What ever happened….

What ever happened to the reliable, attractive AND affordable “enduro”bike. It doesn’t have to be “retro” necessarily but it doesn’t have to be ugly either. Don’t get me wrong, I love my DR650. But it’s not exactly winning gold in the character department. rant off now.




  1. Nice “Trailie”.
    T’other day when you were bemoaning the Vincent you were never going to get.. I sent you a “cheer-up” message and espoused a Ducati as an alternative.
    With an option of getting in touch with Bona-fide Vincent builders today, in both the UK and France [restorers and NEW builds.. JMC are NOT as expensive as you might think].
    I had no response from you and I routinely checked that post.
    As a follow-up I sent to you an e-mail with a film made by the editor of the UK magazine.. The Classic Motorcycle..
    the first bike the editor showed us, and dealt with at length was the very Vincent you were so unhappy about. Nice film..
    Still no response. Did you get it son.. have you gone missing again..?

  2. Your absolutely correct. The technical pursuit of the modern 4 strokes has destroyed dirt biking. I will keep my XR400 forever. But why not build a modern suspended, air cooled, street legal, dirt bike for the everyman. All of the current offerings from the big 4 are lame. All of the manufactures have missed the boat. This really does make me crazy.

  3. Actually – this is what you do with the DR – it’s only a mock up at present, but I too hark back to the XL’s and TT’s of my youth… It’s just an XT tank, Nitro seat and round headlight. The sidecovers are now nickel plated mesh behind the round placky bits. … how do I upload a picture to this cockamamy site?

  4. I had one of these in college:

    A Honda XL 350. It was the perfect do-everything bike. Looked great, sounded great (with a SuperTrapp exhaust), fairly lightweight, comfortable, and cheap to maintain. I went everywhere on it. I’d purchase a modern version of it in an instant.

  5. Seriously, have you done ANY looking around? There are plenty of fantastic modern offerings that would kick an XL350’s ass in price(adjusted for inflation) and certainly in performance and handling(and reliability…ever deal with the points ignitions on the XL’s your picture suggests?), even at much lesser displacements, in these modern times – and all at reasonable prices for what they are….without the hassles of points ignitions, carburetion in many cases, and luxury suspension by comparison. If all of them have anything in common, it might be seat height – which is “tall” by old standards in almost all cases except the KTM Freeride 350 and Yamaha TW200. Somehow, though, everyone seems to get by and no one has reverted to short travel, kick-start, underpowered “enduro” bikes like the 1970’s brought us in spades.

    There are some fantastic offerings out there from all of the manufacturers(affordability, bottom-to-top of this list):

    http://www.ktm.com/us/travel/990-adventure-baja/highlights.html#.UY3j_6PlZPs (affordability debatable, but…you get what you pay for…)

    http://www.yamahamotorsports.com/sport/products/modelhome/651/0/home.aspx (affordability debatable, but…you get what you pay for…)



  6. reliable, attractive AND affordable “enduro”bike. I should have included “simple” to maintain.

    So agree to disagree with you on this one hillslammer. The KTM’s and Big Yammy aren’t even remotely in the “affordable” range. Great bikes yes but very pricey. The 650 enduro offerings from Kawi Suzuki and Honda are dinosaurs. Decent bikes but well overdue for upgrades. The 250 offerings by all of them are actually fantastic bikes but still essentially soulless plastic covered appliances. Not a lot of character there IMHO. I seriously doubt anyone will wax nostalgically over these bikes 20 years from now.

    In a nutshell, ALL the bikes I like either don’t exist, are unavailable here or are great bikes but not plateable in the US.

    how about something line a “reasonably” upgraded DR650, NOT super tall with a touch of retro to it. Heck go crazy and throw on an ally tank. Or the same thing with an XT500/650. XR 650. etc etc… The 400 cc world has som amazing engines! Make the bikes (Or one model) more rideable.

    2 cents..

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