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Winter researching bikes again. Always thinking about putting together a KLR. My question is, what is the practical cruising speed on the interstate? I spend time traveling between grandkids and camping. Will spend a couple of 9 hour days in a row on the interstate each way. I figure 350lbs of me and gear. Being able to maintain 80 mph is important. What about mpg at that speed?
 

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........a couple of 9 hour days in a row on the interstate each way..........Being able to maintain 80 mph is important.........
LOL! On a KLR!!!
WRONG BIKE.

At least look at a Versys 650. The KLR is not a 80MPH, 9 hour interstate motorcycle I don't care what mods you do to it.

The only way I'd do 9 hours of interstate, is if I had a winning powerball ticket that expired tomorrow and the KLR was all I had to get to the lottery office! Then I'd have to burn the KLR! I'd rather be waterboarded than ride that speed that long. You may be able to ride it that far but as for me, I'd have to have the doctor cut all the nerves in my spinal cord so I couldn't feel anything from the neck down. Not to be rude but you need to go in the house where it's warm. Your brain is getting cold! You're entering Goldwing territory. A KLR is NOT the bike for that kind of riding. Nine hours at 80 MPH is 710 Miles! A DAY!!! You'll be in the Guinness Book of world records if do it on a KLR. It would be better than a TW200 but not by much. Feast your eyes on this:
80 MPH is walking and you'll probably go the long way.
 

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LOL! On a KLR!!!
WRONG BIKE.

At least look at a Versys 650. The KLR is not a 80MPH, 9 hour interstate motorcycle I don't care what mods you do to it.
I've owned a Versys 650, and though it was a great bike, it was actually way buzzier than the KLR. So bad I had to change the grips because my hands would go numb. It is NOT an interstate cruiser by any means. In fact, due to the gearing of the Versys, 46 rear tooth sprocket, if I remember correctly, it has very little passing capability above 60mph.....And its buzzy. 9 hours of riding in a day is a lot for any bike. But I would recommend a larger displacement inline four. Versys 1000, FJR1300, Concours, Bandit1250, FZ1, Ninja1000, etc. If you really want off road capability with comfortable 80mph long days, then your probably going to be happier on say an African Twin, BMW, Yamaha Super Tenere, etc.

Its not to say you couldn't do it on a KLR or smaller bike, but its far from practical. And I gotta believe the KLR 650 single wasn't designed for 80mph long hauls. Sure, you can change the gearing, throw bags on it, put street tires on it, do modifications that may add 5 hp, but in the end... After you change what the KLR was originally designed for I don't believe your going to be happy with it for your intended purposes.
 

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I have done all day interstate rides on the KLR many times.

The speed is usually about 70mph.

I stop at least every hour and a half. The seat is an ass-hatchet, even modified.

450 miles is a good day.

Fuel economy at 70mph is right around 45mpg.

I run a 16 tooth CS sprocket to keep the RPM down a bit.

I have done 750 mile runs on the thing a couple of times. I'm fairly certain that there was a noticeable and permanent effect on my physical and mental health from these adventures.

To Toney's point, get a different bike or manage your expectations.

tpkm
 

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.........450 miles is a good day.......
Wow Tom that's impressive! I think my longest day on the KLR was about 150. I liked to ride it about 125 or a little better. The Goldwings killed me at 275, even with breaks. If I "dismount" (I was going to write "get off" but that's another subject) for a little bit, I'm better but as soon as I get 2 miles down the road, the hips start hurting again and I had highway pegs. I'd say 450 would put me in physical therapy.
 

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.........I recommend a larger displacement inline four. Versys 1000, FJR1300, Concours, Bandit1250, FZ1, Ninja1000, etc. If you really want off road capability with comfortable 80mph long days, then your probably going to be happier on say an African Twin, BMW, Yamaha Super Tenere, etc........
That's good advice. I haven't rode a Versys 650. I've got the 1000 and love it but the price is no where near a KLR or the 650. It would be real happy a 80 MPH all day. The wife kept wanting me to get the 650. She was looking at price tags too much!

If I wanted to do some off-road & lots of interstate, the Africa Twin would a good choice. I looked at it and felt it was to big of a bike for the Tennessee off road areas. The KLR even feels a little big in the ditches here. A DR650 seems a better fit bike for my areas Tennessee trails.
 

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Rode a Versys (650) a couple of thousand miles through the southern Appalachians a couple of summers ago, in the company of a couple of KLR650s, one with a side hack. Up to 10 hours a day in the saddle.

My impression: Any of these bikes CAN DO an all-day 80 mph run, but . . . rider won't be rocked in the gentle cradle of a Gold Wing, for instance.

The 180-degree cranked (as in Ninja) Versys engine gets up and walks, no, runs. Vibes didn't bother me (coming from a KLR650). Great all-around bike, giving away some off-road/unpaved versatility to a KLR650. Road manners a KLR dreams of, and . . . what legs!

My impression only; YMMV.

BTW, I think Kawasaki has a new, 42-pounds lighter, Versys 650 (not sure of the model designation, but has the truly excellent Ninja engine and 6-speed drivetrain) coming to a showroom near you; with available ABS. Worth a look, IMHO.
 

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I think the KLR is a decent road bike. A lot depends on how the bike fits you and the mood you are in at the time. My 3rd longest day ride was on my KLR. After finishing the COBDR last year I spent the night in Laramie Wy. The next day I was going to ride to Quinter Ks and camp on some farm land I have out there. After getting to the farm and riding around there a bit I decided I was still feeling good and decided to go ahead and ride home to Baldwin Ks. Total that day was just shy of 780 miles. My mind started playing with me and my knees were aching but otherwise I was good. I've road further on a BMW K12RS I use to have but that bike just didn't fit me like the KLR does.
 

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+1 for frame of mind and attitude.



Most miles on a day on my KLR was 300. It was directly after I bought it, and I hadn't yet sorted out all the things the PO had left for me.

Worn out Shinko 705's, stretched chain and a 16T sprocket. My hip joints were a little sore, but I hadn't ridden any bike at all in over a year. I later lowered my footpeg 1" to cure the sore hips. I averaged 60-70mph that day. That was also the day that I decided that the KLR didn't live up to the bad reputation I'd been reading about. I remember getting around 58mpg that day. Bone stock bike other than the 16t sprocket.

The bike wasn't riddled with vibration. At all.
The seat wasn't absymal. In fact, I love it.
The motor didn't seem taxed. At all.

However, stretching those extra 10mph to cruise at 80mph? Yeah, you'll turn the motor a little harder. I'm now on a 14t front sprocket. I turn 70mph at a little under 5k rpm quite regular. Not daily, but a couple times per week, 30min each way. The bike does fine and actually travels with less throttle rotation than with the 16T front sprocket. IMO, the KLR doesn't have the power to pull a 16t at high speeds. The engine spins slower, but you are working it harder with much more throttle input. Sometimes I find myself accidentally running 80 when I want to run 70 (65mph posted speed limit). I figure if the bike can accidentally do that, I must not be straining it too much.

Have I ridden better higway bikes than a KLR? Yep, no doubt about it.

Can a stock KLR live running 80 all day? I think so.

Would I buy a KLR for dedicated highway duty/commuter purposes? In town, yes. 100%. For higway? Yes, unless someone builds a road bike with enough room for a larger guy, then no.

The ergos of the KLR fit me good. All other bikes feel cramped to me. And I've tried a bunch. I'm comfortable, so I'm hinging on KLR's motor to live up to its bulletproof rep to keep it alive. It's only been a few months now, but I'm very happy with my choice.

I ride 50/50 off-road and on. Love my KLR. It's a very basic machine with no frills or creature comforts. Either it fits you, or it doesn't. If it doesn't, they'll be miserable. If you need creature comforts on a bike, you'll not like a KLR. Jmo.
 

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And if you do try this on a KLR don't forget to lug extra oil! Some of them like to gulp it at high sustained speeds!
Lol, in all seriousness, a KLR isn't the bike I would choose for 9 hour freeway rides. A heavier touring bike would be much more stable and comfortable on rides like that, not to mention some extra "oomph" if you had to get out of someones way in a hurry.

So yeah, it could be done, but it wouldn't be much fun.
 

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Wow Tom that's impressive!...
I don't really think so. It's six hours of riding done in at least 9 hours of clock time. I usually ride 100 miles and take a break for 20 minutes. Throw in lunch time and it's comes out right about 9 hours.

When planning trips I usually plan on 450 miles a day with the KLR if that part of the trip is on open roads.

What's a real killer here in the southwest is the heat. I rode home from Ely, NV a while back in the summer, about 550 miles. That was in July and the midday temps were running about 105. I have one of those evaporative cooling vests. I soaked it and it would last about 45 minutes before it was bone dry. That weren't fun.

It's typical to get from LA to Sacramento, a trip I've made many times. I'm going back up there as soon as I can get free of the house here and I'm going to make that a 100% back road trip over two days. Should be fun.

Tom
 

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You won't get anywhere near Red Line in top gear!
You may have a valid point, Hvymax!

Motorcycle Consumer News has tested Generation 1 and Generation 2 KLR650s in recent years (published in Performance Index issues); top speed (don't know rpm) in each case mid 90's, IIRC.

Available (as well as performance figures for virtually all motorcycles in recent production) now on the Internet.
 

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I did not get the chance to finish breaking in my 15 KLR before neck surgery. What is the top speed of a stock KLR at red line?
Had my 14 1/2 up to 90+ once, the KLR wasn't real happy at that speed. A mile was enough.
 

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I hit an indicated 105 with a 16t. Probably upper 90's in real speed

I've hit an actual 95 several times with a 14t. It had more left. I was just goofing off and wasn't really trying to push it.I think the bike feels perfectly fine at those speeds, handling wise. Full knobbys, too. JMO.
 

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I got my bone stock '08 up to an indicated 105. I'd guess that was a bit over 90, maybe 95. The speedo was always off by about 10%. It wouldn't do any more than that.

Tom
 
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