What’s a good motorcycle for a Backyardsman?

Last week I ordered a motorcycle. My wife thinks it was a sudden decision, but it’s something I’ve wanted for a long time. She should know, it’s not like I haven’t talked to her about it – a bunch of times. She’s always found some reason why it’s a “bad idea” at the time. “Just wait, not right now.” I guess I should thank her, because my tastes have changed a lot over the past few years. I used to love street bikes, especially Harleys and vintage Triumphs. I still do, but those are pure street bikes and not really suited to the needs of a Backyardsman. So what is a good motorcycle for a Backyardsman? It depends on exactly what you want, but for me it has to have a few things.

What motorcycle should a Backyardsman buy?

First, I need a bike that can run on dirt, and I don’t mean just smooth, hard packed dirt roads. Where I live, lots of the roads are steep, rocky, and rutted with lots of sharp turns. Some run through sand washes, others are muddy and slippery when wet.

Second, it also needs to work OK on the road. I don’t want to deal with trailering it or loading into the back of my truck just to get to where I want to ride. I want to be able to commute on it. Heck, I want to be able to take road trips on it. Just being street legal isn’t good enough, it also has to ride well on the street.

As it turns out, the motorcycle that meets all my needs doesn’t exist. I decided on an SWM RS500R for reasons I’ll talk about in a future post, but I’m probably going to end up getting a second bike. The RS500 does most of the things I want now, but it’s not even close to doing some of the others, at least not very well. Like 200-300 mile road trips…

What I’m looking at…

My first choice was actually a Suzuki DR-Z400S, but the dealer in town was out of stock. Other bikes that are interesting to me are Yamaha (WR250R and WR450F), Suzuki (besides the DR-Z 400, the DR-Z650 and the TU250X), the Honda XR650L, the KTM 350 EXC-F, the Hawk 250 Enduro, the Phatmoto All Terrain, and the Rokon Scout. I can’t afford all of them, but I’m going to study and write about them. Hopefully, at least one or two of them will join my SWM in the garage.

For now, I’m loving on my SWM. It should be home this Friday, and I already have a few things I want to do to it. Mainly an auxilary gas tank. Before I can do that though, I need to replace the dual mufflers with a single. Anyway, hope to have a first impression/riding post in the next couple weeks. Until next time…

Peace out,