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newbie looking for some advice

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  • #18722
    Eric Gosse
    • Rank: 50cc Rider

    Hey all. I’m a new rider that’s looking at getting into adventure riding. I’m 5’8″ and I’m wondering what would be a good option for primarily a 30min commute to work, but can still do some decent off road riding.

    I was considering an 800gs, but someone suggested i look at the new 650 V-strom.

    Any help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated

    • Town/City: Tauranga
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV, BMW R100GS
    • Rank: Round the World Adventure Globetrotter

    Define ‘decent off road riding’? While both the bikes you’ve mentioned are good bikes as soon as you get off a firm flat surface the weight of the bike is your biggest enemy, and both those bikes are big and heavy.

    Based on you being a new rider I’d recommend you look at something small and lightweight, i.e in the 250-650 single cylinder range.

    • Bike: KTM 690 Enduro / KTM 250 exc
    • Rank: 125cc Rider

    Those bikes you have mentioned are really good for showing off outside a café. Don’t go that path if you are serious considering off road. I’ve started with an Aprilia Pegaso after being just a road rider for few years. What a big mistake super heavy, suspension travel was a joke. Now I have a DR 650 (best bike on the planet by far).

    • Bike: R1200GS, DL650, DRZ250, DRZ400S,
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    Hey Eric, welcome aboard.

    Agree it depends what you mean by off road. If you mean really off road then the best bet is a trail bike with off road tyres. They are cheaper to buy. But you cannot use it for a commute.

    This brings up a key issue. Any bike you buy to do more than one thing is a compromise. If it can do both it won’t be great at either.

    I was in a similar situation to you, so I can offer the following from personal experience. I wanted to get into more adventurous riding but do about 80 to 90 percent of my riding on the Tarmac, and a lot of that is two up with my wife. So I traded my CB900 for a 650 Vstrom. I read all the guff on all the websites about it not being an offroad bike and I agree that, in my very untutored hands, it would be a liability on farm or through a forest. I do however take it on any gravel road you like, two up, and it’s great for that.
    It also looks awesome parked outside cafes. It’s super comfy on the main roads one and two up, so it’s great tourer. I love it.

    So after a while on gravel I had a hankering to actually do some real off road stuff. So I bought a near new drz250. Added a baseplate, a rack and some hand guards….bingo…el cheapo adventure bike. It’s road registered so I can ride to the off road bits and ride home. Except that don’t cos that wears out the knobbly tyres ( which it would be useless off road without) real fast. So for the four or five times a year I will actually do that, I put it on my mates trailer with his trail bike. I’m now thinking I might get some off road tyres and swap them over for these infrequent events and then put more road oriented tyres on it the rest of the time.

    So horses for courses. If you are truly a beginner, a modern 250 is all you need. There are lots of options on trade me. Moving the Vstrom around in the garage will probably be enough to put you off! It’s heavy.

    Btw, I don’t know where you are but I have both those bikes in my garage if you want come and have a look and compare.

    • Town/City: Richmond
    • Rank: 1000cc Rider

    You’ve gotta really decide what percentage of on and off road use you intend to do before deciding which bike would suit you, IMHO.
    Took me ages, and many bike changes, to realize if you want decent off road capabilities you must be prepared to tolerate a less comfortable time when on long road sections.
    As for tyres, a ‘uni’ type is perfectly ok for both on and off road, as long as its not too muddy,, no tyre more suited to road is any good in slippy shit.

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