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Discussion Starter #1
So I have a 2015 Tdub, and love it, but I've been looking at getting a slightly larger more highway capable (120km/h) bike, I've been looking at the Honda cb500x, or the dr650. Buying new, or used model less than 5yrs old.

Here's the criteria - my Tdub is set up for street use, the new bike will also be mostly street, but needs to be more off-road capable than the Tw - my offloading consists of dirt farm/bush trails (can be muddy sometimes) and long stretches of loose gravel roads. My Tw does not like either of these situations as much since I set it up with street tires, but I enjoy it on the street and won't be switching it back - I'm okay with that.

What I'm wondering is, have any of you had experience with either/both of these bikes? I know both will hold the speed I want quite well, and I also know both are decent on fuel - the cb500x is rated much higher tho - the same as the Tw from what I understand. What I'm mainly wondering is if the cb in stock form can handle the off-road I described - I realise I may need DS tires but that's ok. If not, is the CB that much better on the highway that I would be disappointed with a Dr for highway use?

Also any ideas on longevity of the Dr and CB before needing an engine rebuild? (roughly obviously - as a mechanic I realise driving and maintenance habits greatly affect this)....... On that note what is Tw life expectancy as well?
 

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Hmm, the stock rear TW tire with an improved front tire like the Shinko 241 are great street tires that are also great on gravel and in most off-road situations. I understand the desire for a second bike that is more highway capable. I've set up my TW as a trail bike with 13-54 gearing, so nothing more than short highway runs to get to dirt or gravel for it. I also gave it a 2013 Honda CB500F as a stablemate. When I got it, its purpose was street use. Are you familiar with Rally-Raid Products Ltd? They engineered products to improve the CB500X to make it a legit middle-weight ADV bike. Two levels of kits are offered. Level 1, keeps the stock suspension travel, approx. seat height, and 17" wheels. Level 2 increased the ground clearance, suspension travel and seat height 2", allowing for a larger 19" wheel to be put on the front. Both levels use suspension components from Tractive. I'll add some informative videos below.

Anyway, I love the Honda 500 series. and I've often advised that it pairs wonderfully with the TW. If you can find a used X with a Rally Raid kit already fitted, that would be ideal. Many love the DR too, I'm sure, but I prefer the new tech and the twin over the old tech vibey single.

Something that I've had in the works for a long time has been transforming my bike, giving it some ADV capabilities, and the RR Level 1 kit also fits the 500F. I'm finally finished and ready for the Wallowa Valley Adventure Jamboree in Oregon next week. Here is my "Halfrica Twin" CB500F fitted with the Rally Raid Level 1 suspension kit, 17" spoked wheels (with a tubeless treatment done by Bartubeless and fitted with TKC80 tires) bash plate, footpegs, and rear brake reservoir protector. I've also added an R&G radiator protector, Tusk handguards, TW200 bars, Ken Sean dual sport folding mirrors, Shock Sox fork seal protectors, a Puig screen, Two Bros. exhaust with spark arrestor, and a Dowco FasttraX tank bag. With the extra wheel set, I can keep the knobbies on spokes and some sport tires on the OEM cast aluminum, and switch back and forth as desired.


WP_20180601_001.jpg


Here is a great off-road review of a stock 500X with a link to a follow up review they did on a Rally Raid CB500X Adventure...


Here is a video where Juan Brown, blancolirio on YouTube, compares the Level 1 and Level 2 kit options. Juan's channel has a lot of Rally Raid CB500X information, and adventure videos, and it is a fantastic resource...

 

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We rode West Virginia in a dual sport event. The DR650 that was with us was doing it all very well, very impressed with that bike.
 

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I've been on three group TW rides where we were accompanied by a 2017 CB500X with various RallyRaid goodies.

Two trail attempts were cut short when the Honda just couldn't make it on intermediate TW terrain featuring some rocks and loose dirt so we all turned around. It also collected some cosmetic damage in one tip over.

It and rider did make it through a rocky ledge section but it took TW riders to help push. It also did OK on two steep but firm fairly smooth roads to hilltop transmission stations, the sort of road one could just negotiate with a 2-wheel drive pick-up or carefully piloted sedan. That was impressive but had a simple eroded, rutted or rocky section been encountered I think it would have stopped the Honda or a sedan. It did do wonderfully on marginally maintained dirt roads

So I think it is the sort of bike one points in a different direction than what one would take on a TrailWay. Different strengths and weaknesses. It is a different tool for a different job. It does do that different job rather well.
I would be extremely hesitant to take one solo on anything more challenging than a graded fire road much less a single track trail unless it was something like a smooth wide open cow path.

It is a beautiful and impressive bike that should excel in it's intended application.

As to the DR, I've never seen one off-road.
 

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Seems like the KLR650 should be on your list, too.
Or the Honda XR650. I have a KLR and have ridden an XR650. My quick comparison between the 2, the XR is lighter and more off road oriented, the KLR has more power, but more weight also. XR is air cooled, KLR has a radiator waiting to get a hole in it, although mine never has in it's 30,000+miles. The DR, XR, and KLR are on the tall side. I know the XR and KLR weren't on the list, but you might want to consider them.
 

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The DR will be more dirt friendly, but will be buzzy for long stretches of pavement. I do a fair bit of FSR travel on my VStrom 650. Like the CB it does not have the suspension to handle the real rough stuff. My Skidplate takes a beating some days. Doing 120 kmph for any length of time, I find tiring even on the VStrom. A guy I ride with went from the CB500 X and a XT250 to an African twin. The new BMW 310 GS looks like it my do better. Many of the guys who had KLRs I know have gone to the WR250r. The bike can do Hwy speeds, but is much more capable off road. And as Fred suggested wait for the new Honda 450.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for replies guys, Larry I love your bike! That's a cool build. I am familiar with the rally raid products, not immediately, but if I got a cbx a stage 3 kit with the 19" and some tkc80 tires would be in store I think.

The reason I didn't include the klr is simply I'm not totally sold on the gen 2 styling - I know they are very capable bikes. As for the xr650L I'm unfortunately too short - 30" inseam.

The bike needs to be capable off road, but also very capable on road, I'm kinda leaning to the cbx for 6spd, less vibes from a twin, better mileage, and from what I've heard with good tires and a stage 3 RR it is decent off road. But I also really like the DR650 - I'm torn lol

Neither bike will remain stock for long - bash plates, tires, and the DR seat would all be changed shortly, along with racks and the like.

What Honda cr450L?????? I didn't know it existed - now I'm very curious, I'll look into that
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I've looked at the KTMs and the BMW gs, unfortunately while I love them they're a little out of my budget. The wr250r is a nice bike - but again I find it too tall - short guy problems lol.

As far as getting a street only bike I have strongly considered it, I live several miles down a gravel road though which can get pretty sketchy when they add 6" of fresh gravel each summer. I kinda prefer the dual sport/adventure style as well. I have looked at scramblers as an alternative tho. Kinda like the scr950, but it's not gonna do hardly any off road I don't think
 

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i think for what you seem to want, it doesn't exist. there is no all around great at everything, bike. i have a Dr650 and i had a TW. the TW will do most off road better and safer than my DR. with stock gearing and tires, the DR shouldn't leave the pavement. i dropped my front sprocket 1 tooth and it is still geared way too high for single track, i found out yesterday when the trail became steep and rocky. dam bike is just too heavy for me on that kind of riding. it is quite happy on the highway and will cruise at 60 to ? without a complaint. but, the gas mileage isn't there! i'm lucky to get 60 mpg ( imperial gallon ) i am going shopping for a cb500x this week as i have only heard one complaint on this bike, that is, it is too quiet. RIMG2298.JPG i have a yamaha bolt to trade as it is no good on gravel and a good ride has to include gravel, or it just isn't full filling
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Okay, that pretty much answers my question about the DR as one of the first things I was thinking of doing was larger front sprocket to help with highway cruise (same as I did for my Tw - running 15-47)- but if it's already geared too high as it is maybe the Cbx is a better choice
 

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one up on the front would make a DR great on the highway, 100 mph. bike is good on the pavement, but it's not a highway bike. i can't wait to sit on a CB. Larry, are you bringing yours to Winom-Frazier?
 

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Never ridden a CB500X (there physically to small for me to consider as my street bike). But I used to own a DR650. And for off road the DR was way more work than I thought it was worth. On road that bike was a blast huge torque and cruised fine at highways speeds (before I re geared it off road).

Honestly if you find a TW even on the street tires to be scetchy off road neither a DR650 or CB500X are going to work for you.

My advice to you would be to equip the TW for the dirt and put in some seat/peg time to learn to ride abit more. Off road things are going t squirm a bit no matter what machine or tires. But adding weight and power will only compound those squirmies.

As for a street bike than handles a gravel road. Well with practice that’s pretty much any machine. Personally I like my Vstrom for being silky smooth at speed comfy with great road manners. Having the traction control set on low allows me to play on the gravel without getting too far and the engine is truly a gem. It also fits perfectly with my 30” inseam and has plenty of fuel capacity. Throw in the factory tub less spoke wheels and I really can’t think of anything I’d trade it for currently.

But if you must absolutely choose between you two posted options. I would most deffinetly reccomend the DR650. It’s the only one that can do anything approaching real off road in stock form and for your projected use would cost the least.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Okay, so the DR seems to be happier on the road especially with different gearing than it is off road.

I had forgotten about the Vstrom dl650, it is another option, a friend has one and loves it, seems like a nice bike, he says it's pretty heavy for serious off-road though. But great on the highway.

You guys may be right, I should try to get some dirt time in to build confidence, something I'm really new to but want to be good at. I'll see about some serious knobbies as spare tires for the Tw, or maybe I should just pick up a small bike/another Tdub strickly for off road use?
 

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An important part of your decision should be seat height, especially if you are used to the TW. I test rode a CB500X and loved it. The seat position and height were very similar to my TW. But, it is not even close to the off road capabilty of my TW - it's a street bike!
 

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Rode today with a friend as he broke in a new KLX250. It seemed a trail worthy upgrade or alternative to the TW 200 . 305 lbs keeps it fairly nimble and a better off road machinebut it has half the motor as the Honda or Susuki.

2018-Kawasaki-KLX250-Camo-First-Look-dual-sport-motorcycle-2.jpg
 
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