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LD Hack 27 Sep 2009 16:03

650cc motorcycle input
I'm looking to add a "beater" bike, for rough road travel, suppliment my high mileage 1150RT.... researching KLR650, WeeStrom DL650 Suzuki, and BMW F650GS. I like the BMW high output alternator but worried about the buffeting issues of the windscreen. Seems it's not solveable. The F650 is my preference, if the buffeting issue can be solved. Both the KLR and Wee have low alternator output (I like heated gear and good supplimental lighting). The Wee seems very road worthy on highway compared to the KLR - less buzzy. It also has cast wheels, meaning no tubes, which is a huge plus in my preference. Both the KLR and Wee seem rock solid and reliable, yes? The KLR seems to require a lot of upgrading (frame bolts, Doohicky, fork brace...)

Used is my market, and the KLR is often lowest priced, with the Wee and then the F650 in increasing price order. Difference of $2k to $3k between the three is not a huge issue, if the defects of each bike can be overcome. Simply looking here for more "on the ground" input, to suppliment my other information resources.

My riding goals are more remote riding, although I take my RT on dirt a lot. Looking for travel in MX and farther south, and on roads where knobbie tires are really needed, along with farther south "highway" travel. Will any of these machines be better in terms of South America/Central America parts availability?

HendiKaf 27 Sep 2009 16:13

the DL650 is great bike but not really an off road bike so it will be very heavy off road esp in sand , the klr is a great bike too and with some upgrade a very capable bike off road not very good on HWY, the DR650 ,XR650 ,DRZ400 will be a better choice for off road but slow on HWY, the problem is most of the bikes which are good off road will not be the best on HWY,but if you don't mind riding arround 60miles/H on HWY the drz400 will be a blast off road ,the other DL650..will be a handfull when stuff get rough.

PS an XR650R tagged is a blast off road

Dodger 27 Sep 2009 17:23

The V Stroms have the best standard equipment lights on the market so you might not need auxiliary lights .
They also have more than enough alternator power for heated jacket and gloves for one person , two up might be a problem but you can use LEDs for taillight and switch off one headlight for daytime use .

Later DL650s have 400w alternators ,same power as the F650GS .

You just have to decide where you want to ride , if it's very severe off road ,then you need a lighter, more nimble bike than the VStrom .

You won't find the perfect bike so just take a few for a test ride and see which you like best .

sanderd 27 Sep 2009 20:49

Hi LD,

If you want rough and remote riding i think light and reliable is key, and you have to sacrifice long distance touring comfort for it.

As said, KLR's are cheap and reliable but fairly heavy. So is the F650dakar.
You might want to check out the BMW Xchallange. Then there are the new KTM690 (reliability??), Husky TE610, KTM640Adv.

In cheap and light and reliable catagory you have the Suzuki DR650 or Honda XLR650. Both are cheap and proven and there's lots of aftermarket stuff like big tank, happytrail panniers etc. available. And then there's the Suzuki DRZ400 to look at. So many choices!

At Adventure Rider Motorcycle Forum you'll find plenty of info about reliability, upgrades, farkles etc.

As for parts availability in MX,CA and SA. In my current trip from alaska to ushuaia i noticed that in CA and SA countries a lot of local police use new KLR's or DR650's. Which assumes parts availability. (BMW is bad, real bad and bloody expensive).

For what its worth, I would go for a DR650 anytime!

Good luck with your choice!

tmotten 28 Sep 2009 03:06

I reckon you need to narrow down the intended use a lot more. I.e. RTW, weekend blasts, trails, adventure trips, how fast you want do all of the above, how good you are with a wrench, how much luggage, etc.

On the F650, I have no issues with buffeting, but if you're handy with perspex there is no limit to what you can experiment with in terms of shape. Plenty of aftermarket stuff available. Crap suspension though. But unless you go for the KTM or Husky, all the mentioned bikes have that issue. 400 size bikes excluded without luggage.

If you're looking for heaps of dirt roads but also want single trail and simplicity/ reliability without the need for 1000's of tar km's, than the DR would be awesome. Bit less so the new KLR.

More tight trail and reliability, can't beat the XR or DRZ but this will suck on the tar.

All the above without the trail and more tar. F650.
Even more tar DL.

All out blasting 690E and TE. But pretty new though.

Really comes do to what you want. Rotor upgrades are possible on most bikes.

Duncan Donutz 28 Sep 2009 20:30

Really cannot add much more than what has been said already which is all good advice. I have ridden a wee strom for the last few years and would recommend it to anyone. It is near bulletproof in reliability, and two up over long distances is not a problem. Agree you need to figure exactly how much rough road riding you will be doing. If it is under 15% would go with the DL650. Have taken this two up over some very dodgy roads made mostly of stones and holes, two up with plenty of gear. My only concern was that I didnt have a bash plate, in terms of handling it was fine, but agree if you hit sand you will be wishing you had a lighter bike!

LD Hack 29 Sep 2009 09:29

The replies are really appreciated and helpful. I was not aware the Wee has a better alternator. I'm not planning for heavy duty off road, but it does happen to me. One trip of high interest is riding through Copper Canyon. I ride solo all the time, and mostly highway travel and dirt road travel. I'm not in to remote sand dune, desert travel...yet. RTW is a wish for, trip to TDF from the States is becoming serious.

I've ridden for decades, and ride my 1150RT on dirt roads all the time at home. Also made a trip to Deadhorse on that machine. With the RT, I hate to be tempted with more difficult situations than the Dalton presents, drop the bike repeatedly, and do a lot of damage.

Wondering what year the Wee upgraded the alternator to 400 watts. Without an answer here, I'll do some research.


tmotten 29 Sep 2009 23:31

Dunno on the alternator. Sounds like the DL is closest to your needs to me. Depends on how quickly you increase you dirt ability and possibility to change bikes when that happens. It's more the rocky roads though. A DL would be quickly out of it's depth there. What about the F800? Will cover all bases but is a twin.

colebatch 30 Sep 2009 03:26

cut 30 kgs off all of the above and get a G650 X-Challenge (144kgs). Swap the 280w alternator for the 400w one from a F650, and get a bigger fuel tank and an aftermarket coil over shock. :innocent::funmeterno::thumbup1:

tmotten 30 Sep 2009 04:56

and a better seat, and a bigger screen, and a better subframe.......

It's an awesome adventure enduro bike, but not that great for travelling and touring.

Bit of weight will actually come in handy on Ruta40. Most of the rest of that trip is paved.

colebatch 1 Oct 2009 12:03

No probs with subframe ... over 40k km, over half on dirt, riding hard with up to 5 ortlieb bags on the back, plus a 12 litre fuel tank ... all that on the subframe and no probs ... yet ... touchwood.


As for seat and screen, I concede ... for I had mine changed prior to trip.

I will say that what I have ended up with is the best adventure travel bike I have had, and cant really imagine anything better. Huge ground clearance, super reliable engine, 70mpg fuel consumption average over all roads (4l/100km), and about as light as you are going to get ... especially in a 650 cc size


tmotten 1 Oct 2009 22:35

Looks good. I was dissapointed they didn't do a Dakar version of that one. I guess that might have been a bit much for their line up. Although they made 3 versions on this bike and only really seem to have sold the Xc.

thecanoeguy 2 Oct 2009 03:12

that beemer looks trick
my klr has 70,000 miles on the clock untouched ,a high output alternator is available for it ,yes it is a heavy pig in places but i love it and i have had no real problems here in south america with parts ,the new ones, 2008 on have a bit of plastic waiting to break but they are pretty much the same as the old ones undernneath

stuxtttr 2 Oct 2009 03:48

Wow you got some great photos on that blog of yours and that x challenge is a neat looking ride.:scooter:

photographicsafaris 26 Oct 2009 08:37

I have an R1150RT and loved until it was stolen my Yamaha Xt600 Tenere (large tank)

Strongly would suggest you look at this as a similarly minded person. (If not available try the KTM) The Single cylinder engines institute a strong passion, much in the same way that the BMW R series does.

Keep it simple though looking at the Pics above that G650 x Challenge looks amazing, and Touratech do an extra 16 litres for £500. Add some progressive front springs and if you need the distance you are good to go.

Still suggest that you look for a cheap XT600.


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