While the lights and license plates make them legal rides where real off-road motorcycles aren`t, dual sports aren`t real off-road motorcycles. For starters, they`re all quiet enough to sneak past a stream of fly fishermen without a second look. All Suzuki, except the 350, are equally large, heavy and will probably win any control competition with the rider for one reason: weight. Weight is the enemy on the ground. It never gets tired, it tires you and it will crush you like a mosquito. When all things are equal, the lightest bike prevails. THE COVER, PLEASE No comparison beats the papyrus it`s printed on without hard-hitting conclusions, and here are ours, starting with our smallest entry, the Suzuki DR350S. By now, you`ve realized that the barely legal line is more than catchy ad copy. While the DR350 would benefit tremendously from some improvements in the suspension and traction departments, it`s small, lightweight, and at $3299 also relatively affordable. But while the small Suzuki is omnipotent off-road, it`s limited on the road by a lack of performance, driver and passenger comfort, and luggage handling capability.

You can`t have it all. This is the story of the XT, bought by a friend who has owned and driven it for many years. My intention was to bring it back to a factory fresh mint state, but with the changes at work, I won`t have time. Let`s start with the less good, there is a small oil leak from the seal of the countershaft, the carburetors need to be cleaned a little, the bike sometimes dies for no apparent reason. The right one! The bike is solid, the engine is always tight, all the electronics work (light indicators, etc.), the bike changes perfectly, tons of power. I have and will include with the sale a brand new Yamaha factory seat cover, a small drive sprocket, dust seals and fork seals, and an aluminum frame that I made. The bike also has an Ascerbis tank and after-sales brush protection. The plastics are all there. The tires still have a certain service life without dry rot. It has been kept in the garage for most of its life, I currently keep it under a carport with a motorcycle cover. It`s really a solid bike that can be made perfect again with a little TLC. It shoots in one or two kicks and runs smoothly in slow motion.

He is currently being registered and I have toured the city with him. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them and I`ll get back to you as soon as possible! RELIABILITY REPORT All our participants survived more or less intact if, at the end of the extravagance, some insignificant parts were missing. The Yamaha`s toolbox tried to throw itself over the first bump. The third bump finally came off; We never found it. The DR650 shook its exhaust pipe, but a few nuts copied from the other motorcycles got us back in action. The 350 lost a rear turn signal during a slow release, and the KLR blew its headlight fuse (the fuse box might be more accessible, by the way). Considering that everyone involved has been in the mud more than once, it is remarkable that our list of victims is no more. Just to get involved. I owned several Yamaha XT550s. All were beaten as only a careless and careless guy like me could give them. (Although I was good enough to change the oil and air filter), these are amazing machines.

Slightly wider than the older 500s, which in turn perhaps had a little more idle thrust. I have read the sentence several times that the valves (seats) of the XT550 fail after a while. One. It never happened in about 60,000 miles out of one. And 40k more to another 2. Only excessive oil leaks and a broken shift change due to an accident put them out of service. They never really stopped running. B. The XT550 is designed for leaded fuel – not unleaded.

So they would need a hardened valve seat upgrade for modern gas, I suppose. I only drove an XT600 once in a short day, but I felt like it had a little more power than the 550 but was bulkier. He has more travel, but he doesn`t ride as well in the dirt, that was my impression. Probably with the higher center of gravity. They seem to be as reliable as possible. I would always recommend the XT500/550/600 for an old enduro. They will outlive me, I would say. Have fun driving. Yamaha is doing good things.

The performance of the DR350 is relatively modest compared to modern road conditions, but with six well-distributed gears and an unbreakable clutch, it`s still easy to beat all-wheel drive. Taking luggage with you is not so easy, because the 350 has no carrier. Bringing a little DR to life is easy as long as you follow the exercise. From the cold, turn on the full choke, press the decompression lever and pass slowly. When the lever engages in place, hold the kick lever at the end of its hub and put a healthy chest. Once is usually enough if you follow the rules, more if you don`t. Yet publishers spoiled by a regular diet of electric starters complained every time they pulled the 350. While more visually appealing than the bespoke racks attached to the KLR, Tengai, and DR650, it`s rated at just 7 pounds: barely enough to carry Dexter`s lunch. The larger Suzuki DR has a conquering engine and felt quite comfortable on or off the tarmac, although it can`t quite match the comfortable ergonomics of the Kawasakis. Both Suzukis suffered from their lack of electric starters, although one-kick starting became quite common (especially if there was a money bet on that first kick). But arguing about the merits of these dual-purpose bikes is almost a debatable point: the most important feature to look for is a good friend to ride with. —Nick Lenatsch The engine balance shaft chain must be checked every 5,000 miles, a relatively complex process best left to dealers or qualified mechanics.

Yamaha has been building big singles for longer than anyone else in Japan, and SOHC`s air-cooled XT has proven to be bombproof. Ours was no exception. The XT`s valve quartet has to be handled every 3800 miles, but no radiator or pipe for fighting makes it easy to inspect and adjust locking screws/nuts. Maintenance is as simple and straightforward as possible. The Yamaha`s dry sump makes oil changes a bit difficult, and its disposable paper filter has no place on a bike with off-road ambitions. While not as fast or agile as its little brother, the DR650 is the most knowledgeable and trustworthy of the big singles. While its high seat height can be a little intimidating for riders under 5 feet 8 inches, acres of seamless power and the better suspension of big bikes make it firmly ahead of the road. The steering is pretty accurate if you`re riding a bike that weighs just under 400 pounds. The front end is reasonably reliable, and with maximum air pressure in the fork and full preload in the rear, the large DR handles well. That is, as long as the cyclist respects the limits of his off-road repertoire: try flashing a trail A en-duro and we will drop you a line in the intensive care unit. Impressive top-of-the-line performance, the latest 600cc 4-valve engine is ideal for low-speed trail driving and high-speed open road cruising.

And with its single-cross rear suspension and 41mm rigid forks, the XT suspension is more than capable of coping with any situation on or off the highway. That`s why you can take the latest XT600 with you almost anywhere. I have a 1986 600 XT and I want to know what it would take to work by adding an electric start system. For situations where starting is difficult or uncomfortable, you`ll be happy to know that the XT600E is fully equipped with an electric starter for effortless getaways! Kickstarter For purists who prefer to do things the traditional way, the XT600K is available with a traditional kickstarter. But apart from the absence of the electric starter, the machine is identical to the XT600E. The choice is yours Besides the fact that the Tengai is a little lower and its cockpit packaging and switching equipment are much nicer, the Kawasakis are almost identical in traffic. Neither steers as nimbly as the Yamaha, but both generate more power with less vibration. Both saddles give heavy riders (about 200 pounds) the impression that the foam has just melted, leaving them sitting on the seat shell after 30 miles. The two rear racks can weigh 22 pounds. The prospect of starting the DR650 led to glassy eyes, slurred speech, and a sudden interest in the rest room for the same snipers. It`s rarely more than a two-step suggestion when you`ve mastered the exercise, but soft street types still whine around.

After the same exercise, the 650 requires little more effort than its little brother. But it`s hard to perfect the routine when you`re stuck in the middle of an intersection with a whipped right leg and a flooded engine, even harder with a four-alarm fire truck that closes quickly. Hot starts can be tricky if you don`t get it right the first time. The cornerstones of the DR650 slide a little more, but predictably. It takes more effort to put the DR650 in a corner. It doesn`t spin as fast as the other big singles. If the road is narrow enough to catch up, the agile XT and agile 350 Suzuki are quicker to ride, although the soft suspension makes the Yamaha a little less inspiring with confidence. Whipping the XT600`s last mile per hour is easier because you`re not looking at a speedometer.

Shifting just before the red rev light flashes prevents the engine from moving away from its 7000 rpm red line. Particular attention has been paid to the XT`s seat design, which features deep, firm padding and a height of just 855mm to give the rider maximum control in slow trail situations or on congested urban roads. And to carry small packages, there is a light luggage rack. The small 350 likes to spin and offers perfectly linear power that can be used wherever the tires adhere.