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Old 03-06-2012, 09:40 AM   #21
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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Originally Posted by Tourmeister View Post
: Probably the BIGGEST factor is rider skill. I've seen guys ride the big BMWs and KTMs in places where I would never want to take them. I've taken my KLR where many people would never want to take them. The thing to consider is that the heavy bikes require more skill and generally take more effort to ride. A lack of skill combined with increased effort and more weight can easily lead to a nasty get off, increasing the likelihood of an injury. Lighter bikes are definitely more forgiving of inexperienced riders.
This times 1,000
My recent trip to BB saw a variety of riders take dirt naps. The lightest bikes (XCH) in our group with expensive full knobbies (D606, TKC80) both went down while stock heavyweight bikes (KLR, DR) with cheap 50/50 Shinko tires stayed up and actually set the fast pace for our group.

Curious what tires and air pressure OP was running? One DR in our group was all over the place for a couple hours before checking his air pressure and finding it to be 35psi . Dropped it down to proper dirt psi and then he ran fine the rest of the trip.

After going down hard the one X Challenge rider was talking already about selling his bike and getting a WR250R or a DRZ400. Lighter weight is always more forgiving but it will not cure all your riding issues same as tires will not either.

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Old 03-06-2012, 11:35 AM   #22
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

If I understand your question correctly, you are asking about the wisdom of spending a combined total of about $9000 to upgrade the KLR (bike + upgrades) versus spending an equivalent amount of money on a different bike. My answer is it might be better to upgrade the KLR or it might be better to buy something else. How's that for ambivalence? I think it really comes down to what capabilities are most important to you and the type of riding you do.

You point out several things you are dissatisfied with on the KLR.
- long distances are not it's forte
- limited power
- good highway gearing = poor dirt road gearing, where is 6th gear?


Long distance: I don't think the KLR can be made into a long distance bike similar to touring or sport touring bikes. Certainly you can improve the KLR's stock touring capabilities but only within the limited design parameters of the bike. Lots of riders tour on KLRs, and are satisfied to do so but even with mods the KLR will never match a bike made to tour. So, the question becomes what about the long distance capabilities of the KLR do you find lacking and are those things that can be modified on a KLR to meet your personal preferences? If so, then stick with the KLR. If not, then another bike would likely be a better option for you.

Limited power - Yes, a 658 or a 705 kit will improve the power output of the KLR, but only in a limited way. A KLR beefed up to 40-45 hp is clearly more powerful than a stock 34 hp bike but even if you were able to get 50 hp out of the KLR engine (and that's a big if), in the big scheme of things that's not much. The old BMW 650 Dakar has about 50 horsepower and while it is a fine engine I can tell you it simply isn't a beast. 50 hp moving a 430 lb bike + rider makes for a relatively low power-to-weight ratio. If you add 30-40 lbs of accessories and luggage then the power-to-weight ratio gets even worse. So, the question is will the relatively modest hp gains from a 685 or a 705 make your KLR do something that it doesn't do now? Is the stock hp limiting you in such a way that a 5-10 hp increase will eliminate that limitation? If yes, then put a kit on the KLR. If no, then stick with the stock engine. And, if you need more than 5-10 hp increase to do what you want, then another bike is likely a better option for you.

Good highway gearing = poor dirt road gearing: This is an unsolvable issue. The transmission on the KLR isn't really modifiable (at least I've not heard of anyone ever making it into a wide ratio 6 speed). The work-around is carry a spare counter-sprocket for dirt riding and change it when you get to the dirt you want to ride in. For example, you could run a 16 tooth counter-sprocket for your ride from Dallas to Big Bend. Once in Big Bend take 15 minutes and swap your counter-sprocket for a 15 or 14 tooth. Can you live with the stock KLR transmission or with the work-around? If no, then a different bike might be a better choice for you.

You listed these mods you are considering:
- 705cc kit
- pipe/jet kit
- lightweight aluminium panniers (my homebrews are heavy)
- engine guards
- lightweight Kreiga rear rack/bag
- uprated rear suspension

The engine guard, rear rack and bag, and lightweight panniers wouldn't be things you would only have to do to a KLR - any adventure bike you get will need an engine guard and luggage.

Truth be told, any bike you get might need suspension work to fit you and your riding needs. Rarely does stock suspension work just right for every rider. Every bike I've had needed suspension work to make it fit my weight, skill, and riding preferences, whether I made those mods or not. So it would be reasonable to remove the suspension from the list of KLR specific changes.

So that just leaves the 685/705 kit and pipe/jet kit, bringing us back to an earlier question - will a 5-10 hp increase really solve an issue that you have with the stock hp of the KLR? Lots of riders put a kit on a KLR to get more hp because more hp is fun. But will the kit really solve an issue that you have or will it be just a nice to have upgrade?

My personal opinion is that the KLR, DR650, and BMW 650 Sertao bikes are pretty much right in the middle of a continuum with dirt on one end and touring on the other. If you want more street-oriented performance (at the cost of less dirt capabilities), then you should evaluate bikes on the highway/touring end of the spectrum, bigger heavier bikes like the 800GS, 800 Tiger, 1200GS etc. If you want more dirt-oriented performance (at the cost of less highway capability) then you will want to look at bikes on the dirt end of the spectrum, starting with the XR650L and moving all the way down to the 250cc class.

If you want as close to a 50-50 bike as is currently made, then you already have it. You can mod a KLR to better fit your personal preferences but I suggest it really isn't possible to modify it to be significantly better in the dirt or significantly better on the street and certainly not both at the same time.
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:32 PM   #23
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

Come on guys, y'all are spoiling all the fun with practical advice! The OP just wants you to validate his decision to buy a new bike!
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Old 03-06-2012, 05:22 PM   #24
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

Don't anyone tell Gregory Frazier that the KLR is not a long distance touring bike... I think he has done FIVE circumnavigations of the planet on KLRs
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Old 03-06-2012, 05:33 PM   #25
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

I'd been advised that the 685cc kit was a good cure for the oil burning, of which mine is very guilty on long sustained runs.
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Old 03-06-2012, 06:03 PM   #26
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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I'd been advised that the 685cc kit was a good cure for the oil burning, of which mine is very guilty on long sustained runs.
I think the consensus is the the 685 is the best known cure for an oil burner. The additional 5 hp that comes with a 685 kit is a nice bonus. If you've got an oil burner and are going to keep it, then I recommend a 685 kit.
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Old 03-06-2012, 06:09 PM   #27
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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I'd been advised that the 685cc kit was a good cure for the oil burning, of which mine is very guilty on long sustained runs.
Yup! I did mine after a trip to Colorado last year where I burned 1 qt in 1,000 miles. It was bad enough that my buddy riding behind me said he could smell the burning oil. I purchased the kit, sent the cylinder and the piston for boring and honing, followed the installation instruction. Now, I have ridden over a thousand miles on this last oil change and it hasn't burnt a drop.

I've kept good records on the KLR costs and it cost me exactly $453.08 for the kit and the honing. This does not include the of couple weeks of work I did in changing it out.

By the way, you won't really notice the extra power, but what you will notice is how SMOOOOOTH the new/lighter piston makes the engine.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:11 AM   #28
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Don't anyone tell Gregory Frazier that the KLR is not a long distance touring bike... I think he has done FIVE circumnavigations of the planet on KLRs
Yes, and many folks have done such trips on GS650's...a real popular brand for such journeys, and the famous guy on Advrider.com who did several such trips on an Indian and now a Harley Davidson. The DR650 has been of the best budget thumpers to date with a superb track record, that does not burn oil and is better build quality than a KLR. Troy seems to like his.

But for the globe trotting records, I think it is some guy on an Goldwing. I think Phillip should either sell his KLR and get a lighter bike w/trailer or trade up for a 800GS that is vastly superior on the highway and just as good in the dirt as the KLR. It would not hurt to develop better dual-sport riding skills before $crashing$ the 800GS.

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Old 03-07-2012, 09:26 AM   #29
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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By the way, you won't really notice the extra power, but what you will notice is how SMOOOOOTH the new/lighter piston makes the engine.
I'm halfway through my break in period and I can't believe how smooth and quiet it is now.
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:38 PM   #30
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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It would not hurt to develop better dual-sport riding skills before $crashing$ the 800GS.

RB
That is the great thing about the KLR/DR 650s. They are very inexpensive relative to just about anything else!! If I were to TOTALLY destroy my KLR... well... no big deal I'd just go get another. That is just not the case for most folks when it comes to things like the BMWs and KTMs. When I flipped the GS and then followed up with a nasty high side a few days later, the bike was basically fine mechanically. I even rode it another 300 miles the next day and then for a month or two before repairing what was basically cosmetic damage. The insurance cut me a check for nearly $7K!!! That is when I realized that I could have two very nicely setup KLRs for just the repair cost on the GS! At that point, I decided to keep the GS as a street bike and use the KLR for the rough playing. Not as macho, but so what...
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Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Eph 4:29 (NIV)
Think before you post. Leave out the vulgarity, personal attacks and foul language!

Quote:
"However lofty the goals, if the means be depraved, the result must reflect that depravity." - Leonard E. Read

Lies are fragile. They require constant attentiveness to keep them alive. The exposure of a single truth can rip through an ocean of lies, evaporating it instantly. - Brandon Smith

If you want government to intervene domestically, you’re a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you’re a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you’re a moderate. If you don’t want government to intervene anywhere, you’re an extremist. — Joe Sobran

It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.' But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance. – Murray N. Rothbard

When one possessed of the Truth suffers from a heavy heart he is susceptible to a more dangerous affliction — the craving for power to eradicate error, to cause Truth to triumph by force. - Frank Chodorov

Where politicians flourish, long history has harshly taught us, people and their liberty wither. Where the state is god and the "public interest" worshipped, individual man will be found bleeding upon the altar. - Karl Hess

The accepted wisdom is that without the state, society would collapse into lawlessness and crime. In fact, lawlessness and crime define the very nature of the state and the society organized by it. - Bionic Mosquito

But the myth of the rule of law does more than render the people submissive to state authority; it also turns them into the state's accomplices in the exercise of its power. For people who would ordinarily consider it a great evil to deprive individuals of their rights or oppress politically powerless minority groups will respond with patriotic fervor when these same actions are described as upholding the rule of law. - John Hasnas
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:48 PM   #31
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

Scotts post above is why I would never buy a BMW F800.

Too much $$$ and too pretty to smash off-road

Like he said, take a baseball bat to the KLR or drown it in the James River Crossing.

Not the big deal that bending an F800 would be.

The right set of tires and better off-road skills (which I do not have) are usually the 90% solution.
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:28 PM   #32
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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Scotts post above is why I would never buy a BMW F800.

Too much $$$ and too pretty to smash off-road

Like he said, take a baseball bat to the KLR or drown it in the James River Crossing.

Not the big deal that bending an F800 would be.

The right set of tires and better off-road skills (which I do not have) are usually the 90% solution.
Yea, you've sort of convinced me of the two bike route as being the way to go. One for eating miles, loaded up and capable of most everything. The other for short runs, rough-stuff and disposable for the most part.


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Old 03-07-2012, 05:56 PM   #33
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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Yea, you've sort of convinced me of the two bike route as being the way to go. One for eating miles, loaded up and capable of most everything. The other for short runs, rough-stuff and disposable for the most part.


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Old 03-07-2012, 06:34 PM   #34
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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Yea, you've sort of convinced me of the two bike route as being the way to go. One for eating miles, loaded up and capable of most everything. The other for short runs, rough-stuff and disposable for the most part.
So... does this mean you will be joining us at some of the dual sport rides?
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Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Eph 4:29 (NIV)
Think before you post. Leave out the vulgarity, personal attacks and foul language!

Quote:
"However lofty the goals, if the means be depraved, the result must reflect that depravity." - Leonard E. Read

Lies are fragile. They require constant attentiveness to keep them alive. The exposure of a single truth can rip through an ocean of lies, evaporating it instantly. - Brandon Smith

If you want government to intervene domestically, you’re a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you’re a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you’re a moderate. If you don’t want government to intervene anywhere, you’re an extremist. — Joe Sobran

It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.' But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance. – Murray N. Rothbard

When one possessed of the Truth suffers from a heavy heart he is susceptible to a more dangerous affliction — the craving for power to eradicate error, to cause Truth to triumph by force. - Frank Chodorov

Where politicians flourish, long history has harshly taught us, people and their liberty wither. Where the state is god and the "public interest" worshipped, individual man will be found bleeding upon the altar. - Karl Hess

The accepted wisdom is that without the state, society would collapse into lawlessness and crime. In fact, lawlessness and crime define the very nature of the state and the society organized by it. - Bionic Mosquito

But the myth of the rule of law does more than render the people submissive to state authority; it also turns them into the state's accomplices in the exercise of its power. For people who would ordinarily consider it a great evil to deprive individuals of their rights or oppress politically powerless minority groups will respond with patriotic fervor when these same actions are described as upholding the rule of law. - John Hasnas
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:24 PM   #35
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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Yea, you've sort of convinced me of the two bike route as being the way to go. One for eating miles, loaded up and capable of most everything. The other for short runs, rough-stuff and disposable for the most part.


.
Wait till I get a hold of you. You'll be adding a bike to the mix. My long trip bike, short trip/dual sport/cheap bike, and my off-road bike.
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:23 PM   #36
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When I flipped the GS and then followed up with a nasty high side a few days later, the bike was basically fine mechanically. I even rode it another 300 miles the next day and then for a month or two before repairing what was basically cosmetic damage. The insurance cut me a check for nearly $7K!!! That is when I realized that I could have two very nicely setup KLRs for just the repair cost on the GS! At that point, I decided to keep the GS as a street bike and use the KLR for the rough playing. Not as macho, but so what...




For the 1200GS I can see the merits of it being relegated to the tarmac. The 800GS is a totally different bike, much lighter around 420 pounds and built to take a good degree of punishment after you add the crash bars etc. It is a delight to ride on highway as well. The compact 85-horsepower parallel twin engine is an added plus....I think this bike is well positioned as a quality middleweight dual-sport "enduro" for those wanting more road versatility.

True, if you plan to severely crash the bike often, it would be much cheaper to repair a KLR....just don't crash so much....just dial back the dual-sport aggression a little. At least for me, I don't bounce back as when I use to be in my 20s.



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Old 03-07-2012, 09:17 PM   #37
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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The 800GS is a totally different bike, much lighter around 420 pounds and built to take a good degree of punishment after you add the crash bars etc.

RB
Motorcycle Consumer News reports that the true, ready-to-ride weight of the F800GS is 490.5 lbs.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:26 PM   #38
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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Motorcycle Consumer News reports that the true, ready-to-ride weight of the F800GS is 490.5 lbs.
WebBikeWorld says:

The dry weight is at 185kg or 407lbs, while its real-life weight is measured at 210kg or 462lbs.

Well, I have to say the 800GS carries it's weight pretty well. The 82 HP makes a huge difference in being able to power through the sand and rock compared to the KLR - more favorable power to weight ratio and superior suspension.

Of course, if all you're doing is single-tracks and really tough class 3, then the true dirt bikes will much more satisfying and less painful too.



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Old 03-07-2012, 09:28 PM   #39
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

Red, I take it you currently have an F800 and had a KLR before that?
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:38 PM   #40
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Red, I take it you currently have an F800 and had a KLR before that?
No, not quite...I have the 650GS which is a little over 400 pounds. I had a KLR when I first started riding about six years ago. I enjoyed it..but eventually traded up for a WR which was much more sufficient for my needs at the time. I sold the WR with almost 9K on the clock. I do miss it, but for average central Texas dual-sport riding, the 650GS is more versatile, especially long-hours on the tarmac getting to and from the local dual-sport roads....

When the 800GS came out it was replete with many recalls. The new 800GS seem to be much better in terms of first generation issues BMW is known for. Also the rear shock mount is quite week on the 800GS and several have reported bent shock mounts as a result. Some dude sells and aftermarket kit that strengthens the 800GS design flaw in the shock mounting system.

I have test ridden the 800GS.

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