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2009 KLR Review, 1st time KLR owner

As a relatively new owner of a 09 KLR, and a first time owner of any KLR, my review might best be used by someone like me. I have owned 18 bikes in my life, about 50-50 street to dirt, so I know what each type of riding is all about. I researched long and hard before purchasing the KLR and so far, I have not been disappointed. My overall impression of the KLR is that it’s exactly what it is advertised to be, a big, heavy,dual purpose bike, but it has some serious limitations as a dirt/trail bike, the first being the weight. You will not plant a foot, and spin it on a dime like a 250, try it and you will end up with a bad knee, or take a little dirt bath. The rider will soon learn that the KLR is monster when it comes to agility in the dirt. It is much more suited to dirt roads, not trails. Even on a dirt road, throw in a couple of inches of loose sand and your riding will become an adventure. Turning hard in the dirt will result in the front end quickly washing out, the weight and poor stock tires just cannot hold the bike, you will go down, or most likely high side. The KLR is however the king of the dirt road, what other bike can you drive 60 down a dirt road or 80 on the highway in one package. I have learned to stick to dirt roads, hopefully well packed ones, and beware of sharp turns, deep sand, or wet surfaces. Lay down a KLR and you will find out how strong you are. Lifting a 400+ pound bike on uneven surface, or deep sand is no picnic. Now on the other side of the coin, the KLR is an awesome road bike, I love the handling, the performance and if street tires were to be added a very capable, well handling commuter. Even with the stock tires, the KLR is a blast on the road, other than a rock hard seat, I find it very comfortable. For me, on this 09, the vibration problem has not been to bad, use gloves, get good grips and it is tolerable. I have not however been on long trips so far, so my opinion may change in this area. My suggestion would be as follows, if you want to ride on back roads, dirt roads and the highway, the KLR might fit your needs. If you want to go mudding, get deep in the woods or race. Look for a smaller, lighter dual purpose. At my age, (53) the KLR meets all my needs, my knees cannot stand up to the punishment of severe trail riding, but I do like the dirt and I like to go fast. The KLR is a great compromise, a bike with some guts in the dirt, but also something you could take a trip on. My last thought is this. Not a bike for an inexperienced rider, you need some dirt skills and some street skills to master this beast. Beware of the dirt if you don’t have some experience. You will also be searching for a new set of tires shortly after your purchase. Happy trails!
 

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Well said. No punches pulled.
 

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great review and a fair prospective of the klr . my 2009 has 4,000 miles on the clock since late august and I totally love riding it . bought it to keep my dl v strom company but I find myself riding the klr all the time . the seat issue is very true but an easy fix { if you have 300 dolllars plus laying around }. luggage is the next issue , working on that one ready for my next big trip out . I bought my klr in august for 4,899 plus fees and I see kawasaki have put the price at 5.995.00 for 2010 so I , m even more happy with the bike !
 

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Great review jeufaula! I was torn between the KLR & KLX250s, being a old (60's) newbie. I posted here a month or so ago with my questions and looking for advice, which was overwhelmingly in favor of the 250 till I gain a fair amount of experience for all the reason's you listed and more. It has been just shy of a month since taking delivery of my 2012 KLX250S and I think is is the perfect choice for me and what I plan to ride. Within a short distance of home here in Arizona I have multiple Forest Service roads and trails available which is where I spend most of my riding. I've gotten into a couple of dicey spots (for me) but the klx handles it very well. I hope to add a KLR to the toy box in a year or two for the longer hard surface stuff. Thanks again to all the great advice and postings that show up here daily. So long for now. Shadetree
 

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the klr will also go up rocky mountain roads quite well too. it sucks in sand but thats something i think almost all bikes suck in. i have almost 15k on my 09 bought it new in april 2010 and i have been in nearly every type of terrain you can find from the desert to the u.p. and everywhere between. the bike has some limitations offroad due to weight but nothing you cant either go through or around if you play it smart and know your abilities.
 

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Spot on Jeufaula. I couldn't agree more!
In addition, my 12 KLR is a great bike, but it is a heavy beast in the woods and the stock tires really suck (especially in Georgia red clay when it is wet and muddy). If you have a long inseam and weigh over 200 lbs then you can man handle this bike and ride it anywhere. Kawasaki left a lot of room for improvements to suspension and tires. However, for the price it is hard to beat. My main complaint is gearing.
The bike really needs a lower 1st gear for the woods and hills, and a higher top gear for the expressway. I mean, holy shiot, if you aren't running 80 mph in and around Atlanta you will get blown off the road by everyone and their grandma! A six speed transmission would make this bike perfect IMHO.
 

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Great review...I would like to add an opinion...I believe that trail riding (even extreme trails) can be accomplished in this bike (reducing tire pressures and a 60/40 or 50/50 tire) while I havent had it on real extreme trails but I have had it in rather rough conditions... I just got mine this year and already I have made some improvements in riding this very heavy bike on trails...If you think back to the early days of dirt bikes there were in the low 300's on many of the bigger bikes and considered agile ... that was the only bikes those guys had and they rode them hard... a skill level can be obtained to handle an upper 300 lb bike in even the worst trails...I havent achieved it yet while I am making progress but I hope to in the next year or so...That way I don't need a different bike for different rides....great review though just though I would kick in my 2 cents....
 

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Great review...I would like to add an opinion...I believe that trail riding (even extreme trails) can be accomplished in this bike (reducing tire pressures and a 60/40 or 50/50 tire) while I havent had it on real extreme trails but I have had it in rather rough conditions... I just got mine this year and already I have made some improvements in riding this very heavy bike on trails...If you think back to the early days of dirt bikes there were in the low 300's on many of the bigger bikes and considered agile ... that was the only bikes those guys had and they rode them hard... a skill level can be obtained to handle an upper 300 lb bike in even the worst trails...I havent achieved it yet while I am making progress but I hope to in the next year or so...That way I don't need a different bike for different rides....great review though just though I would kick in my 2 cents....

Hah you talking about the old Triumphs and BSAs? Nothing agile about them!

 
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