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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 5 Feb 2008
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: London
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Pre '90s - Suzuki DR vs Yamaha XT - first thoughts

Adding my comments to existing debate, now that I've become the (somewhat reluctant) owner of an XT600 in addition to my DR600.

The following factors influence my view

1) I'm female, 5'11"

2) my comments are not meant to be technically accurate

3) Both bikes are pre 1990 and are STANDARD (both bikes can no doubt be modified to perform equally)

4) Approx DR experience: 2,000m (city, highway, rough offroad (disused quarries)

5) Approx XT miles: (only) 150m (city, highway)

Both bikes:

1) Are tough, have been around for ages and are still going strongly - very good, clean models are around

2) Require a level of mechanical expertise, to keep them well maintained and TLC'd. Buy a workshop manual.

3) Have a good range of after market parts available

4) Have a VIGOROUS following - so info, advice and bits are freely available

5) Are mechanically reasonably simple

XT : even this early on, there are the following - plusses:

1. Kick starts a MILLION times easier than the DR

2. Docile and predictable (power delivery feels very smoothly distributed across gears)

3. Hardly ANY vibration (less bits fall off, and bum doesn't go numb)

4. VERY stable on the road, even in high winds - feels like you're driving a ship

5. More parts available on Ebay. Cheaper.

DR Plusses

1. MUCH more "torquey" - lots of instant power available when you drop a gear - XT seems "flatter"

2. Feels physically "lighter" to handle, more responsive than XT

3. Clocks are much easier to read, controls easier. (XT's indicators are a pain)

4. Despite its size, agile and manageable even on rough off-road terrain (as long as you don't fall off!) - XT feels a bit more 'sluggish'

5. Very, very reliable:
Smashed it into a ditch, taking out two roadsigns - picked it up, straigtened bars and rode off - bike didn't even cough.
Fallen off hundreds of times - never broke anything - plastics just bend back, indicators wobble back, handle bars straighten, bike goes on.
Left outside 6 mnts in winter - started after a few kicks, ran fine.
6. Much, much more fun than XT

PRESENT CONCLUSION (I will report back, once I've got more off-road experience on the XT)

If you're going to do looooaaads of road miles, I would choose the XT. Even though its a bit like having to pick the station wagon, instead of the sportster... it seems like the sensible choice.

If, however, you'd rather have fun on the road, prefer more 'frisky', responsive performance, the DR is tops.

Can't say yet - but believe the XT will not be as manageable as the DR offroad... but then, I'm biased.

Last edited by XT GIRL; 5 Feb 2008 at 03:59.
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Old 5 Feb 2008
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Scotland
Posts: 66
Hi there, I used to own a DR600, and went trail riding with my brother on his 1VJ Tenere. The XT is like a trials bike in tight going, it steers quicker finds grip where the DR will spin up. For nadgery stuff, id go for the XT every time. It feels flatter, but it nice has a linear power that lets it find it's way through mud and up climbs without any nasty surprises.

I also own a 3AJ Tenere now, and apart from being top heavy, it is relatively easy to handle off road, and like the 1VJ, is comfortable and great for distance work.

The DR has that kick in the power which if it comes in at the wrong time can be embarrasing, but at the right time and place makes it a total hoot to ride. Its more of a play bike, I always thought it would make a good supermoto. For open going off road, or for playing on backroads, the DR is great fun to ride.

Like I say, Ive owned both, and loved them both.

However, you hit the nail on the head with the DRs downfall. If the engine stalls, (pretty easy in tight going), then you could be in for a long kicking session. The 3Aj is electric boot only, and this gives it one thing that the DR cant match, easy starting!

Its all horses for courses, isnt it!

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