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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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Old 27 Jun 2006
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couple question, non-2up, same bikes

For the couples who travel, non-2up, and on the same bikes I have a question for you and everyone else as well. My significant other is VERY VERY new to bikes and riding.

Trying to decide on the next bikes for both of us. The DRZ400S or XR650R both will be E/Kick-start and heavily modified. Weight will be about the same and the height as well.

My question is: After a few months on the dirt road, want she be use to either of the bikes? We will get in as much riding as we can before we leave, but will the power of the XRR still be to much for her due to her lack of experience?

Take care
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Old 27 Jun 2006
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I rode a dual-sport converted XR650R from Texas to Yaviza Panama and back, including hitting lots of jeep trails throughout Central America. Total riding time 250 hours. I have also put 250 hours on a DRZ400 mostly riding trails in the northeastern U.S.

The power on the XR650R is quite mild and controllable, so I don't think that the power per se is likely to be a problem. You didn't say where you are riding, but judging by the bikes you are considering, I am guessing you will be doing a fair amount of off-road/jeep trails. I don't know how tall your girlfriend is or how many push-ups she can do, but I would hope she is above average height and strength or she may find the size of the XR650R tough to handle.

Both bikes have excellent suspension for rocky trails. The DRZ is a bit top-heavy and not as maneuverable as one would expect, the XRR is not so top-heavy but it is heavier, so I am not sure which bike wins out there. The XRR is more comfortable power and gearing wise on the road, although wind blast becomes an issue if you are cruising over 125 kph.

The DRZ has some vulnerability issues, be sure to get guards for the magnesium engine side covers, radiators, and hoses.

My XRR held up very well to the challenge, although the original chain and sprockets were wasted by the end of the trip.

Hope that helps -

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Old 27 Jun 2006
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Mike thanks for the quick and very acknowledgeable response. Glad to find someone who owns both bikes. You where right on the money with “I am guessing you will be doing a fair amount of off-road/jeep trails” hopefully more than 99%

She is 5’10” around 140lbs and no clue on the number of push-ups, but we work out and climb a lot together. Yea, she is tough.

Is your XR650R “uncorked”? I feel an uncorked XR650R is a torque monster but I do agree with it being controllable.

I do not own a DRZ400S but I do own a XR650R and I thought they where closer in size and weight than you implying.



Weight: 277 lbs (I know it will have lbs added for D/S)
Seat height: 36.8 inches
Wheelbase: 58.3 inches

Weight: 291 lbs (I know it can easily be lightened up by 10 lbs)
Seat height: 36.8 inches
Wheelbase: 58.5 inches

I feel they both have problems that need to be ironed out before a big trip.

Mike what made you decide to take the XRR over the DRZ on your trip?

Still wondering if the power difference is big enough to warrant going with the DRZ400S?

Thanks once again
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Old 27 Jun 2006
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Tough girls are cool and from your description it doesn't sound like she should have a problem with the XR650R.

The DRZ400SE and XR650R were the exact bikes that I was considering for my 2001 trip. I felt that the extra power and gear spacing on the XRR was going to be worth the extra effort of the dual sport conversion. Not because the riding was going to require more power than the DRZ has, but I felt the DRZ comes up short for extended road cruising because its combination of power and gear spacing is more comfortable off-road or at lower speeds. And if you raise the final drive, first gear will be too tall.

On a previous trip through Mexico and Central America, I had ridden a DR350ES, which was great, and I feel a more versatile bike than the DRZ. The DR350ES is comfortable cruising at 130kph, and yet can manage nearly any trail an enduro bike can do (though not as fast).

E-Line in Massachusetts did my dual sport conversion, including the uprated stator and a 55/100 watt H4 headlight. Interestingly, the XRR is available in full dual sport trim from Honda in some other countries, such as Guatemala.

My XRR had just the basic uncorking. I kept the exhaust stock and replaced the rubber intake manifold and rejetted as recommended. The bike ran great and started first kick hot or cold. I would be very wary of doing extra power mods, as I don't think what you would gain would be worth the hassle of hard starting or a loss of throttle response.
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