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Thread: CB500X vs. CRF300 Rally for sealed/metal touring

  1. #1
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    CB500X vs. CRF300 Rally for sealed/metal touring

    I enjoy unsealed-road touring. I am not interested in true off-road or forestry trail or farmland riding. Back in 2013 I bought a new KLR650. I really enjoyed it, but it had a couple of problems. It wasn't happy at cruising over 110 km/h; it would start to drink oil if you went any faster. Two other mates had KLR650s. They decided to cane them along at 130 km/h for a couple of hours and were shocked at how far their oil levels fell in that one afternoon. Don't get me wrong, the bike did have the power to jump up to 130 km/h for overtaking, but it really seemed happiest at 90-100 km/h. If only it didn't drink oil and had a 6th gear to let it cruise at around 115 km/h a little easier...

    Now, 9 years later, I am going to get back into relaxed unsealed road touring. The problem is that I need to ride a lot of blacktop to get to these more isolated back-country roads. I need a bike that can effortlessly cruise at 110-120 km/h.

    I have my old R6 that I love, so I a want a second bike that will not compete with it. I don't need more than 45 horsepower or so. (The R6 has 100 ponies at the rear wheel, which are plenty for me.) The two top contenders are the Honda CRF 300 Rally and the Honda CB500X (19-inch front wheel version).

    I have test-ridden the CB500X and am impressed. I haven't been able to get my hands on a Rally to test ride. I have ridden the CRF300L, but it is way too "dirt bike-ish" for my needs. I suspect that the Rally will also be more "dirt bike-ish" than I need.

    Can anyone suggest any other medium- to light-weight motorcycles (sub-200 kg) that would have the comfort and range for unsealed-road touring? I want at least a 19-inch front wheel. I first thought about the DR and DRZ Suzukis, but they have high, plank-like seats, no wind protection and tiny fuel tanks. The 2022 KLR650 is too heavy, lacks a 6th gear, and probably still is a bit of an oil-drinker if you push it beyond 4,500 rpm.

    What are your suggestions?
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  2. #2
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    The CB500X is the one you want between your choices for a host of reasons.

    Totally left field, there is (or was) a TDM850 for sale on KB. I have one and love riding it on gravel roads. It's not a dirtbike, 18" front wheel and heavy, but some how it is really comfortable and planted. I ride a lot of gravel on sport touring tyre's and never have a problem, much to my amazement.

    Way better than a GS with 19" front wheel but heavier and higher seat height.

    Pretty sure you can get TKC 80's in the correct size, too.

    Quite a few other options, a V-Strom 6fiddly immediately springs to mind.
    Manopausal.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by george formby View Post

    Quite a few other options, a V-Strom 6fiddly immediately springs to mind.
    Tried a mate's DL650 but found it really boring to ride. Really competent and efficient, like a little BMW, but without passion. I found the 2021 CB500X to have a lot more character.

    I am tempted to wait until the 2022 CB500X (with the improvements to the front end, better headlight, and with more dampening in the un-adjustable rear shock) comes out. The current CB500X has far too little rebound dampening in the rear shock. You pogo over bumps a lot! Even though all the CB500X the world over are LAMS bikes, I don't want a motorcycle with a sledgehammer top end because the R6 already gives me that. I want a mellow mid-ranger.
    Shit doesn't just happen; there's usually an arsehole involved.

  4. #4
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    These are rated pretty highly overseas, might be worth a look.

    https://benellimotorcycles.co.nz/mod...lli-trk-502-x/

    Moe: Well, I'm better than dirt. Well, most kinds of dirt. I mean not that fancy store bought dirt. That stuffs loaded with nutrients. I...I can't compete with that stuff.
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  5. #5
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    A Royal Enfield? Worth a lookie.
    Manopausal.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by george formby View Post
    A Royal Enfield? Worth a lookie.
    I thought about the Royal Enfield. If I go for a single, then the CRF300 Rally will be it. The CB500X is a very pleasant machine for where I will spend 90% of the time (less than 120 km/h and not requiring the engine to deliver more than 45 ponies).

    If I want a steel fist in a velvet glove, I will always have my 2001 R6 (stock except for the revalved forks, Ohlins steering dampener, and Ohlins rear shock with a lightweight spring for NZ bumpy roads).
    Shit doesn't just happen; there's usually an arsehole involved.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odakyu-sen View Post
    I thought about the Royal Enfield. If I go for a single, then the CRF300 Rally will be it. The CB500X is a very pleasant machine for where I will spend 90% of the time (less than 120 km/h and not requiring the engine to deliver more than 45 ponies).

    If I want a steel fist in a velvet glove, I will always have my 2001 R6 (stock except for the revalved forks, Ohlins steering dampener, and Ohlins rear shock with a lightweight spring for NZ bumpy roads).
    I'm pretty sure you will find the CRF 300 a literal pain on the road. A wee single has to work very hard sometimes to stay with the traffic flow then factor in wind and hills. That will lead to higher maintenance compared to a multi and a Vulcan death grip on the throttle.

    I suspect it would be brilliant on gravel, my 2t trailies are hilarious and the CRF is a modern take on the trailie. My DT 230 is ball park 40hp and ends up being hard work on the highways. It will do it but it's not in it's happy place.
    Manopausal.

  8. #8
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odakyu-sen View Post
    Tried a mate's DL650 but found it really boring to ride. Really competent and efficient, like a little BMW, but without passion. I found the 2021 CB500X to have a lot more character.

    I am tempted to wait until the 2022 CB500X (with the improvements to the front end, better headlight, and with more dampening in the un-adjustable rear shock) comes out. The current CB500X has far too little rebound dampening in the rear shock. You pogo over bumps a lot! Even though all the CB500X the world over are LAMS bikes, I don't want a motorcycle with a sledgehammer top end because the R6 already gives me that. I want a mellow mid-ranger.
    Theres talk honda brining out transalp 650 the org was popular cult bike appretly

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by george formby View Post
    I'm pretty sure you will find the CRF 300 a literal pain on the road. A wee single has to work very hard sometimes to stay with the traffic flow then factor in wind and hills. That will lead to higher maintenance compared to a multi and a Vulcan death grip on the throttle.

    I suspect it would be brilliant on gravel, my 2t trailies are hilarious and the CRF is a modern take on the trailie. My DT 230 is ball park 40hp and ends up being hard work on the highways. It will do it but it's not in it's happy place.
    I think you are very likely right. The CRF300 Rally is more "dirt-focused" than I really need. After coming off the R6, I took the CRF300L for a test ride and it was like riding something out of a cornflakes packet. It was a toy. It really had no power beyond 110 km/h. On the R6 even in 6th gear, when you open the throttle at 110 km/h she starts to surge forward, and the acceleration just builds and builds. Before you know it you are heading north of 150 km/h and she hasn't even reached her power band.

    The CB500X was very nice to ride. It felt really natural straight away. I only want to tour on roads like the Danseys Pass, Molsworth and the unsealed roads in the Coromandel. I want to go touring on these kinds of roads: https://www.google.com/maps/@-41.513...7i13312!8i6656
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  11. #11
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    I know a guy with a CRF and his description of the bike is the same as yours. Suspension needs a bit of work too.
    What about a Triumph scrambler or something similar. If you're only planning on gravel roads they'd work just fine.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JATZ View Post
    I know a guy with a CRF and his description of the bike is the same as yours. Suspension needs a bit of work too.
    What about a Triumph scrambler or something similar. If you're only planning on gravel roads they'd work just fine.
    The CB500X is cheaper and has rising-rate suspension (although the rear shock is rebound under-damped and unadjustable). The Triumph Scrambler would be nice if you wanted the "retro" look.
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  13. #13
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    Welcome to the land of compromise. Once you've actually picked a bike, you'll need to figure out a compromise on tyres, helmets, gear etc etc.

    On one hand, you describe the CRF300 as gutless and the DL650 boring, but then don't want more than 100hp like your R6 (ie, more premium bikes). You've identified the budget suspension in the CB500X, but in reality, even something like the Tenere 700 suspension is criticised.

    So, you've got a few odd balls like the KTM 390 Adventure (actually quite popular in its segment), or the KTM 790 Adventure (non R to be less dirt biased). No-one has mentioned the large range BMW has (I skimmed OK, so I might have missed something), from the older stuff like the F650 Dakar, to the newer 6-700cc bikes. Suzuki has the DR650 (probably too dirt for you, and a competitor to KLR650 with a different twist) or the DL. Kawasaki has the Versys in a few capacities.

    If I was you, I'd ditch the R6 (but you probably love it having owned it from new) and go for a KTM 1090R - I own one. Absolutely ridiculous on sealed roads, especially if you're trying to lay down 125hp on knobblies but can equally cruise down the gravel... and by cruise I mean sideways at every opportunity. You'll understand if you ride one If you find your rubber lasting too long for your liking, KTM offers a 1290R with 160hp ish.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jane Omorogbe from UK MSN on the KTM990SM
    It's barking mad and if it doesn't turn you into a complete loon within half an hour of cocking a leg over the lofty 875mm seat height, I'll eat my Arai.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gremlin View Post
    If I was you, I'd ditch the R6 (but you probably love it having owned it from new) and go for a KTM 1090R - I own one. Absolutely ridiculous on sealed roads, especially if you're trying to lay down 125hp on knobblies but can equally cruise down the gravel... and by cruise I mean sideways at every opportunity. You'll understand if you ride one If you find your rubber lasting too long for your liking, KTM offers a 1290R with 160hp ish.
    When I told you, a decade or two ago, that I foresaw knobblies in your future, I really had no idea...............
    I may not be as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I always was.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bass View Post
    When I told you, a decade or two ago, that I foresaw knobblies in your future, I really had no idea...............
    Never say never... learned that several times over...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jane Omorogbe from UK MSN on the KTM990SM
    It's barking mad and if it doesn't turn you into a complete loon within half an hour of cocking a leg over the lofty 875mm seat height, I'll eat my Arai.

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