Tough decisions ahead

Upon deciding that a new bike was an inevitable purchase if I wanted to escape before the riding season ended, I discovered that I was faced with a plethora of potential replacement options. New or used? Big bore or little bore? Carburetor or EFI? Touring or enduro? I had to ask myself why I’m replacing my current bike, what made me unhappy with my current bike, what made me happy about my current bike, and how much am I going to spend?

Answers came easily; I’m replacing my current bike because my current bike is a piece of shit. What made me unhappy about my old bike? That it didn’t work. What made me happy about my current bike? It was orange. How much am I going to spend? Anyone who has known me for a while will gladly answer this question for me, not much.

I decided against used because for a change, I would like to treat myself. Why not spend a little more now and save myself the future headaches of a previous owners neglect.

I looked around at my options; KTM 500 EXC, KTM 350 EXC, KTM 690 Enduro R, Honda XR650, Honda CRF250L, Kawasaki KLR650, Kawasaki KLX250S, Yamaha WR250R, Suzuki DR650, Suzuki DR-Z400S, Husqvarna 701 Enduro. So many options..

My favorite part of being on a motorcycle is being a hooligan. Having fun and holding on for dear life is an integral part of this experience so I knew that whatever I got, the smiles per mile were going to be an important factor. Having ridden a bike with a lot of power for almost 10 years, I knew there was no way I would be satisfied on a 250. I also love single track, nasty enduro trails so there was no way I was getting something big and heavy, see you later Japanese 650’s.

That left the KTM’s, the Husky, and little Dr Suzy. The Husky is essentially a KTM 690 with different colors and I prefer orange, so Husky’s gone. Now, I’m fine with the orange blooded, Austrian beasts requiring a little bit more maintanance than their Asian competition, but the 350 and 500 EXC’s first service is after one.. hour.. No thanks, not at their price tag..

So down to the 690 and the 400. They weigh about the same because Suzy is using some slightly outdated (early 2000’s) technology. It’s got a carb, old school non-inverted forks. Body works a bit dated but still functional. However, it’s half the price of the 690. It’s also a 400cc so insurance will be dirt cheap compared to the 690. Its also got the reputation of being the AK47 of dual sports. Beat the snot of it and it’ll come running back for more, a welcome change from my current KTM woes.

Looks like I’m going to be making the sensible, adult choice and bringing the DR-Z400 home.


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