First time dual sporter on 2012 KLR650
Hi, my name is Shawn and I currently live in Birmingham, Alabama. I am not a very experienced rider by any means, but most of my experience has been on sport bikes and small cruisers. I made the decision to try a dual sport bike after hearing from friends about how fun they are. Part of my decision was to trade my old car for a bike and the only reasonable offer came from a KLR owner. I traded for the bike in Atlanta and had to drive the bike back two hours and wound up riding right into a thunderstorm.
Talk about trial by fire.
My initial impression of the bike during those first 2.5 hours was that it is TALL! Being short, 5'7", I knew I was in for a challenge since the seat height is over 35". However, despite the challenge, the bike handled and rode really well. I read reviews before trading for the bike and finally understood what other writers and reviewers meant when they said the bike seems to really want to stay upright. In turns and corners, I never felt that the bike wanted to lay down unlike some sport bikes I have ridden.
On the highway the bike cruised with traffic with ease. Keep in mind though that my bike is equipped with a taller windshield which definitely helps at highway speed. The only time I felt a little disappointed with the bike was when I was trying to pass some big rig trucks and semis. In these rare moments, the bike felt a little under powered and vibrated a little more than I liked. Yes, I know it is only a 650 and that the front fender is like a sail from a boat which is why I plan on buying a smaller Acerbis fender, but it was still a little unnerving.
In the rain, the bike handled really well. I never felt like I was going to lose traction, visibility was fine, and water from the tires was not an issue. Riding for a straight 2.5 hours was very comfortable too. The seat is comfortable and the riding position let's you ride for hours. The controls are intelligently placed on the bike as well. The only issue that the turn signal indicator can sometimes go unnoticed in ample lighting. A switch to LED indicator light bulbs will fix this though. I also wish there was some type of gas light, but oh well. I just reset my trip meter every time I fill up.
Since my 2 plus hour trip, I have ridden the bike on and off road. My comments for on road riding are the same. Since I am a newbie off road, I cannot give you a comparison with other bikes. I can say, however, that the seat height issue is an issue for me off road and I have ordered a lowered seat. Despite that, as I have said above, the bike really wants to stay upright so riding on trails and dirt is fun. The bike is very capable and I have yet to feel like I am pushing it to its limits.
I will admit one thing now that this review is coming to an end. When I purchased the bike, I was trying to trade it for a different bike, preferably a dual sport with a lower seat height. However, after riding it on and off road, the bike has grown on me and I plan on keeping it. I really like the versatility of the bike, it's reputation as a tough-as-nails ride, and the fact that it is fun to ride almost anywhere and really feels near invincible. Yes, I've dropped it in the dirt and mud, but she doesn't quit and gets back up still lookin' pretty where other bikes would have lost heart and parts.
Last edited by leftside; 07-14-2014 at 02:34 PM.