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Do I really want a supermoto?

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Do I really want a supermoto?

    Currently riding a Honda 919. Mostly commute and ride on back roads, every once in a while I have to travel 1.5hrs away or so. Sometimes I am stuck taking the highway to save time, about 1hr max. I'm riding about 5000 miles/year but I expect this to go down a little. No track days, I would love to but it's not in the cards because of money and time. I don't use nearly the 100hp that my bike puts out, and frankly I don't really need it. I would like to stay out of trouble and the hospital. I don't carry a passenger or gear. I don't go on trips.

    I am thinking about picking up a used WR250X if I can sell my bike and replace it for the same amount of money. I've never ridden a supermoto and I don't have the opportunity to try one out. I'm not intimidated by the seat height, mainly because I'm 6'2" with a 34" inseam. I'm a little worried that the 250 will be slightly too little power but it looks like a great bike otherwise. I'd love to find a converted 450f but I know that I can't afford it. A DRZ400SM would work but I would prefer FI and a lighter package. I want something that is reliable which I know these three are. I don't mind a bike that is rough around the edges but I can't do work on it since I'm in an apartment.

    Any advice?

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  2. #2

    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    Don't get a DRZ or WR250. The fun will die real fast. Get any street legal bigger motard. It's a blast.

    Shoot me a text at 508 981 2400 we can discuss more.

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  3. #3
    Lifer
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    6'2" 34" inseam is plenty for a SM. I am 5'11" (okay, maybe 5-10) with a 30" inseam and flat foot a DRZ400SM no problemo.

    Crapy bikes on the interslab. It's just this side of hell. Not at all what the bike was intended for.

    IMO a SM makes a lousy only bike. They are toys and make great 2nd bikes. Suitable for track days too. Buy a second set of wheels and play in the woods/dirt roads too. Less about transportation and more about giggles.

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    Last edited by nhbubba; 10-08-14 at 12:42 PM.

  4. #4
    TRACK RAT!!!!! Pigman's Avatar
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    WR450/CRF/550 or KTM550 690 set up right and you will be very happy......most fun next to my grom. If you want to ride mine its all you....

    DRZ too.....

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  5. #5
    go faster cdovego's Avatar
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    DRZ is still a lot of fun to me a year later, fwiw - I say go DRZ.

    You can walk into Central Mass Powersports with that 919 and walk out with a DRZ-SM. hint hint

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  6. #6
    Lifer Ductard's Avatar
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    Do I really want a supermoto?

    I only read the title. But, yes you do.

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  7. #7
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    Perhaps I should have made the title "Do I really want a supermoto as my only bike". Frankly I don't know what it would do differently than my 919 besides be slightly less comfortable particularly on the highway. I'm sure the 919 would be faster but I don't need the extra speed. Perhaps the real question is - am I missing something? Is there an aspect of a supermoto that I'm going to hate riding every day?

    The other thing that I should have included is budget, I have a high mileage 2002 that is repainted so I don't think that I can get more than $3k for it. Wanting a reliable supermoto brings the pool of options way down. If I can't do it I'll just ride this 919 into the ground, which based on its reputation will take quite a long time.

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    Last edited by Crimedog; 10-08-14 at 01:59 PM.

  8. #8
    Lifer
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crimedog View Post
    Frankly I don't know what it would do differently than my 919 besides be slightly less comfortable particularly on the highway. I'm sure the 919 would be faster but I don't need the extra speed.
    Don't forget that unused peak horsepower isn't a wasted resource. It often means a wide, usable powerband throughout the the rev range, especially in a bike oriented for normal use (opposed to racetrack) due to the engine's tuning. To go up hill, you just roll on the throttle instead of downshifting twice. And you aren't buzzing along at the redline at 70mph.

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  9. #9
    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    Reliable is the operative word. That means DRZ/KLX or the WR.

    I think a WR450 converted would be a good tradeoff between reliability and actual supermotoness.

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  10. #10
    Lifer Ductard's Avatar
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crimedog View Post
    Perhaps I should have made the title "Do I really want a supermoto as my only bike". Frankly I don't know what it would do differently than my 919 besides be slightly less comfortable particularly on the highway. I'm sure the 919 would be faster but I don't need the extra speed. Perhaps the real question is - am I missing something? Is there an aspect of a supermoto that I'm going to hate riding every day?

    The other thing that I should have included is budget, I have a high mileage 2002 that is repainted so I don't think that I can get more than $3k for it. Wanting a reliable supermoto brings the pool of options way down. If I can't do it I'll just ride this 919 into the ground, which based on its reputation will take quite a long time.
    OK, I actually read your entire post now.

    I'm sure somebody can give you the chance to ride a sumo. I'd offer but mine is track only (pure MX bike conversion). I'm not sure you'd get much useful experience riding around the parking lot with it.

    That might give you a better feel for whether you'd want to have it as your only bike. Mine is a 520, and redlines in 6th gear somewhere ~105-110, so I don't think the riding at redline on the highway would be a huge issue. If you get a 250, that may be another story.

    It would possibly be more comfortable to ride long distance than a pure sport bike, b/c you wouldn't be all hunched over although I can't speak from experience on that.

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  11. #11
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    6'2" 34" inseam is plenty for a SM. I am 5'11" (okay, maybe 5-10) with a 30" inseam and flat foot a DRZ400SM no problemo.

    Crapy bikes on the interslab. It's just this side of hell. Not at all what the bike was intended for.

    IMO a SM makes a lousy only bike. They are toys and make great 2nd bikes. Suitable for track days too. Buy a second set of wheels and play in the woods/dirt roads too. Less about transportation and more about giggles.
    Wow, I didn't realize it was a low seat. I can flat foot my 919 which has a corbin seat which adds an inch. I would raise the seat if I could (and bring the bars up with me). I don't want to feel like I'm on my mountain bike but I would love to be up higher.

    I'm curious what you don't like specifically about the drz as an every day ride (besides the highway which I can understand)?

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  12. #12
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crimedog View Post
    Wow, I didn't realize it was a low seat. I can flat foot my 919 which has a corbin seat which adds an inch. I would raise the seat if I could (and bring the bars up with me). I don't want to feel like I'm on my mountain bike but I would love to be up higher.

    I'm curious what you don't like specifically about the drz as an every day ride (besides the highway which I can understand)?
    I haven't ridden a 450 on the road but i have 200 and 250s and they just aren't fun on the highway at all. Although i did get my tw200 above 70 on 495. it was terrifying, thats another story though.

    even going from the vmax to the hawk i missed the amount of just roll on the throttle to speed up there was, I have to imagine going from the 919 to even a 4x0 supermoto its going to be a huge difference above 70.

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  13. #13

    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    No...not for an hour of freeway

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  14. #14
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    Perhaps I should clarify about my highway usage - if the weather cooperates I'll take my bike to my inlaws, quick trip to CT and back to pick something up, etc instead of my car. I wouldn't be heart broken if I had to take my car instead on those days.

    I keep googling the WR250X and these guys who own them are talking them up pretty good. Once uncorked they are claiming 85mph+ and decent acceleration for a 250. Even some people post who got rid of their 600/1000cc sport bikes for them and are very happy. Is this the fun of riding a slow bike fast or is this the self delusion of someone who made a mistake but are still stubborn as hell about it?

    PS - yes, I would dearly miss the ~45ftlbs of torque

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  15. #15
    Lifer
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    The DRZ is very light on the highway, and not in a good way. It get blasted around in 18-wheeler wake like a cat playtoy. The geometry just isn't set up for higher speed street riding. It becomes unstable. You start wondering wtf you are doing around 55 or so; state highway speeds. Recently I hit a pot-hole at the bottom of an interstate highway interchange and saw geezus! Terrifying experience. The DRZ's seat is a little like wearing a thong. I've never worn a thong, but I imagine this is what it feels like. Luggage options are fewer on the DRZ. I tried some soft sided street bike luggage once and it just doesn't work. Best I've done so far is a pelican bolted to a rear luggage rack. Bike offers zero wind or weather protection. Fuel economy and range are not that great. The engine is rough compared to a multi-cylinder street bike and gets (really) buzzy at speed. Passing at speeds above 40 or so (ie, outside of town) requires patience and planning. Not necessarily a bad thing as planning passes is fun. But you can't just hammer it past people.

    All of this can be ignored or fixed by the aftermarket.

    All supermotos bring inner demons to the surface and encourage you to do legally questionable things. One nice thing is you can rail on them and still not really be going that fast. The other side of that coin is that doing the posted limit in a 30 MPH zone gets boring as fuck fast. To have fun on those kinds of roads you need to be doing 60 with the throttle pinned. Corner speed is easy as hell to carry and braking is entirely optional on the street. Curbs start to look like jumps. That foot bridge across the creek between parking lots at work.. yeah. And wheelie city man, wheelie city.

    It's both the most fun and most useless motorcycle I've ever owned at the same time. I love it, but if I could keep only one, this wouldn't be it.

    Were I doing it over again I'd have kept mine a dual-sport and set up a second set of wheels "sportsman" style, or with an 80/20 tire. Basically what Chip said. Although I am think the 17" wheels and fatter street rubber were way better for building the corner speed confidence I needed on the track.

    Supermoto bikes exist so that 40 year old men who know better can act like total assholes.
    This.

    Although I'm not 40, so I could be wrong.

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  16. #16
    Lifer
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    I've seen 101 indicated on my DRZ flat out on a race track. I've seen high 80's on the interstate. GPS says that gauge is off by the standard ~10%.

    These things respond really well to regearing. Can completely change the way the bike behaves. For example I have to work hard to get the thing to wheelie when in sumo mode with the relatively high gearing I run now. Dirty mode geared down.. notsomuch. But you can gear it to do 90 pinned all day.

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  17. #17
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crimedog View Post
    "Do I really want a supermoto as my only bike".
    I'm usually one of the first ones to support getting a motard, they are stupid fun to ride on and off the track, dirt roads and even single track trails. That being said, I would never get an SM as an only bike. Ive had my share of street SM's and live in a pretty kick ass location to hit up the typical fun SM roads and trails...and the excitement wore off after about a year. My bikes ended up with the knobbies on more often that the SM smoothies.

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  18. #18
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    What does the SM do, or not do, that you wouldn't want it as your primary bike?

    I appreciate all of the input!

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  19. #19
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    I have a wr250x. I've taken it on long rides. On long days, the seat is an issue. Getting out of it (standing) helps extend your seat time. Mine still has the stock seat and a seat concepts kit would make a big difference. It's pretty fun up to about 65. After that, you really have to flog it. At around 80-90 mph mine gets squirrely and wants to head shake. I haven't tried gearing it longer, but I'm not sure if that will work as well for a wr as it has less hp than a drz.

    You're probably not going to put a ton of luggage on it and go adventure touring, but people do that.
    I wouldn't ever want to ride two up on it, but if you and your girl weight 250lbs together, I guess you could.
    I wouldn't try to do an iron butt or go long distance touring on it.
    A 10-12 hour 400 mile leaf peeping trip to NH is going to leave you with a sore ass.

    If your rides are 1-2 hours, mostly secondary roads under 65mph with the occasional fire road and highway sprint - you can totally have just this bike.
    If you lived in a city and spent all your time stop light to stop light splitting traffic - you can totally have just this bike.

    Why would you want one? (Specifically a wr250x) These bikes are light relative to normal street bikes. It's definitely a case of riding a slow bike fast. Wide open throttle all the time. 100% confidence throwing it into any turn at any speed that won't get you arrested. No road is too shitty to ride on. Leafs, sand, pot holes, gravel, etc. are no big deal. I ride mine in the winter and I've had it in slush and snow. Things that would have me white-knuckled on my striple are no worries. And if you do drop it, so what?

    I live a couple towns west of you if you want to get together on the weekend and take it for a spin. At the end of the day, the only way to know if it's right for you is to try one.

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  20. #20
    go faster cdovego's Avatar
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    Like I do every week, I rode my DRZ to work today and had an absolute blast.

    If I had to pick 1 bike for strict street duty - it'd be this DRZ.

    MA potholes, no problem.
    Wheelies, no problem.
    Falls over, pick it up and go home - no problem.
    Quick blast down the hwy, no problem.
    Starts every time, no problem.
    Not intimidating - cars/cops don't hate me - def. no problem.
    Someone steals it - no problem.

    Just do it dude.

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  21. #21
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    I have a DR350 (the predecessor to the DRZ400) and right now it has 80/20 street/dirt tires on it, but I do have a second set of wheels. With the stock gearing, it can do highway speeds (70-75ish) fairly easily. It's not the most pleasant experience on highway trips >30 mins, but definitely doable. I've slabbed it from New Haven to Thompson twice now. I'd say under 55 mph it's more fun than my FZ6, definitely riding the slow bike fast. It was awesome passing guys on 100-150 hp bikes on the outside of turns at the no-sportbike track day. I crashed it, picked it up, and rode it the rest of the day. The stock tank is only like 2.1 gallons, but at ~60mpg, it's not too bad, but I do have an aftermarket 4.2 gal tank too.f I've never had it as an only bike, so I can't really comment on that, but if you're mostly doing shorter trips around town mostly off-highway, then I don't think it would be a big deal.
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  22. #22
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    i have a KTM 690 SM. i love it, but my trips to bike night in lowell (approx an hour) suck balls. redline is about 7500-8 and at 70-75 im at 5k RPMs. i may drop a couple teeth at the next chain/sprocket change. i ride the highway to and from work (mostly to) but its only about 20 miles or so, so its not bad. highways are boring in general and to be honest, i bought the supermoto because i didnt want to do 130+ on the highway anymore (especially without realizing it).
    id say that unless you are willing to change your highway riding habits, then it may not be the ideal ONLY bike. in fact i really like the 919. its a very under rated bike. if youre dead set on a supermoto then something designed for it (big KTM or Husky) would be ideal. something that you could gear for highway use without making it completely useless everywhere else. problem is, they can be pricey. with that said, ive seen a few like mine pop up for under $5k locally.
    mine makes roughly 65-70HP which is double than what youll get from a DRZ4. ive done 400 mile days on it. hell, i did a whole week at deals gap with it. the seat makes you pay, but you can always stand up and ride on the straight boring stuff

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    Last edited by SVRACER01; 10-09-14 at 10:29 AM.
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  23. #23
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    I had a DRZ400 S and just put on 80/20 tires and it was fun

    I noticed that riding little roads with good challenge and non existent LEO's was a next step. The 400 could be wacked open no problem and would go up to 90
    but performance beyond 70 was not good.

    The little road thing had me move to the Vstrom which I consider a giant supermotto.

    If its mostly for the street I would look at any 650 dual sport tuned for the street

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  24. #24
    Lifer
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stromper View Post
    ..Vstrom which I consider a giant supermotto.
    FWIW, I agree. My DL650 handles a very little bit like a SM. Except on a racetrack, I actually prefer my DL with sport touring tires over the SM.

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  25. #25
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    Re: Do I really want a supermoto?

    Tried out Rick's wr250x today, had a blast on it. I think I'm sold on the idea if I can sell mine to my friend.

    Quick question, I am looking at two bikes, one is a wr450f that has a street title in CT. Will I have an easy time with registration/title in MA?

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