Complete Noob Question/Bike Suggestion - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-21-2007, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2007
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Complete Noob Question/Bike Suggestion


I came upon this forum in my internet quest to figure out which bike I will purchase to do some "adventure touring". Also, I should warn anyone reading this and/or kind enough to reply that I am a complete noob so obviously there is some ignorance to my question. At the moment, I define "adventure touring" (for what I want to do) as a fair amount highway riding with scenic stops along the way, maybe push out into the wild a bit for a secluded camp site, or follow some trails, ride through a field etc. I don't imagine being an aggresive off roader, but I do like the option of seeing something interesting and being able to go check it out at a reasonable speed. My friend and I are debating Alaska or Mexico. I won't be using the bike for commuting.

So that leads me to ask, am I better off with a BMW 650 GS, especially as it may soon be discountinued and is selling at about upper 6k new, high 5k used, or the new KLR '08? Please understand that I am not trying to start a flame war or awaken the trolls. While I understand the appeal & preference of the old KLR design vs the BMW, I think prefer the changes of the new '08 to the older KLR, especially as its less trail and more highway from what I understand. And since now they are "only" about 1-1.5k apart in price (with the demand so high for the '08), and with the '08 featuring more fragile plastics that one is less likely to want to beat up, is there a clear winner anymore?

My understanding so far is the the street to trail favoring ratio of the 3 bikes I am considering is as follows:
Wee Strom (probably not a contender now that the '08 is out)
BMW 650

Also, I should add that I have no interest in the BMW as a status symbol, my interest is soley based on the fact that it seems to be used quite successfully at off road rallies, world touring, and is well reviewed for highway riding. I would happily buy a KLR '08 if that is the better choice.

Thanks very much in advance
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-21-2007, 03:06 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
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My two cents....
The KLR is a great bike, I have a 2007, the one thing that I personally don't enjoy doing on this bike is riding freeway/interstate. In your post you said highway, so for what it's worth, cruising at 55/60 mph is fine. The bike is fun in the turns, but you wont be dragging a knee. Off road performance for high speed dirt/gravel roads and other forest type access roads is great. Depending on your skill level the KLR can go just about anywhere you want to take it right down to those nasty narrow goat trails. Bike is fun to ride and gets lots of looks, 08's sure look nice, but I have never riden one (reviews would indicate the ride is much the same, if not slightly improved). If you like the backroads the KLR is a great choice, if your planned trips involve lots of open freeway/interstate then I would be wary. It can be done on the KLR, but it's not it's strong point.
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-21-2007, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 4
Thanks. I suppose that interstate travel would be avoided as much as possible, but I'm sure at times it will come up. I just don't want to be hating every minute of it, but it seems one can always find backroads.

While the orignal post was a 650 vs '08 question, it could be revised to an older KLR modded vs '08 vs 650. It seemed to me that to take a 4k-5k new older KLR up to '08 specs, that it would cost about what the '08 is. Maybe I'm wrong.
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-21-2007, 04:54 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 48
I just bought a second 2001 KLR for my dad. I bought it off ebay with 3,800 miles Modded to the max in absolute perfect condition for 3 grand. I had some one drive me 600 miles to pick it up and rode it home. Rode 60-70 mph the whole time and loved every minite of it. Another thing to think about is a 600 mile trip on a interstate might be 1000 on two lanes. It's good to take the senic route. I almost bought a gs 650 f. Now I'm glad I did'nt. I will own a KLR for the rest of my life. No question about it.
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-21-2007, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2007
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Thanks Gitrdun, that's good advice. What made you change your mind about the 650 in the end? Was it the price? Were you debating about the '08 too? Glad to hear you're happy with your choice.
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-21-2007, 05:24 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
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here's my 2 cents...

I've ridden quite a few different types of bikes in my time and have recently started riding dual sport full time. I owned a 2003 BMW F650GS, that I thoroughly enjoyed, but recently HAD to sell. Why?. . .you ask. . .because I test-rode a 2008 KLR 650 and fell in love.

What type of dual sport bike to buy? Well, if your pocket book can handle it, I'd suggest looking into one of the BMW 1100/1150/1200 GS's. These bikes will definitely perform off-road AND will also give you many miles of highway pleasure. On the other hand, if you'd prefer to stay with a smaller bike (self-admitted noob). . .or don't want to spend that much, then there's quite a bit to choose from in the 650 range. Just keep in mind, there's not a 650 dual sport bike out there that is really comfortable running 75mph all day.

Given that, it comes down to person taste, size, fit, etc. I really enjoyed my F650GS, but found the clunky transmission, low stature, expense of maint., and off-road handling to be. . .well, let's just say, less than desirable. Remember, don't LIKE what you ride. . . .LOVE what you ride! So now I've got about 500 miles on my new 2008 KLR and I'm loving it. Yes, just as expected, (once I finish the break-in) it's not too comfortable running highway speeds all day, but if one was to install a taller windshield and wasn't in too much of a hurry. . .she'd be just fine for some long highway miles. For me, the bottom line is. . .since all of the dual sport 650's are so comparable in performance. . .why not just get as much bike as you can for your dollar. . .and the Kawasaki KLR650 is a great bike that won't pinch the wallet too far.

Good luck in your quest. . .ride safe. . .and keep us posted.
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-21-2007, 06:38 PM
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Location: Richmond, Ky
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I have an 07 that I purchased at the end of April and have 4200 miles on it now. I live in Ky. I have ridden it to TN and down into North Carolina. I have back problems and even a Goldwing limits me to just a few hours of riding without pain. The KLR has been a dream come true, as I can now ride for hours without pain, due to the tall position of seating and my legs not all cramped up under me. This bike is my daily commuter, my Jeep Cherokee is now relagated to collecting dust in the driveway, . I use it to explore the many back roads and mountain gravel roads in the area, and to make my many short mile runs into town. I do not have any experience with the BMW and cannot give a reference to them, but in my opinion, the whole point, is to have something to ride and enjoy, no matter your choice. It's the adventure and getting out and away that puts the smile on your face, it's just that my KLR makes it a lil wider. If you do a search as I am sure you have, you will notice that there is a huge supply of aftermarket items for the 1st generation KLR's and the 2nd generation is starting to catch up. The Stroms are wonderful, but I think they are a little heavy for my needs, although if I were to do a lot of double up riding I would then consider the V-Strom DL1000. I know the dealers around here pretty much will NOT let you test drive one, but you can sit on them. I would at least do that and make comparative notes as to which one seems to fit you the best in terms of how you like the feel of it, the outlay of the dash and does it just simply feel like this 'is' the right bike for me. I wish you luck in your decision.

2008 DL650 VStrom Yellow and Black
Previous ride was a 2007 KLR Black/Silver, I miss it..
Looking to get back into KLR's sometime soon.

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post #8 of 10 Old 09-21-2007, 07:52 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 48
There are no BMW cycle dealers in Indiana so I set a date to go to Louisville KY to test ride a gs 650 f. I was driving in Indy and my brother called and told me he saw a KLR in the paper for 2 thousand. I drove over to check it out because I'd heard so many people talking about them. When I showed up it was a very nice man in his 60's, second owner to a family member. The bike had 9999 on the odometer and was in perfect shape except for the rear tire. The second I let out the clutch I basically knew I wanted it. I took it out on the highway and scarred the crap out of me trying to get used to big wind and semi trucks but the bike rode strong so I went to the bank and bought it the same day. I bought a Jeep Cherokee lifted it with 31"s origanally just to get better primitive camp sites my car could'nt reach. With higher gas prices my KLR takes me everywhere now. Best money I've ever spent on a toy.
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-21-2007, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. The info is very appreciated.
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-25-2007, 07:28 PM
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Location: northern Arkansas
Posts: 81
Can you provide some background info? Can we assume you have a motocycle endorsement? If so, speaking as an owner of a KLR (unsure why I have two) and a 650gs, I can see no point in a 'noob' paying the extra for the BMW. Not sure I can explain why an experienced rider should either but there must be some attraction.
More input; what have you ridden up to now and why were they not suitable for the upcoming mission?

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