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ha ha .. thanks, @OCL. Just happen to see your post.

I think I'm not going to shake loose all the parts in my Ninja with this kind of roads. There's no need for this. For them (in India), I believe some of their roads are unpaved in many villages, away from big cities.

I have been constructing a short list of bikes for Backcountry Discovery Routes (BDR). So far, nothing stands out because it's a struggle to balance among these 3 requirements:
  1. weight of motorcycle (lower better for off-road)
  2. comfort on long distance asphalt (to get to the BDR roads): bigger engine (less vibrations) - conflicts with [1].
  3. seat height : higher is better for off-road but my inseam is only 30" --- vertically challenged!
The closest compromise is a 2022 Honda CB500X (released in Europe) but we'll see when they come to the US. Have to mod it with Rally Raid and add a few protection accessories from SW-Motech for BDR, though. No sure, if I will enjoy the vibrations at 65 MPH. Heck, I may end up with an Africa Twin (low seat option), although the Versys650 and Vstrom650 may be viable as well. The gadgetry of the BMW R1250GSA is eye-popping but the Sterling Noren incident with the shaft breakage is scary. Just thinking out loud ...
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Arthury, I'm about the same size as you.

Weight: Yes lower is better off road. But also the height of where that weight is located matters A LOT. You can have the same weight bikes, but if one has a lower center of gravity, that bike will feel lighter AND will be easier to pick up from a drop.

Comfort: For long trips on asphalt, two words: wind protection and a comfy seat. You can have a slow-*** bike, but when you have the former two, you will be just fine. Engine vibes are not an issue with any modern motorcycle. The new KLR for example, appears to have minimized vibrations from its big thumper (You Tube ride reviews of the 2022 model).

Seat Height: See weight above. A bike with a high center of gravity will feel "taller". I was able to put one foot down on my 35" seat height DR650 because it had a narrow seat and low weight. Off road, it was actually easier to put both feet down because the ground was softer and the bike's tires sat lower into the soft ground. Sounds counter intuitive but that's how it worked out for me. However, when I loaded the bike's rear seat (bags filled with stuff and extra fuel), my DR650 felt top heavy.

I honestly think the KLR650 the right bike for all the above. The new one has a lower seat height and a lower center of gravity compared to the old bike. It has over 250 miles of range (excellent for BDR work). It has excellent wind management. It's smooth for a big thumper. The price new, tops out at $8k MSRP. I'm seriously considering this bike myself. I have a VStrom 650 XT and I also love this bike. I don't know if I want to take it on a BDR route with a lot of off road though. It does well on Forest Service roads rated "Easy". It starts to struggle at "Moderate" rated trails. Or maybe it's me who starts to struggle...LOL! Regardless. The KLR will eat up Moderate trails that my VStrom would find challenging due to suspension limitations.
 

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Arthury, I'm about the same size as you.

Weight: Yes lower is better off road. But also the height of where that weight is located matters A LOT. You can have the same weight bikes, but if one has a lower center of gravity, that bike will feel lighter AND will be easier to pick up from a drop.

Comfort: For long trips on asphalt, two words: wind protection and a comfy seat. You can have a slow-*** bike, but when you have the former two, you will be just fine. Engine vibes are not an issue with any modern motorcycle. The new KLR for example, appears to have minimized vibrations from its big thumper (You Tube ride reviews of the 2022 model).

Seat Height: See weight above. A bike with a high center of gravity will feel "taller". I was able to put one foot down on my 35" seat height DR650 because it had a narrow seat and low weight. Off road, it was actually easier to put both feet down because the ground was softer and the bike's tires sat lower into the soft ground. Sounds counter intuitive but that's how it worked out for me. However, when I loaded the bike's rear seat (bags filled with stuff and extra fuel), my DR650 felt top heavy.

I honestly think the KLR650 the right bike for all the above. The new one has a lower seat height and a lower center of gravity compared to the old bike. It has over 250 miles of range (excellent for BDR work). It has excellent wind management. It's smooth for a big thumper. The price new, tops out at $8k MSRP. I'm seriously considering this bike myself. I have a VStrom 650 XT and I also love this bike. I don't know if I want to take it on a BDR route with a lot of off road though. It does well on Forest Service roads rated "Easy". It starts to struggle at "Moderate" rated trails. Or maybe it's me who starts to struggle...LOL! Regardless. The KLR will eat up Moderate trails that my VStrom would find challenging due to suspension limitations.
Ideally, for an asphalt/off-road (60/40) application, I think these 2 bikes are probably the best:

I'll have to sit on them to try them out at the dealers to have a good feel for the ergonomics.
 

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Here's a comparison between the two:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Big Rock Moto does really good, honest reviews, even though the host does get a bit whiny and can talk endlessly sometimes. LOL! He generally does like the KLR after his initial test ride. And this guy has an AT, a GS1250, etc., and is an expert off road rider. He also did a pretty honest review of the 2018 VStrom 650 XT. I watched this video too and he was hauling *** off road on the VStrom and he kept bottoming out the suspension! It wasn't until he slowed down and things calmed down, which was when he admitted this is the way the VStrom needs to be ridden off road. He didn't have any such qualms with the 2022 KLR650. He was cruising at a good clip off road on it.

Tenere 700 is like a merging of the KLR and the VStrom, which means it rocks off road! On road, the VStrom has the edge as it's optimized for on-road handling. It's also lower to the ground, which makes it easier to handle at slower speeds, and you can ride it like a sportbike at higher speeds. The VStrom 650 also has a higher top end power at a higher RPM, which means you can wind out the motor and be more fun that way. I like that about my VStrom.

If I can only have one bike, I think I'd get the Tenere 700. But if I already had a Ninja 1000, I would gravitate towards the KLR650. What pushed me towards the VStrom 650 versus the Tenere 700 is the presence of tubeless spoked wheels on the VStrom. Tenere has tubed tires. And the fact that the KLR wasn't out yet when I bought my VStrom.
 

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What are the main pros/cons of Tube vs Tubeless ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You can repair most tubeless flats using conventional methods FROM THE OUTSIDE, while the tire is mounted on the rim and on the bike.

You cannot repair tubed tire flats from the outside. You MUST remove the whole wheel off the bike, remove the tire off the wheel, replace the tube, re-install...in the field. Suffice it to say, this solutions sucks donkey balls! It's hard enough to do that at home, imagine doing that in the middle of nowhere, with rocks and dirt all around you and it's 85 degrees F outside. It can be done but it's a royal Pain in the A$$! This means if you have tubed tires, you must always carry the tools to remove wheel and break the tire bead, and lift the bead off the wheel.

This is exactly why I went with the VStrom 650.

Take a quick look at the KTM 390 ADventure. Direct competitor to the Honda CB500x, but better off road and already off road ready from the showroom. The 390 ADV comes with tubeless tires and costs less than the Honda, but faster than the Honda!
 

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What are the main pros/cons of Tube vs Tubeless ?
That is something you will see a lot of debate from adventure riders and dirt bike riders.
In the past, bikes with spoked wheels essentially had to run tubes, because the rim wasn't sealed (every spoke went through a hole in the rim). Now we've got tubeless spoked rims, but there are bikes that come with traditional style spoked wheels that still need to run a tube, and this complicates the discussion, because it on some cases the choice isn't just about a tube vs tubeless tire, but about spoked vs cast aluminum wheels (with a potential big difference there in how durable a rim is).
With a tubeless tire, you can generally use a simple plug kit to make a temporary roadside repair to a puncture. With a tube tire, you would need to remove the wheel from the bike so that you can remove the tube and either patch it or replace it.
 

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[...]
Take a quick look at the KTM 390 ADventure. Direct competitor to the Honda CB500x, but better off road and already off road ready from the showroom. The 390 ADV comes with tubeless tires and costs less than the Honda, but faster than the Honda!
The KTM 390 is a European bike and it is also made in China. ;)
 

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The KTM 390 is a European bike and it is also made in China. ;)
No disrespect but I think you are wrong. KTM bikes are made in Austria. The only KTM bike made outside of Austria is the 790. Both the duke and ADV are made in the Philippines. Not sure why. If I am wrong, I apologize in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The KTM 390 Adventure was made in India in 2020, but I believe they are now made in the the Philippines beginning 2021. The Honda CBR500x and KLR650 are both made in Thailand. A number of Triumphs are also made in Thailand. Some BMW's are made in China.

VStroms and Tenere's still made in Japan. Their pricing are still able to support building them there. Someday it may not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The KTM 390 is a European bike and it is also made in China. ;)
The KTM 390 Adventure is one of those bikes I believe punches above its weight and displacement class. It's power to weight ratio is actually BETTER than the CB500x and KLR650. The KTM also comes very well equipped:

TFT display
Multi-mode traction control (very handy off road)
Crash Bars (none on KLR base model or CB500x)
Engine skid plate (none on CB500x)
More protective handguards (none on CB500x and a joke on the KLR650)

Also not common knowledge, there are a few aftermarket suppliers to the KTM that allows you to ADD power to the bike with minimum investment. There's even a plug-in tuner and open air box available (by Coober). Good luck finding that with the CB500x and the KLR650 is too new to have any aftermarket support. I'm sure it will very soon.

KTM 390 ADV is 385 lbs. wet.
KLR650 is 465 lbs. wet with ABS
CB500x is 430 lbs. wet

All three of these bikes make about 38-40 rwhp. The KTM also has a much higher rev ceiling (Peak power happens at 9k RPM while the other two are both below 8k RPM). Which is why the KTM walks away from them every time.
 

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The KTM 390 Adventure was made in India in 2020, but I believe they are now made in the the Philippines beginning 2021. The Honda CBR500x and KLR650 are both made in Thailand. A number of Triumphs are also made in Thailand. Some BMW's are made in China.

VStroms and Tenere's still made in Japan. Their pricing are still able to support building them there. Someday it may not.
Thanks for the correction and no offense to European bike fans. BMW, KTM, Aprilia, etc have exciting products.
And, I have owned brand new BMW M3's before and still own a M235xi. It's just that their parts are significantly more expensive.
 

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Thanks for the correction and no offense to European bike fans. BMW, KTM, Aprilia, etc have exciting products.
And, I have owned brand new BMW M3's before and still own a M235xi. It's just that their parts are significantly more expensive.
Why not just go with an EXC and leave all the others in your dust?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
EXC would be an Enduro with very high maintenance level (and kick a$$ performance). To do a BDR with camping gear and long highways in between, I wouldn't take something like that.
 

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Why not just go with an EXC and leave all the others in your dust?
Yes, yes, I know these exist and so do CRF250, CRF300 Rally, and the rest of 80% off-road bikes.
 
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