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A good crossover bike?

1503 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  CB750F

Thanks to heinous SoCal gas prices and the fact that I travel by myself nearly all the time I am looking at getting a bike. I rode a friends nighthawk 550 when I was in the military in the late 80s (I'm old), so I am sort of looking for a first bike as well.

Is there a model of bike that is a good crossover between street and offroad? I am riding street only but in those cases where I might have to cut through a field or construction area I wouldn't want to be on a nice chromed out Harley with little ground clearance.

I have seen some street bikes, with street tires, etc that appear to have long suspension travel and may be designed for 95% street, 5% not-street. Bikes like Buell XB12X or Yamaha FZ6.

Are there any others? Any suggestions?

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Like a naked bike kinda? Kind of a street fighter with long travel suspension? Kawasaki Versys 650, new for this year using the Ninja 650 engine. Should be a fun bike.
I guess I should have stated my size in the original post. I am 6'4" tall, 236 pounds.

Is a 650cc going to be a bit on the small side? I am by no means a racer or anything but I don't want to be pushing my bike when leaving an uphill stop sign.
Theres lots of good options in bikes that can handle both on-road and off-road. There is the Suzuki DRZ 400 E, KTM makes dual sports and you have the Buell XB12X Ulysses. Kawi makes a nice dual-sport too as does Yamaha.
Just keep in mind that a bike thats made to be decent both on-road and off-road isnt going to excell in either.
I just demo'ed a Ulysses, but wasn't that impressed. I didn't find the seating position comfortable, and it just didn't feel right. On the other hand, the brakes were amazing, and the engine was deceptively strong, I was doing 70 before I even realized it.

I have long legs, but still had to tippy toe the bike, but then the pegs had my legs all scrunched up, I think that was my problem. Plus the back cylinder really toasted my right leg, it felt like a sunburn when I was done. Temps were only high 70's that day.

What about a V-Strom?

This months Rider magazine has a comparison of the Ulysses, V-Strom, Multistrada and Tiger.
I'll put it to you this way,I weight about the same as you and ride a 500 with no problems on it's side pullin' me around as fast as I care to go and getting there rather quickly. I think a 650 would be big enough. These new bikes ain't like the old bikes.

Kinda tough decision on your part with so many great and unique bikes in that catagory.
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