Newbie with long distance tour questions - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 10-06-2007, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie with long distance tour questions

Please excuse the ignorance. You have a fine website here and it looks like everyone really rides the heck out of their KLRs.

I currently ride a Kawasaki Vulcan 750, which I got after being out of riding for about 25 years. Yes, I did my MSF class and really got a lot out of it.

The Vulcan is a very nice motorcycle, but is pretty limited. It does freeway pretty well, but it has a phat rear tire and non-aggressive cornering geometry. It's a great little street bike, but can't do much else.

My daughter will be going to college in northern Colorado next year and I'd like to do some long distance rides to go over there to see her. The run will be from Sacramento in the California Central Valley to Greeley, Colorado and back. I think the Vulcan might do OK, although when we made the drive last summer, everyone on the interstate was Harley'd up. I'd prefer to ride some of the less-travelled roads, like 40 in eastern Colorado and Utah, for example.

I'm really interested in the KLR650, because it's a basic motor and it seems pretty bulletproof. Another alternative is the Suzuki Wee-Strom, but I'd really prefer the thumper.

I'm not a small guy...5'11" and 280. What do you think? Can the KLR do this run and back? I've heard that it sucks some oil at speeds above 70 or above 5000 rpm, so I was thinking about dropping the gearing a bit to lower RPM at highway speeds.

If you don't mind, I'd appreciate some input from you experienced KLR runners. I apologize that this thread rambles a bit, but I'm looking for some reassurance that the bike will handle what I'm proposing to do. If it won't, that's cool...there are alternatives.

Thanks for reading and for your responses.


Bob

Last edited by gumshoe4; 10-06-2007 at 04:21 PM.
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post #2 of 23 Old 10-06-2007, 04:27 PM
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The KLR is a world traveler Bob, you will find several in here an in other forums that have traveled from the east coast to Utah, from California to Alaska, from California to Cental America on the KLR. Either bike you mentioned would serve you well for your preference of adventure riding on the back rodes. Just google KLR650 and you will find a ton of sites dedicated to this bike. My longest distance has been from Ky. to North Carolina and back, loaded down with my stuff and me, and you are nowhere near my size, the bike never faltered or even balked at the weight and my aggresive riding. Good luck with your choice and I know a bunch of other guys will chime in. Welcome to the Forum...

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 #3 of 23 Old 10-06-2007, 09:52 PM
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Two friends and I returned from a trip from Ohio through SD, WY, MT and CO on a 06' KLR, Honda XR, and me on my DL1000. My part of the ride ended in Steamboat where I brought 40 to 70 back to Ohio. Anyways, we encountered lots of cruisers of all types. Not to brag but our bikes were passing there's on every hill and pass we went through. The KLR was topping out around 96MPH at 5000+ft fully loaded with side cases! It was not rejeted either. The DL1000 of course is fuel injected. The XR had the most trouble, but it is an older model, 98 or 99?
Being a big guy myself, 6'4" 280, I would definitly ride a KLR everywhere we went, but for comfort I loved the big "V". The KLR had one big advantage over the other two bikes. A big old MRS gas tank. :-) We fueled up three times for every one of his fuel stops!

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post #4 of 23 Old 10-07-2007, 12:00 AM
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I have made two trips from KY to FL on my KLR, and a trip from KY to the left coast. The only problems I had was, a toasted chain (at 27,000 miles) and I blew the low beem on the headlight and when I changed it I didn't get it plugged in right and it would work sometimes and not sometimes, until I got it pluggged in right. ( took me about 3500 miles and 9 days to figure out I didn't have it plugged in right).
****BUT**** if I planned on riding a long distance often like you have said I would buy a wee-strom. The wee is a lot better bike for riding roads.
Now if you plan on some off road riding too, then the KLR would be my choice.
There are a lot better bikes than the KLR for the road, and there are better bikes for the dirt than the KLR, but the KLR is the best bike for doing both.
The KLR will do everything you described with NO problems. The oil consumption isn't a major problem if you change the oil offten. I change mine between 1500 and 2000 miles and have never added any oil between oil changes. ( at least not in the 35,5600 miles that I have riden mine)

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post #5 of 23 Old 10-12-2007, 12:05 AM
 
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I love my KLR. I can burn up North to visit friends for the weekend, take a day ride near town (on or off-road), and pack her up for a week long ride to wherever I want to go. Paved, Dirt, long or short haul the KLR will do the job.

I do, however since this is my first bike, wonder what its like to have a real fairing, a v-twin, and what its like to not be blown around when passing RV's.

I did a 12 hour 600 mile day this summer, 165 of them were dirt. Does that make me cool? No, I was already cool way before that.

I think what it boils down to is that if your gonna do it for the love, it doesn't really matter what you ride as long as your having fun.

Brian
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post #6 of 23 Old 10-21-2007, 12:41 PM
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Does that make me cool? No, I was already cool way before that.

Brian
Umm.. Cool people don't drink Old Milwaukee Light...

In response to the original post.. Yeah, the KLR will do whatever you're after.. I use mine as my one up touring bike, and my Wing is pretty much reserved for the extreme long haul and 2 up duty..

I thought the big V Strom would be able to do both, and it could, but I have more fun with the other two, so the Strom's not ridden anymore. (and I think, sold, too..)
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post #7 of 23 Old 10-21-2007, 05:59 PM
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I have both....

I have both, actually I have Dl1000. Both bikes will do the trip fine. The DL will make it easier to do.... This is not a slight on the KLR but it is hard to beat the bigger displacement, little more weight, and a lot more comfort (assuming they both are stockish)

Coop
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post #8 of 23 Old 10-21-2007, 08:57 PM
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I have both, actually I have Dl1000. Both bikes will do the trip fine. The DL will make it easier to do.... This is not a slight on the KLR but it is hard to beat the bigger displacement, little more weight, and a lot more comfort (assuming they both are stockish)

Coop

Absolute truth!!
The DL1000, or any bigger displacement bike that's designed for the long haul will be more comfortable, but the KRL will do the job just fine and be ready to do it again time after time..

My DL was my Long Distance Rally bike, but I finally decided that if I was going to play that game, I might as well play it with a bike that's made for the game.. I rode my KLR in a 12 hour road rally, and actually ended up winning my class, but I'm sure I would have been more comfortable on a bigger bike..

I look at the KLR as something that can ride the long haul, and just as easily ride the single track dirt road.. Shake off the dirt, maybe air the tires back up to highway pressure, and off you go again..
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post #9 of 23 Old 10-21-2007, 10:18 PM
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Same old story different thread.

The real question is whether or not YOU can handle it. Any motorcycle like the KLR, including mopeds and those new scooter things can go 1000 miles, but would YOU want to on one? This is the question.

I'm just repeating my old posts, should just link to em. Nobody can tell you that the KLR will work just fine for these trips, they can only tell you that THEY did alright on their own trips. And their trips are not every other weekend or every month, at least not most of them. Maybe once a year they do 1000 mile trip and that's a big difference. For every person doing 1000 mile trips, there are probably 100 people that say no way in hell. You just don't see them on the boards reporting how they didn't take a 1000 mile trip.

Personally, the more I ride the KLR on open highways and interstates, the more I realize how bad it sucks. It definately must be a "How bad do you want it" kind of thing. Some people just have higher tolerance for shitty conditions and don't even realize it themselves. Not me, I have no desire to torture myself for hours on end. 100 miles intercrap has been my limit several times now! I don't know much about hwy40 or any other roads you plan to take, but I'm sure you know the difference between 2-lane and open highways.

Now, if you take two-laners and stick to around 60ish speeds, you'll find the KLR is quite a different beast and far more enjoyable. It loves just about any type of two-laner whether it's curvy or straight.

Your decision has to be two part... how often are you going to visit and how fast are you going to want to get there after burning up the same roads after a few trips. Either strom will have the extra boost during those long straights to make them go by just a tad faster. The KLR tops out at wide full open throttle to around 100ish and will already be screaming at around 80. I don't like how the KLR feels above 80, it's not exactly a streamlined motorcycle. Those who run a KLR at 80 and above for long periods are those same people with tolerance levels that any scientist would love to study in a lab. The KLR will leave you wore out far more then either strom. Unless, of course, you are one of those riders with high tolerance levels. I can see the KLR making you question the length of time between trips, but the strom will have you ready again the next weekend.

Anyway... good luck with your decision!
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post #10 of 23 Old 10-22-2007, 12:54 AM
 
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Umm.. Cool people don't drink Old Milwaukee Light...
Ouch!!!

No Old Milwaukee Light in up here

I wonder if they'll let me check a couple of cases on my airplane back from Christmas?

Brian
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