What's new
  • If you don't frequent the chat forum, make sure you read this post regarding land usage. It would be great if we could get everybody to send a comment in before Oct 7th!

Downsizing, how far will you go?

klaviator

Scooter Trash
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
431
Posts
1,396
Location
Alabama
Most riders start on a small bike and then move up to progressively bigger bikes. At some point many riders start to downsize. For some it's because they are getting older and can't handle a big, heavy bike any more. Some refuse to downsize and when they can no longer handle that big bike they get a trike or stop riding. Others downsize for various reasons other than getting old.

Many of you are still young and you may not have thought ahead to having to downsize. This discussion is for those who have started to downsize or at least thought about it.

In my case I started to downsize when I was still in my early 30s. In my late 20s I had a Yamaha FJ1100 and Venture 1200. Hey, bigger is better right? Then I replaced the FJ1100 with a Kawasaki EX500. I thought I would miss the power of the FJ but I wanted to try a smaller bike. It turned out that the EX500 was not only more fun to ride than the FJ, I was much faster on it. I have been downsizing since. I have become a believer in the "It's more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow" theory. Currently I have bikes ranging from 150 to 650cc. I ride the 150 the most.

So have you downsized? How far do you expect to go in the future.
 

klaviator

Scooter Trash
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
431
Posts
1,396
Location
Alabama
Turned 69 the other day, put 1200cc street bike up for sale and put deposit on '22 RE Himalayan.

I can still put the 550lb beast up on the centerstand but I don't want to anymore...YMMV
Putting a bike on a centerstand doesn't concern me. Picking it up if I drop it is! Not only is a heavier bike harder to pick up, it is easier to drop:muutt
 

Dancingweasel

Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
275
Posts
10
Location
Uk
I dropped my Versys 1000 a couple of years back, and couldn't get it up on my own (no sniggering at the back there!). I made myself a winch/Jack to help should it happen again, but there is a little voice niggling at the back of my mind. I now tend to ride my 650 Transalp more. Its sad, but I guess it comes to us all. My little DL250 is getting lots of miles too.
 

MVI

MVI MOTO
Mod
Vendor
ADV+
Joined
Feb 2, 2022
Member Number
14
Posts
2,490
Location
NRH, TX
Great Thread.. Bought a CRF450L in 2018, and it quickly became my everyday bike.

Sold my 1200cc Super Tenere in 2021 as the decade old bike was sitting so much due to the fact the 450L was so light an nimble.

I think I still want a more street oridented bike, perhaps a T7. Somthing about that general size.
 

Punkinhead

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
105
Posts
142
Location
Land of Walmart Shoppers
When I started roadracing it was on an GS500. I had a blast and should have stuck with it instead of chasing more power. My lap times were always better on a 600 than on a liter bike because I could use all the power of the smaller bike. Carrying corner speed with a small bike on the track is a lot of fun but I'm not sure I'd enjoy it on the street where corner speeds are necessarily lower. I think low end torque and acceleration are more useful. For street riding I've settled on a 900cc triple but I've gone minimalist in the sense that I don't want any body work. It's just more crap to get out of the way for maintenance and I'm convinced that no windscreen at all is better than a small one. If you're not going to ride behind a Goldwing sized barn door of a windscreen you'll get cleaner air with no buffeting with no windscreen at all. I'd like to try one of the many 300-500cc street bikes but I do like torque so it would be a tough sell. That said, one of my funnest trips through Deal's Gap was on a KLX250.
 

Punkinhead

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
105
Posts
142
Location
Land of Walmart Shoppers
I have been thinking of a KLX 300, just for light DS. Always liked the little green machines !
I've pretty much decided to buy one this year. The 250 was too underpowered and couldn't even lift the front for a small log. I'm hoping the 300 remedies that plus they're fuel injected. The 250 carb was always finicky on cold mornings. The 300's pop up on dealer sites and I could get one today if I was willing to drive a couple hours but my local dealer claims they have 2 coming and I'm on the list for one of them. My plan for it is just something to putz around town or fire service roads, not a real offroad bike. I've got a Class B RV coming this summer and want something to bring along on a hitch carrier.
 

Yinzer Moto

Well-known member
ADV+
Joined
Jan 25, 2022
Member Number
4
Posts
2,783
Location
Pittsburgh
The large displacement bikes are good for moving a large amount of air out of the way at 70-100mph. I don’t want to go that fast so I have always liked the smaller displacement bikes. When scaling down to dual sport type bikes. The far majority of the 450-500cc bikes are owned by people who can’t handle the power, as evidenced by the number of people trying to get the bike to run better right off idle. They are scared to actually rev the bike up and ride it like the manufacturer intended it. I have dabbled with a few 1000-1200cc bikes and I can ride faster on my 250. I have no problem keeping up with any large displacement bike. Most recently, I dabbled with a Vstrom 650, man, I was so scared to break that bike loose on pavement and drift a corner. It is a huge bike. I am way faster on my WR250 on 2 lane roads. In the dirt, it is no contest.
 

klaviator

Scooter Trash
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
431
Posts
1,396
Location
Alabama
............ That said, one of my funnest trips through Deal's Gap was on a KLX250.
I have ridden my KLX250 through Deal's Gap a couple of times. It had plenty of power and handled great. Last time we chased a guy on a Ninja 1000 through. I say we because I was with a buddy on an older non fuel injected KLX250. After Deal's Gap we ride some even twistier paved roads and then went and played in the dirt. A 250 or 300cc dual sport is about ideal for the riding in that area.
 

klaviator

Scooter Trash
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
431
Posts
1,396
Location
Alabama
I am way faster on my WR250 on 2 lane roads. In the dirt, it is no contest.
This is pretty common. I have known many people who where faster on smaller bikes. One friend was faster on the street on his DR650 than his DL650 and the DR had dunlop 606 knobbies. My wife was faster on the street on her DR250 than her 600cc Seca II. On really tight roads I feel more comfortable on my KLX250 than my Versys 650 although I don't know which bike I am faster on. If it's really tight it's probably the 250.

The only real big advantage to a bigger bike is when you get stuck behind slower traffic. It's much easier to pass with more power.
 

Yinzer Moto

Well-known member
ADV+
Joined
Jan 25, 2022
Member Number
4
Posts
2,783
Location
Pittsburgh
The only real big advantage to a bigger bike is when you get stuck behind slower traffic. It's much easier to pass with more power.

Yeah, that is that 70-100mph range where they are better. As long as the car is driving in the 50mph range, I can get the 250 to pass just fine as long as I plan it a bit, that is a rider skill, if people are incapable of a little forethought, they might have trouble on the 250 bikes. On the little bikes, find the rev limiter and ride just below that. My WR250 actually rides smoother in the upper RPM.
 

klaviator

Scooter Trash
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
431
Posts
1,396
Location
Alabama
Yeah, that is that 70-100mph range where they are better. As long as the car is driving in the 50mph range, I can get the 250 to pass just fine as long as I plan it a bit, that is a rider skill, if people are incapable of a little forethought, they might have trouble on the 250 bikes. On the little bikes, find the rev limiter and ride just below that. My WR250 actually rides smoother in the upper RPM.
I have been behind guys on faster bikes who were slow in the curves but then blasted down the straights. They are hard to pass. On occasion if I could see far enough ahead I have passed guys like that on curves. The other technique I use is to get some distance behind them and then blast through the curve. If the timing is right I catch them at the end of the curve with a lot more speed and just zip by then before they have the chance to accelerate to a speed where I couldn't pass.

As for 70-100 mph, most of the roads I ride are much slower than that. I'd say traffic on the roads I ride is more likely in the 20-50 MPH range.
 

klaviator

Scooter Trash
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
431
Posts
1,396
Location
Alabama
Another technique I use more as I get older and less aggressive in my riding is to just pull over and wait a minute or more to let that slow traffic get a ways down the road. That way I can enjoy the ride until I catch up with that traffic. If I know there isn't a good place to pass then that's what I normally do.
 

south east okie

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 3, 2022
Member Number
1039
Posts
265
Location
ringold ,oklahoma
I guess I'll get a lighter bike when I can't pick these ole 1100gs's when I drop em. I see it coming , I'm 64 and they are getting hard to pick up.

But I Like that 70-110 mph range, I'll miss that
 

woods

Yawp.
Mod
ADV+
Joined
Jan 20, 2022
Member Number
3
Posts
585
The only bike I don't have right now is a 250/300. That's my next purchase. My first bike was a 250 and it was a blast. I miss having something that size.

I think it'll be next year I get something. KLX250 or CRF300 Rally. Something like that maybe.
 

klaviator

Scooter Trash
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
431
Posts
1,396
Location
Alabama
Back in 2001 I decided to try dual sport riding so I bought a used Yamaha XT350. It was fun riding off the pavement but what I didn't expect was how much fun it would be on the pavement. Even with 50/50 tires it worked much better in the curves than I expected. Traction was never an issue.

Picture760-XL.jpg


I passed a number of 100+ HP sportbikes in the twisties on that XT.
 

Yinzer Moto

Well-known member
ADV+
Joined
Jan 25, 2022
Member Number
4
Posts
2,783
Location
Pittsburgh
The other technique I use is to get some distance behind them and then blast through the curve. If the timing is right I catch them at the end of the curve with a lot more speed and just zip by then before they have the chance to accelerate to a speed where I couldn't pass.

Yup, that is the forethought and planning that a smaller bike requires. I can maintain a much higher speed through corners.

I have been behind guys on faster bikes who were slow in the curves but then blasted down the straights. They are hard to pass.

That is how the majority of big bikes get ridden, they slow way down in the corners and then hammer the throttle once the bike is all straight after the corner. If the road is even moderately twisty, I have no problem keeping up with a 1000cc bike on my little 250, because I hold so much more corner speed. They might drop me on a long stretch but Ill catch right back up after a couple corners.

I had a pickup truck doing this to me once. He would put it to the floor, after every corner but go mind numbingly slow around every corner. It is probably a topic for another thread, why people don’t just let us pass. I was out for a day in twisty mountain roads, in the Miata, I caught a wrangler. I could not make the Miata move fast enough to pass him on the straights but he would hammer the brakes in every corner. I am sure we all have a million stories just like that.
 

Top Bottom