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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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  #1  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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go RTW with old KLR ?

Hello fellow riders,

Me an my girlfriend are planning to do a trip from Canada to Argentina next year.
We both ride a KLR 650 C here in Switzerland. It is my first big bike.
Did some longer trips, Italy and Norway... and alot of riding in the alps.
I feel very confident riding the bike.
Sadly there is no chance to do some seriuos offroad here. So I dont know how good it performs in that direction. Did some gravel roads, but that is all.

We still cannot decide if we should buy bikes in Canada/US (seems to be difficult) or ship our own bikes.
Well if we ship our bikes, we will take the KLRs.
So here is my question. Would you take an old KLR on a long trip ? My Baby has over 60 000kms on it, and the oil consumption is really bad. I would say around 0.5-0.8 l to 1000 km. Of course I will have to do some stuff, but will the engine to some 50 000-80 000 kms more ? I dont want to invest much in the bike, as it isnt really worth much here. Worst case I will rebuild the engine, with new piston.... but as I read also new engines consume alot oil.
I just dont want to carry so much Oil cans with me, specially if we are in non populated areas. I need the extra place for fuel and !

I like the KLR alot, just not so confident if the engine will do it. Maybe some of you fellow bikers has some experience ? I would be glad.

another question besides, how important is it to ride the same bike as a couple ? is it just for the spares ?

cheers.... and snowy greetings from Basel.... brrrr
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  #2  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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They sound like trouble....... That's a lot of miles and they're already burning oil. Sounds like a rebuild is in order. And at that mileage, it's not just the engine that you have to think about. The shocks will be really tired, the suspension bushes will be worn out and the electrics will be waiting to go.


How much will return shipping your bike to the US cost anyway ???

KLR's are cheap in the USA new... Very cheap second hand.

You could probably buy some very nice KLR's for the same price as shipping, ride them as far as you want and sell them on. It's easier to sell a US registered bike that a European one.

Buying one there would also reduce the hassel when you're entering the country. Forget all the customs crap.


That's what I'd do...
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  #3  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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Is it your particular KLR that is precious or do you just like KLRs?

Definately no sense in shipping a high mileage bike to a country where the same model is plentiful and cheap plus if your bike is precious you'll be wanting to ship it back again after the trip.
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  #4  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoon View Post
Hello fellow riders,

Me an my girlfriend are planning to do a trip from Canada to Argentina next year.
We both ride a KLR 650 C here in Switzerland. It is my first big bike.
Did some longer trips, Italy and Norway... and alot of riding in the alps.
I feel very confident riding the bike.
Sadly there is no chance to do some seriuos offroad here. So I dont know how good it performs in that direction. Did some gravel roads, but that is all.

We still cannot decide if we should buy bikes in Canada/US (seems to be difficult) or ship our own bikes.
Well if we ship our bikes, we will take the KLRs.
So here is my question. Would you take an old KLR on a long trip ? My Baby has over 60 000kms on it, and the oil consumption is really bad. I would say around 0.5-0.8 l to 1000 km. Of course I will have to do some stuff, but will the engine to some 50 000-80 000 kms more ? I dont want to invest much in the bike, as it isnt really worth much here. Worst case I will rebuild the engine, with new piston.... but as I read also new engines consume alot oil.
I just dont want to carry so much Oil cans with me, specially if we are in non populated areas. I need the extra place for fuel and !

I like the KLR alot, just not so confident if the engine will do it. Maybe some of you fellow bikers has some experience ? I would be glad.

another question besides, how important is it to ride the same bike as a couple ? is it just for the spares ?

cheers.... and snowy greetings from Basel.... brrrr
Weighing all the factors that you mention (and trying to guess at some of the other usual considerations), if I was in your shoes I would buy a couple of bikes over here in North America.

As a rough rule of thumb, shipping costs can cost you up to $1,500 to $2,000 a pop. (Check out the quotes from Motorcycle Express for costs at the high end). That can go a long way to buying a newer, low mileage bike over in the US.

Once you factor in your current condition of your bike which you would definitely want to refurb before you left, you would be investing even more in your current bike to make it trip worthy.

And finally, there are some limitations on the C model that you will solve by buying an A model, which is all that you will find over here. Bigger tank, better rear sub frame, a ton of cheap aftermarket parts designed for the A model that will allow you to outfit it. As an example, things may have changed slightly, but when I was looking for aftermarket stuff for an Australian C model, I couldn't even find a luggage rack and we had to build our own.

And to answer your quesiton re: the benefits for the same bike for a couple, it's mainly due to the benefit of spares which can be shared between the two and mechanical know how which applies to both.

Anyways, if you get down to hard planning and are looking for some help to look for a bike, drop me a line anytime and I'd be happy to pass along some suggestions of where to look. Happy planning.
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  #5  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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Hello

@Touring Ted
Yes the rear shock is really hard. No suspension work at all. Those are one of the things that I will have to do, besides Brakes, chains ect.. ect..
What I like about the bike I never had to replace anything, just brakes and chains.
My brother with his Brand new bought BMW dakar, allready had several problems... well at least his engine is not using oil at all with the same mileage.

The shipping costs (just oneway, maybe we will ship our bikes to south africa from argentina depending on the funds) are about 2500 swiss francs for both bikes. Around 2900-3000 US Dollars. But what I read on the forums here it can be shipped cheaper.
I am allready am watching craigslist for weeks now. I think the motorbikes are still a little cheaper here. Biggest bugger is finding an adress in the US.
Would you take all youre travel equipment from home or buy it in the US ? Like fuel stove, tent, side racks with panniers ect ect ?
I think we will end up buying the bikes in the US. It is the most reasonable and enviromental friendly option.

@ Magnon
I love my old KLR, but again I try not to stick so much to material stuff .. .
I would buy any brand or bike, it just should leave enough funds for the Ride and some , have good suspension and some dirt capabilities.


If you guys go with a partner (each with own bike), would you go with the same model ?

thanks 4 the inputs, greetz
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  #6  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoon View Post
Hello

@Touring Ted
Yes the rear shock is really hard. No suspension work at all. Those are one of the things that I will have to do, besides Brakes, chains ect.. ect..
What I like about the bike I never had to replace anything, just brakes and chains.
My brother with his Brand new bought BMW dakar, allready had several problems... well at least his engine is not using oil at all with the same mileage.

The shipping costs (just oneway, maybe we will ship our bikes to south africa from argentina depending on the funds) are about 2500 swiss francs for both bikes. Around 2900-3000 US Dollars. But what I read on the forums here it can be shipped cheaper.
I am allready am watching craigslist for weeks now. I think the motorbikes are still a little cheaper here. Biggest bugger is finding an adress in the US.
Would you take all youre travel equipment from home or buy it in the US ? Like fuel stove, tent, side racks with panniers ect ect ?
I think we will end up buying the bikes in the US. It is the most reasonable and enviromental friendly option.

@ Magnon
I love my old KLR, but again I try not to stick so much to material stuff .. .
I would buy any brand or bike, it just should leave enough funds for the Ride and some , have good suspension and some dirt capabilities.


If you guys go with a partner (each with own bike), would you go with the same model ?

thanks 4 the inputs, greetz
Well, as much as you love your old bikes, they sound like they've had a good life and will be better suited to be waiting for you when you get home. You say you've never had to replace anything on them yet. That means that you WILL have to soon. On a RTW trip is not the place to be finding out that you need a new gearbox etc etc.

I would strongly suggest that you pick up some KLR's in the USA. They are very popular over there, there are plenty for sale and there is a great deal of aftermarket luggage and spares available. I'm sure the exhange from the Franc to the Dollar would work nicely in your favour too. I'm sure somebody will let you use their address. Just put a request out on the HUBB and also ADV Rider..

As for equipment.. It's a simple question. Will it cost you more to carry it over to the states or buy it new there.

If you already have all the gear, it doens't make much sense to buy it all new. If you need some new stuff, buy it there. Again, there is A LOT of choice and it's well priced.


Bottom line.... I reckon you could pick up a couple of fully prepped, ready to travel KLR's in the USA for far less than you ship yours over.

Fly over there, find a cheap place to stay and get shopping. It will be half the fun.
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  #7  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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My KLR went to 95,000 miles and was still running daily when I garaged it. That's 155,000 km. Yours is still pre-pubescent at 60,000 km/36,000 miles.

On the other hand, yours is using as much oil as mine is. Is it a 2008? Some of them had oil burning problems due to bad rings. Did you abuse and beat on it a lot? Do you know what's wrong with it (via leakdown test, basic inspection of major systems and components)? New rings and piston won't be expensive, but if it's got a lot of wear and tear you could easily spend a lot more than that, but still end up with a worn-out bike.

If you shop wisely and without rushing, you can find good KLR's fully outfitted in the States for $3000. You need to choose the state carefully, since some will allow you to register the bike in your name and some won't. Florida and California are usually described as good choices, particularly if you're buying during winter. Google is your friend.

Hope that's helpful.

Mark
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  #8  
Old 28 Oct 2012
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Hi,

@markharf
We both have the C-Model, mine is 1995 and the other one is 1997. Strange thing is the KLR of my partner also uses quite some Oil, and has only done 40 000kms .
From what I read on the german forums it seems to be the piston rings.
Well I sure rode it in all weathers and below zero. The salt on our street rusted my rear frame away, which I had to paint new in 2010. The engine itself also lost 40 % of its paint . It looks well used ... .
Adjusted the shims only 1 time, as it never changed afterwards. Never found any metal chips in the Oil filter... the Doo-H. should be done .
Did not do any test, I know it is getting burned... as my riding buddies always complain about the stinky KLR . Maybe the valve sealing ?
Anyway, I will stripp the bike and see... as I am to curious now. Wouldnt get anything for the bike here, they arent so famous here as they are in the US.

let me see if I can upload a pic

thx 4 inputs
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  #9  
Old 28 Oct 2012
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Buy used one's in the US

I'm with TouringTed. Your bikes have had long, useful, even fruitful lives. That's alot of money and little anxiety reduction to ship one that's tired. Buy a good used one in the US.

The KLRs are fair to poor off-road. The suspensions are pretty minimal (you can find mountain bikes with larger fork stanchions) and they're very heavy. Upgrades to the front brake seem to allow the fork to testify increasingly to it's rather borderline stoutness. For gravel roads - they're fine, if not fun.
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  #10  
Old 4 Dec 2012
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First my background:
I had a whole lot of C's (as well as A's) in the bike hire business and still have one which I ride privately - 110,000km on the clock after a rebuild at 100,000km
I work "a little bit" on bikes here in Cape Town. Mostly DS bikes.

The most important thing: The "C" is IMHO the one and only KLR you want to take. It neither has the early A models pathetic front brake or its toothpick fork tubes nor does it share the soggy & squishy suspension which spoil both the A model and the current KL650E's. The "C" feels like a different bike and does not seem to have anything in common with the other KLR's ecxcept the engine.

If you like your C models and you buy either an A model or a current KL650E you will be in for a huge disappointment.
The one and only flaw you may find on your bikes is the relatively small tank (14l). This is not really a show stopper since you can fit the IMS 6.6 gal plastic tank but you will have to modify the seat (remove cover & foam, cut and plastic weld seat pan, re-upholster).
As for some comments above: There is NOTHING which makes the A or E model rear subframe superior to the one of the C model. They are near identical. The C's beach towel holder actually has much more sturdy attachment points than the sturdy looking but pathetically flimsy carrier rack of the other models. The C does not need the rear brake bracket which is an essential mod for both the A and E. The C got the much better KDX250 gearshift lever in 1995. The A got it in 2007 : Tell me more how great you think the KL650A is.

If you like your C and decide to buy overseas / in the US of A rather get Suzuki DR650SE's (I also have two and over the years had eight in the bike hire) Forget the current KLR you will need a LONG list of mods and extras from crash bars to protect the brittle bodywork to extensive suspension upgrades.

A rebuild 60,000km KLR engine will be good for many more kms, check the bikes thoroughly and you've got little to worry.
The C's rear shock albeit simple is strong and lasts well as long as you don't overload the bike - which is much more difficult than with the other KLR's - the shock spring is 30% stiffer.

Re. oil burning:
All KLR's seem to burn oil as soon as you take them over 120km/h. I had customers which managed to burn almost a litre of oil on 1000km riding my private KLR two up and probably balls to the wall. Since the engine was rebuild only 4,000km earlier I was mildly concerned. Kept an eye on it over the next 2,000km (whilst I rode it "normally" ) and had an oil consumption of maybe 200ml

The 2008ff KLR oil burner issue is due to poor (out of round) machining of the cylinders. I've rebuild a whole lot of those engines and have documented the story on the wild dog forum (with pics). The poor machining of the cylinders is visible to the naked eye (creates hotspots after a few thousand kilometres). Wear of the side rails and ultimately compression rings and pistons is a secondary effect caused by the poor quality cylinders. A good quality rebore obviously fixes this problem.
According to my experience even a hard done by KLR in the bike hire did 75,000 - 80,000km and more before requiring a rebore. A well looked after privately used one will probably do as much as 100,000km. The bottom end is rock solid as long as you don't kill the big end by overrevving it. Gearbox failures are also rare.
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