Question about the KLR - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-15-2016, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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Question about the KLR

I've been away from riding for a few years. My last ride was a 2003 BMW 1150GS. I've owned a ton of bikes in my life, most have been of the sport touring variety. My question is how good is the KLR for one up touring? I'm considering a 2014 or newer. I would probably want a taller windscreen, a set of Tusk panniers, a sargent saddle and using a 16T sprocket. Any comments regarding using the KLR for long distance would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-15-2016, 08:19 PM
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Location: Lander, Wyoming
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The KLR650 is one of the most popular bikes sold by Kawasaki.

Why? Partly because of its ability to go 'Around the World' with a fairly small, reasonably affordable, owner installed list of modifications.
It will do it on asphalt, gravel and dirt. And most often at the posted speed limit, if not even slightly illegal speeds!
It does not get along well with mud or sand, but neither do most riders or the bikes they have chosen for long distance travel!

If you are a highly experienced Off-Road rider, the KLR650 can traverse some truly ugly terrain.
If you are an inexperienced rider, it can ride You in some relatively mild conditions, but any bike can!
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Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-16-2016, 12:43 AM
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Location: Texas
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I ride mine long distances - 8,000 to 10,000 mile trips.
A good tall wind shield is important to me.
I modified my seat to 15" wide at the rear tapering to stock at the front, so I can sit back and cruise comfortably or scooch up when I go on dirt.
I put some luggage handle pads from REI on the grips for comfort.
A throttle lock is nice on long straight highways.
LED dash lights and tail light bulbs are less likely to burn out on the trip.

Luggage is just personal preference. I use a 12x12x30 aluminum tool box from Harbor freight for a tail box. It is waterproof and knife proof and lockable. My saddle bags are just throw-over saddle bags that go in with me at night. Any ol tank bag will work, but the magnetic mounting ones will scratch the tank big time.
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-16-2016, 07:32 AM
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I know a guy who did Key West (Southernmost Point) to Prudoe Bay Alaska on a KLR. Over on Adventure Rider there are many guys and gals that have done similar on KLRS. Its proved itself so many times and in so many places. I don't have any plans to do that trip on mine. Not because its a KLR, but because I already checked that ride off my list.

Kawa improved the seat in the 2014+ models. The seat really exceeded my expectations and I don't plan on replacing it or doing anything with it at this time. Give it a try, you may like it too.

The stock gearing is perfectly fine for highway and light off road. Give it a try before replacing the countershaft sprocket. I have zero experience with a 16t, but I can't imagine it being an overall good change. I'm probably heading for 14t.

Good luck.
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post #5 of 9 Old 04-16-2016, 10:58 AM
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I was on Harley's for many, many years and took a break for about 7 years for health reasons.
Tours great, needed taller windshield, throttle lock, softer seat... I love it
I have stock 15-43 sprockets and it is a bit hard to get used to doing high rpm's compared to Harley's but it does 75-80 all day long for me..
Lots of fun off-road!!!

Just my 2 cents..
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-16-2016, 12:09 PM
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The 16T sprocket works fine on flatter ground at lower elevations. Ridding a section of I-70 in Utah with stock gearing in a heavy rain I couldn't maintain 70 mph without dropping down to 4th. The next year ridding the same road I saw that I was on the uphill side of an 8,000 feet pass.

Try the 16 and see if you like it. Use 4th when necessary. Get a prevailing torque (lock) nut from for ease of change and take the 15T with you.
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-16-2016, 09:35 PM
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KLR touring

Go Motor is correct. Touring on the KLR is limited by the rider NOT the motorcycle. Practice will make a LDR out of you The 16 T sprocket gives 1ST gear longer legs and switching to the 14T or 15 T when wanted is no problem Ride safe Rebar James in Friendswood
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post #8 of 9 Old 04-17-2016, 06:40 AM
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The KLR will do things the GS cannot easily do but the GS will do things the KLR cannot easily do. You will have to change your idea of touring. The KLR is more for putting along. You will have to plan your passes or just really not do them at all.

I have ridden your bike and most other large cc sport touring, currently have a bandit 1250. Personally I cannot see doing a long tour and really enjoying it on a KLR, not with my current riding buddies anyway. I would do it alone or two up with my wife on gravel rides or back roads.

I just sold my wee strom and now the KLR is my go to bike for dirt and gravel. It is a capable bike and I think you will enjoy it just realize it is not a 1150GS.

'01 KLR 650, '09 Suzuki DL650, '08 Suzuki Bandit 1250, '16 CRF1000L, '09 KLX 250s
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-19-2016, 08:30 AM
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Location: Indiana/ Michigan line at the Lake
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These bikes rock for a "go anywhere" tour.

This is no ST 1100 on the power side of life.
The KLR thrives on the non interstate slabs. 0-60 times are excellent.
60-90 times are measured on a calendar. LOL As mentioned, plan your passes
early n' pull the trigger long before swinging around that truck meandering along
on the big 3 laners.

On the ergo side, there's plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy the ride.
This is the personal preference part of choosing what seat your butt likes, handlebar
shape and position, type and location of the feetpegz, and of course, highway pegs
for the all important stretching out part that makes an all day ride tolerable.
A decent windshield to duck behind helps hugely with fatigue/ rain issues too.


This is my son, with whom I am well pleased." ----God
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