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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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Old 11 Aug 2002
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F650GS vs KLR650

Hi. I am planning for an RTW starting next summer. (frist lap - Keywest,Fl to Purdhoe Bay, Ak)I have short listed BMW F650GS & Kawasaki KLR650 to purchase - new. The clinching question is to me (for now)"Reliability & costs of maintenance in the long term" Can U please help me decide?
Thank You.
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Old 12 Aug 2002
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I firmly believe you should pick a bike that suits you, not the trip. I'm presuming you are keeping within the States, so any of the two are fine, although the B.M.W. may be more comfortable - the KLR has a plank seat.BMWs tend to be very reliable, but this model has computerised fuel injection, so only BMW can service it.
I'd urge you to get test rides and pick the bike which feels right!
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Old 12 Aug 2002
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Thanks Edseven. I think your shot was dead and center hit. Now, your reply took me back to square one. I have ridden both and feel (almost)equally comfortable on both. So, still walking circles around them...
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Old 13 Aug 2002
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both are good bikes. If you are a competent mechanic then the KLR is certainly a lot cheaper, better off-road, though less comfortable and less competent on-road.
Expect to work on it more and things to vibrate loose more than the F650.
The F650 is remarkably maintenance free (except for the "temporary" chain that comes with the bike) - and BMW offer great service in a surprising number of places. Avoid BMW dealers in expensive 1st world cities and you'll get great value for the labor, although the parts will be pricey.

Most of the time on the F650 I tend to worry about tires (easier to find for the KLR than the non standard F650), chain/sprockets (never had a problem finding them for the bmw) and air filter (BMW's is non-standard and expensive). Everthing else just works.
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Old 15 Aug 2002
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The great debate!
I know the problem! Still, remember this is a great problem to have -what bike to buy for my world trip! ( I see now you intend to travel the globe, not just the U.S ). However, if you find both bikes comfortable, then I guess ( as the previous writer adds )an important aspect is how much servicing you can handle yourself. If you plan to visit dealers en route, then it really does not matter - both bikes should be fine, BMW better built and excellent dealer service.
If you want to become even more confused, can I suggest a ride on the Honda Transalp ( XL650V) ? A bit like both of these bikes in one......tried and trusted engine, low state of tune ( normally very, very reliable), easy to service, albeit a bit fiddly.
Let us know how you get on with this decision!
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Old 21 Aug 2002
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Hello friends. Thanks for all the excellent correspondence. My great question that was reaaching almost existentialist proportions is finally solved. I have decided on the KLR650. The next job is track down a good used one or a new one at a dealer. And Ed, I looked high n' low for a Honda Transalp - Turns out they dont sell 'em in the US. So there. But hey thanks once again. Bye.
ps: wonder if I should close the thread?
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