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Old 08-05-2015, 01:41 PM
850 posts, read 1,120,254 times
Reputation: 1776


Currently riding a '01 Triumph TT600 sport bike (aka - "crotch rocket" ). Love the power and handling of it, HATE and DESPISE the bent over riding position...my hands and wrists are uncomfortable after 10 minutes, in pain after 30, and I'm crying uncle after an hour. I've been riding it for almost a year now, so it's not just a matter of "getting used to it", and it's also my daily driver for a 30 mile round trip commute that's 50/50 city and freeway riding.

I've been kicking around the idea of doing the "street fighter" treatment to it, not that I want to stunt it, but rather to get the more upright riding position (ditch the clip-ons, install upright bars and risers). I'm old enough now that I'm never going to get even remotely close to the limits of the bike that would make the race posture worth while.

On the other hand, it's got 45K miles on it now, and is in need of basically resealing the entire motor, all rubber hoses are due for replacement, going to need a rear tire soon, brake pads, the coolant reservoir tank just cracked yesterday, new chain time, and probably a few other things as well...which meant I started thinking about just cutting my losses and buying a brand new bike instead (I've bought enough used crap over the years that I'd rather take the depreciation hit, and not have to deal with fixing the prior owners screwups any more, lol)

I've been thinking that I miss being in the dirt on two wheels too, so was kicking around the idea of a big bore dual sport - XR650L, KLR650, DR650SE, etc, to replace the Triumph, and use it as a do-all bike - commute during the week, play with on the weekends. Thinking the big bore models so that I could still commute on it and handle the freeway without feeling like I'm holding up a mile of traffic behind me. Then it also makes riding to/from the dirt areas easier, as many of the rural roads leading to riding areas around here in Phoenix also commonly have people doing 70+MPH, and freeways are signed 75MPH limit, which mean people do 90MPH, lol.

From what I've been reading, the 650s really don't do either freeway nor dirt very well. They're too big and heavy to be effective dirt bikes, and still down enough on power to comfortably cruise at 70-75mph. About 10 years ago, I had a Honda XR250L that I actually rode from Detroit to Phoenix. Yeah...not one of my better ideas, lol. While it would do 70, that was about all it had in it, and even that felt a bit heavy and cumbersome once I got it on the trails here. Going bigger engine would only make that worse.

So now I'm wondering if I'd be better off getting another one of the either 250 or 400 class dual sports, and keeping the Triumph for commuting duties, while doing the upright bar conversion on it. I want to stay with a factory street legal bike, as it just makes dealing with the off road legal issues around here a WHOLE lot easier, in that I can pretty much go where ever with out having to worry about whether I'm in an OHV area or not, and I don't absolutely have to haul the bike to/from where I want to go. I also don't see myself doing some super hard core off road motocross type stuff, so I don't think I need a full tilt dirt bike either.
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Old 08-05-2015, 02:00 PM
11,254 posts, read 44,582,130 times
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it sounds like you'll not be satisfied in the dirt with anything less than a serious off-road no compromise bike. You might want to look at a KTM or similar in the 400cc range for this use.

Keep your commuting street bike a street bike. Either put the dough into the Tri as needed to keep it in service, changing the bars and ergonomics to fit your requirements.

But better still, given the frame geometry for that bike ... would be to trade it on a bike purpose built more in line with your requirements. With a 30 mph daily ride, why not look at tourers and accept that sport tourers may no longer be the bike of choice for your needs and comfort anymore? There's a lot of choices in bikes that will fit the bill, cruise highway speeds without straining anything, and have the ergo's, suspension, and bike geometry to do the job very well.
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Old 08-05-2015, 03:44 PM
Location: Eastern Washington
14,806 posts, read 46,107,624 times
Reputation: 13780
I like Sunsprit's idea of getting a touring bike, and would specifically suggest look at older Gold Wing bikes. You can find these in great shape and for a very reasonable price, considering what you get for the money.

You can buy one of these so cheap you can afford to have a dedicated dirt bike and keep the sport tourer as well if you want. Maybe getting into better physical shape will make riding the crotch rocket more comfortable?
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Old 08-05-2015, 06:35 PM
Location: Vallejo
14,716 posts, read 16,725,250 times
Reputation: 13329
Well, for one you're not riding right from a performance perspective, and since it's causing you physical discomfort it's just wrong for you period. Stop putting your weight on the handlebars. Sportbikes are more active than cruisers/scooters with the feet first Lazy-Boy recliner position or sitting upright on a kitchen chair standard. Think of a jockey, how much weight are they putting on their hands? They're far more tucked on something far less stable than you are on a sportbike, and they're most certainly not holding their weight up by leaning on the reigns. Wrists should be flat, weight shouldn't be on your wrists. At that point there's really nothing about the position that's going to cause you wrist pain absent some back problems (herniated disc, for example, could cause pain and numbness because of posture). A different bike or risers may still be the answer because it's not actually that comfortable. To pick the weight up off your hands is going to require using your core/lower back and legs.

Cousin's got a WR250R. It's faster up to about 80 than my Ninja 250. The only time the Ninja has inadequate power for me is high sierra passes. At closer to sea level, it's no problem. It can cruise at 80 forever. Not the best bike for it but it can do it. Dual sports on the freeway or pretty meh. If your commute is 30 minutes or so, it's not going to be too bad. Thumpers have a lot of vibration which you start to really notice after about an hour, the seats are generally uncomfortable as hell. When I've ridden them longer distances, I've spent a lot of time standing up on the freeway because my posterior goes numb in about 45 minutes.

You could get something like a KTM 690 super enduro. They're amazingly competent in a way all the other 650s are not, but it's still weight and still not that great of a street bike for longer riding. It'll do just about anything a 250 will do, you'll just need to work harder. A KLR650 or DR650? No.

Last edited by Malloric; 08-05-2015 at 06:45 PM..
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Old 08-05-2015, 06:59 PM
Location: Denver
3,154 posts, read 7,429,854 times
Reputation: 2970
I have a KLR650....I like camping off of the bike and riding gravel / easier trails. I do not like riding highway with it. I recently did a 1100 mile road trip and thought about taking the KLR650 but it was almost all highway so I took the Jetta instead :/ I wish I had something like a V-strom which I would think would be a better bike for more highway. In the twisties the KLR650 is fun. I can't describe it but it just is. The suspension is squishy and the brakes are pretty lame but the bike is just a blast. Going from a rocky trail that scares me to flying down a twistie road all in the same day is just fun!

Anyways....the big bore bikes are big and heavy. But that is for a reason....so you can carry a lot of fuel (6.1gal on the KLR), carry a lot of camping gear (My 2 boxes with camping gear weigh 60 lbs). So, if you are not camping off the bike or wanting to go 300 miles between fill ups you might not need a KLR650....maybe something smaller would be better and more fun off road?

I love my KLR650 though. It is cheap. It is ugly. I am not offended when it falls down in the rocks or is up to the hubs in mud. Heck, I lay it down on the ground when I wash it

But geez full of gas and and gear....it is so damn heavy. I takes about 70% of the grunt this sub 150 lbs person has to get it back up it's wheels when it tips over. Some of the worst experiences have been when I start down a trail and realize it is way over my head....getting this beast turned around while going uphill sucks...bad....really bad. Having a piece of strong wood in my tank bag has been helpful. Putting it on the ground and then trying to pivot the bike around it on it's kickstand helps.

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Old 08-05-2015, 07:00 PM
Location: California
11,439 posts, read 17,416,918 times
Reputation: 12537
Default 650 dual sport or modify my existing sport bike + buy smaller dual sport?

Last year I decided to go from a Suzuki 1200S bandit for a DL650 Adventure, some of my friends thought I was crazy but it has worked out great, the upright riding position has better suited me and it still has plenty of power for my riding style.
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Old 08-05-2015, 10:43 PM
Location: Minneapolis, MN
7,377 posts, read 13,082,278 times
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You considered a BMW G650GS?
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Old 08-06-2015, 10:58 AM
Location: California
11,439 posts, read 17,416,918 times
Reputation: 12537
Originally Posted by wankel7 View Post
I have a KLR650....I like camping off of the bike and riding gravel / easier trails. I do not like riding highway with it. I recently did a 1100 mile road trip and thought about taking the KLR650 but it was almost all highway so I took the Jetta instead :/ I wish I had something like a V-strom which I would think would be a better bike for more highway. In the twisties the KLR650 is fun. I can't describe it but it just is. The suspension is squishy and the brakes are pretty lame but the bike is just a blast. Going from a rocky trail that scares me to flying down a twistie road all in the same day is just fun!
Wow that's cool what you do right there, my V Strom is good on the road but not so much in the dirt, I may need to consider a second bike for the off road camping.
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Old 08-06-2015, 01:08 PM
850 posts, read 1,120,254 times
Reputation: 1776
It's not too much weight on the bars..in fact, I've lost grip on the bars a few times because I have so little weight on them (that's exciting when the front wheel leaves the ground during spirited acceleration ). Not to mention, better core support doesn't solve the horrible visibility issue to the sides and rear, which I consider to be rather important during a heavy traffic commute. I really think it has more to do with the angle of the clip ons more so than having body weight on them, and perhaps the vibration.

I know thumpers can vibrate horribly too...2500 miles of interstate inside of a week on a 250 got me pretty familiar with that But honestly, except for the seat foam giving out, I think that bike was more comfortable to be on all day than this Triumph is.

I had previously thought about a 'Wing for commuting, but that seems like such a big bike would be a bit much to handle every day in traffic, parking lots, etc. Granted, I've never actually ridden one, so I am making some assumptions here.

Continuing the assumption theme, the BMW mentioned - one of the other minor issues I have with the Triumph is parts availability, in that it seems like everything is a special order item, and little aftermarket support for it. That's one of the big reasons I was looking at the bigger Japanese names - parts are a dime a dozen for Kawasakis and Hondas in comparison. I've never owned a BMW, and don't really know what parts availability or maintenance is like on them. I wouldn't want something that has to be dealt with by a dealer for everything either. Again, no experience with BMWs, so I don't really know.

More of what I was really getting at was rather it was reasonable to have any of these dual sports to be a kind of a "do everything" bike, though I know they all will be a compromise on some level...they're not going to be stellar at any one thing, and I'm OK with that. I don't really have any desire to do motorcycle based camping, or cross country trips again, nor do I want to do extreme off road stuff on a motorcycle either. The worst that I expect to be doing is the kind of stuff that the typical stock 4x4 truck would be able to do. Anything worse I have a full built 4x4 I'd rather use for.

If there isn't something that can handle mild off road trails, and still do 70-75mph on the pavement, then I'd rather get something that is more off road oriented, and look at something else for commuting duties as I don't need dirt capabilities on my commute. I still don't want to get into a full tilt dirt bike though, as it absolutely has to be factory street legal. There are areas out here that OHVs aren't allowed, but street legal dirt bikes are, and I don't want to deal with converted bike legal issues.
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Old 08-06-2015, 01:32 PM
4,570 posts, read 7,639,385 times
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In my history of personal bikes I've done a little of everything that's street-legal, and a LOT in the "sport" sections. I've had both a BMtroubleU GS and a KLR650.... they are affectionately called "Big Pigs" for a reason. I think the GS is on par (capability-wise) with a VStrom, and the KLR just a touch more off-pavement capable and a touch less on-pavement capable. I've taken both on single-track in Colorado, in sand, through miles of mud, and over sections of the TAT. They are "pick your way carefully and slowly" bikes when on anything more technical than an unmaintained dirt road. They were both also miserable for anything longer than a couple hours of droning along highways/freeways... they are absolutely a compromise where you give up a Lot to gain a little. But if you're just going to be cruising along unmaintained "roads", they are good enough (and certainly more than good enough for a 30 mile commute... that's nothing).

Only you can know just what kind of dirt riding you plan on tackling. The Big Pigs will absolutely be worse than your XR250 when the pavement ends. You also need to Honestly asses how much of what type of riding you're going to do. I look around at the choices people make and Frequently see someone who commutes 10 miles on secondary roads to work as 90% of their riding, yet do so on a Goldwing because they dream of getting away. Great dream, but I honestly believe they would enjoy the riding they Are doing more with a more suitable bike. Same story, if you think you're going to be off MXing around the AZ desert and spend your money on some high-strung KTM but find that you spend the vast majority of your time commuting to work, you probably won't be happy. I know this is going to extremes and you're not suggesting it, but it's still a worthy exercise to help you focus in on the right bike for right now.

As for your discomfort with riding your TT ~ I suspect you're doing it wrong. I'm 6'4" and for several years I roadraced 125gp bikes... I've put myself on all sorts of sportbikes, turning thousands of miles in a weekend of apex strafing. There shouldn't be any weight on your hands/wrists/arms to get them sore. You should be holding your body up with your lower back and core "girdle" muscles. A quick and simple test is to try and flap your elbows while riding.. if you can't move them freely, you're not supporting yourself correctly. That's not to say it's 100% of the problem because some bodies just don't like some positions (I can't physically ride anything with a feet-forward position for more than a few miles without intense pain in my back ~ that means nearly All cruisers), but I've seen hundreds of different riders who said this fixed all their hand/wrist/arm pains once they knew.

Were I in your same situation, I'd be looking for 2 used bikes (but I'm a MC mechanic who likes working on bikes and fixing the bonehead carp that prior owners inflict on things). Something small, light and fun for commuting and running around the city and something small, light and fun for kicking around off-pavement. If I did ANY longer trips, then the commuter bike would be Just big enough to comfortably handle those trips.

Based on what you've said, buying One new bike, I'd think that one of these is the closest compromise: Yamaha WR250F, Suzuki DRZ400, Husqvarna FE350/450/501 and the KTM EXC enduros (350/450/500 and the 690).
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