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I am looking to purchase my first motorcycle after taking the course in the next year and I need to know where to start my research. The majority of use will be in town but I also kayak and like to scout out spots so it would have to be able to handle dirt and rocky terrain.

I started a thread on another forum and got some excellent responses but now I can't access it and can't even get logged back into that forum (wasn't this website) so I have to start from scratch.

I am not huge into looks but I would like to get as far away as possible from the dirt bike look. I saw a Kawasaki KLR and that is probably my limit on looking like a dirt bike. Some other bikes I have noticed are the Suzuki V-Storm 650, Honda NX700X, Honda CB500x, Yamaha FZ1 and Kawasaki Ninja.

I will not be making long trips or ever hauling a passenger. I have no experience. I'm 27 years old, 6' tall, 115 lbs, very fit and have long legs. Most likely I will buy used from a dealer, I doubt I will ever have enough money on hand to buy from another person. With that in mind I won't be getting an expensive bike, I would say nothing over $5k used.

I'm not sure what other information would be useful. Thanks for any help!
 

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One of the important things is how far off-road you need to go to do your scouting. The VStrom and others like it aren't really that good at going too far into the woods or desert, the KLR650 and other single cylinder enduro bikes will be considerably lighter and easier to handle off-road, especially for a beginner. Tires will also be important, if you live and will ride in the mud or softer soil you probably need knobby tires that come standard on most enduro bikes . Some of those bikes brand new only cost $6000-$7000 brand new so you can probably get a used one only a few years old for a real good deal, most likely only half of your budget. I had a Husqvarna 610SM, while it was not a true enduro because of seventeen inch wheels and sport type tires it was surprisingly light, handled very well and was capable of highway speeds with around 45MPG being ridden pretty hard.
 

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I am looking to purchase my first motorcycle after taking the course in the next year and I need to know where to start my research. The majority of use will be in town but I also kayak and like to scout out spots so it would have to be able to handle dirt and rocky terrain.

I started a thread on another forum and got some excellent responses but now I can't access it and can't even get logged back into that forum (wasn't this website) so I have to start from scratch.

I am not huge into looks but I would like to get as far away as possible from the dirt bike look. I saw a Kawasaki KLR and that is probably my limit on looking like a dirt bike. Some other bikes I have noticed are the Suzuki V-Storm 650, Honda NX700X, Honda CB500x, Yamaha FZ1 and Kawasaki Ninja.

I will not be making long trips or ever hauling a passenger. I have no experience. I'm 27 years old, 6' tall, 115 lbs, very fit and have long legs. Most likely I will buy used from a dealer, I doubt I will ever have enough money on hand to buy from another person. With that in mind I won't be getting an expensive bike, I would say nothing over $5k used.

I'm not sure what other information would be useful. Thanks for any help!
First of all, welcome :)

The more a bike looks like a dirt bike, the better it will perform off road. The bikes you named can handle a dirt road, some gravel, or maybe a well-groomed trail, but you are going to have a hard time on anything that is real rugged with a V-Strom. So if you are looking for something that really handles the dirt well, and you are willing to go as far as a KLR, then l would look at those, because their roots are in the dirt first, although they have very much evolved into more street friendly.

There is a reason why many people who ride have a garage full of bikes ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the welcome.

I have a shed full of kayaks and no garage, definitely will only ever have one bike. I do fully understand what you mean by having multiple bikes though since it applies to kayaks as well.

I won't go more than a few miles off road when I do scouting and if it was a long stretch it would be a dirt/gravel road. I most likely won't go anywhere my Toyota Yaris car can't go because there wouldn't be a lot of point to it if I can't get my kayak on my car there. I just know some of the roads have uneven spots, especially beside bridges when the dirt road is not maintained in the least.

I live in Arkansas if that matters.

I would say 85% of my time on the bike will be on paved streets and the other 15% would be dirt roads so I would probably want tires more turned for street travel.

I haven't heard of Enduro bikes before, I will check that out. I remember now reading about the V-Strom and it not being that great for off road, looks like I will cross it off the list.
 

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I would scratch the Ninja off the list as well...

Great street manners... offroad, well, not so much.
 

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I would say look at the KLR, maybe a V-Strom or a Kawasaki Versys (which is very similar to a V-Strom). KTM also makes some pretty awesome machines, but l'm not sure how much you can get for $5000, as they are spendy.
 

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I would say look at the Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki enduro bikes, those are the ones that new cost $6000-$7000 and can be found used a few years old at prices within your budget. KTM and Husqvarna are much more serious off-road machines that are powerful and have much more serious prices, the KTM 690 new is over $10,000 and has a tendency to retain a lot of that price used. Then you need to decide how big you need to go, a 650 will provide plenty of power on road but a 250 may be all you need as it will get up to highway speeds but won't be very good for long rides at those speeds. If you are accurate with your description of where you will ride then there are dual purpose tires that are much better on the road with good traction off-road.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My dad said to get fuel injected because they usually have less problems. Are most dual sport and enduro bikes fuel injected?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Sorry, one more thing. Some street bikes I hear around town are extremely loud when accelerating. Is that something I will need to watch for...rather is that something standard on some bikes or are those people modifying their exhaust? I don't want a loud bike, I can't stand those.
 

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Fuel injection is pretty much standard on most bikes now because of emissions. As to the exhaust a lot of people change the exhaust on their bikes for performance reasons or just to make more noise. Then there may be the choice between four stroke and two stroke, two strokes are usually only up to about 250cc, so if you chose something over that it probably will be four stroke. Two strokes generally make a higher pitched sound, think chainsaw, while four strokes make a deeper pitch sound, think more lawn tractor for examples, not exact but just to give you an idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I checked out the enduro bikes but those look way too much like dirt bikes to me, even more than the KLR. Since the vast majority of my time will be spent on streets I feel like I should mostly ignore the off road part but just keep it in mind. I definitely don't want anything that specializes in off road, just something that can handle the occasional dirt or uneven road.

I know the Versys and KLR were mentioned and they are on my list, here is the others I glanced at. I haven't had much time to research them. Any opinions?

Honda NC 700x
Honda CB500X
Kawasaki ZRX 1200R
Suzuki Gladius/SV650
SUZUKI DR650
Yamaha FZ09
 

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The nc700 is a little smaller and the revs top out at 5k or something. Really torquey even at 1500 rpm. The center of gravity is lower than standard bikes by moving the gas tank under the seat and turning the engine. I bet it would be fun around town and country roads but idk about highways. Some reviews said it can run 100mph. Where the fuel tank traditionally goes is storage for a helmet, tools and owners manual. Compared to the Kawasaki it feels more cramped for sure. I'm 6ft. The hinge for the storage box feels junky.


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