Should I buy a KLR? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 05-11-2008, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2008
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Should I buy a KLR?

Hi folks. I just joined the site looking for information related to commuting on a KLR. I currently have a Honda VFR I bought three weeks ago with only 1,500 miles on it. It is for sale as soon as the title comes in the mail. I bought it for my 60 mile round-trip commute in mixed roads. I bought the wrong bike. Too cramped, too bent over and way too much power for what I need. I had a Triumph Sprint before the VFR and a Triumph Tiger before that. The tiger was the best for my purposes which is commuting only. I don't ever ride on the weekends. Only problem with the tiger was that it was TOO HEAVY and top heavy at that. Scary at stoplights (I'm only 6').

So I'll be searching around here to see what people say about riding a KLR for commuting. Specifically I am looking for info on the following:
Does the bike scream at you on the highway with only 5 gears?
Can it keep up with traffic on the highway for an hour or more?
Does it stop quickly even though it only has one disk front and rear?
How easy (cost effective) is it to add bags to hold stuff? Same prices as other bikes (givi?) or are there other options?
Does the Stator ouput enough amps for heated grips and/or heated vest? If not is there an aftermarket part that allows for this?
Do you get enough protection from the fairing or do you definitely need a bigger shield?

If anyone has the time to point me to some forum links or share opinions on these topics I would really appreciate it. I can't wait to get rid of this VFR and get something more suited for my uses.

Thanks to all!
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post #2 of 18 Old 05-11-2008, 10:45 PM
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I commute on my KLR as often as I can. Granted I only have 12 miles each way, but it is still a great ride!

It does not scream with only five gears and I can easily pass everything on the road on my 10 miles of freeway.

Stopping is fine. However if you are used to more powerful brakes it will take a bit of getting used to.

Luggage can be VERY cheap. I made mine from copper tubing and wal-mart boxes. For a bit more coin you can go with ebay pelicans and ebay side racks, for the cost of just the givis, or you can spring for the givis, realizing that since the bike is so much cheaper you are ahead of the game in the long run.

Don't have any experience with the stator output. It isn't cold enough here to worry about it. But you can buy a bigger stator.

I ran without a windshield for about 2 years, and got tired of it. I bought a Cee Baileys 4 over stock and it is ok. I wish it was 5 over stock, but I can hang with it as is for now.

All in all this is the best bike for me. I like that I can rig it up with stuff from Lowes and Wallyworld and it doesn't matter. I have just finished painting mine, flat black with a reflective clear coat. I made a tool tube and a set of hiway bars. For what I paid for the bike and the cost of my DIY accessories I still have less than the cost of almost any other bike and it has been more fun the whole time than any other vehicle I have owned.

Go for it. I really don't think you will regret it.

CPTD
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post #3 of 18 Old 05-11-2008, 11:17 PM
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So I'll be searching around here to see what people say about riding a KLR for commuting. Specifically I am looking for info on the following:
Does the bike scream at you on the highway with only 5 gears?
70 MPH is about 5k RPM. I have no problem at 75 or 80. You can buy a 16 tooth front sprocket to drop about 500 RPM.
Can it keep up with traffic on the highway for an hour or more?
We have ridden from Sweetwater TN, to Richmond, KY on I-75 cruising between 75 and 80 MPH for almost 3 hours straight
Does it stop quickly even though it only has one disk front and rear?
I have no problem whatsoever with the braking, altho the rear brake is pretty week, but, that helps reduce lock up and tire slide. With the front brakes locked on hard, my front fender only likes about an inch touching the tire. Yes if you are used to big rocket bikes, you won't like these brakes, but I find them to be just fine.
How easy (cost effective) is it to add bags to hold stuff? Same prices as other bikes (givi?) or are there other options?
I have a rear trunk from Ebay, about $70 shipped, two pelican 1430 side cases on racks we designed and built during the winter down time. There is a large amount of after market cases, trunks, and accessories for these bikes.
Does the Stator ouput enough amps for heated grips and/or heated vest? If not is there an aftermarket part that allows for this?
The factory stator has about 70 watts of left over power to provide some energy for heated grips. Anything more and you will have to do a stator upgrade. The 08 bikes have a larger stator with more output allowing for grips and I think even a heated vest to be run without problems.Do you get enough protection from the fairing or do you definitely need a bigger shield? I actually cut my windshield down in half, due to the fact the air stream was hitting me right on the upper part of my helmet, giving me a nasty neck and headache trying to fight the turbulance. Now the air hits my chest and allows air to come into the lower part of my helmet, keeping it cooler.

All of my answers are based on an 07 style KLR, not the new 08.

Do a google for Big CEE KLR FAQ. Is a great sight to read up about the KLR and answers many questions.

2008 DL650 VStrom Yellow and Black
Previous ride was a 2007 KLR Black/Silver, I miss it..
Looking to get back into KLR's sometime soon.

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post #4 of 18 Old 05-12-2008, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
 
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cptd & dxklr,
Thanks for the responses. Any bike takes getting used to I suppose. But there seems to be so many KLRs out there and people tend to hold onto them that I had to check out the possibility of this being "the bike". I see these bikes all the time on the commute.
Good to know that there are options for luggage other than the really expensive stuff. Having a place to stow raingear, laptop, etc. makes a difference and that it can be done relatively cheaply makes a big difference. I road through the winter on the tiger before I got spooked by a deer that just appeared out of nowhere in front of me. Serves me right for driving in the dark. I have read about the 2008s having the higher amp stator. But if the motor is pretty much the same I would thing a 2008 state should fit in a 2007 or earlier. Regardless, that is not a make or break issue.
I guess my biggest concern is highway riding and the horsepower. My first bike a "learner" was an old Suzuki gs550 that had less than 50hp. The bike was fine until I tried to ride on the highway any distance. Any incline at all and the speed would just drop right off. Downshifting didn't help. So I am a bit nervous about riding a bike with less than 65 hp on the highway. However, I am aware that people take these bikes across the country, so something about the setup of the bike must make it acceptable on the highway?
Must do more research!
thanks.
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post #5 of 18 Old 05-12-2008, 11:51 AM
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Eric,

Honestly the only thing that will convince you is a ride. I rode my big dumb cruiser out to a test ride on a KLR and I didn't want to give the guy the key back for the KLR.

It has been said many times that the KLR is not perfect for any one thing but that it is good for almost anything. Ride one and I think you will be convinced as so many of us were. There is just something about it that endears it to so many folks. Check out the writings of Verle Nelson. This guy has ridden all kinds of bikes and he traded most of them in for a KLR.

Good luck in your search,

See ya on the high ground!

CPTD
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post #6 of 18 Old 05-12-2008, 05:02 PM
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This question has been answered thousand times over, just do some searching.

I'll just restate that everyone has their own tolerance level. I was a little ticked off at the forums when I first got the KLR. I bought a new 06 unridden and unseen based on a lot of factors. I was hoping the KLR would live up to the hype about interstate and highway riding. Well, it didn't and I was feeling a little pissed at all the people saying it's just fine when in reality it's pretty damn crappy stock. Yes, the bike can run all day long at 70 and 80, but it's not anything close to a casual, enjoyable cruise down the old superslab. You get blown all over, the bike vibrates you quite a bit, and the riding position isn't exactly ideal for touring. There are a lot of things that make it a shitty superslab bike. I'm not saying anyone was lying because to them the bike is fine, but people do fail to explain their mods which is plays a big part. You really need to research everything you can and figure out what people have done to their bikes to make it more road worthy. You can spend quite a bit of money reworking stuff and you have to be willing to do that to get the level of comfort some of these people are claiming.

KLR's are all about compromise and tolerance.
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post #7 of 18 Old 05-13-2008, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
 
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Sheez, these dealers are uptight.
Talked to two local dealers with KLRs on the floor. Both were hesitant about allowing test rides. I've heard that for insurance purposes they don't let out sportbikes, nor anything with an "R" in the model name CBRR, GXR, etc. But that "nothing" gets test ridden is a new one on me.
I was persistant and got one to sort of commit. I suppose when I ride in on fairly pricy bike and he sees my gray hair maybe he'll let me take it for just a little spin.
Buying bikes is tough. I've bought and sold three so far and my fourth is on the block, trying to get one that is "just right". It's not like buying a car, that's for sure. Liability is everything.
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post #8 of 18 Old 05-13-2008, 11:34 PM
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No dealers here local will allow test rides period. Experience or not. We did find one dealer down in TN that will allow a test ride, altho, you essentially have to lay down the cash for the bike or be approved for a loan and do the paper work, therefore being, if you ride it and wreck it, its yours no matter what, but if you decide it is not the right bike for you, the paper work gets shredded and you don't have to purchase.

2008 DL650 VStrom Yellow and Black
Previous ride was a 2007 KLR Black/Silver, I miss it..
Looking to get back into KLR's sometime soon.

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post #9 of 18 Old 05-13-2008, 11:44 PM
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I don't blame them one bit. Too many squids wanting to thrash every model bike made. Can you imagine every test ride where the bike gets ripped through every gear for 30 miles. Also, test mileage on Motorcycles doesn't do well. I would not buy a new motorcycle with 100 miles of test rides on it. Insurance has pretty much made sales person ride alongs during vehicle road testing mandatory. That isn't going to happen with motorcycle test rides. Even if a sales person road another bike and followed them, there is no control over the other rider. They can't discriminate either without problems. If they let a 40 year old test ride, but not the 20 year old, then things get ugly.

One dealer told me that they offer a no loss sale. If you buy the bike and don't like it, you lose nothing in a trade or if you sell it back. That puts the full liability on the buyer to insure themselves and the bike.

I would also never let anyone test ride if I was selling a used street motorcycle.
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post #10 of 18 Old 05-13-2008, 11:54 PM
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I like the idea of the no loss sale... I need to mention that to the dealers around here. It isn't something they offer..

2008 DL650 VStrom Yellow and Black
Previous ride was a 2007 KLR Black/Silver, I miss it..
Looking to get back into KLR's sometime soon.

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