What bike should I buy for mountains and pavement?

Image for article titled I want something sporty to take on mountain trails and sidewalks.  What motorcycle should I buy?

Photo: Yamaha

Ted is a big guy who lives in the mountains outside of Denver, Colorado. His day-to-day is one of the reputed kings of off-roading, a Wrangler JK, but he’s looking for something two-wheeled to take along for rides for the same purpose on sunny days to come. Since Tom McParland of Jalopnik out for the week, he left us rogue to answer this week’s question, “What is Motorbike Should I buy?”

(Welcome back to Which car should you buy? Where we give real people real advice on buying cars. )

Here is the scenario:

Hoping to maybe throw you a curveball on what car should I buy by asking you about motorcycles. My daily life is a 2018 Wrangler JK, which yes I do off-road as often as possible. Looking for something fun to ride on sunny days I’m in the mood for something sportier. I live in the mountains northwest of Denver and my house is about three and a half miles of dirt roads back from the nearest sidewalk. Additionally, a good number of roads in the area are dirt and there are also plenty of national forest trails. So look for something that’s good on the pavement but won’t struggle to get there. My previous experience was on a Yamaha 650 Special II that I rode in the early 90s, so it’s been a while. I liked the 650, but something sportier and with enough power to compensate for the altitude (about 8500 feet). I’m about 6’2″, 210 pounds, so nothing super small. Thinking about $10,000 or less for the bike, knowing I’ll need about $2,000 more for a helmet and gear safety Any recommendations?

Fast facts:

Budget: $10,000

Location: Denver, Colorado

Wants: Something fun to ride that can handle dirt, trails and pavement with enough power to handle 8500 feet of elevation gain

Will not : Nothing super small

Expert 1: Bradley Brownell – Getting Starbucks on a Budget

Image for article titled I want something sporty to take on mountain trails and sidewalks.  What motorcycle should I buy?

Picture: Cycle Trader

Leave it to a BMW GS rider to preach the GS gospel, but honestly, I couldn’t be happier with my inexpensive adventure bike. I picked up this bike’s older cousin, an R1100GS last summer, and after a few thousand kilometers of driving without problems, I can’t recommend it enough. There’s a reason these bikes are so popular. It’s the right size and horsepower for your needs, and it has some of the most impressive off-road chop of any bike on the road today. Add smooth highway driving manners and it’s the perfect all-rounder.

The oil-headed BMW GS is one of those motorcycles that comes with a lifestyle, and you kind of have to lean into it. A solid GS that you can ride every day costs a lot less than your budget and leaves more room for reflective ATGATT dork gear and highlighter yellow. I don’t know for sure, but I’ve heard that a GS won’t even start if you’re not dressed like an elementary school crossing guard.

This silver 2002 1150 GS has all the cool accessories you could ever need, and more, with metal housings, bark suppressors, adjustable Ohlins, aftermarket exhaust, hinged mirrors and engine bars for to name a few. You can find it on CycleTrader for $5,995, and it’s just a short jaunt from Boulder, so you should definitely go there this weekend. It only has 62,000 miles on it and could pick up and go another 62,000 miles nonstop if you wanted to.

Expert 2: Mercedes Streeter – The Grandfather of Pan America

Image for article titled I want something sporty to take on mountain trails and sidewalks.  What motorcycle should I buy?

The Harley-Davidson Pan America has grabbed our headlines and our hearts to be a true competitor to BMW’s best. But what if you want to ride an American ADV but don’t have that kind of dough? Discover the Buell Ulysses.

The Buell Ulysses is quite far. Take everything Buell was known for – fuel stored in the bike’s frame, floating brakes, incredible agility and that lumpy V-twin – then throw in some off-road gear. What you get is still a Buell. It’s a bike that will lean if you just think about turning, but now you won’t be afraid to take it on a trail or on a long road trip. I saw them with 100,000 miles covered by the scars of a pilot who enjoyed their Buell in the desert.

I know the prospects of a bike from a dead brand sound scary, but remember these use Harley parts. And in a pinch, you can use generic parts to make them work. Now, I’ll be the first to say that the GS will be the best off-road choice. However, once you drive a Buell, you won’t be able to wipe the smile off your face.

Here’s one in Rapid City, South Dakota for only $4,499. If you’re driving home, you have a scenic way to familiarize yourself with your new vehicle!

Expert 3: José Rodríguez Jr. – The Dirtbike That Can Turn

Image for article titled I want something sporty to take on mountain trails and sidewalks.  What motorcycle should I buy?

Ted, like the other experts, I think a ADV Bike is exactly what you need! I’m almost a whole foot shorter than you so I tend to suggest smaller, lighter bikes, but since you want something that matches your height and elevation, a big ADV is best! Balancing size and weight with power is always a valid off-road concern. So I recommend this 2012 KTM Adventure-R 990.

KTM is not known for its reliability; this bike is not like the Kawasaki KLR650 or the Suzuki DR-Z400. It will never be like a Honda Africa Twin. It also won’t be as comfortable as a big BMW GS, or as quirky as a Buell. But what the KTM lacks in reliability or comfort, it makes up for with to concentrate.

This KTM will be quite sporty while riding rocky mountain past. The V-Twin should get you started quickly, and its suspension and chassis will be balanced. But the path is where the Adventure-R 990 makes sense. It will look more like a big dirtbike than an adventure tourer. The exhausts reveal its motocross origins and the dual gas tanks are neat, albeit for practical reasons, as the bike holds relatively little fuel.

This KTM is under budget by $9,468. You could spend Continued, but this one comes straight from Dakar! And since it’s cheaper, you’ll keep your equipment budget intact. When it comes to helmets, I’m in favor of Arai. Schuberth is good. To verify Rukka for jackets. And Tenuous for the gloves. Finally, an ADV bike is not complete without storage, and giant loop looks great on KTMs.

Expert 4: Lalita Chemello – How about a cheap date?

Imagine, it could be you.

Imagine, it could be you.
Photo: Kawasaki

Ted, I jumped a lot for this. Your quest to find something sporty to handle the local roads, whether gravel, trail or pavement, is something I have also considered for my next motorcycle purchase. While it’s nice to have just one trail bike or one road bike, why choose between two bikes when you can have one for each purpose? There will never be a path you cannot walk.

Which brings me to the earlier mention of Jose on the Kawasaki KLR650. Kawasaki introduced the KLR650 as a replacement for the KLR600 in 1987. Over the past 35 years the bike has seen few changes, with the engine gaining a few cc’s in the later years, and the introduction of electronic fuel injection and of ABS in its latest iteration. (2022).

It’s not a bike you really have to compromise on. The KLR650 is known for being affordable (MSRP is $6,999 with ABS, $6,699 without), while being incredibly capable of handling any terrain you encounter, and has been used successfully for multiple excursions. world. The 650’s 34.3″ seat height will make your 6’2″ frame fit comfortably, and because it’s been designed to carry more than the rider, it should be easy to move around, while still accommodating some luggage. by hand. You can add all accessories with all the money you save, and at this price you won’t be disappointed if it gets a little scratched or scratched on your adventures.

I found you one some KLR650with lots in this bright red-orange color near you. The only thing to consider is that if you want ABS on a newer 650, you might have to wait. According to friends from a local store near me, due to the shortage of chips, many stores are waiting a while to get bikes with ABS. So it’s up to you to decide if something like this is worth the wait.


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