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Old 29 Mar 2012
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Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
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Small enduro bike, which?!?

Hi everybody,

I'm going on a trip from the Netherlands to Asia, and planning on riding a small enduro bike. I drove a Yamaha DT 125cc in Colombia, which was nice but too heavy on the small engine on long distances, which meant I was at the mechanic more or less every day. I'm looking for a slightly bigger one this time, but not too big as too keep the weight down and the mileage acceptable.

Any ideas? I've read about a honda xr 250, which sounded nice, but again the topspeed was around 120 km/h (new model) which means I might have the same problem again, lots of strain on the engine causing lots of problems.

Is it wiser to go for a bigger engine, say a 400, and accept the higher fuel usage? Does anybody have experience making such a big trip on a small bike?

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Old 6 Apr 2012
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Suzuki DRZ400S

15,000 mile service intervals for the valves, all other servicing easy enough. Plenty of aftermarket parts such as large tanks, bar risers, lowering links & luggage options available.

There are a few well known faults which are well documented and easy to rectify - camchain tensioner, countershaft spacer, stator plate bolts etc.

Capable of good fuel economy and generally regarded as a reliable bike.

Don't get the E model which is taller, noisier, makes more power at the expense of fuel economy and has a subframe that's not designed for pillions or luggage, some E models are also kickstart only.
My photos: www.possu.smugmug.com
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Old 6 Apr 2012
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Why the preference for a small capacity bike? If you're looking for good off road ability then you'll need to keep the gearing close to standard and live with the low top speed and high fuel consumption on the road.

The DRZ is a good choice but there are also a number of 650's which offer good fuel economy, reasonable off-road performance and will carry your luggage more easily. It all depends on where you want to make the compromise.
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Old 23 May 2012
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The bike you want is the Yamaha WR250R. 26,600 miles is the first valve check, fuel injection, butter smooth motor with a 6spd transmission so it can cruise comfortably at 60-70mph/100-115kph (mine tops out at 90-95mph/144-150kph) all day long, good suspension and lots of travel, comfortable stock seat thats made all the better with a sheepskin or aftermarket seat, big 350w alternator that can run heated grips, a 90w heated jacket, heated socks, and a GPS at the same time without issues or upgrades, and plenty of luggage capacity. Mine currently has 39,000 miles/62750km and I've never seen the inside of the motor; they're utterly reliable bikes. Its been nothing but standard maintenance, despite running it like a dirt bike in the woods, commuting on it year round (haven't had a car since 2009, owned this bike since 2010), and two long trips that combined are around 13,000 miles/21,000km and two months in length.

I've drowned it, hit trees with it, buried it in mud, buried it in sand, bashed it on rocks, dropped it countless times on and off road, held the throttle to the stop until I ran out of gas over multiple successive fill-ups on the highway, ridden in through the hottest of hot and lowest temperatures I could stand (5-115+ degrees F/-15-45+ degrees C), taken it from the lowest to some of the highest elevations I can reach in the US and Canada (-260ft in Death Valley to 14,000+ on Pikes Peak, -79m and +4250m+ respectively), and generally ride the shit out of it, and she's never let me down or even had a hiccup. Closest thing I've had to failures is a broken spark plug, and it was an aftermarket plug.

Fit a larger gas tank (stock is ~7L, IMS makes a 12L which I have and love and a 17.75L, Safari makes a 14L) or strap a gas can to the back, add a skid plate and radiator guard, and off you go. Fuel consumption is good at a reasonable pace, I average 50-55 miles per US gallons but can see as high as 70 and as low as 40.

There isn't a 650 thumper dual sport that's better at anything, except maybe droning zombie-like down the highway or maintaining speed into a massive headwind, than the WR250R.
2008 Yamaha WR250R
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Old 24 May 2012
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Statement fixed.

Originally Posted by skierd View Post
There isn't a 650 thumper dual sport that's better at anything than the WR250R. Unless of course you want to carry a passenger, carry a larger capacity of luggage, burn 500+ easy miles on the freeway, find larger and more varied quantities of spare parts, eliminate FI/Fuel Pump issues, or generally have more overall power.
Statement fixed

What bike do I refer to? The venerable Suzuki DR650. From Seattle to Argentina I too have seen -15*C and 45*C temperatures. The first at 4400 meters in Bolivia, having ridden from sea level the same day. The second at sea level in Northern Argentina in the middle of a 1250km (750miles) day. I carried a full sized male passenger at highway speeds comfortably on several occasions, had a 20liter tank giving a 300km range (now have a 30liter tank), and carried sufficient luggage for 8 months. I had not one single problem the entire time.

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Old 24 May 2012
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It can lead to confusion when a post is changed by someone other than the original poster.
Even though you have used red text to show your additions, I am a tad confused by your "eliminate FI/Fuel Pump issues".

Are you saying that there are problems/issues with the WR250R FI system, or (what I hope you mean) simply that you prefer a bike with carburettors (in this case the Suzuki that you have)?
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Old 24 May 2012
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Location: Fairbanks, AK
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The only fuel pump issues were on the '08 models, which I've yet to experience personally and Yamaha has been fairly proactive in replacing. Personally I love never worrying about correct jetting or gumming up my carbs.

Luggage capacity? How much do you need? Happy trails makes a pannier kit for the WRR if you desire hard boxes, or just the hard racks to attach whatever hard bags you like. If not, you can always go with the Wolfman expedition panniers. I've carried a full sized passenger just fine on the highway at speed as well. I've done 500+ mile days on my WR. Didn't want to, but thats more a factor of not liking riding like a iron butt rider than anything.

You don't need spare parts when nothing breaks. But seriously, much of the ancillary spares like levers, shifters, filters, etc are shared with Yamaha's dirt bike line-up (WRF's, YZ's, TTR's, etc).

Don't get me wrong though, I like the DR650 a lot. Its a great motorcycle overall and was my second choice behind the WR when I bought my bike. For me, the WR's significantly lighter weight, better suspension, big stator output, fuel injection, and more comfortable ergo's were worth the extra money. Wouldn't mind the big ass gas tank the DR's have... but I wouldn't hesitate to take my WR on a trip similar to what yours was.
2008 Yamaha WR250R
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Old 24 May 2012
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The OP did ask about small enduro bikes so we can assume that he is aware of the lack of power. As far as I can see the main limitation of a 250 or smaller would be the ability to carry a passenger and their associated extra baggage.

The WR250R sounds like quite a 'rugged' choice.
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