HorseeMay 3, 2001 (Updated Oct 23, 2002) Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line Useful, light, easy to handle, let you go almost everywhere.
A dual purpose motorcycle - DPM is used to go off road and on road. Some motorcycles which are considered as dual purpose are more suitable to go off road and others are more suitable to go on road. All of the dual purpose bikes have some of both capabilities.
DPMs are good for start riding on, because they are light, controllable and behave like a good horse. They enable you to go on difficult roads and areas, on long travels and find shortcuts where cars or other motorcycles will not go. Riding off road is good thing in itself because it teaches you how to control the bike in harder situations and falling off is not very dangerous.
DPM's are excellent in areas where the roads are bumpy. They are not intended for riding in very high speeds. The smaller types like YAMAHA XT 350, Suzuki DR 350 and Kawasaki KLR 250 usually go to 75-90 mph (120-145 km/h) and the bigger ones like Suzuki DR 650se, Kawasaki KLR 650, Honda XR 650l and YAMAHA XT 600e go to 90-110 mph (145-180 km/h).
Riding off road may be more fun even with a small and light DPM then riding a heavy street bike in high speed.
DPMs have higher clearance, longer suspension, single cylinder, and lighter wheels then most motorcycles except Off Road motorcycles.
Although Off Road motorcycles are usually lighter then DPMs, Off Road motorcycles are less convenient to be ridden on road because their seat is usually very narrow, the suspension is harder, they create more vibrations and the rider seat even higher then on a DPM which make it harder to get the legs to the ground when required. Also, their fuel tank is originally very small, therefore their driving range is originally around 100-125 miles ( 160-200 km).
The smaller size DPMs like Yamaha XT 350 and Suzuki DR 350 are more suitable for riding off road then riding on road. This means that their top speed may be less then even smaller DPMs like Kawasaki KLR 250 which is a DPM that tend more for the road. Honda XR 250l is considered even in off road/on road capabilities.
An intermediate size DPMs are the older Honda XR 600 weighs only 271 lb (123 kg) and suitable for beginners and experienced riders, and the new age Suzuki DRZ 400, powered mostly for racing.
The bigger size DPMs like Suzuki DR 650se, Kawasaki KLR 650, Honda XR 650l and YAMAHA XT 600e are considered more touring bikes then real dual purpose. This is mainly because of their dry weight which is around 350 lb (158 kg). They will go off road but some of them are limited mainly to trails.
There are motorcycles that look like a DPM but are really for street only like Kawasaki KLE 500 that weighs 395 lb (178 kg) dry and much more wet, and Honda Transalph. Also BMW F650 which weighs 426 lb (192 kg) without fuel, oil and cooling liquid and you can use off road if you have the guts and know how to lift it in case it falls down.
There is some fashion now to change a dual purpose bike to be a street bike by replacing the tires to be street only and smaller and improving the engine and hardening the suspension. This create a street only bike of type that is called Motard and can be handled better then regular street motorcycles.
Currently, Dual Purpose motorcycle have less priority in production of motorcycle manufacturers then before, simply because they sells less. One explanation is less areas for riding off road in Europe. I think its also because cars become faster and the roads better, while DPMs have limited speeds.
I'm having a KLR 250. I call it Horsee and it lets me go almost anywhere with enough speed on the road. Its also light enough to let me lift it up while it falls down on some trail riding. And also kind enough to let me stay up on my feet sometimes even when he falls down.
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