Advice for First Dual Sport?

Hi all. I'm a newbie (some off-road experience fifteen years ago & a more recent MSF grad) who is considering a dual sport as a first bike. I can't decide what displacement makes the most sense. There seem to be two schools of thought:

1. Start small, get comfortable, work up to bigger bikes.
2. Buy something "over your head" and grow into it.

The drawback to each theory seems to be:
1. You'll be bored of it in two/three months, have to upgrade--i.e. buy more than one bike--and take the financial hit(s) that might be involved with that.
2. You'll scare the crap out of yourself/wind up in the hospital.

I'm a little guy (5'7''/160/31''-32'' inseam) and would like a bike for commuting during the week and adventuring/camping on weekends/vacations. Probably 80/20 street to dirt, if I'm honest with myself.

I was really gung-ho on the KLR, but I talked with Elden Karl ( on the phone and he said that since the switch to Thai production, they have been dealt a terrible blow in quality.
The DR650 sounds great but pretty powerful, and I am not interested in grabbing too much throttle and having accidental wheelies all over creation. I also wonder if these bikes are just too big for me? I can tiptoe the KLR and haven't sat on the DR (although I read it can be lowered).

I'm also not sure that the smaller bikes (200s, 350s, 400s) can do the laden-weekend-explorer thing. Maybe there is no bike that fits me that can do everything I want it to?

Any thoughts?
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George Obradovich
George Obradovich

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