For those with a lot of time on both please compare a 2015+ KLR650 to a 2014+ KTM 690 Enduro R - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
2008+ KLR650 Wrenching & Mod Questions For repair, maintaining or modifying discussions related to the newly updated 2008 and beyond, Generation 2 KLR650 Motorcycle.

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post #1 of 35 Old 01-22-2020, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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For those with a lot of time on both please compare a 2015+ KLR650 to a 2014+ KTM 690 Enduro R

Please only for those informed opinions. Not looking to get sentimental about your beloved KLR. I’m reaching the point where there isn’t much more to realistically do with my KLR except suspension work. Even at that it’s somewhat expensive and it will still be very top heavy. I’d like to do more off-road dual sport events and am considering a 690 R. How much versatility and highway capability will I lose to gain more off-road ability with the KTM?
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post #2 of 35 Old 01-22-2020, 04:38 PM
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Got 'em both; I think the answer to your question depends significantly on the planned riding environment and distances/durations you plan.

My 690's "adventurized" considerably (e.g., rear pannier racks and top case rack); the KTM's closer to achieving that carrying capability when you start out.

Fuel capacity (without augmentation/modification) may be a limitation of the 690 for certain missions. Further, especially stock, the KTM is mighty tall.

Nevertheless, the KTM's about 310 pounds dry; and has almost 70 horsepower out of the box. Elite suspension, and a, "bad gas" map for riding in Mexico where only low-octane Pemex from a re-purposed milk jug sold by a trailside entrepreneur is available. Long service interval. Fuel injection and six speeds.

Service on a KLR remains simple and DIY-possible, in most cases. KTM . . . pray you have a dealer within striking distance and you haven't exhausted your credit card limit. Pray further: Your dealer knows what he's doing.

So, . . . your own, "decision tree" applies, if you're limited on the number of bikes your stable holds. Your likes, and how important they are to you, remain key.

I posted a picture of my KTM690 on this website a while back; if Photoshop isn't holding the file for ransom, I'll post it again.

Here goes:

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“You better put down that gun. You got two ways to go, put it down or use it. Even if you tie me, you’re gonna be dead.” "John Russell" (Paul Newman), Hombre

Last edited by Damocles; 01-22-2020 at 05:05 PM.
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post #3 of 35 Old 01-22-2020, 06:36 PM
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Damocles has both and is a great guy to talk to.

I would add that the KTM is ready to race out of the box but needs some work for any real dual purpose riding; fuel range, racks, etc. The KLR, on the other hand needs work in completely different areas, mostly suspension.

No amount of mods are going to make a KLR as good offroad as a 690R. The longevity, ease of repair and parts availability are the KLR's strong points, weak points are suspension, hp, brakes, weight.

I wanted to keep the KLR's strong points and minimize the weak ones and I think I've largely succeded with my highly moddified Gen1 KLR's...but while I've gotten the suspension close enough and the weight somewhat close, there is no practical way to close the hp gap (people have built 60hp KLR's but I suspect it would be far easier and possibly cheaper just to buy a 690). I do ride dual sport events and even the odd offroad events with my KLR's now - I wouldn't dream of doing it on a stock one.

always remember that what makes a bike good offroad is often the opposite of what makes a good on road or long distance mount. ...as usual (and as Damocles stated), it depends what your wants, needs, expectations and budget are.....there is no one best choice for every mission. The KTM is a heck of a bike.


Dave

Last edited by DPelletier; 01-22-2020 at 06:38 PM.
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post #4 of 35 Old 01-22-2020, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. Guess I should have clarified more. Really I’m only concerned about the KTM on road because off road it wouldn’t even be close. No knock on the KLR but it’s weight, ground clearance and limited suspension travel can’t be overcome reasonably. Are there people that ride a Gen 2 in the woods? Sure, I do a decent amount myself. Is it fun and/or even wise? Not so much.

Not worried about Mexico as I’ll probably never ride there. Fuel range, meh as it could probably stretch a good 180, the vast majority of my trips are 150 miles or less and I don't mind stopping for gas. I like the KLR for its go most anywhere ability (Especially from hard pack quad trails up to concrete freeways) and it has decent highway manners even if it’s not really fun. How does the KTM compare in those respects? Comfort for distance, seat options, vibrations etc. I test rode a 640 enduro before I bought the KLR and the 640 vibrated horribly. I understand they are counterbalanced and smoother now.

I do all of my own work and only go to the shop for safety inspections. Is the 690 really a maintenance tech bike? I would think there is plenty of forum knowledge and compared to cars, bikes are simple to work on just because of the size and accessibility of key components.

I miss out on a lot of area dual sport rides with guys on DRZ’s CRF L’’s, XR’s etc simply because I don’t want to be that guy stuck at the bottom of a hill, holding everybody up or bashing the shit out of my bike trying to keep up with bikes 100 pounds lighter. I also enjoy 50/50 rides though and don’t want to give up that part where a KLR shines. I’ve always thought a DR650 would be a better choice for the kind of riding I do. So maybe the question is how does the 690 compare to. DR650?

Last edited by EricZ; 01-22-2020 at 07:08 PM.
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post #5 of 35 Old 01-22-2020, 08:11 PM
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Highway on a 690? Fear not!

As to, being a, "maintenance tech" bike, . . . its heart is a coalition of COMPUTERS! Few of us shade-tree mechanics have the test equipment for comprehensive diagnoses; much less the knowledge to fix what ails it.

Not to gainsay the configuration; after all, most automobiles today have computerized electronics beyond the grasp of ordinary, untrained mortals. We drive THOSE, don't we?

Sophisticated lash-ups want knowledgeable, sound repair. Fuel pump problems? ABS malfunctions? Duct tape and wire ties won't likely resolve 'em.

Just a brief example: KTM690 uses a Hall Effect sidestand safety switch. If the associated components aren't right, it ain't starting, or running, 'cept maybe in neutral. What does a rider do, if this assembly/circuit gets grenaded on the trail? The fix may be simple, but . . . who knows?

And . . . don't think the smaller size of a motorcycle enhances accessibility to components; rather . . . may exacerbate difficulty in reaching critical areas. Example: Brake light switch (one of 'em, anyway) is located 'way down, in the bowels of the beast, close to the ABS magic lash-up.

Back to your questions; vibration? My perception, the KTM vibrates less than the KLR; my estimate may be incorrect, because neither machine's vibration bothers/annoys me; an area where I may be totally insensitive.

How does a 690 compare to a DR650? Don't know, but . . . I'd bet you could substitute "DR650" for "KLR650" in the comparative analyses above and reach similar conclusions, performance and operational capability wise.

Again, as to on-road performance of the KTM: It's fast, quick, nimble and maneuverable beyond realistic KLR650 expectations, with shut-'em-down-in-a-hurry brakes (with switchable ABS). I'd say, overall, the KTM appears safer on the highway than a KLR . . . provided you don't attempt to set the World Land Speed Record on your commute; and . . . believe me, you'll be tempted to try it!


“You better put down that gun. You got two ways to go, put it down or use it. Even if you tie me, you’re gonna be dead.” "John Russell" (Paul Newman), Hombre

Last edited by Damocles; 01-23-2020 at 12:08 PM.
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post #6 of 35 Old 01-23-2020, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Damocles View Post
Got 'em both; I think the answer to your question depends significantly on the planned riding environment and distances/durations you plan.

My 690's "adventurized" considerably (e.g., rear pannier racks and top case rack); the KTM's closer to achieving that carrying capability when you start out.

Fuel capacity (without augmentation/modification) may be a limitation of the 690 for certain missions. Further, especially stock, the KTM is mighty tall.

Nevertheless, the KTM's about 310 pounds dry; and has almost 70 horsepower out of the box. Elite suspension, and a, "bad gas" map for riding in Mexico where only low-octane Pemex from a re-purposed milk jug sold by a trailside entrepreneur is available. Long service interval. Fuel injection and six speeds.

Service on a KLR remains simple and DIY-possible, in most cases. KTM . . . pray you have a dealer within striking distance and you haven't exhausted your credit card limit. Pray further: Your dealer knows what he's doing.

So, . . . your own, "decision tree" applies, if you're limited on the number of bikes your stable holds. Your likes, and how important they are to you, remain key.

I posted a picture of my KTM690 on this website a while back; if Photoshop isn't holding the file for ransom, I'll post it again.

Here goes:

Good looking bike you have there, Damocles.

Jason
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post #7 of 35 Old 01-23-2020, 09:19 AM
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I’ve always thought a DR650 would be a better choice for the kind of riding I do. So maybe the question is how does the 690 compare to. DR650?
The '96+ DR650S is like a slightly more updated version of a Gen1 KLR.....but it needs most of the same mods to be "offroad worthy" IMO; mostly suspension upgrades, protection items, a bigger tank and perhaps some luggage solutions. ....HP is very similar to the KLR and nothing like the KTM. The seat is softer! Cogent Dynamics, the same folks that specialize in KLR suspension upgrades, also specialize in the DR650 and have extensive experience on the subject; a call to them may be beneficial. Honestly, I probably would have been better off to start with a DR650 instead of my Gen1 KLR's but I now have mine performing beyond what a stock DR is capable of. If I had to chose between a new DR or a new KLR today, I'd go with the DR since the '08+ "improvements" were a step or two in the wrong direction for how I use my bikes......yeah, it's blasphemy here so don't tell anybody! ;-)

To compare the DR vs. KTM, I'd say the DR is simpler, easier/cheaper to repair and parts are much easier to get. it's more sedate and more comfortable on the road (though not as comfortable as a KLR) but requires significant modification to be used on the same sort of trails that the KTM can do bone stock. A DR is probably positioned smack dab in the middle (functionality wise) between a KLR and the KTM.

I had great experiences with all three KTM's that I owned and I don't consider them unreliable but the light weight and high power comes at a cost and I don't mean money.

Not sure if any of this helps but cheers!

Dave
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post #8 of 35 Old 01-23-2020, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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It does help quite a bit actually. I think I’m gonna start searching for a clean used one. It seems like the 690 is a modern high performance version of the KLR. Some convenience drawbacks but with a healthy injection of excitement. I REALLY like that new 790 Adventure R but don’t want to spend the over $15k OTD it’s likely to cost and although it’s bigger and heavier is probably more off road capable than a stock KLR. I really wouldn’t want to drop that one in the woods either. 690 Enduro seems to be in my future. For serious off road I have my 200exc smoker.
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post #9 of 35 Old 01-23-2020, 11:48 AM
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I had two 200XC's and a 300XCW; great bikes. :-)

Cheers,
Dave
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post #10 of 35 Old 01-23-2020, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
I had two 200XC's and a 300XCW; great bikes. :-)

Cheers,
Dave
I'd be hard pressed to list all the KTM's I've owned...going all the way back when they were white/blue, white/red etc. My all time favorite KTM was the 200XC. I've never owned a 690 in dirt trim (a couple motards) but comparing that KTM to any 1980's designed Japanese dual sport isn't fair to either. Completely different bikes, usage etc. If I could go back to when I rescued my KLR and knowing what I know now I'd have opted for the KTM Super Enduro. I still have my 95 XR600 so that can satisfy more dirt oriented rides....just terrible on the street though for any length of time. With suspension work the Gen1 KLR will surprise many other riders in its capability. I've owned a couple Gen2's...just never did well for me even with similar suspension work.
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Last edited by Chuck B; 01-23-2020 at 09:21 PM.
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