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North America Topics specific to Canada and USA/Alaska only.
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  #1  
Old 14 Apr 2008
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KLR650 vs 400cc Thumper for Trans Am trail and Baja California?

Hi guys

I am planning a couple of trips to North America during my holidays. I’ve got long holidays: Christmas/New Year: 3 weeks, summer: 8 weeks. One of the pros of being a teacher...

I want to ride:

1. Baja California over Christmas/New Year 2008/9 (solo)
2. Parts of the Trans Am Trail, possibly combined with parts of the Shadow of the Rockies Trail (solo in summer 2009)
3. Doing some general road touring with my wife in West Coast USA (summer 2009)

At home I ride a big dual sport bike and a thumper (Honda Transalp and Suzuki DRZ400) and I have a lot of experience with both. Also, I have a fair bit of off-pavement experience on the DRZ, including sand.

I want to buy a bike to use (Probably in the San Diego area). I know the DRZ could do everything I want, except 2-up with the wife. A KLR650 seems a better compromise. I rode one in South America a few years ago and really liked it a lot.

If you’ve been to the Baja or have ridden Sam Correro’s routes, how many tracks/routes do you think I am excluding myself from by riding a KLR650 (because of bike weight, running gear/ suspension issues)? I can put a fork brace and use appropriate tyres/ chain/sprocket combinations for the terrain. I'll be riding light weight, with a minimum of luggage/soft bags.

Many thanks for your time.

Chris

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Old 15 Apr 2008
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I am in Bolivia now on a KLR 650 and also did Baja (including the offroad).

The KLR is a very capable bike and I would say your best option if you also want to do two-up.

Screw the fork brace though, it is not worth it.

Doohicky, brakes, handprotectors and you are set.

One more reason to choose the KLR 650 would be that the old model is bound to be a cheap buy now. I bet you can find a tour ready one on Craigslist.org for a good price.

That said I wish I had a lighter bike sometimes. Especially when I have to pick it up from all my crashes (-:

But I have punished my klr and it has held up very well to it and it really is a great dual purpose bike.

The main problem is that baja, on dirt roads, is torture if you can´t stand up in the pegs. I rode a little with a couple from SF on a 990 KTM Adventure and the pillon did not enjoy it, even with the nice KTM suspension.

Lots of washboard and rocks.

Just my 2 cents
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Old 15 Apr 2008
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Here is a nice ride report of the west Trans America Trail.

The Trans America Trail does me - ADVrider

The KLR 650 looks to be a good choice.
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Old 20 Apr 2008
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you can't go wrong with the KLR... sure, it's heavy for hard core off-roading, but for two-up, it's OK. It will take you anywhere you want to go and you can fix it with a hammer.
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Old 4 May 2008
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Nice TAT Info

Brian's Bliss
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Old 4 May 2008
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You may want to look at a Honda XR dual sport and the Suzuki DR650 gust as other options there a bit more dirt bike.
The KLR has a good size tank and kiting it out in the USA is cheap and easy.

All the bikes can be had used cheap and in a good shape if you have the time to look around. None are going to make your wife to happy on the back and there not grate road bikes.

Do go to Adventure Rider Motorcycle Forum the trip your looking to do is what there all about.

Dam that many weeks off, I need to go back to school to be a teacher.
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