Older Street Rider in need of input please. - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 06-07-2012, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Older Street Rider in need of input please.

I ride a Harley Sportster (street bike). It's served me well, and although it's an 883 cc, I've taken four and five day trips and never left the need for more power. Comfortable even a 75 MPH and 55 MPG it works well on pavement. And that's my problem.

Im restricted to pavement and I live in southern Oregon where we are blessed with miles and miles of BLM an logging roads that I want very much to ride. On a trip to the eastern part of the state, I was unable to ride to a few places of interest because the roads were gravel.

But, I'm 75 years of age. While I'm in pretty good shape (for an old guy) I wonder if I should risk riding in gravel where stability is an issue. Broken hips for older folks is no joke! I'm looking seriously at the KLR 650...to the point where I think it's the only off-pavement bike I will buy. At 170 lbs, 5'11", I think this is plenty of bike for me. (BMW make a 650 but seems to be overpriced in comparison)

Thanks for taking time to read this, and I'd appreciate any feedback from those who have some knowledge of my issues.
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post #2 of 25 Old 06-07-2012, 01:13 PM
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The KLR is tall...35" seat height if memory serves me correctly. That will take some time for adjustment or require lowering links. It is also heavy compared with the competitor's similar products.

So there will be an adjustment phase. I think the best thing to do is just to go sit on one.

It is a good steed, and will serve you for miles and miles without problem.

2006 Red KLR 650

Modifications:
1)Doohickey Planned and purchased 2)Aftermarket Grips 3)Grip Heaters 4)Happy Trails Hard Luggage Rack 5)20 mm ammo cases planned soon 6)Aftermarket Exhaust 7)Thermobob 8)Happy Trails Fork Brace 9)Stainless Steel Oil Filter 10)Magnetic Drain Plug

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post #3 of 25 Old 06-07-2012, 01:24 PM
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Welcome to the forum!

I have been riding for 39 of my 49 years, did off road racing for 10 of the 39 years. When I started looking for a dual sport bike, I looked at all of them. The KLR seems to be the best bang for the buck and still be comfortable on the road. Is it the bike I would pick to run a lot of muddy or sandy single track, no. But the bike I would pick for that would be almost completely worthless on the highway. The KLR does a lot of stuff well, but nothing great. With only one bike in the garage the KLR does everything I want.

For logging roads, the KLR is a perfect fit.
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post #4 of 25 Old 06-07-2012, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldsport883 View Post
I ride a Harley Sportster (street bike). It's served me well, and although it's an 883 cc, I've taken four and five day trips and never left the need for more power. Comfortable even a 75 MPH and 55 MPG it works well on pavement. And that's my problem.

Im restricted to pavement and I live in southern Oregon where we are blessed with miles and miles of BLM an logging roads that I want very much to ride. On a trip to the eastern part of the state, I was unable to ride to a few places of interest because the roads were gravel.

But, I'm 75 years of age. While I'm in pretty good shape (for an old guy) I wonder if I should risk riding in gravel where stability is an issue. Broken hips for older folks is no joke! I'm looking seriously at the KLR 650...to the point where I think it's the only off-pavement bike I will buy. At 170 lbs, 5'11", I think this is plenty of bike for me. (BMW make a 650 but seems to be overpriced in comparison)

Thanks for taking time to read this, and I'd appreciate any feedback from those who have some knowledge of my issues.

You are almost guaranteed to fall over in the dirt once in awhile. So yea you could get hurt but you've got to live life, yes? Good on you for wanting to do it!

The KLR is 400 lbs. give or take. It can be hard to pick-up off-road. Also IMHO it's not a good bike for a dirt newbie. Better to get a 250-400 class bike like a KLX 250 or a DRZ 400. They will be about 100 pounds lighter, better suspension, brakes, etc.

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Cor 2:9
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post #5 of 25 Old 06-07-2012, 03:42 PM
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KLR's are GREAT bikes. BUT if you have limited gravel experience I'd look at something lighter and lower 1st. You will be MUCH happier you did.
Either go sit on them at the dealer or do some little test rides on used ones.
I'd look at KLX250, CRF250L (just getting ready to come out), XT225 (low), DR650 (can be lowered with stock parts and little lighter than KLR).

Ask on ADVrider for locals and I bet you will get plenty of guys willing to let you try out their bikes.

WELCOME!!

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post #6 of 25 Old 06-07-2012, 08:52 PM
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Get the KLR!
I'm retired, early 60's...been riding since 1970 or so, but bought my first KLR two years ago. I REALLY like it. I started out fast, and dumped it several times the first few (off road mud) rides, but none since. It is steady in gravel, and on the road. I now avoid the deep mud and water over 6" deep when I can, but the KLR takes me places where I probably shouldn't go...and brings me home again. I'm 6' even or so, and can stand flat footed with my Sargent's low seat. I have never had a problem picking up the bike when I dropped it.
I say get it! Lots are available on the used market. Get one already farkled, and save some bucks.
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post #7 of 25 Old 06-07-2012, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savage View Post
KLR's are GREAT bikes. BUT if you have limited gravel experience I'd look at something lighter and lower 1st. You will be MUCH happier you did.
Either go sit on them at the dealer or do some little test rides on used ones.
I'd look at KLX250, CRF250L (just getting ready to come out), XT225 (low), DR650 (can be lowered with stock parts and little lighter than KLR).

Ask on ADVrider for locals and I bet you will get plenty of guys willing to let you try out their bikes.

WELCOME!!
Thanks Savage,
And your post feels the most "gut true" to my situation. I'm new here, so don't know if it's acceptable to thank all who responded in just one post. I really appreciate the replies everyone has posted: really good points to consider.
But...
With 75 good years under my belt, I think I'll just thank the motorcycle gods for the 50 good years I had with wind in my face. Savage's remark about "newbies in gravel" is telling. And someone else (? right now) reminded me that picking up some 400 pounds could be a challenge. I enjoy riding alone, and with a busted wrist or arm, that could really be a nightmare. I'm as mean as I was 40 years ago, but not nearly as tough or strong.

I'm still comfortable and confident on the Sporty, and while I will read about you guys with envy, I think my "window of opportunity" has closed for the riding you guys are blessed with.

Thanks again, all! I'll continue to watch the forum...seems like a stand up bunch here. And just maybe, maybe, I'll take your advice Savage and check out the ADVrider site...didn't know about them.

Thanks again. I'll buy the virtual beer. (Big of me, huh
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post #8 of 25 Old 06-08-2012, 06:45 AM
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I doubt I'll be able to ride when I'm 75, but it you're still able to handle your Sporty I wouldn't give up the dream of leisurely exploring all the gravel roads around you. If you get a light, low, cheap bike you will have a blast!! Cruising along on them isn't much different/harder than riding a mountain bike on a gravel road. Look for an XT or KLX and give them a test ride. You'll be glad you did!

Kawasaki KLR650 - Adventure Lite
Tagged KTM250XCF-W - Rocket
Tagged KLX300 - Trail Tractor
'84 XR250R - Retro Ride
RMZ250 - Dirty
CRF80 - Kids
CRF70 - Kids
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post #9 of 25 Old 06-08-2012, 06:51 AM
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I just switch over from a sporty to a KLR this spring...So far I am loving it...I wished I would have done it years ago...These bikes are alot taller...I've not lowered mine and don't intend to but I don't see where it would hurt much... I still need dirt practice but I've already adjusted to the road ride and I like it better...Heavy? compared to a Harley there light as a 2 stroke 125... lol ... I say KLR 650... you can't beat the price and versatility I've not regretted it at all and I've had Harley's for the past 10-12 years and cruisers before that....
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post #10 of 25 Old 06-08-2012, 10:34 AM
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If all you plan on riding is dirt roads, I wouldn't worry about a learning curve for the gravel. Now if you want to run some off road trails, that would be a different story. I've only had my KLR a short time, but I like it so far. Not as much power as my old 1500 V-twin obvioulsy but scoots along pretty good. It's a nice compromise for dirt and paved roads.
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