I thought that maybe, buying a street legal dirtbike, would somehow transform me into the category of dual sport.
I now realize, after some time perusing the internet, and interacting with some of you, that I am way off… Or at least way too narrow. What I considered adventure bikes, are most certainly in the dual sport category. I am also starting realize that, the way I ride, and interact with my machine, is at the far end of the dual sport spectrum.
You guys, who take 500+ lb bikes and manipulate them with such finesse, have certainly earned my respect. I am looking forward to moving laterally within this sport.
Hey Luke – I discovered the same thing you are finding out, but it took me a lot longer to figure it out. I think the trend these days is to go with a really capable middleweight adventure bike like an AT, T7 or 890. With a bike like that you can really enjoy long rides on forest service roads or through the dez. Those types of rides consistently attract the most DDMC riders. A traditional dual sport like a DR650 or XR650L might be a little better than a modern middleweight adventure bike on harder trails, but not by much.
Then when you want a more intense ride, fire up your RRS and hunt for technical single track. Plenty of guys do that too, but they’re racers or ride at that level. No reason you can’t do both.
Luke, for what it’s worth, I think of dual-sport bikes as you do. Basically street legal dirt bikes (perhaps with a bit of a longer service interval…) Traditionally that’s been the focus of the club, not to say that folks don’t also ride other bikes.
I think the category “Adventure Bikes” is a media / manufacturer creation that is about much bigger and heavier bikes. If you believe BMW you need a GS1250 with aluminum panniers. The mid range bikes that Kurt mentioned definitely have there place, but those things are still pretty damn heavy, and take a lot of skill to ride off-road. No sane person chooses one of those to ride single track.