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 Moving from a large single to a multi cylinder ADV bike...thoughts?

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Flappy613



Posts : 11
Join date : 2014-02-21
Age : 53
Bike : '15 Tiger 800 XCx , '12 Honda XR650L

PostSubject: Moving from a large single to a multi cylinder ADV bike...thoughts?   3/14/2016, 5:42 am

So what is everyone's thoughts on the larger ADV bikes vis a vis more DS bikes ala Suzuki DR, Honda XR, KLR or suchlike from KTM or others? 

For myself it was an easy decision. Keep my XR for technical stuff nearby and to (Gasp!) trailer out east when my Family and I can get out for a few days but get an ADV bike for every weekend in the coast range and the big 3-4 day out East I promised myself for not killing anyone in spite of giving up both smoking and drinking within the last 2 years. 
     
So almost exactly a year ago I picked up a nice shiny Triumph 800 with a few farkles already applied and set out to determine exactly where it stood in relation to my existing bikes. A bit about me as an aside: I didn't get my endorsement until 2013. Grew up as a kid in District 37 before moving back to Oregon in the '70s and have a number of years' dirt experience but no pavement time. My introduction to street riding was my XR650L by and large although I've ridden a few other street types over the years. I think of it like Tazio Nuvolari (old GP driver), he became quite good driving for Auto Union because he didn't realize how bad the cars handled. I somehow avoided becoming dead or mangled while operating this machine that can be unsettled by oncoming traffic for almost 6000 miles. I put a bunch of mods on it including a Seat Concepts seat, risers and the usual but still it remained too tall, too heavy and just too damned "buzzy" for me to really gel with for long distances.
     
      A plated R model was obviously "not" the solution.

Enter "el Tigre" late last March. After promising Mama I wasn't going to go anywhere near Mt.Hebo or South Lake due to the skanky Battlewings I hadn't gotten replaced that is exactly where I found myself. I noticed immediately that the WP suspension on the Tiger was leaps and bounds better than the Xr's although quite a bit noisier due to the various plastic bits. It handled breaking ruts much better and didn't want to wander in the loose gravel nearly so much even with the street tires. On the other hand the grass covered centers of the two track were truly frightening. The XR with the D606s I had fitted would cheerfully shred a section several feet long while the Tiger would step out within inches necessitating riding in the ruts. As far as weight goes Kitty obligingly laid down for me on that very first trip so I got to find out right away if I could pick her up all by my lonesome.
Thank God for being a non smoker for over a year before, she's a bit big at just under 500 lbs. I've since dropped her several times but I swear I'll always remember that first one! (PROTIP- It gets a LOT heavier with racks and panniers which you will need to remove/unload.)

Last June my Wife and Son and I were all out at East Fort Rock with the XR, her Quad, and my Son and I's YZ's and I realized again how much fun a single cylinder bike can be. It was actually my first time back on a 250 2 stroke in a number of years so when I finally managed to float it over my first set of doubles in years I had a HUGE grin on my face! It was all the sweeter in that my usually cocky kid couldn't (or wouldn't) keep up through the technical sections like that in spite of his running his mouth back at Camp. The only fly in the ointment was of course the bother of loading and unloading and all the darned driving to get there. Nonetheless I wouldn't have wanted my Tiger anywhere near there. My Wife and I ran into foot high silt while we were out riding together, enough to promote a tank slapper on my YZ so we turned it around before anymore festivities could commence. I know the old saw about silt and throttle but all those darned pine trees and cows aren't conducive to a great place to open it up.

In short for my needs I have the XR for local under 200 mile rips or where its going to get narrow or really adverse and the Tiger for 300 mile and over days and for general FS road usage (which is the bulk of my riding). I've still got smokers and a quad for getting ignorant and airborne with, the YZ hurts lots less when it falls on you and it's probably the only bike I would take down unfamiliar single track by myself. I've had a few "offs" with my ADV bike riding solo, hence my attending the Dirtfirst course with my XR to make sure I was on the right track. Although you probably can't foresee every contingency there are a good many that you can and through sites like this and ADV you can learn a great deal about what others' experience has been and where you might go to get the knowledge you need to stay relatively safe out there. I'd ride with others more to get that knowledge firsthand but Thursdays and Fridays don't usually jibe up with most folks' riding schedules so I'm having to take things solo which means ride conservatively and carry a SPOT.

So what is everyone else doing? Anyone else decide NOT to trade in their DS bike when moving to a larger platform or did you make it a clean break?
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Inspector
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Posts : 1654
Join date : 2009-01-23
Age : 46
Bike : Beta 400rr

PostSubject: Re: Moving from a large single to a multi cylinder ADV bike...thoughts?   3/14/2016, 7:36 am

Hmmm. I think monies is the biggest issues.  If I had enough It would be a minimum of 4 motorcycles, but really with all my other hobbies I'm lucky to be able to afford the one I have.
I remember my yz250 and SOOO happy I got rid of it.  It's ONLY saving grace (for me) was it was light(er) and I didn't mind banging it up at all.  That was actually the reason I bought it, so I would stop banging up my WR250r.  I miss the WR only because I didn't mind putting miles and miles and miles on it.  Otherwise it was just to under powered for me.
My Beta has awesome power but is heavy and doesn't roll very well.  Hopefully changing all the bearings will help.  It's expensive and I hate to bang it up, and hate to put miles on it....why do i have this thing again???? LOL.

Would love to get a big ADV bike but no money and honestly I wouldn't use it to even part of its potential.  Really I would like to get back into street riding again.  Something a bit more touring though then the bikes i used to ride.  Maybe an ST?  or I would love an old Hurricane!
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Flappy613



Posts : 11
Join date : 2014-02-21
Age : 53
Bike : '15 Tiger 800 XCx , '12 Honda XR650L

PostSubject: Re: Moving from a large single to a multi cylinder ADV bike...thoughts?   3/15/2016, 4:04 am

I definitely can empathize with cash being a factor. For a lot of years I didn't ride at all due to children, job, responsibilities and such, let alone cash. As I've gotten older I've been blessed to have a small business which I am co-owner of with my very lovely and understanding Wife who is far too indulgent with me.
As for bikes, I've currently got 5 I believe. Gave away two old minis to a friend since they were sucking up space in the garage which I've never been able to use. Probably going to lose my YZ as well since I never have time to ride it and my Son loves his 125 and doesn't really want to move up. He's getting his license anyways and when that happens I'll never see him again. So then it'll just be me and Mama and me trying to convince her that she needs a Tiger to chase me around on (She doesn't ride).

Enough of this depressing blather, what about the actual skills involved in switching over from lighter to the heavier bikes? At Dirtfirst they advised us to bring our smallest bike to class so that's why I rode my XR but I still feel that I would have done better at the ranges with the Tiger as I'd gotten so used to it in a very short time. It just "fits" me if that makes sense. By that I don't only mean the ergos necessarily just that I spend a lot less time thinking about the bike and more time focusing on the ride. On the other hand sometimes all that size can be a bit intimidating especially when the trail starts to narrow on down to single track. Takes a bit of room to turn an ADV bike around as I've found out on more than one occasion and if it lays down on you be prepared to pick it up multiple times. Additionally tires become a factor as to maintain DOT legality ADV tires are "generally" not as aggressive as dirt knobbies or even the Trailwings that came on my XR. Nonetheless I personally think a lot of riders are too hung up on the various "tires". I've heard terrible things about the K60s being terrifying on pavement squiggles, slippery in the wet, treacherous on gravel and washing out up front on cornering. I've only had them scare me once in the last 3000 miles and that was water on top of oil on pavement. Still didn't put me down as sliding the rear on pavement is mostly like sliding in the dirt. 

So anyways any thoughts,ya'll?
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Inspector
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Posts : 1654
Join date : 2009-01-23
Age : 46
Bike : Beta 400rr

PostSubject: Re: Moving from a large single to a multi cylinder ADV bike...thoughts?   3/15/2016, 11:29 am

There are quite a few people on here with bigger bikes.  Tom?  Don't you have a gs1200?  Perry?-I miss Perry.
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Flappy613



Posts : 11
Join date : 2014-02-21
Age : 53
Bike : '15 Tiger 800 XCx , '12 Honda XR650L

PostSubject: Re: Moving from a large single to a multi cylinder ADV bike...thoughts?   3/16/2016, 1:44 am

I thought Hodakaguy had an adventure as well at some point...probably me getting senile. I know that adv outfit he rides with has some guys. But I appreciate that this a primarily Dual Sport forum and looking at HG's bars up above in the banner look just like my Honda's right down to the round racelight, probends and double take mirrors. He's just got three times the horse and a hundred less pounds than an XR.

      I'd be interested in hearing from some of the local big bike guys though especially any Tiger owners. I'm actually going to see what Latus Triumph is loosely terming an ADV ride down to Trask this Saturday. Unfortunately they won't be letting anyone demo the new bikes down there too so I wonder how its a "Tiger Adventure Ride", especially since the Sales Manager rides a DR. At least one other inmate at the zoo mentioned going so we'll see. All I hope is they don't think that "I" should let guys demo my bike in the slop because it has modes just like the new ones. Don't think so. You can help me right it and pull it out of the mud though, I'll allow that. Just no rides. 

     And for anyone that IS in the PDX area it's going to be stands up at Latus in Gladstone this Saturday at 0945. Apparently they open up at 0900 so if you actually WANTED to demo a bike you could at that time.
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