago from nhbubba. Very, very happy with the bike, and with the decision to start exploring off-road with a plated bike. At 220#, I'm glad I didn't go smaller

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    Last edited by Imbeek; 05-27-17 at 05:11 PM.

  9. #9
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    DRZ400 is a shitty value new, but great value used. And there's a ton out there. Should be able to find one in your price range if you wait long enough. But it will need work; carb clean, tires, probably a battery and such.

    As a dirtbike the DRZ blows. Heavy, under powered. As an ADV tour bike it blows; slow, vibey and not comfortable for the haul.

    As a 'round town dual-sport and all around playbike it's the titties. I loved mine. Some of my fondest memories of that bike were with the throttle pinned on a class 5 maintained dirt-road, foot out, drifting. That and the dirty looks I'd get taking it to town on election day.

    Easy super-moto conversion candidate too.


    I would rather have an old, ugly DRZ400 than most of the newer EFI 250's. The CRF250L is heavier and less powerful than the DRZ. It is priced better new though. But then there aren't as many used ones out there.

    The WR250 is probably fine too. But for the price I'd probably walk past and buy another DRZ. Carbs don't scare me.

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    Last edited by nhbubba; 05-27-17 at 05:51 PM.

  10. #10
    Lifer
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    For under $2000 you are looking at a DR350S or DR350SE as the best options for your size. If you are just learning, you may be able to find a 2006/7 KLX250S close to your budget. Also, a DR250SE (similar to the 350 but with a decent 250 engine).

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  11. #11
    Senior Member Spooler's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    Thanks for the input guys. If I had seen that KLX400 the dayit had gone up I might have said screw the budget and jumped on it...

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  12. #12

    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    Any of those models are fine...lowest hour/best condition!

    Or if you really want, we can start discussing the merits of any of the following models:
    -kdx200
    -RMX250
    -WR250R/F
    -xr400r
    -xr250r vs. 250l
    -xr650L vs. xr650r
    -klx250/300/400
    -dr200se
    -ttr225/250
    -xt225
    -crf230r/L
    -crf250x/L
    -fwd with snow tires
    -CR500AF with VT/SD plate
    -any ktm
    -beta RS
    -newer husky
    -any just get a 500exc and get it over with

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    Last edited by breakdirt916; 05-27-17 at 07:21 PM.
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  13. #13
    Powered by Kurtz theducman's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    I bought a cheap XT225. Haven't really used it yet off road

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    Senior Member Spooler's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    Quote Originally Posted by breakdirt916 View Post
    Any of those models are fine...lowest hour/best condition!

    Or if you really want, we can start discussing the merits of any of the following models:
    -kdx200
    -RMX250
    -WR250R/F
    -xr400r
    -xr250r vs. 250l
    -xr650L vs. xr650r
    -klx250/300/400
    -dr200se
    -ttr225/250
    -xt225
    -crf230r/L
    -crf250x/L
    -fwd with snow tires
    -CR500AF with VT/SD plate
    -any ktm
    -beta RS
    -newer husky
    -any just get a 500exc and get it over with
    Just having that list is helpful, there's a few I haven't heard of before. What's this fwd with snow tires? There's certainly a lot of buzz around it on this board.

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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    For s&g's I just scrolled about 4 or 5 pages back on craigslist in the worcester area. The bikes you're looking for start at 2750-3000, the stuff currently in your budget are either going to require work to make them street legal (putting those bikes into the 2500-3000 range), or settling with a clapped out dirtbike that won't be fun to ride slow in the woods, won't be fun for a beginner, and will also require getting it to the woods to be ridden (like buying a cheap trailer and completely going over budget). Is it an idea that can wait till the fall when people offload stuff and you've had more time to save?

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  16. #16
    Lifer
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    There are a couple of xt225 out there under $2k. There is a post on advrider something like big block on a small bike which lauds the xt225. It will feel tiny to you which is what you want off road

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  17. #17
    Day late, dollar short carsick's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    Quote Originally Posted by Spooler View Post
    cheap dual sport to get more comfortable off road.
    Probably won't buy until off season/next season,
    looking to spend less than $2000
    need something street legal because I don't have a truck or trailer.
    Old is fine.
    I'm thinking a 250 cause I'm fairly big (6'2" 220)
    You can definitely find that with patience. The 250/300s don't really weigh any less (like you WOULD want off road) but they certainly have less power (which you do NOT want on road.) Are you looking for access to trails with a plate, or an even mix of pavement/around town? Trying to figure out your intended use before purchase will help. As a for instance, I have a Yamaha WR400F I'm selling (not on here!). I'd call it a 30% on/70% off bike in it's current form. It's most comfortable about 40 on pavement, pushing it to 75 feels like either you or the bike will shortly expire. It has a plate, turn signals, hi/lo/horn/speedo/tach/oversize tank/aftermarket seat, and Kenda DOT tires. It's fun on dirt roads and trails, until it gets rough or squishy. Any obstacles over 6" high or deep I would much rather have my KDX. You feel the weight (guessing 280ish) if you are dragging it through/over stuff or have dropped it and need to kick it. I'm asking less than 2K. They're out there.

    Notice the lack of handguards and kickstand as required for MX-

    Looking for advice on cheap dual sport-dunk0183upl-jpg
    Looking for advice on cheap dual sport-imgp1047_zpsf34ogema-jpg

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    Last edited by carsick; 05-27-17 at 09:37 PM. Reason: add pics
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    Lifer
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    DRZ400 is a shitty value new, but great value used. And there's a ton out there. Should be able to find one in your price range if you wait long enough. But it will need work; carb clean, tires, probably a battery and such.

    As a dirtbike the DRZ blows. Heavy, under powered. As an ADV tour bike it blows; slow, vibey and not comfortable for the haul.

    As a 'round town dual-sport and all around playbike it's the titties. I loved mine. Some of my fondest memories of that bike were with the throttle pinned on a class 5 maintained dirt-road, foot out, drifting. That and the dirty looks I'd get taking it to town on election day.

    Easy super-moto conversion candidate too.


    I would rather have an old, ugly DRZ400 than most of the newer EFI 250's. The CRF250L is heavier and less powerful than the DRZ. It is priced better new though. But then there aren't as many used ones out there.

    The WR250 is probably fine too. But for the price I'd probably walk past and buy another DRZ. Carbs don't scare me.
    Don't just look at the spec sheets...they don't always tell the truth. While the CRF250L and DRZ400S weigh the same, the CRF carries the weight lower and definitely does not feel as heavy. In any case, both are fine stock and would be overlooked by the top tired riders who will go straight to orange.

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  19. #19
    Senior Member Spooler's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    Quote Originally Posted by bryco13 View Post
    For s&g's I just scrolled about 4 or 5 pages back on craigslist in the worcester area. The bikes you're looking for start at 2750-3000, the stuff currently in your budget are either going to require work to make them street legal (putting those bikes into the 2500-3000 range), or settling with a clapped out dirtbike that won't be fun to ride slow in the woods, won't be fun for a beginner, and will also require getting it to the woods to be ridden (like buying a cheap trailer and completely going over budget). Is it an idea that can wait till the fall when people offload stuff and you've had more time to save?
    It can definitely wait, and the longer it waits the bigger my budget will be. My main goal is to pick up new skills and a new activity that I can share with my son when he gets older, if he's interested. I'm assuming he will be because his mother and I both ride, but maybe he'll be a rebel. Right now the main budget restriction is convincing my wife that we need an off-road bike in our lives...

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    Senior Member Spooler's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    Quote Originally Posted by carsick View Post
    You can definitely find that with patience. The 250/300s don't really weigh any less (like you WOULD want off road) but they certainly have less power (which you do NOT want on road.) Are you looking for access to trails with a plate, or an even mix of pavement/around town? Trying to figure out your intended use before purchase will help. As a for instance, I have a Yamaha WR400F I'm selling (not on here!). I'd call it a 30% on/70% off bike in it's current form. It's most comfortable about 40 on pavement, pushing it to 75 feels like either you or the bike will shortly expire. It has a plate, turn signals, hi/lo/horn/speedo/tach/oversize tank/aftermarket seat, and Kenda DOT tires. It's fun on dirt roads and trails, until it gets rough or squishy. Any obstacles over 6" high or deep I would much rather have my KDX. You feel the weight (guessing 280ish) if you are dragging it through/over stuff or have dropped it and need to kick it. I'm asking less than 2K. They're out there.

    Notice the lack of handguards and kickstand as required for MX-

    Looking for advice on cheap dual sport-dunk0183upl-jpg
    Looking for advice on cheap dual sport-imgp1047_zpsf34ogema-jpg
    I'm looking for something to use mainly off road and I just want the plate to get me there. 30% rod/ 70% off sounds about right. Do you have a link to an ad? I'm probably not quite ready to buy something, but it does sound a lot like what I'm looking for.

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    Last edited by Spooler; 05-27-17 at 09:53 PM.
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  21. #21
    Awesomeness, Inc. MattR302's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    A couple factors that made me choose my DR350 over the DRZ400 a few years ago:
    1. DR's were at least $500-1000 cheaper, all in (bike, tires, chain, sprockets, pads, fluids) I was well under $2000
    2. Seat height is an inch or two lower on the DR
    3. DRZ owners all complain about it only being a 5-speed, the DR has a 6-speed
    4. DRZ is liquid cooled, DR is air cooled - no radiator to worry about busting in the woods
    5. Valve checks. DRZ is shim-under-bucket, DR is screw adjusters with their own access covers.
    6. The DRZ is newer, but they're both still carbed. Plenty of parts available for each.

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  22. #22
    Lifer Kurlon's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    What ever you do, don't follow my lead. If you look at a bike and think "Kurlon would like this as a project, that must mean it's a good starter" run away screaming and reconsider your life choices that led you to this point. Your budget has you squarely in the "Buying a disguised boat" danger zone, you can get into something that will cost you as much or more to make it 'right' than you paid for it. Be picky, and if you start adding up repairs in your head as you're looking at it, move on. A diamond in the rough will show up eventually if you're patient and stay alert.

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  23. #23
    Day late, dollar short carsick's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    Oh yeah, forgot to mention the hundreds of hours and dollars I spent fixing all the niggling shit on the bike I mentioned. Tires, tubes, chain, sprockets, seals, swingarm and shock linkage bearings, wiring, pads, filters, carb cleaning, tank cleaning, cams, timing chain, valve adjustment, brake bleeding, coolant change, decarbonizing(), vapor dash programming speedo, shift and redline lights, temp warnings. Stupid used bikes.

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  24. #24
    Lifer
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    Quote Originally Posted by MattR302 View Post
    You can pick up a 90's DR350 for $1500 or less. For the street model ones 90-92 are kick start 93-99 are e-start. Cheap, Simple to work on, a little lower than the DRZ that replaced it, and a 6-speed.

    Give this one a carb clean and you're in business
    1996 suzuki dr350 - motorcycles/scooters - by owner - vehicle automotive bike sale
    I agree with all of this. Of some importance is the fact that the "S" (street legal) versions did not get the "good" cartridge forks until 1998. Before that, they had the damper rod version. Suzuki took the same approach with the DRZ400-s. Those did not get the good cartridge forks of the off road models until further down the line...

    In either case, if you can find the "dirt only" version that has a street title, that would be the best place to start.

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  25. #25
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice on cheap dual sport

    Quote Originally Posted by gregp View Post
    Suzuki took the same approach with the DRZ400-s. Those did not get the good cartridge forks of the off road models until further down the line...
    In the interest of quantifying "further down the line" : DRZ400S was cartridge fork in all models starting in 2002. Anything that year or newer will have fully adjustable cartridge forks. In my opinion they work well. (I had an '03.) The DRZ400SM got USD forks, but all estimates I read suggest the right-side-up forks on the S and E models to be just as good.

    The DRZ is a 5-speed and it does suck. I spent my entire time with that machine trying to shift into a phantom 6th gear.
    Invest in a quality rad guard and the water cooled machine will probably not give you any trouble.
    DRZ valve checks are easy. Valve adjustments may be difficult, I can't say; mine never needed to be adjusted.

    IMO there is better aftermarket support for the DRZ400 than the DR350.

    Both the DR350 and DRZ400 are quality choices.

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