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You know that thing when you're spending a lot of time on ebay/Autotrader/Craigslist looking at bikes you probably shouldn't buy, but really want to buy? Thought I'd ask for a quick reality check from folks who've ridden more...

 

Quick catchup to where I'm currently at bike wise - bought my gen 3 VFR in 2012, but never really clicked with it and didn't ride much between then and last year. In 2019 I bought an XJR1300 to replace it, but didn't get around to getting the Veef on the market till March 2020 and then, well, you know.

 

Over the summer I decided to roll the dice on getting the seat reshaped and recovered to see if that would help my enjoyment of using the bike  - biggest problem I've had with it is my knees smack hard into the fairings. Got seat done by a dude called Ross, looks great and more importantly transformed my riding experience, so the VFR is now going nowhere (apart form sliding down the road, but that's another issue.

 

I love the XJR, it's great fun, made of torque, a proper beefy boy naked riding experience and a real blast on a sunny day, but for a while now I've had a hankering for a rough and ready dual sport thumper for all year round play time and markedly different riding experience from my VFR. I've been eyeing up DR650's in particular, as well as KLR 650 and to a lesser extent the Honda Dominator, but there aren't many of them in this country and so the prices are far from a bargain, and the XJR would have to go to fund this purchase.

 

So my question is, do any of you guys have experience of these dual sports bikes, any advice on models, and thoughts as to whether or not this would be a dumb path to pursue?

 

For visual reference, attached is a picture of a cat attempting to steal my XJR, thanks in advance

20210321_155051.jpg

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I will buy the cat! Now seriously, I believe many of us have the same illness. I got a 06 Hornet last year after a 10 year break and this year I bought a 97 VFR (although I was looking for a Fireblade) I do not regret it!. The last bike I owned before was a KTM Duke2 (the only single cylinder I ever owned). The bike was awesome in the twisties, light weight, ton of torque for a single  pot. It was a blast, however, I was missing the smoothness of a 4 cylinder and the stability in long curves at high speed (although the suspension on the Duke was first class). I can imagine a dual sport will handle really good at low to mid speeds but will by buzzy and high revving at 80 mph, 

One time I took the Duke on a 40 miles Highway ride and had to rivet the reg plate together after. After that I limited the Duke to a cornering tool.

It also depends what kind of rider you are. If you enjoy potting around, then it might be a good idea. I think you will be disappointed when you twist the throttle on  single after riding a VFR. Again, just from my personal limited experience.

As for now, I am switching between the Hornet (inline 4) and the VFR. Sometimes I even ride both the same day. The Vee has this amazing power band where you just twist and there is power everywhere. You do not  shift if you do not feel like it. On the Hornet, as an opposite, you shift all the time, but has similar power in high revs. The problem you might have is the both bikes have a similar engine characteristics (lot of torque). How about a small super moto bike to have a total contrast to the VFR?  

 

I am also always looking for a bike I do not need but really want to have! We probably should start a therapy group!

 

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You don’t say what your intent is with the bike.
 

Any thoughts on a Transalp? It’ll be more enjoyable as a road bike and can still be gotten off the beaten path. 

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DR's are awesome. Cruise at 70mph no problem, Great on dirt/fire roads, pretty good on reasonable single track. A couple friends bought, modified, then rode them to Alaska, doing almost 3k miles of dirt on the trip (6k total).

 

Being bullet proof is also nice... Hope to adventure far and wide on mine some day, but it's fun around town and local for now.

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The DR will be more biased for off road riding, and ok on the freeway. The KLR will be much better on the freeway, and not as good in the dirt. Both will be better in the dirt than the VFR 😂. So it depends what your plans are.

 

The DR is probably the better bike, as it's simpler, easier to work on and a bit more reliable. Tons of aftermarket for both bikes, but probably more for the DR.

 

If you get the KLR, make sure you replace the dohickey, and if you don't know what that is, then do a google search. Can't really go wrong with either bike.

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Any places in Oxfordshire (left) to ride offroad? If not, why bother.. :laugh:

 

 

 

image.jpeg.5b68eb84049b3bebfd7149df989821bd.jpeg

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^ Good point - I was thinking of riding out west, didn't even notice where you were...

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The above questions about realistic  opportunities to go off road locally are totally fair, this is definitely not the best place to be for it.

 

There is a local group that meets (or at least met) up to go on rides and trips out, and we do have the Ridgeway nearby, but if definitely want to explore that option in the company of someone with experience. 

 

I really like the idea of being able to visit family in Devon, or go back to where I grew up in Wales and having some fun, but I know this might be a pipe dream. 

 

As much as anything I'm after trying out a different riding experience, and  dual sports offer at least the potential of that. The VFR and the XJR are both brilliant bikes, but they're also both fairly sensible bikes, and nobody needs two sensible bikes. I don't want to go down the sports bike route because the VFR is as much in that department as I want/can handle, and the XJR is definitely a far down the more cruiser path as I'm willing to go (admittedly not very far). 

 

Hence dual sports/adventure. I've looked at bikes like the transalp, FG650, Tiger etc, but feel like I might end up with too much of a sensible, middle of the road bike with those.

 

For a second bike I'd rather get something that has the potential to be  great new fun and/or an utter pain in the arse than something which is just quietly capable. 

 

Thanks very much everyone for your advice and experiences with these bikes, I've now thrown the Honda Dominator into the mix as well as they seem to be a bit cheaper - I really don't want to spend too much money on what might turn out to be a terrible idea. 

 

Posted with appreciation of a space where I can air the thoughts spinning round my head without annoying those around me who don't give a crap - at least on here it can be easily ignored 😂

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On 5/4/2021 at 1:52 AM, Dutchy said:

Any places in Oxfordshire (left) to ride offroad? If not, why bother.. :laugh:

 

 

 

image.jpeg.5b68eb84049b3bebfd7149df989821bd.jpeg

 

Spot on. Down here dual or dirt bikes become tools of the rebellion cops chase. New craze among rebels are minibikes with lawnmower engines...

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I still miss my CCM ... over bored to 710cc and full race cam .... 

 

 

4379A129-0BEF-467B-90D2-8505F1A7B152.jpeg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Quick update on this (because I'm still waiting on my fairing and fuel tank to come back from the paint shop so I've got no VFR adventures/misadventures to amuse me).

 

After too much time looking at stuff on the internet I've pulled the trigger on a rough and ready 1998 Honda NX650 Dominator. It's a runner not a looker, but is only costing me £1500 which is about as good as it's going to get in the UK for this sort of thing, and seemed like an appropriate amount to spend on a bike which may not get a ton of use.

 

Looking forwards to collecting it on Sunday - a 3 hour ride back from Swansea on nobbly tyres that haven't yet been broken in, in what promises to be utterly atrocious weather 👌

 

Now I REALLY need to sell the XJR

 

 

 

 

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Well, I made it back in one  soggy piece and am now the proud owner of this very scruffy NX650. 

 

Having never owned an upright bike like this the first few corners and roundabouts were a bit alarming as I had to relearn how to ride, but I got there in the end. Had a really fun ride home despite the pouring rain, certainly a very different riding experience from my VFR which is just what I wanted. 

 

Now I just need to attend to, well, pretty much everything on it 😂 Should be a good place to learn some spannering skills on a machine that's less likely to kill me if I get it wrong! 

 

Grabbed this picture whilst lost in rural Wales

s1bfpf.jpg

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Congrats!

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Congrats on new-to-you bike, and good luck fixing it up!  🙂

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Do I need to see a DR?

 

:tongue:

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On 5/4/2021 at 12:07 PM, ducnut said:

You don’t say what your intent is with the bike.
 

Any thoughts on a Transalp? It’ll be more enjoyable as a road bike and can still be gotten off the beaten path. 

Having owned a couple of Transalps recently I can vouch for their bullet proof reputation. Transalp 1: 2003? - well used, not so well maintained. Quick bit of chain clean, fluids replacement, tossed on some soft saddle bags and headed out of Brisbaine Australia.  Few months and about 30,000km later well south of Perth via pretty much the coast anti clockwise.  Probably a good third of that off tar seal and a fair portion of that 4WD tracks including Daintree, Telegraph Track, Gibb River.  Not an enduro bike by any means, but capable of big road miles in relative comfort and able (slow and with care) to get you well off the beaten track.  Only had the bolt on the end of the shock shaft work its way off - two days and about 400km dirt road and river crossings with a pogo stick before I found a place with the tools to fix it.  And the common final drive sprocket shaft wear.  Got a good fix on that - 10,000km later still primo.  Transalp 2: After the first good run I was keen on another for Europe prior to a BIG trip around Africa. This one 2001 with a slightly dodgy whine in 3rd gear only - that never got better, never got worse.  This one nearly 40,000km of sweet running - European alps, some big highway miles, days in the Albanian villages that never got beyond 3rd gear, Western Sahara big sands - sadly cut short by covid lockdowns otherwise I'd still be tootling around Africa. To be continued.  And I'd do another Transalp any day.

Other considered bikes with similar credentials - DR's, KLX, maybe a Dominator.  None of them with the road creds of a Transalp but likely much more capable off road. Anything more modern is unlikely to be fixable on the side of the road hundreds of km from civilisation.

Just my experiences and opinions.

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