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The "why not a KLR650?" thread.

Triumphter

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Of the two primary reasons I joined up (1 is making Texas home again soon) the other is I want to get into adventure riding.


Here is my thinking.

I want to learn as well as to be safe and develop off road skills
Not worry much about destroying a bike I am learning on
Somewhat capable
Can keep up on the highway
A real value
If I outgrow it, I can afford whatever upgrade I decide on


I keep landing on a used KLR 650 that is already outfitted with extras.


What am I missing?
 

Triumphter

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Why ask ?

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Why not ask?

I am not experienced with this type of riding or bikes. Those who are would be a fantastic resource. It always seemed wise to me to seek out wisdom brought about by experience.
 
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Sounds like your just missing the KLR650. Keep your eye out, there are some great ones.
Welcome back to Texas
 
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From the sounds of it, the KLR would do the trick. It's a good all around bike. Not excellent but it cover the middle of the road.
 
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Take the MSF class before you buy a bike.

The KLR / XR / DR are more off road oriented & less road (highway) friendly.

Also look at a V-Strom 650. Used Gen 2 models are often farkled & not much more than a used KLR. Benefits are much more street worthy, fuel injected, etc.
 
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Yea I agree on the KLR being not as capable on the highway. You can run 75 tops with a gearing Change. They do fine in the 55-65 if your great with that. If you need more highway capable. For the money, vstrom is a good way to go. Not so great on the dirt but still doable.
 
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Triumphter

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Take the MSF class before you buy a bike.

The KLR / XR / DR are more off road oriented & less road (highway) friendly.

Also look at a V-Strom 650. Used Gen 2 models are often farkled & not much more than a used KLR. Benefits are much more street worthy, fuel injected, etc.

I am a believer in the MSF course. (we fight like we train, training matters) For me, I have had a dozen bikes and probably 200,000 miles or more. A little track time even. What I lack is much offroad experience. My first bike was an older style enduro but I pretty much only rode it on the street. All of my other bikes have been street bikes.

I have the bug and I am trying to figure out how I am going to go about it.
 

Windmill

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OK, what advantages would those offer?
I like the KLR I owned but the two above are about 100# lighter if I remember . KLR better paved road bike IMO. I enjoy my XR650L much more on gravel and sandy roads. The KLR is a smooth runner and like 70mph or less. Just my two cents. My KLR was a 2011 I purchased new and was very dependable. I had about 9K in it and sold it for I think 3400. Went to a V Strom and truly I liked the KLR better for me, but I love big singles. You are correct in wanting to buy one already farkled , save a lot of $$$
 
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I am a believer in the MSF course. (we fight like we train, training matters) For me, I have had a dozen bikes and probably 200,000 miles or more. A little track time even. What I lack is much offroad experience. My first bike was an older style enduro but I pretty much only rode it on the street. All of my other bikes have been street bikes.

I have the bug and I am trying to figure out how I am going to go about it.
I see. Sounds like you might need a KTM 690.
 

Tourmeister

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:tab The KLR is a good middle of the road adventure/dualsport bike. If you are just starting out, you can find a nice one for a decent price already loaded with most of the accessories you'd likely want on it. IF you expect it to ride like a BMW 1200 GS/A, you will be SORELY disappointed. IF you expect it to handle like a KTM 500 EXC, you will be SORELY disappointed. It is what it is, a basic dualsport bike. Yet, there have been no shortage of people that have used them for world travel. Unless you plan to do monster highway miles or gnarly two track, the KLR will be a great bike. There are lighter bikes. There are bikes with more power, better brakes, and better suspension. So what!?

:tab Get a KLR. Get some basic dirt training. Ride it for a while and have fun. You will then start to see what kind of riding you are gravitating toward. You might find the KLR perfect for that kind of riding. You might not. If not, then start looking at bikes that are geared more toward the kind of riding you are wanting to do. Trying to get the "perfect" bike without ANY real idea of what you truly want to do is pointless. The KLR sits pretty squarely in the middle though so it will let you explore the edges each way, toward more dirt and toward more pavement. Then you'll have a better idea of what you really want.

:tab If you find a nice DR650, jump on it. The biggest difference is that the DR is air cooled, so slightly less weight and slightly more dirt oriented. That comes at the cost of a smaller stock gas tank, which cuts down range if you want to do trips. Or, you replace the tank with a bigger one. XR650L's are air cooled and more dirt worthy as well, and have smaller tanks. They are also TALL, which for many people is a big issue. All three bikes are early 1980s technology, even the new ones.

:tab You might do what a lot of us have done, get a big comfy adv bike and a smaller lightweight dual sport bike. I had a KLR. Now I have a 1200 GS and a KTM 530 EXC (would be a new 500 EXC if I could swing it... :-P)
 

Triumphter

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:tab The KLR is a good middle of the road adventure/dualsport bike. If you are just starting out, you can find a nice one for a decent price already loaded with most of the accessories you'd likely want on it. IF you expect it to ride like a BMW 1200 GS/A, you will be SORELY disappointed. IF you expect it to handle like a KTM 500 EXC, you will be SORELY disappointed. It is what it is, a basic dualsport bike. Yet, there have been no shortage of people that have used them for world travel. Unless you plan to do monster highway miles or gnarly two track, the KLR will be a great bike. There are lighter bikes. There are bikes with more power, better brakes, and better suspension. So what!?

:tab Get a KLR. Get some basic dirt training. Ride it for a while and have fun. You will then start to see what kind of riding you are gravitating toward. You might find the KLR perfect for that kind of riding. You might not. If not, then start looking at bikes that are geared more toward the kind of riding you are wanting to do. Trying to get the "perfect" bike without ANY real idea of what you truly want to do is pointless. The KLR sits pretty squarely in the middle though so it will let you explore the edges each way, toward more dirt and toward more pavement. Then you'll have a better idea of what you really want.

:tab If you find a nice DR650, jump on it. The biggest difference is that the DR is air cooled, so slightly less weight and slightly more dirt oriented. That comes at the cost of a smaller stock gas tank, which cuts down range if you want to do trips. Or, you replace the tank with a bigger one. XR650L's are air cooled and more dirt worthy as well, and have smaller tanks. They are also TALL, which for many people is a big issue. All three bikes are early 1980s technology, even the new ones.

:tab You might do what a lot of us have done, get a big comfy adv bike and a smaller lightweight dual sport bike. I had a KLR. Now I have a 1200 GS and a KTM 530 EXC (would be a new 500 EXC if I could swing it... :-P)

Now that is an answer

Yeah, it seems like the thing to do is have both A big comfy adventure bike and something like the 500. (I am in love with that thing) Which....to pay my dues trying to figure out what I really want to do and learn, means something right in the middle, like the KLR. When it no longer works, I can get something else. If it keeps working...fantastic.
 

Tourmeister

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:tab I started my dirt riding on a big BMW R1150GS. That thing was TALL and HEAVY. So I learned bad coping skills. I went from that to a KLR and learned to ride better, but had to unlearn those bad coping skills. Then I started drifting to more technical dual sport riding and soon hit up against the limitations of the KLR. I eventually got my KTM 530 and soon started to become a much better rider. Even with the KLR, I was learning bad coping skills in an effort to deal with the shortcomings in the face of the riding I was trying to do. So I still had more unlearning to do when I got to the KTM. Some of the issues were the bike's fault and some were the fault of my inexperience, like not knowing to keep the weight low when packing.

:tab Ideally, you would go get something really light and cheap, ride it ONLY in the dirt, and learn the real dirt skills. They are quite different than street skills and not all are intuitive. In fact, many are downright antagonistic to what your brain is going to be telling you to do. Weight, height, and power are all things that can easily distract you from really learning because they create problems you have to deal with while trying to learn. So a straight up dirt bike might be the way to go unless you are just in a hurry to jump into adventure riding. In that case, you go for the middle of the class of bikes and don't put off getting good training. At least then, they can spot your coping issues and teach you proper techniques before those issues become ingrained habits that are hard to break later.
 

mitchntx

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What am I missing?
I have come to realize "adventure riding" has a wide variety of definitions.
To me, adventure is not a riding style, rather the heart rate achieved while getting there.

My conclusions are:

The more road manners a bike has, the less off-tarmac capabilities.
Unicorns do not exist in real life, only in story books, internet forums and sales brochures.

I'm sure the TWT versions of Graham Jarvis will be along shortly and explain how KLRs and WeeStroms are indeed unicorns.
I rebut that they themselves are the unicorns.
We blue collar riders haven't the gifts of balance, throttle control, vision and pain tolerance they have.

My definition of Adventure Riding is not driving down a dirt road that a Lincoln Town car can navigate.
That's just an easy way to get dirty.
Rather, riding along on a road less travelled and saying "Oh crap" out loud in your helmet at least once an hour.
That's an adventure.
 

JMZ

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If you keep coming back to the klr, go buy one. Buy in cheap so if it doesn't work out you won't lose much .

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Yea I agree on the KLR being not as capable on the highway. You can run 75 tops with a gearing Change. They do fine in the 55-65 if your great with that. If you need more highway capable. For the money, vstrom is a good way to go. Not so great on the dirt Sue but still doable.
I cruse all day long at 75 stock gearing


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Jarrett

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Not sure if this will help, but here are specs of a few of the bikes in the class to compare. I compiled it when doing my own dual sport research.

It's sorted by heaviest to lightest and I left off the big bikes over 500 lbs.:

227684
 
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Jarrett

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For my own purposes, I thought the KLR would be the perfect dual sport for me as well, but I found I really disliked the way it handled off pavement compared to... pretty much every other bike I've ridden. And it wasn't fun for long on the highway, but putting around town, it was a fun bike. On good roads, under 50 mph, I liked it. That said, they can be had cheap and moved quickly.

I've found I like having a big ADV bike for road/gravel and a little dirt bike for anything else versus having one in the middle like a KLR. The downside is there's not much "anything else" in my area.

Keep in mind what riding you have available to you as well. It gets harder and harder to find anything but paved roads around my area. They keep paving and paving.

Also keep in mind that I'm a newbie and don't know much.
 
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Montejay

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I love my KLR. Bought new in 2015, now have 12K miles.
There are some good ones for sale here on TWT already rigged out.
These are great for backroad riding and camping.
Best part, you can do all the work on them yourself.
 

South Tex

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If you woulda asked a month ago you coulda had my klr cheap. A new member in Dallas came all the way down and picked it up with allll the goodies I had added.

I really liked it, it was my 2nd klr. Problem was it is just too under powered for the weight (bike,rider,gear). It took me on 10k of adventures and never let me down. It will even run on regular unleaded. My opinion a great explorer bike but I wanted something more dirt worthy and got a xr650l and wow what a difference. The xr is the closest I’ve ever owned to a real dirt bike and a blast to ride dirt roads. It’s issue is pavement riding. It’s lighter and I’ve been blown across lanes in a cross wind.

I like the big bike little bike idea, and I’m trying to add a middle weight bike in my stable.
 
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A KLR is a good bike to start on to see if you like ADV riding. Most importantly is big bike training: RawHyde, West Moto 38, Dragoo Adventure Rider Academy. These are listed In descending order of cost. Oh and Jimmy Lewis also has a school outside of Vegas. I have been to RawHyde and West Moto is former RawHyde instructor. I am signed up for a DART class this weekend and long conversation with Bill Dragoo believe I will get what I am looking for in his class.
 
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I cruse all day long at 75 stock gearing


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You sure can but I really don't like running 5500 RPM. Just not enjoyable over long distances.

Top speed on my gen 1 is 95mph but it's like riding a paint shaker.
 
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Come ride southtex or my xr650l.

Klr is more highway oriented, and will not handle ASWELL off road. It carries it's weight differently which can be felt when things get slick or muddy.
The xr is much more of a dirtbike. It will do 75 on the highway, and if your used to riding naked triumphs the wind wont bother you.

If you only plan to ride gravel roads on it go klr. If you want to try some single track trails down the line the xr is the better choice.

I own an xr and put close to 200 miles on gravel/mud on southtex's klr
 
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A few questions come to mind; how much highway riding are you wanting to do and are you talking highway or interstate? I have ridden a Gen 1 KLR across Texas a few times and the interstate is a nightmare? The State highway that runs 45-70 is a blast and general a lot prettier. It also has more trees generally which can help with crosswinds.
The other thing is what kind of dirt do you want to do? If you want to explore dirt roads and moderate single track the KLR is a fine bike. It is a work out as the top weight can put you down if things get technical. It's a lot of weight to keep up with your own strength. I have ridden plenty of dirt roads in Colorado, Texas and New Mexico and it did fine. Sandy single track is a big negative. A smaller bike is world's better when you get into that stuff.

So in the end; where do you want to go? How do you want to get there? And what do you want to do once you're there?
 

Windmill

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The weight verses horsepower and torque chart in post #20 says a lot. As for wearing out the KLR, that may never happen :D There is an inmate on TWT that is fixing to turn 100, 000 miles on his and it still runs great. pop pop , pop pop pop pop
 

Tourmeister

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There is a pretty blue klr for sale on here for $3k(I think)
I was thinking of that very same bike. I love the blue color scheme.

There really is no perfect bike. KLRs are good entry bikes, not the perfect end bike (although it is for some folks).

Cheap to buy. Cheap to maintain. Easy to maintain. Dunlop D606s are great. Pirelli MT 21s are great. Run whatever 10-30/40 oil floats your boat and it will last forever. Check the torque on the steering head bearings, they sometimes come loose from the factory! :eek2: Do the doohicky and the two cent carb mod. Ride, ride, ride... When you think you need something else, unless you trash it, you can usually sell it for pretty close to what you paid for it.

The DR650 and XR650L are close to the middle as well and you'd not be going wrong with either of them. A DRZ 400 would work as well. I've seen big guys doing rides like the TAT and CDR on them. Maybe not the "perfect" bike, but they will get the job done. You might have noticed on Jarrett's chart that these four bikes are the only ones left that have carbs. That is good and bad. FI bikes are more expensive and can't be bumped start if the battery is totally dead. They need at least a bit of juice to get the pumps working. FI bikes are more expensive. FI bikes generally make more power than a similar size non FI bike. You don't have to worry about jetting issues if you ride in varying altitudes with an FI bike. Although, I rode my KLR on the passes around Ouray with stock jetting and got it done. My KTM properly jetted had wayyyy more power on those same passes.

Really, don't get too hung up on your first bike. In all likelihood, it will be a temporary bike. The point the first bike is to give you a taste of things, help you develop the basic skills, and to give you a better idea of what kind of riding you will really be doing. After that, go back to Jarrett's chart above (which is great btw :thumb:), maybe add in the big Adv bikes if you think you want to drift that direction. IF you do decide you want a big bike and you still want to do dirt on it, I HIGHLY recommend doing a training class or two. While the skills may be mostly the same compared to a smaller bike, they ARE different beasts just because of the weight issues of the big bike. I have heard great things about Bill Dragoo's class.
 
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It is a long read but worth if @Triumphter
Read @Jarrett dual sport experiment.


That or just buy a KLR and learn along they way. :rider::rider::pirate:
 

Jarrett

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Here are (some) of the big uns for comparison:

227696


I guess I should mention the Honda weights on here are DCT. The manual models are ~30 lbs less. So the VFR is right around 600 and the Africa Twin manual is like 505.

I had to ballpark some of the weights to wet weights as some manufacturers don't publish them.
 
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South Tex

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Jarrett, in your #20 post you gave me false hope that my husky 701 has tubeless tires. I think that must be the super moto because I ran out to the garage like a kid on Christmas morning only to see mine still has tubes. :-(
 

Tourmeister

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Jarrett, in your #20 post you gave me false hope that my husky 701 has tubeless tires. I think that must be the super moto because I ran out to the garage like a kid on Christmas morning only to see mine still has tubes. :-(
Nothing wrong with tubes when you are out in the boonies :-P
 
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It is a long read but worth if @Triumphter
Read @Jarrett dual sport experiment.

I laughed. I cried. It was better than Cats.
 
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