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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 25 Jul 2003
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honda XR650L vs KLR650

Hey guys, I've been doing alot of research trying to figure out which bike I should buy. I'm new to motorcycles and I am wondering what your thoughts are as to which bike would be best for me. I'm planning a trip through canada and the US, through mexico and then probably down to Brazil. I know the KLR is more of a road bike than the XR and the XR is more of a dirt bike, but how do you think the XR would would hold up to a trip like that? I want a bike thats lots of fun and easy to handle off road, but capable of long haul touring. I think I know a little more about the klr so I'm interested to hear from anyone thats taken an XR on a long trip. whats it like for a full day of touring on the highway and how does it hold up after you rack up the miles? Is liquid cooling an important factor? and how does the power/speed of the 2 bikes compare? I'll probably buy the bike new, so what makes the xr worth the extra money? thanks for any info.
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Old 25 Jul 2003
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I'm allso open to sugestions and reasons why I should try I different bike with similar weight and abilities
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Old 25 Jul 2003
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by ZacT:
[B]I'm allso open to sugestions and reasons why I should try I different bike with similar weight and abilities

why dont you try KTM 640 Adventure? That is surely bike for you You will have perfect offroad performances and handling together with enough big fuel tank, capability for load luggage, and very good road speed. Just wondering about maintanance and spares in mentioned countries, because I realy dont know how many KTMs are on your continent.

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Old 26 Jul 2003
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thanks for the suggestion, I have been considering the ktm adventure actually. but as you said my main worries are the repairs and maintenance. I've heard many people complain about how long it takes to get parts for the ktm's and how expensive they are. I really don't want to be stuck somewhere with a broken bike for 3 weeks waiting for some part thats on backorder or somthing. I just think it's safer to stick with the more popular/common bikes like honda. reliability and the abality to repair the bike quickly is a big factor in my decision.
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Old 26 Jul 2003
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Hi ;

Just couple of weeks ago i bought a KLR650A. Why i prefered it was because ;

1- It has a 23 lt. tank.
2- Wide aftermarket products and possibility of purchase via internet and worldwide shipment.
3- Very versatile and very reliable motor.

Hope it helps,
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Old 28 Jul 2003
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I'd go for the Honda. Air cooled, screw & locknut valve adjustment, generally easier access. Had a KLX650 recently, similar engine to the KLR, not as user friendly as an air cooled machine to work on. KLR l/cooled engine may be better in some situations. Down to personal preference and whether or not you prefer to do carry out the maintenance yourself. I would imagine that Honda spares are easier to locate but I could well be wrong on this.

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Old 29 Jul 2003
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No problems with KLR parts in most parts of the Americas. There are certainly more Honda dealers, but most of them only cater to little bikes. So if they're selling anything in the 600 range, they'll probably have stuff that'll work on the KLR also.

I'd go for the bike you prefer sitting on all day long, cause there's a lotta miles between Canada and Brazil.

I have a KLR so am biased, but the thought of covering those distances on an XR makes my bum hurt ;-)
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Old 1 Aug 2003
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I had a KLR650 for 8000 miles and am RTWing on an XR650L.
the KLR was my first thumper and I was pleased by the comfort, power and off-roading. maintenance was a bit of a pain, but OK if you can find a friendly workshop who'll rent you some space to do stuff yourself. much is said about the front fork, but its no better or worse than the XRL.

the XRL needs a lot of work to make it comparable. I fitted a 43 litre tank, but that meant welding mounts and shortening the seat. the tank's great, but the seat is the worst I've ever used! you could go for the 22litre tank, but the KLR will give you more power and way better fuel consumption (20-30% better). off-road, the KLR will cope with what most people go for, but the XRL is more capable on jumps. if you're going to ride gravel roads and mud, the KLR will be fine.

so why'd I buy the XRL? simply cos I fancied a "project" and I could fit a 40+ litre tank, kickstart ... also, it looks terrible so no one is going to steal it ;-)

out of the crate, go for the KLR. if you're going to push the bike off road, the Adventure is better and the XR650R is better still, but needs a big tank.
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Old 2 Aug 2003
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Thanks Rich, I think I'm pretty set on the KLR as of right now. I think I really want somthing that'll be good for cruising on the highway all day, but on the other hand I don't want to give up to much off road abality. From what I've heard The XR's just don't seem to be quite as capable for long trips.
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Old 24 Aug 2003
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Yep, I would go for a KLR for all the reasons mentioned above. We'll known in the US (like the Tenere in Europe) - cheap, big tank, mini fairing, good mileage and runs correctly out of the crate. It's not 2 bikes bunged together.

For your trip I would slap on a Corbin seat for your butt and a fork brace for your nerves in the dirt (notwithstanding tyres, etc)

Check trip reports:
"Honda XR650L"
"Call of the Wild - KLR650"
and the rest.

Large amounts on XRL prep at www.desertriders.co.uk

Chris S

Interesesting Fact:
I've made long-range dirt touring videos/dvds of both KLRs (Yukon) and XRLs (Sahara). Check my AM web.

Chris S

Author of Sahara Overland and the Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, among other things

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