So, I picked up my new 2015 Grey KLR 650 this past Thursday. I have never ride a KLR 650 before. It was a cold day (3 Degrees Celsius), it snowed for about 200 Km's of the trip and I had exactly 750 KMS to get home. Needless to say, 600 KM's of Highway, 10 KM's of dirt and 140 KM's of backroads gave me plenty of time to think about my new KLR. As someone who has never ridden a KLR before, here are my impressions:
1. POWER - After reading a lot of information on the internet, I expected the KLR650 to be a real slug on the road. My daily ride is an uber fast 2015 Ducati Diavel Carbon so I was worried the KLR wouldn't have the power necessary to keep up on the highway.
All I can say is that I was actually very impressed by the KLR's relentless torque. Once in 5th gear, the bike has smooth and steady acceleration anywhere between 70 and 130 KM/h. Given the broad torque band, riding and passing on our 100 KM/h highways was a breeze. While I wouldn't call it a fast bike, it never once left me wanting for power during normal riding. Bottom line, if you are sticking to a sensible speed (i.e. under 130 KPH), the KLR has everything you need.
2. COMFORT - The seat is simply superb. I never tried the old KLR seat, but the new KLR seat is the best factory seat I have ever tried. 8 straight hours in the saddle and my butt felt fine.
The wind protection and ergonomics are also acceptable. While it could benefit from a better windscreen and a GPS, the bars fit perfectly and my 6'3" frame wasn't battered by the wind too badly. I have a lot of experience on the GS BMW's and the stock BMW's could from the KLR's fairing.
The vibration from the big thumper was also hardly noticeable. I have ridden a lot of single cylinder bikes in the past and the KLR definitely ranks among the best of them in terms of minimizing vibration.
The suspension is also really nice on rough backroads and bumpy highways. The upgraded suspension is firm, but still soaks up the bumps. When I get more time off road I will be able to assess the suspension further.
The bike is also very stable at highway speeds. Passing oncoming Tractor Trailers at 120-130 KM/h didn't upset the bike in any way. I also faced 50 KM/h winds for the last 2 hours of my trip and the KLR didn't seem overly affected. Again, very impressive for this type of bike.
3. OFFROAD - as I had 750 KMS to cover and it was only 3 degrees celsius, I only covered about 10 KM's of backroads. I will report on this later.
All in all, I am very impressed by my new KLR. It seems to be a very capable long distance adventure bike. Big thanks to everyone on this forum! Had it not been for hours of lurking around here, I might not have chosen the KLR.
PS: I have about $6,000 worth of accessories to install on my KLR to turn her into a true long distance off-road adventure bike. I strapped her to my motorcycle lift this morning and I will document the process here on KLR forum. I will post a thread on here that will document the bikes transformation over the coming weeks.