a brand new biker is born
December 5, 2007 at 7:53 pm #1186superdupersalemParticipant
Wow! Thank you for an excellent website. It is fun and informative, while also crisp and clean and obviously well-maintained. Congratulations are certainly in order.
I have just done the South African equivalent of the MSF course. (On a CBR 125 which was provided.) It’s called MRAC here and was based on the MSF. (It also costs about the equivalent of USD200 here.) Having never ridden a motorcycle before this, I found the course to be by far the best and easiest way to learn to ride.
Now I’m about to get licenced and buy a bike. I’m more interseted in the trailies or “dual sports” as you refer to them. The KLX250S you review looks ideal for me, but I worry about the 250cc motor not having enough power for my 110kg (240lb.). I also like the Yamaha XT range, Honda TransAlp and the BMW F650GS DAKAR. None of these are reviewed in your site and it is my humble request that you please do so. I am very interested in what you might have to say about them. Since I’m only buying in Feb/March next year, you have plenty of time to help me out. (please do)December 5, 2007 at 10:06 pm #4816KickprivateParticipant
The KLR650 is a lot different then any other bike i ever rode. I had a chance to test a older one and when I did grab to much throttle (On purpose) the shocks absorbed most of it before anything else. Honestly I would consider that one over the 250 as far as dual sports go.
My next bike will be a KLR650!December 18, 2007 at 11:18 pm #4847FateParticipant
The suspension on the redesigned 2008 KLR650 is much stiffer. It may not react the same way. Either way I’ve heard that the KLR650 even though it is a 650 is a decent beginner bike. Because it is a thumper (single cylinder) and a dual sport it doesn’t have the power of a sport bike. The only issues seem to be that it is much heavier than the smaller bikes, and more importantly, that it is extremely tall and even a tall beginner would want to purchase lowering links and the shorter side stand and have it lowered.
The F650GS is a great bike. Much better looking than the KLR650. Doesn’t handle quite as well off-road (although the 2008 is more road oriented also). Finding parts for it will be more difficult and more expensive than the KLR. We only have one place here to get BMW service but 3 that do factory work on Kaws [and a lot of small shops that I bet would work on any Japanese bike but wouldn’t touch a BMW.. any place is going to charge a fortune if they do though]. The new F800GS makes me drool. If you could find a used F650GS with antilock brakes and were planning on doing mostly road riding it might be worth it. My friend loves his. He rides primarily on the interstate in Georgia where the ABS is much needed.
If I had the money I think my bike would be the 2008 KLR650… but since I’m a bit short on $$ and worried about dumping a brand new bike I think I’ll end up with a used TW200 (some people hate the look.. I love the fat tires like I love a plump woman!) or an XT225, or whatever small dual sport I can find at a good price used (DR200SE, KLR250, an old Honda NX250 etc.)December 19, 2007 at 4:15 am #4853BenParticipant
Man I want to test ride a KLR soooooooo bad I’m really getting into the dual sport stuff ever since I started this site.
~Best Beginner Motorcycles AdminDecember 20, 2007 at 3:01 am #4863FateParticipant
You should watch Long Way Round. It is this documentary television miniseries thing that Ewan McGreggor and his friend Charlie Boorman put together. They rode from England across Europe and Mongolia and down through Alaska to NYC. They had things pretty easy at times as the locals all recognized Ewan [including the Russian Mob] but the going was by no means easy. Some of the things they overcame were just amazing and things got to be quite emotional for them at at times. It is just amazing. I’ve watched all 7 hours or so of it twice. Their cameraman also is featured in it some times. He is sort of the comic relief and I wish they had more of him in it. I’d love if they released an extended cut or something with an extra few hours of footage as they went across Mongolia and Eastern Europe.
Charlie also did “Race to Dakar” after that. I haven’t finished watching that series yet. And right now on the BBC(?) they are running their latest that they just finished called Long Way Down where they ride down to South Africa. The 6th episode just finished.
All of these (including the complete Long Way Down) should be findable on thepiratebay.org […assuming you already own the copy and are looking their for backup purposes only]December 21, 2007 at 6:40 pm #4867superdupersalemParticipant
Your feedback has been well received, gentlemen. I thank you.
I have given up on the BMW because of the cost of both purchase and service. It’ll have to be Japanese for me.
I shall look for ” long way round” as you suggest, fate. It sounds interesting.
Anyone out there with an XT, Transalp or Varadero you want to tell about?February 22, 2009 at 12:10 pm #16647MattParticipant
I’ve ridden the F650GS
It is not an ideal first bike.
A good bike, but it makes a lot of power and accelerates very quickly. The turning is quick and sensitive, making it a poor choice for a new rider as they will over correct.
It is also not a true dual sport, rather a road bike with dual sport looks and seating. It’ll handle dirt roads, but nothing more adventurous than that.
Excellent second bike, lousy first bike.
The 250cc Dual sports have enough torque to move your mass. Most of the small dual sports top out about 70mph (~115km) due to their gearing, not the weight of the rider.
The TransAlp is not available in North America (hence not being on this site) and is still much larger than recommended for first time riders. Powerful and top heavy, it too would not be the best first bike.
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