Talk Me Into It - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 01-11-2013, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Talk Me Into It

Short time lurker,first time poster.
I'm seriously considering getting a 2012 or 2013 KLR 650 and I'm looking for your opinions and input on why I should get a Kawasaki over any of the other brands. I've done some research and everything I've read so far makes me think that the Kawasaki is the way to go.
I have an 07 Suzuki DRZ 400SM and an 09 Yamaha TW200.
I'm looking for a bike that's better for longer road trips(500-1000km) and can also be used for a daily commuter.
It would be used 90% road 10%dirt
Give me the good,the bad,and the ugly and would this be the best choice for my needs.


Thanks for any and all responses.
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post #2 of 11 Old 01-11-2013, 06:16 PM
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What sort of speeds are you asking this new bike to be able to ride at mostly? If sane and close to the speed limit then the KLR is a perfect choice. I use mine for just the same reason you are asking about. I ride long distances every summer. Toronot to Inuvik, Toronto to NFLD.....easily done and without complaint from the bike and that is fully loaded down with camping gear etc.
BUT....if you want to go fast and up above the speed limit for long distances etc, I'd be thinking 650 Strom. Sorry guys but it is the best highway machine for sure.
BUT, if you are happy with the 10 above the limit and happy to see the scenery as you pass by, the KLR is a very sweet bike.....IMHO. I will never trade mine for any other machine just to go faster than it goes now.

Willys
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post #3 of 11 Old 01-11-2013, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by willys View Post
What sort of speeds are you asking this new bike to be able to ride at mostly? If sane and close to the speed limit then the KLR is a perfect choice. I use mine for just the same reason you are asking about. I ride long distances every summer. Toronot to Inuvik, Toronto to NFLD.....easily done and without complaint from the bike and that is fully loaded down with camping gear etc.
BUT....if you want to go fast and up above the speed limit for long distances etc, I'd be thinking 650 Strom. Sorry guys but it is the best highway machine for sure.
BUT, if you are happy with the 10 above the limit and happy to see the scenery as you pass by, the KLR is a very sweet bike.....IMHO. I will never trade mine for any other machine just to go faster than it goes now.
Fast is for the younger crowd.I want something that will keep up with the surrounding traffic at comfortable rpm's yet enough power to pass when needed.Also,a bike that you can sit in the saddle for 3-4 hours at a time in reasonable comfort.
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post #4 of 11 Old 01-12-2013, 10:04 AM
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Not to insult you, how fat are you.....????lol. I'm a 220lb fat bastard and the stock KLR seat is disgracefull! I would have paid you to ride it home for me after a 40 minute ride. BUT....there are much better seats out there. I made my own, a copy of the Corbin flat seat. I can ride it all the way across Canada and never once complain about the seat again. If you can hold a 4" disc grinder and carefull sand foam and use a spray can of adhesive you can do the same. OR spend the real money on the real thing, well worth it. IF you do want to ride as you say the KLR is a perfect machine. seriously. They have a few little issues as all bikes do once you get serious about researching them, but nothing that is a show stopper for sure.
There are a few other KLR owners near you I know of.....I'm sure they will chime in after a while.

The hard part now is to figure out which colour is best......lol.

Your inseam and weight are the only things you need to think about when thiking of initial adjustments to the KLR for fit and feel also for how you intend to use the bike. If going to use it for adventure riding, a stiffer rear spring to replace the stock spring is in order to help carry the weight($100) and then the seat. I would strongly suggest engine guards also. The plastic is expensive and why replace it if you can protect it.

Sorry I could go on for pages......

Willys
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post #5 of 11 Old 01-12-2013, 12:34 PM
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Welcome, Little_Valy...

I own an '06 KLR and an '11 V-Strom, so have some insight into both. What follows is entirely my opinion in all cases. I'm sure there is somebody that will disagree with every thing I say here...

Why I like the KLR better than the V-Strom:

- The KLR is more versatile. I've had mine in sand, snow, pavement, dust, rocks, some mud, jumping curbs, you name it. It handles it all. I've done less mud than the others since I live in the desert. I use the KLR for mostly dirt, probably 90/10 dirt/pavement at this point.

- The KLR is easier to work on. Keeping in mind that I have a Gen 1, and the body stuff on those is much simpler, but it all comes off easily and you can get to the guts of the thing easily. I do all my own work on the KLR. So far, I do not like working on the V-Strom very much.

- The KLR is simpler technology. No computers, one cylinder, carb, etc. Part of easier to work on.

- The KLR has a lower initial cost, leaving more $$ for later goodies. And the aftermarket support for the KLR is mind boggling. I don't think the V-Strom aftermarket is as well populated.

- If range is something of concern, you can get a 10-gallon tank for the KLR.

- The KLR is a major chick magnet. Well, maybe not this one. I'm past the age of caring, anyway...


Why I like the V-Strom better than the KLR:

- Pavement work. The V-Strom is way more comfortable than the KLR, vibrates less, is faster, has about the same range out of the box, better lights, better brakes.

- And variations of that. I never take the KLR onto the slab if I can at all help it. I avoid the slab on the V-Strom as well, but I'm not so rabid about it.

- The V-Strom has tubeless tires.

- The V-Strom has 'modern' guts... fuel injection and so on. As long as that stuff works, it is great.

On the negative V-Strom side, to me the oil cooler and filter hanging down there is a major vulnerability. I've heard of lots of folks going for years with no problem, but I did put a bash plate on the V-Strom right away, even though its use is 95% street.

You mention you want something to keep up with traffic... how is traffic in your area? Where I live, I'm an hour away from the closest freeway so the KLR and V-Strom are both fine around here. I'd be pretty nervous about riding a KLR much in places like LA. Actually I'd be nervous about that on the V-Strom as well, but less so.

When I first got the KLR it was my only bike and I used it for making trips to the home office of where I work... which is about 350 miles one way. It handled it fine, including keeping up with surface street traffic in the big city just fine. Again, no freeways for me on it.

The KLR, being a dirt-bike type design, might be a bit more visible to cagers than a more road-bike design... the high fender and all. Also, the KLR sits much higher so you can see around better... over the tops of cars and such.

The KLR is pretty much bullet proof. As willys mentions, it has a few issues that should be addressed but after that it will go and go and go.

To be fair, the V-Strom also has an excellent reputation for longevity... I haven't had mine long enough to have any personal experience with that.

If your riding was more dirt oriented, I'd say the KLR wins hands-down. For 90/10 street, the question might be a bit more open. I have read many times that the Gen 2 KLRs are much better on the street than Gen 1.

Now just to keep the torches and pitchforks at bay, I do want to say that I absolutely love the KLR. I still, even as much as I like the V-Strom, if I was going to take a long trip and time was not an issue, I'd probably take the KLR.

But for higher intensity street work, willys is right again, the V-Strom is a more capable choice for that. Long trips where time IS an issue, the V-Strom wins because it is more comfortable cruising at higher speeds (legal ones) than is the KLR.

For the kind of riding I do, if I only had one bike it would be the KLR, but I am more dirt oriented than it sounds like what you have in mind.

Sorry to go on for so long and I know you didn't ask for a comparison with a V-Strom or anything else, but what the hey... I have experience on both, so here you go. Take it or leave it... But I've seen guys go with the KLR and end up hating it because it didn't fit their riding style. And the KLR does not deserve to be hated or denigrated in any way. So I figure the more info a prospective rider has, the better. Again, all this is just my opinions.
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post #6 of 11 Old 01-12-2013, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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Just a couple of questions.
Do the 2012 or 2013 require the doohickey mod and are there any other issues that should be done asap.
(Sorry for the questions but I promise I will research the bike thoroughly)

99% sure that it will be the KLR and most likely the 2013 in Yellow
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post #7 of 11 Old 01-13-2013, 07:46 AM
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The new version of the DOO is a strong one, but, it isn't a tight fit on the shaft which allows for some vibration room and that can possibly cause issues down the road. BUT it's the spring they use that is the main reason for doing the DOO now. For some strange reason they use a spring that has maybe one adjustment in it and then it no longer has any tension to keep the ballancer system adjusted correctly allowing the chain to remain loose. Which over time will create a very negative situation to say the least.

So, yes we suggest if you love your investment, you still need to do the DOO.

There also is a new relatively now, torsion spring that is much better than just the straight pull style spring as it never looses it's tension.

The whole kit is cheap if you can find someone like me to do the job for you who has the tools already etc.

Nice choice on the colour too. I saw a burnt yellow looking one at the Bike Show.

Willys
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post #8 of 11 Old 01-13-2013, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Valy View Post
Short time lurker,first time poster.
I'm seriously considering getting a 2012 or 2013 KLR 650 and I'm looking for your opinions and input on why I should get a Kawasaki over any of the other brands. I've done some research and everything I've read so far makes me think that the Kawasaki is the way to go.
I have an 07 Suzuki DRZ 400SM and an 09 Yamaha TW200.
I'm looking for a bike that's better for longer road trips(500-1000km) and can also be used for a daily commuter.
It would be used 90% road 10%dirt
Give me the good,the bad,and the ugly and would this be the best choice for my needs.


Thanks for any and all responses.
Your reasoning is exactly how I ended up with a KLR. I had a DRZ 400S and wanted to ride more road miles vs. dirt but didn't want to give up dirt entirely.

The good, the KLR is much better on the highway than the DRZ. Better wind management, more gas capacity and a better seat (yea compared to the 2x4 that is the DRZ's). The bad the KLR weighs about 100 pounds more, is much worse off-road (I had the enduro version of the DRZ) the motor revs slower than the DRZ so makes the bike feel slower to me at least.

My KLR is 5 years old and has more than 50k miles on it. It's been a good bike for what I bought it for, mostly commuting to work. I don't enjoy it in the dirt but hey I've got real dirt bikes for that. I'm wanting to move on to something like a V-Strom because of what bugs me most about the KLR, lack of passing power at freeway speeds. At 65mph + there's not much horsepower left to pass or keep up with California freeway traffic.

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 #9 of 11 Old 01-13-2013, 07:09 PM
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Neither the KLR or 650 Vstrom are "fast" street bikes. The V-strom is heads above the KLR but neither come close to any 600 cc sport bike. My son traded in his FZ6 for a 650 strom and says he misses the power but feels he is less incline to hot rod on the strom. The KLR is just about as low on ponies as you can get on the street without going to a scooter. It does suprisingly well for a low thrities HP machine and like evryone one says it does keep up with traffic. Thats about it though.
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post #10 of 11 Old 01-13-2013, 09:41 PM
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I heavily researched the pros and cons of the various dual purpose bikes out there and easily fell back to the KLR. Having owned one before I may have been a bit biased but they are honest basic thumpers, which have a universe of fans and farkles to utilize and the purchase cost up front puts it way ahead in the value for money comparison. I chose a low milage, gen 1, '05 machine and love it.
I use mine as my main commuter and for camping trips both near and far. Some basic mods to suit your personal needs and then you just enjoy it.

Incidentally, for longer rides or for carrying serious luggage when there is less dirt involved I also have a GSF1200S (Bandit), an older designed, carburetted, oil cooled sportstourer with strength and long distance the highlights of its design brief. It tows a trailer with ease and is simple to work on.

For local use and dirt road traveling, be it locally or across the globe, I'm sold on the simple basics of the KLR and if I had to choose between the 2, I'd keep the KLR.
I've only found 1 bike out there that would give me both of these bikes rolled into 1 machine and thats the Triumph Tiger XC.
Big money but it would be a great bike.

Good luck with your final decision.
S'n'S
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