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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,

I am in need of some friendly advice. I plan to ride the Trans American trail with my brother probably in 2-3 years if we can get everything set up. We are planning to buy bikes and learn every nut and bolt on the bike so we are familiar in case of any breakdowns. We also want to know the weak points and where we should make modifications. But first we have to pick out a bike. While there are some dream bikes (read: too expensive for our budget) we have narrowed the choices down to around 3-4 bikes.

I have always thought the KLR was a heavy, akward to ride bike, however that is just my first impression from the size of it, I have never ridden one or known anyone who owned one. (We plan to test ride 1 of each of our possible bikes) The 4 bikes we have narrowed to are:

Honda XR 650R (make it legal) or XR 650L
Suzuki DRZ 400 or Kawasaki version
Kawasaki KLR 650, probably pre re-design

Would you recommend the KLR for the trail over the other bikes for any specific reason?

We are leaning towards the Honda for reliability and because we have owned previous hondas, never a Kawasaki. But I have read some on the internet, this forum mostly, and some youtube videos and can see the potential in the KLR over some of the other choices.

For any references
I am 5 foot 10, 180 lbs, my brother is the same height but only 140 lbs.

For more info on the Trans American Trail: http://www.transamtrail.com/

Also if you have suggestions on how to make it more bullet proof or good site links for upgrades feel free to post. Also if you want to show off something on your bike, I love to see pictures.
 

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I never attempted the TAT, but I hear it can take you to some remote places so I would choose the KLR simply because of fuel capacity and MPG. You can even get a replacement aftermarket tank for even more capacity. I would much rather have the gas in the tank then have to carry fuel cans.
 

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The KLR is probably the best choice for the TAT. Big gas tank, can haul a ton of gear, cheap to buy.

DRZ is a great bike too. They seem to hold their value though. You'll need a bigger tank and then some.

I've tried to own a Honda, but it never seems to happen...they just don't do a thing for me.

Buy the KLR. Install a skid plate, make sure the balancer lever is upgraded, put some hand gaurds on it, a set of Dunlop 606's, a 14 tooth counter shaft sprocket for the TAT and get to riding.

Be careful in Nevada, easy to get in trouble and die...it's remote. Come up with some alternate plans for Oregon, the TAT is about wiped out through Oregon...Sam needs to do that section again with something that can be followed.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Larryboy for the information. That is enough to get me started in the right direction. I am currently pricing bikes and gear for them to get the bikes into the condition I need. I may end up with a satellite phone for emergency situations and desolate areas.

I will have to map out a route through the section you mentioned. That may be were the on road prowess of the KLR would be extremely beneficial. Also the already large gas tank doesn't hurt any. I guess I just need to get a test ride on one already.

Also, money aside, is there any advantage to getting a new model verses the older models? I am talking about the newly redesigned models? Other than looks, are the performance enhancements or possible weight differences enough to make you recommend it over the older bikes?
 

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I'd go with an '07 and older. Less stuff to break in a fall. Easier to work on, valve adjustments mainly...don't believe what you read about the new valve check interval on the '08...it's the same motor and needs valve adjustments like the older bikes.

I've read a ton on the 'net about oil use/broken pistons/bad rings on the '08..I don't know the why, but they seem to be using a ton of oil.

The new bike is heavier. The old one weighs in at 405-420 depending on the scale...full of fuel and ready for the road. I know you're comparing specs and stuff...the KLR is a heavy bike.

Maybe plan on hitting pavement in Oregon and going to Crater Lake. I think you can gather up the TAT pretty easily on the west side of I-5...I gave up well before then and headed south to Fort Bragg.
 
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