Here's some tips that might help some of you out.
There's basically 2 different types Racing and Street. All of them can be used for both but some are better than others in certain areas. So I'll list what I've learned from building these bikes for the last 6 years.
A ) First thing is what makes it a motard " THE RIMS 17 inch front and back" Everyone wants then for around $200 but in reality no matter how you do it a rim setup is average $1600, brakes which you do need $500 and tires $300 to $400 which equals $2100 ---- $2400 no matter what. You might be able to find the odd used set but the sport is just starting to take off so used isn't very available. Back 6 yrs ago guys converted sportbike rims but they get expensive and can start to break after jumping , wire rims are way stronger and lighter.
b) For street legal headlights , tailights , turn signals, handlebar switch, relay depending on your style around $350 . Bear in mind if you can't make your own wiring harness it will cost arond $175 for a shop to do it. This totals around $550. If the bike doesn't have a lighting coil add another $250.
Pros and Cons of the most popular bikes:
Honda CRF 450 :
$11000 to build from new, not able to run on the highway or extended trips, 1 litre of oil needs to be changed constantly. Has to be rebuilt every 40 hrs.
Fun as hell to ride, very fast , light weight, parts are easy to get.
Yamaha WR / YZF 450
$11000 to build from new, WR comes with a wide ratio trans and 12V so it makes a decide city ripper, decent reliability rebuild once per yr , YZF is just as good,faster on the track but no lighting coil and not as much top speed .WR is the better choice for street and track.
Good handling , Wr goes good YZF is quicker, parts are easy to get
Suzuki RMZ 450
Not many of these out there yet, 4 speed transmission probably not the best for high speed, but it does haul ass on the track . Engine reliabity seems to be decent rebuild at least once per year.
Cheapest of the 450's to buy, has a lighting coil , very competitive with the Honda
$10000 to $14000 depending on model
Not known for reliabilty, they seem to break down the most of any model. Parts can be a problem but it's getting better. Parts are expensive compared to Jap bikes but only 20% more on average.
Factory built motards 450 /525 , there set up right from the factory with good rims , tires , suspension and brakes, can with minimal work be made streetlegal because you can get factory wiring kits. There fast and handle amazing.
Suzuki DRZ 400 motard and Dirt
$7500 plus another $1500 to $2000 make it go fast
$9500 for the dirt version
Factory bike is a really good entry level bike, you could probably go across Canada at 100 km/h with no problems. The dirt version is about 50 lbs lighter, different carb, pipe , suspension and compression. It's a toss up between the 2 the street version is a great put around town bike with the odd track days. But you will spend the $2000 within a month to make it better .The dirt version is way more fun to ride and aftermarket parts list is massive. These bikes stock are 28hp, with mods they can get up to 58 hp. We rode a dirt version for 4 years with mods and it never to this day has had problems. Although every other bike on this list will dominate it in a race.
Husqvarna 450 / 510
$7900 to $8900 new, not as well known in North America but huge over seas, parts are easier to get than KTM but not as easy as the Jap bikes. Good streetbikes not a good highway distance runner.
Damn sexy looking bike, very easy to work on there designed for ISDE competition. Which means they come apart quickly with minimal tools. I'm biased on these bikes because I sell them, bang for the buck there really good
Husky built the best race bikes back in the 70's and are known for quality.
Honda XR 650 R dirt version $10000 plus
Heavy pig for racing. No electric start learn to kick a big bore.
Probably one of the few motards to be able to run full throttle for hrs without problems. Very tough bike, they were built to win the Baha and there's a huge following of hop ups and cool stuff for them. Great around town and general play bike. Lot's of used ones available in dualsport trim which means all you need is 17 inch tires which can also be found used sometimes.
Either way these bikes are FUN FUN FUN , there very easy to ride they out handle a sportbike, when you crash theres almost no damage and a 98% chance you'll drive away from it. It's one of the fastest growing form of motorsports out there and there's a reason for it:
" YOU MEET THE NICEST PEOPLE ON A MOTARD "