I suspect the DL650 is better off-road than advertised.
I've been lurking a lot for weeks now. I'm looking at the newer DL-650.
My background: I'm 35 and 6'01" and 190 lbs. I've got a lot of street and off-road experience. I raced a lot of harescramble-type competitions. I can hang in the A class, but get lapped by pro riders. Streetwise I started on a pair of ZRX1200Rs, a '06 KLR650, and a Triumph Sprint ST 1050. I've been a member on all the related fan forums.
I was looking for a new KLR650, I love em for solo rides. The problem is that they're too slow for group ride with conventional bikes, and I have buddies with Tuonos and VFR800s.
I know I can handle a DL650 on the street, and it won't fall behind at any speed I'm willing to go.
People rag on the DL650s off road. "Don't believe the marketing". I don't know what to believe.
I'm pretty comfortable off road, and my wrists and feet were the limiting factor when jumping my KLR. It landed hard. It required more speed to stay on top of deep sand in the AZ washes, but it kicked butt off road... Despite people telling me it couldn't. Often the same people who'd get passed on their CRF450 by my old KLR650 with it's rear end wallowing and swapping out side to side.
So if you put a confident off road rider on a DL650, with good technique and momentum, does it exceed the dismal expectations I read. With a good rider will it "meet expectations". I don't plan to enter it in the Baja 1000, just some 2-track, sand washes, baby doll head river rocks, small ledges, etc.
Can I squeeze more out of the DL650, just like I did on my KLR650? Granted the DL650 is heavier and may only do 85% what the KLR did at 85% KLR pace. Still that's way more than a lot of people give the DL650 credit for.
I can't justify $6500 for a KLR when a DL650 is $8300, and has vastly better value for the $1800 difference.
My DL650 would have a bash plate, handguards, and those TKC80 tires I see on all your wickedly awesome mounts. I really suspect they are more trail capable than the outside world gives them credit for. I think the bad off road reports are from green off roaders or people who rode an XR80 one time at band camp.
Look at a mid 70s trail bike and honestly tell me a skilled rider on a DL650 can't carefully follow that Elsinore most anywhere it goes.
Is the DL650 wrong for me?