Which KLR model do I want? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 09-13-2010, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Which KLR model do I want?

I'm new to KLRs and shopping for my first one. It looks like there are a lot of good, low milage, well kept bikes out there. Do I want a used pre-2008, a used 2008-2010, or just go for a brand new one with full warranty?

I've read some reviews that say the newer ones get a lot lower MPG than the early models. Is that correct? Do they both use regular grade gas? Are there any other significant performance or reliablity issues between the two models?

When I get me KLR I hope to do a lot of Colorado riding on dirt mountain roads and maybe even an Alaska trip. It looks like there are a lot more after market accessories avaialbe for the earlier models. What are the "must have" accessories.

Any help and advise from you KLR veterans will be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 11 Old 09-13-2010, 08:57 PM
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It would be easier if you'd just ask what oil to use..

It's really just personal preference.. There's not a lot of differences between the Gen 1 and Gen 2 bikes, other than looks.. A few, but nothing substantial (like there should have been)..

I'm riding my original 2002, that I purchased 2 years old with 1300 miles on it.. If I had it all over to do again, I'd purchase another slightly used Gen 1 bike.. The next guy will tell you something different, and he'll be just as right as I am..

What oil are you going to use..
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post #3 of 11 Old 09-13-2010, 09:00 PM
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T-man,
Welcome to the site, and both are great bikes. Both generations (and the next) will
have factory and aftermarket support thru the rest of our lifetimes and beyond.


Differences in a nutshell are generation one is more dirt-friendly, and gen 2 is more Euro-styled for road comfort.

There are SO many subtle differences I can't list them all in a reasonable amount of time.
The biggest and obvious change was up front. Gen 1 has a smaller, lighter fairing making
it more nimble in the twisty dirt roads n' hills. Gen 2 being more top heavy with the added
plastic and steel frame under it is much more stable at 75-100 mph highway speeds and
offers much more wind/ weather protection. This makes it a little more squishy (squishy?)
offroading and requires more positive inputs from the pilot to get good response. It's
great on grass, hills, n' dirt roads n' such, but has more trouble than gen 1 when things
get gnarly.
The engine and frame are roughly the same. Gen 2 brakes were upgraded greatly, but
gen 1's can easily be outfitted with wrapped lines and better pads to stop on a dime.

If a KLR is your choice (good man) then the only real question is "How do I want to use it most"?

As nothing more than opinion, after an XL and DR, I wanted a lil' more street with
my mud and opted for gen 2 when I came to the KLR family of bikes. Yes it sucks
in the mud but is still a total blast !!!

CheapKawGuyForLife


BTW, I use oil too, Bacon. Er, Paper. LOL
Peanut oil smells best at higher temps when running a thermo-bob.
Canola is fine for the stock cooling system.

This is my son, with whom I am well pleased." ----God

Last edited by CheapBassTurd; 09-13-2010 at 09:02 PM.
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post #4 of 11 Old 09-13-2010, 09:11 PM
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Hi there, fredtman. Welcome to the forum. If you plan on doing some long legged travel, consider the Gen II bike, '08 and newer. A better suspension that most toss and replace anyway, better electronic components. The fairing offers a bit more weather protection. The head lights allow you to see beyond the front wheel.

The Gen I bike is what it is....a proven general purpose mule. It'll go anywhere the Gen II bike will go, but the Gen II bike rider may have a little more life left in him after the trip. The Gen I will take the "timber moments" that happen on the trial better. You don't register the amount of money it will cost to cobble the Gen I bike back together the way you do with the Gen II. We have people on the forum here that can estimate the cost of repairs based solely on the sound of "crunch" when a Gen II hits the ground. The Gen II doesn't handle the "kabooms" as well as the lessor adorned Gen I.

Both versions have their share of Exxon Valdez wanna be's. Meaning old and new alike can loose oil like a freighter with a gushing hull. The bad part is that they aren't stamped. There are those that do use oil, those that will in time, and those that seem to avoid the problem. Toss of the dice. A couple of solutions, usually running into the $500 + range to correct. The engine on both versions has a chain driven engine balancer system. A couple components of this system are weak, should be replaced. Parts are readily available, help at hand, owner doable.

The suspension on both versions is comparable to that on a lower end car....immediate benefit recognized upon upgrade. Most people hate the seat. Lots of choices for replacement available.

Both versions are a bit tall and heavy for the average rider to be chasing much single track riding. Both are excellent multi-surface bikes, doing as well on dirt and gravel roads as they do on asphalt. Good after market support for both versions.

I have run into some KLR 650's that don't like gas with a high alcohol content...they seem to be tee-totalers. I steer away form all levels of ethanol. Regular grade 87 octane works well for me. Putting high test, high octane gas in a KLR 650 is like buying Dom Perignon for the guy who likes Mad Dog 20-20. There comes a point you gotta ask your self why am I doing this?

Of course you have the added benefit of the vast knowledge base and friendship, comradery and occasional claim of squatter's sovereignty from the warm and delightful crew here.

******
“many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased”- Steinbeck, [I]"Travels with Charlie"
[/I]
[IMG]http://i718.photobucket.com/albums/ww187/vatrader01/KLR%20mechanical/04e28c5e.jpg[/IMG]

[FONT="Century Gothic"][I]Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith[/I] [/FONT]
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post #5 of 11 Old 09-13-2010, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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Paper (Bacon?), CheapBassTurd, & vatrader,

Thanks so much for your input. It looks like I came to the right spot to find experts on the KLR. I'll stay tuned in.
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post #6 of 11 Old 09-13-2010, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredtman View Post
Paper (Bacon?)
Some say I have an issue..




Welcome to the site, and keep asking the questions!!
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post #7 of 11 Old 09-14-2010, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredtman View Post
I'm new to KLRs and shopping for my first one. It looks like there are a lot of good, low milage, well kept bikes out there. Do I want a used pre-2008, a used 2008-2010, or just go for a brand new one with full warranty?

I've read some reviews that say the newer ones get a lot lower MPG than the early models. Is that correct? Do they both use regular grade gas? Are there any other significant performance or reliablity issues between the two models?

When I get me KLR I hope to do a lot of Colorado riding on dirt mountain roads and maybe even an Alaska trip. It looks like there are a lot more after market accessories avaialbe for the earlier models. What are the "must have" accessories.

Any help and advise from you KLR veterans will be greatly appreciated.

The new model bikes attempt to address the perceived shortcomings of the old models.

1. Brakes - the old models are infamous for poor braking. The new model is better but not great. They're larger front rotors for the old models and better hydraulic lines. Don't know if the modified gen 1 is better than the gen 2.

2. Lights - same thing the old models are anemic the new model has very good lighting. An HID kit on the old model may be an improvement on the gen 2 don't know.

3. Suspension - basically the same between the 2 but the new models have more robust wheels (larger spokes) that help the flexy feel the old models have. A fork brace improves either model but more so the old.

4. Better on the road wind protection on the new model but at the price of a heavier front end and more expensive plastic to break.

5. Some incremental improvements; the doo is improved on the new model but the spring is still a problem, the new model has ATO fuses (like a car), the handlebar switch gear is improved.

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

Last edited by Spec; 09-14-2010 at 11:56 AM.
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-14-2010, 01:21 PM
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1st Gen plastics flex, can break. 2nd Gen plastics......break.

Don H
Spring Valley AZ
'03 KLR 650/DS sidecar
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-14-2010, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the Info

DonD - Is that a hack on the small picture of your KLR? I'd love to see a bigger picture and hear more about what it is. I love sidecars and have two rigs myself - a 1994 V-Max with EZS car and a 1972 BMW R75/5 with California car.
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post #10 of 11 Old 09-14-2010, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredtman View Post
DonD - Is that a hack on the small picture of your KLR? I'd love to see a bigger picture and hear more about what it is. I love sidecars and have two rigs myself - a 1994 V-Max with EZS car and a 1972 BMW R75/5 with California car.
Will do via PM

Don H
Spring Valley AZ
'03 KLR 650/DS sidecar
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