Dual sports are kind of an odd class of bike as from what I researched before buying mine, the inbetween displacement bikes (400cc) are the ones that are considered the “top of the line” dual sports. They’re the best for off road trips and tend to be slightly higher tech with higher seats and more ground clearance. The 200-250cc’s are great bikes but not real recommended if you do a lot of highway driving. (Like I unfortunately have to do.) They can do 70mph just fine, but they’re so light and lack aerodynamics to feel safe at those speeds for long. Makes winds deadly. I’d be scared as hell on the freeway on one. Also the engines work pretty hard at those speeds. I needed something with slightly more weight and oomph.
And then there’s the 650’s. These guys are the next step up from the 200-250’s if you plan to spend a lot more time on the road rather than on the trails. It sounds like a huge step up but we’re talking single cylinder engines here. A 600cc single is much more tame than a 600cc V-twin, and worlds apart from a 600cc inline four. Much like the S40 mentioned above, the powerbands are very predictable and clutchwork is forgiving. I’ve only had my DR650 for a couple weeks now but I felt instantly more comfortable riding it than the 250 cruiser on my MSF course. The handling is much much better (they’re made to navigate trails), and the upright seating feels good to me. Seems to put you in control. Also it still only comes in at 324 lbs. Featherweight as far as streetbikes go, but heavy for a dually.
Fortunately for you, you’re very tall. You’ll fit on any dual sport just fine. I ended up choosing the DR650 because there’s a factory option to have the suspension lowered almost 2 inches. I’m only 5’9″ so in order to get both my feet to touch the ground flat I had to get it done. At this early stage in my riding skill level I felt I needed it. Now it fits like a glove. My last ditch effort would have been to buy an optional seat from Suzuki which would lower seat height another 1.5 inches. Luckily I didn’t need to shell out the extra cash for it.
I was excited as hell when I got it home. Then put about 20 miles on it in a parking lot the first night. Gotta love those MSF drills. Needless to say, I’m a little biased towards dual sports at the moment. But by and large they are recommended as good beginner bikes by many veterans. Easy to ride. And not that you’d want to, but if you drop them they show little or no damage.
All this being said, when I was shopping I was very tempted at the dealership by the beauty of an S40 similiar to the one mentioned above. Maybe I just have a thing for single cylinders