Advice for first timeer - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-06-2009, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Roselle Illinois
Posts: 30
Advice for first timeer

Hi everyone, I've been reading your forum and others for about a year now after I finally made the decision to get my first motorcycle. I first got interested in dual-sport bikes many years ago when living in Ireland. I used to see European bikers touring and the KLR650 type bike really got my interest. I'm not really into rockets or cruisers and had all the near death experiences I want while driving cars at high speed in the 'old sod.
I have zero experience on motorcycles, not even as a passenger except when at age 16 my sisters boyfriend let me on his Kawi 750 street bike on a large lawn and I lasted about 3 minutes before falling over. At the time I was about 120lbs soaking wet so there was no competition when the bike started to lean over at too slow a speed! I'm 50 now so at least my memory still works...
Have cycled bicycles for years and still do, out on 4 and 6-lane streets in heavy traffic and have experienced the ignorance/stupidity of many car drivers.
I am also accident free in cars etc for approx 30 years so I possess some common road sense or a lot of luck and the need for speed is low on my list.
I just got my permit and signed up for a rider course at Illinois Harley. I chose them because they train on reasonable large bikes and I did'nt want to learn on a 250 and believe I was more capable that I really was. I go on the course last week of April.
I have my heart set on the new 2009 KLR but the main reservation I still have is the seat height. I am 6ft, 195lbs with a 33inch inseam. I have sat on the KLR a few times in the dealers and can't get both feet flat on the ground. I not very uncomfortable with that fact except for safety. I have read about lowering links, the resulting change in bike handling attitude, and read about lower seats etc, but also read comments about lower but also wider so the lowering advantage is lost.
So, here is my question, is the KLR650 too much motorcycle for this newbie and if not too big when in motion, should I really be all that concerned about getting my feet firmly planted when stationary?

I appreciate all the advice I have already seen on this type of topic but I needed advice more specific to my experience and physique.
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-06-2009, 02:41 PM
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Location: Corpus Christi, TX
Posts: 704
Common thought is that after a few miles the suspension will settle and you'll sit a bit lower.

If I haven't ridden in a few days (particularly in cool weather) I'll "bounce" in the seat of my bike ('05 OEM suspension) a couple of times before I move it and it'll sit a little lower.

If you can find someone with a late KLR with standard suspension that you could test, that might help your decision.

I wouldn't hesitate to lower one if needed. You'll probably get a little better road handling that way.

And congrats of taking/passing the course. You'll appreciate it more as time goes by.
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-06-2009, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Roselle Illinois
Posts: 30
Thanks bigiron.
Never considered that. I suppose with the helmet and proper gear on it'll add a few pounds, plus I would expect the seat height will compress a little too. All bringing the ground a little closer for comfort.
Concerning lowering links, I read that you need to adjust the height on the front as well to maintain balanced handling. Would an inexperienced rider not notice, or would handling safety be compromised in any way?
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-06-2009, 03:34 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 36

Don't worry about it, I just picked up a new 2009 KLR last week and have about 200 miles on it. I'm six feet tall and have a 32" inseam. Although I feel like I'm really up there when standing still, once you get moving everything is fine. I can just get my feet on the ground at rest, so you shouldn't have a problem with 1" more length than me. Although I've been riding for a while, I got this primarily for my 19 year old son. I felt a single cylinder bike would keep him out of trouble while getting started in motorcycling. I feel it would be a great starter bike; unlike some of those 600cc crotch rockets.
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post #5 of 9 Old 04-06-2009, 03:48 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Rome, NY
Posts: 189
Thumbs up Buy it!

Iím now 43 and havenít touched a bike since I was about 10 years old. The KLR (08) was my first and is my only bike. Iím 5 11 and its fine. Iíve had it for almost two years and no regrets. I love every minute on it.

I also took a learn to ride course before I purchased my bike. Great idea, money & time well spent.
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-06-2009, 04:05 PM
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Location: Corpus Christi, TX
Posts: 704
You do/should adjust the front forks, but that's considered a quick and easy operation. I've read several posts by guys that have put on the lowering links and left the front stock and liked it that way.

We've got a couple of suspension pro's on the forum -- hopefully they'll check in and give us the straight stuff.
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-06-2009, 05:42 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 109
My buddy's 07 .. has a three stage lowering kit.. ( not sure where it came from he bought it used that way 67 miles on it) front is dropped about 2'' I believe also it handles just fine and rides good.. but is total 2'' lower than my new 09..

There is a story on the used 67 miles too..
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post #8 of 9 Old 04-06-2009, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Roselle Illinois
Posts: 30
Thanks to everyone for the advice and I have a little more confidence about my ability to stay upright when stopped. I'll search for threads specific to lowering.
Does anyone know if the Corbin dual level seat width really cancel out the lower seat height. On the surface it appears it would be a comfortable lowering solution for me.
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-07-2009, 10:58 PM
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Location: Cleveland Tennessee
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just bought a 09 and I'm 5-10 210lbs and my feet don't touch the ground real good I have to tip toe or just lean it to one side, I would say buy it you will love it. I have over 600miles and loving it, cant wait to get it broke in so I can make some good trips, and plus its a great investment and it helps boost the economy
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