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  #1  
Old 5 Sep 2010
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Issues with KLR 650

Planning a trip to SA from Minnesota with my son and I've been looking at BMW 650s but I'm open to a KLR. What, if any, mechanical issues are common in 2006-2009 bikes? Will the KLR be more reliable than a 1999 or 2003-2008 BMW?
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  #2  
Old 5 Sep 2010
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Here's the deal (from my personal perspective): you're asking a question which is so general as to be almost meaningless....without any indication that you've made any effort to find answers on your own. This sort of post tends to create drama, not to mention ramped up insults and moderator interference. Pairing KLR with BMW increases the risk.

The response which was recently recommended to me was to answer quote Have you tried a search? unquote. If wanting to learn about KLR's, for example, I suggest Google, with search terms like "KLR FAQ." You'll find answers to your KLR questions scattered all over the web, including on several recent threads here on the HUBB.

Once you've digested enough information to ask specific questions which haven't been repeatedly addressed, maybe return here and post them. On the other hand, maybe you'll get lucky and draw a long, detailed, balanced analysis which will not devolve into name-calling and gratuitous insults. You never know.

Hope that's helpful.

Mark
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  #3  
Old 7 Sep 2010
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Any bike will do...

I rode a KLR and had almost no problems. Others I met on KLRs had complete engine rebuilds. Same goes for guys I met on BMWs (and other makes).

Your bound to have problems along the way and you're bound to meet some incredibly intelligent, resourceful, and hospitable people to help you when you're in need.

Have a great ride!
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  #4  
Old 7 Oct 2010
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For what it is worth

I am currently on a trip from anchorage to tdf and am riding an 08 klr. The bike is ugly slow doesn't do anything that great and burns oil at high rpm. But I absolutely love it. It is simple to fix and can take one hell of a beating plus parts are cheaper and easier to come by than the BMW . On the first day of my trip I hit a moose going about 40 mph the bike flew down a twelve foot ditch and is beat to hell. I threw some duct tape on the fairing bent the pannier back and have ridden it all the way to Hermosillo Mexico so far. Hope that helps.
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  #5  
Old 11 Oct 2010
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I've got a BMW 650 (actually the new 800 twin) and I often ride with friend on a KLR650. You can probably buy two of them for the cost of the BMW when all is said and done on servicing, insurance, etc... Acceleration wise it isn't the equivalent of an 800 twin, but for a 650 single it hauls ass on the highway, handles well enough in the mountains, and is very simple to fix and work on. He added a pipe and jet kit, a top box and guards and he is good to go anywhere. I am very impressed with the Kawi but cannot understand why Kawasaki have not fixed the doohickey deal once and for all but leave it up to owners to do it. I like the KLR so much that I would buy it from him anytime and I believe it is an excellent bike for more out of the way places. He can cruise all day at 70mph, and cross a shallow river, or drop it in the Pemex parking lot and it is always good to go.
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  #6  
Old 14 Oct 2010
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KLR would be a great choice.

Just check your oil as often as possible until you find out how much it uses. My riding partner did not and he blew his motor with no hope of continuing the adventure due to availability of parts in Mex.
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  #7  
Old 15 Oct 2010
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Some percentage of the 2008's had defective rings which caused untoward oil consumption. This was considered controversial for a while, but is now considered a standard warranty issue.

Other models may use oil or not, but it should be within normal limits--more if you ride fast, less if you ride slow. Of course you need to check your oil often at first until you get used to different patterns of consumption based on how recently you changed the oil and (mainly) how you've been riding. This is not specific to KLR's.

Hope that helps.

Mark
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  #8  
Old 15 Oct 2010
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Rasjay, if you are open to the KLR, then you should be open to the Suzuki DR as well. Lighter, faster, funner! I've ridden both extensively and the DR wins hands down.
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  #9  
Old 19 Oct 2010
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ride far,
What about comfort? KLR has better wind protection and the site seems better for long rides. How did you feel the comfort of the DR on long ride?
Not to mentioned the gas tank is bigger on the KLR.
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  #10  
Old 19 Oct 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zibou View Post
ride far,
What about comfort? KLR has better wind protection and the site seems better for long rides. How did you feel the comfort of the DR on long ride?
Not to mentioned the gas tank is bigger on the KLR.
To me the comfort is equivalent, so long as the DR is outfitted with a seat other than stock, or you use some sort of padding. (The KLR stock seat is better than the stock DR seat, but you need/want padding like an Airhawk on the stock KLR seat too). Wind protection -- eh, overrated IMHO. I've ridden both bikes across the U.S. on 80 mph freeways with stock windshields and never thought twice about it.

And yes, the KLR's larger tank will suffice for most overland journeys. The DR tank is too small for serious overland travel and should be replaced with IMS, Clarke, or the 8-gal Aqualine Safari. (I used that one).

Where the DR really wins is offroad. The fun factor is a lot higher, maneuverability much better. It's faster on tarmac, too. The KLR I rode thru South America and the DR thru Africa. The DR's lighter weight really pays off all around, from running a sand road to moving around a parking lot. Torque was notably better on the DR, and that's comparing rejetted carbs on both KLR & DR.

You asked about mechanical issues on KLR 2006-2009 models ... remember, Kawasaki redesigned the bike starting in 2008. Supposedly it addressed the infamous "doohickey" and weak subframe issues of the pre-08 models, but new issues were introduced -- bad oil burning for one. See klr650.net for all you ever wanted to know about KLRs.

And the new KLR's integrated cowl/fairing set is one majorly pricey piece of plastic if and when the bike is dumped. Weight was increased, ground clearance decreased -- eh, they made it less of a dirt bike and more of a street bike.

My 2 cents ... good luck!
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  #11  
Old 21 Oct 2010
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Thanks for your feed back on The DR, I did not know it is lighter. I used to look for one but found nothing in mexico so went for a KLR. I liked the KLR very much so I would like to try a DR for comparison.
I am also quite interested by the freewind (same engine as the DR) for a more on road oriented trip.
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  #12  
Old 22 Oct 2010
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The KLR wind and rain protection sucks big time.
Once you set up your KLR with paniers and top box and load it up, it is not a dual-purpose bike anymore, and since it never was a touring bike, it is now a nothing bike.
Good things about the KLR are the size of the fuel tank, fuel consumption, and the number of authorized dealers all over (at least in the Americas).
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  #13  
Old 22 Oct 2010
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Originally Posted by GatoMontes View Post
The KLR wind and rain protection sucks big time.
Once you set up your KLR with paniers and top box and load it up, it is not a dual-purpose bike anymore, and since it never was a touring bike, it is now a nothing bike.
Good things about the KLR are the size of the fuel tank, fuel consumption, and the number of authorized dealers all over (at least in the Americas).
Actually, throughout much of the Americas you'll struggle to find KLR parts or service (once you leave Canada and the States). Fortunately, the bike is so simple that you can easily work on it yourself, or turn it over to local mechanics who, although they might never have seen one before, can cobble together fixes in all sorts of ways. That's the advantage of riding around on antiquated technology.

I ride a KLR and a DL (VStrom). Neither is better or worse in rain or wind, particularly. Neither does very well off-road once loaded....but I'd say the same about most bikes. Touring bikes don't suit my style of travel, but they may suit yours....at least until you hit that first tope. My KLR has done 93,000 miles on 5 continents and I'm still riding it daily--pretty good for a "nothing" bike.

GatoMontes, is there a bike you've used on overland trips which you prefer? Maybe for its rain protection, its viability as a dualsport once heavily loaded, or for other reasons?

Mark
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  #14  
Old 25 Oct 2010
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Searching the Web it seems like there is quite a few Kawasaki dealers in Mexico, and at least one in each of the Central America countries, as well as South America. Harley-Davidson seems to have as many dealers, but that is nothing compared to Honda dealers. These are the only 3 i've looked into for comparaison. But you've been there, so you know first hand how it is to get parts. Somewhat scary.

I'm currently riding solo my '03 KLR throughout Canada and the USA, and will be riding into Mexico this week, and down to Central and South America afterward. I feel like my choice of bike was wrong, and that's why i'm so harsh towards the KLR.

While getting set for this ride, i was thinking about going off-road now and then, but the fact is that when riding on your own, trails are not a smart place to be. So that will not be happening much.

I went off-road in Yukon once with a friend, and that was fun, but nevertheless, a bike loaded with paniers and top box, even if classified as a dual-purpose, doesn't belong off-road. It felt like i was riding a mule.

A chain drive bike, because of the maintenance required, is definitely not a touring bike. I have to take the paniers off to get the bike on the after-market center stand, which is challenging, in order to lube the chain properly, and that is on a daily basis. After weeks and months of this daily routine, i'm faster at it, but i miss my no maintenance belt-drive bike.

At home i have a Road King sitting in storage. I bought it new in '04 and put over 103,000 km on it since then. Last tour on that bike was the Trans-Labrador Highway in 2009. That involved 1200km or so of dirt road. Nothing the bike could not handle. All the other bikers i met on that road were riding dual-purpose bikes. Necessary? I think not.

Touring bikes are easier on the pilot. I've never had rain go through my gear riding the Road King, up to 8 hours straight in pouring rain, once, on highway 11 in Northern Ontario. The windshield and the "elephant ears" on the crash bars kept me dry. After 15 minutes in the rain on the KLR i feel water running inside the rain gear. The same rain gear as i used on the touring.

So far, despite many posts i've read, there's no roads in Yukon or Alaska i couldn't have done with the Road King, besides the off-road adventure in Whitehorse, of course.

So basically, my point is that the KLR is not a bad motorbike, but just not the best choice for a long journey, and unless one's planning to make off-road riding a big part of a journey, and plan accordingly for it, the dual-pupose bike serves no purpose.

Mark, English is not my first language, and i'm not sure what you mean by "first tope". Let me know

Dan
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Old 25 Oct 2010
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"Tope" is Mexican Spanish for the speed bumps, of which you'll see tens of thousands before Ushuaia...and tens of thousands more if you make the return trip as well. Your KLR will carry you easily over 90% of them at speed, 99% if you slow somewhat. Once or twice you'll actually have to slow to the speeds of the other traffic. Your Road King would offer far lower percentages.

I felt the same as you about using a loaded bike offroad, but it is possible to go a lot of places on the KLR where the Road King would be at best quite hazardous, with or without baggage. I'm not arguing that you can't ride a touring bike on the Trans-Labrador Highway, or the Alcan or the Dempster; of course you can. This has more to do with your choice of roads than anything else, and those are good roads. If you're not finding the sort of road where one goes in relative ease and the other does not, maybe you're not looking. Forest roads? Light trails? Mud? Washouts? River crossings? Steeps? They're all over North America, and they only become more common in Latin America...which is not to mention stairs in and out of hotel lobbies.

I don't want to take on the role of KLR fanatic. I'm not, and there's a lot worth complaining about in that bike. But really: if you prefer the Road King, fer goddsakes go get it and continue on your way before it's out of reach. Maybe you're one of those who'll prefer it that way, and maybe you'll stay on good roads all the way south. Some do.

FWIW, I put my KLR on its center stand whenever I wanted, without stripping panniers. I don't know why you can't or won't, but that sounds like a major headache, worth figuring out pretty quick. And I did a lot of dirt tracking/off road riding on the KLR after leaving my baggage behind for the day. That's not uncommon, no matter what your ride. And it's your raingear which is faulty, not the bike (also not uncommon). You'll want to attend to this before you arrive in, for example, Bolivia during rainy season.

Hope that's helpful.

Mark
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