Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Review from a new rider
I recently started riding again after a 24 year break. I rode a 1978 Yamaha IT 175 back in high school, and once and awhile my grandfathers Honda CB 750. So, a bit of dirt and a bit of street, but a long time ago.
This fall I found a great deal on a 1980 Honda CB 650 Custom. After a bit of work getting it ridable, I was hooked all over again. I rode every minute I could this fall. I always knew I wanted a dual sport bike, so I started doing some reading. The KLR seemed to be the obvious choice. I found a new 2006 (lime green) at Bay Area Motorsports in Oakland for $5199 out the door.
The price of the KLR is simply unbeatable. BMWs, and KTMs are beautiful, but for the same amount of money I could get a full set of travel luggage, do every mod imaginable on the KLR, and still have enough money left over to ship the bike to Europe and back for my dream trip. Again, it was the obvious choice.
I'm 5'9", and 190 pounds. The bike feels pretty tall and top heavy for me on trails, but I am quickly getting used to it. Good old dirt roads, and even rough dirts roads are a dream on this bike. I'm still nervous as hell with rocky or sandy downhill trails, but I think that's due to my riding skills more than a problem with the bike.
I took a trip to visit my brother right after the 500 mile mark, and the bike felt great on the highway. No problem when the traffic dictated 75 MPH. The bike just felt rock solid and stable. The curvy roads in Napa, and Sonoma Counties were just a blast. Felt like riding a sport bike. The stock windscreen creates quite a bit of buffeting at freeway speeds, so I'm thinking of taking the advice of others and cutting off the top couple of inches (the flaired part). The trip was 350 miles each way and I had no problem at all with the stock seat. I did notice a bit of soreness between my shoulder blades, but that was probably due to nervous muscle tension.
I'm thrilled with the range of this bike. I figure I'm getting about 50-55 MPG.
One thing I am very impressed with is the amount of support from other KLRers available on the forums. It seems that every possible question or comment gets a response within minutes. I don't think I'll ever be alone on a KLR. So far the bike (at 1600 miles) has not had the slighted hint of a problem, but it's nice to know there is so much help out there. The bike is still bone stock except for travel luggage. I think Kawasaki came up with a winner years ago. No reason to change a thing that I can see except the doohickey.
The bike has a kind of rugged beauty. Loaded with travel luggage the bike gets plenty of attention. Every time I stopped for gas or food I came back to the bike to find someone just staring. I have to admit that's kind of fun.
I'm not sure if these reviews are meant for folks thinking about buying a KLR, but I you fit that category, I would say go out and buy one right now!