Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Evansville, Indiana
KLR is much heavier then a normal dirt bike... 400lbs.
I wasn't new to motorcycles, but the KLR was my first offroad bike. It took a lot of beating while learning. I ended up getting a KDX200 dirt bike also and that's where I really learned offroading much better because it was far more forgiving. You can flick a KDX around though, but you don't flick a KLR around, you let the engine do the work. The KLR is better at a little faster pace, but when I was learning I kept chuggin slowly along and that made the KLR a real beast to handle because there wasn't enough momentum. The thing is, it's tough to speed up when your new because you don't know how to fully handle the bike or trails yet and don't fully know what the KLR is capable.
I definitely owe a lot to the guys I ride with because by watching them I was able learn what the KLR was capable of. It's important to know because you have to trust that the bike can make it through or over whatever it is you are dealing with. I used to stop at or avoid every obstacle, including little 2" puddles because I didn't know what was going to happen or how to handle a wet dualsport tire on a dirt trail. Yep, I was a real chickenshit. Now I pretty much hit anything except for large mud and water pits/ruts. I hate mud and will avoid it at most any cost.
Gravel was the worst experience and I finally worked my way through that by spending a day playing around on it by taking off fast, spinning the tires and then stopping right away. I would build up more distance, go a little faster, stop a little faster or stop a little slower. It really worked because instead of 30, I can now go 60/70 on gravel without any problems.
If you get an 08 or newer, I would recommend crash bars as your first investment and before you ever go offroad. Lots of people have posted already about their fairings breaking easily.