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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 25 Jul 2004
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The good, the bad and the ugly...

KLR 650 or BMW 650 DAKAR?
We are planning a trip through the Americas (3 guys, 3 bikes), and I've narrowed it down to these 2 bikes.
Some people swear for one, some for the other, I almost made up my mind for the Kawi due to the possibility of lowering it to some 32 1/2 inches (I'm 5-07"), the fact that it's been around since 1987, parts are relatively inexpensive and available all over, they appear not to break, and there are tons of aftermarket stuff for it, especially to customize it for a long trip, but I still beg you to tell me which would be better suited (and why) for going down to Tierra Del Fuego and back to San Diego (down west, back on the east side of the Americas).
It's yor duty to convince me one way or the other (pleazeee?).
Thank you fellas, enjoy yer bikes and yer s....
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  #2  
Old 26 Jul 2004
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Both bikes are excellent choices, but either way, make sure the three of you take the same bike if possible, makes things much easier with spares, problems, etc.

Dave
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  #3  
Old 26 Jul 2004
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Dave's right, both are excellent, and DO ride all the same bikes.

The big difference between the two is that the Kaw is considerably cheaper, even after fixing it's flaws, all of which are well known and easily sorted.

The F650 is very reliable, no common flaws in the newer ones. The only real flaw in the old ones seems to be the water pump, and that may continue on to the new ones, but no recent data on that. Carry one spare, the rest is good, should do fine.

Both can be lowered significantly. The new F650 is even available in a very low version, good for those down to around 5 feet tall. Lots of options for height, so don't make the final choice on that.

Good luck and keep us posted!

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  #4  
Old 26 Jul 2004
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I vote for the Kaw 650. We have a used one at the shop where I work and I get to ride it till it sells. It has the lowering kit in the suspension, centerstand, forward footpegs,tall shield and big aluminum boxes. I don't need the lowering kit but the bike seems to handle fine on a variety of rough road and two track. I wish I had this bike on my june trip to Inuvik north of the arctic circle. Do stop and see Palenque in Mexico.
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  #5  
Old 26 Jul 2004
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Faced with the same choice last fall, I opted for the KLR 650 for a ride thru Central & South America (beginning Sept. 04) based on wrenchability (i.e. it’s simpler and more accessible to the amateur mechanic) parts availability, lower price, less weight, and larger fuel tank.

To ride a KLR that distance over rough terrain you must upgrade the "doohickey" and fortify the subframe. Details may be found here http://klr6500.tripod.com/ and here http://www.klr650.net/forum/ Plenty of other things may be improved (brakes, fork springs, rear shock), but doohickey and subframe are must-do’s.

Think twice about the lowering links. My pal has a lowered KLR with a centerstand and has suffered difficulties riding Baja ... off road, it’s lowered such that the centerstand bangs on the ground. It tore off his footpegs and he needed to have them welded back on in Baja -- argh!

An excellent alternative is a Corbin dished seat. You’re way lower and still have room to use an AirHawk seat pad, IMHO the best for arse comfort. Good luck~~
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  #6  
Old 27 Jul 2004
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I'm a BMW fanatic, but I'd have to say that given your description of intent, the KLR would probably be my choice. Where I live a good used KLR is roughly half the price of a Dakar, new or used. Even that aside, the stock large tank on the KLR is a big plus. I am not sure if you will have to post a bond (Carnet de Passe (sp?))to import your bikes to any of the countries you plan to visit, but these are usually based on the value of the bike - another factor in favor of the KLR. Plus there is always the crash/ stolen/ sunk-in-deep-salty-water issue which favors the cheaper bike. Of course, if none of the above happens then the resale on the Dakar will be higher.

The only objective factor that would make me choice the Dakar is post-trip. Is this the bike you are then going to live with for the next 5-10 years? Other trips? Com'on, this is just the start right? If so, the relative difference in initial cost is somewhat secondary to how well the bike fits your riding style and preference. I've never been on a Dakar, but those that have ridden both have told me that the Dakar is a much nicer paved road bike where as off road it's a tougher call between the two.

A happy choice either way, me thinks!
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  #7  
Old 27 Jul 2004
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Thank you all guys for yer replies: Now I'm more confused than ever! Not, really, both bikes have their pros and cons.
Bike hight is a definite concern, and price also makes a difference (although IF there would be a clear winner I could stretch my pockets).
I have the idea that the beemer is and feels more luxurious than the KLR, probably its ride is also more "civilized" than the KLR (if there is such a thing).
6.1 gallons makes a lot of sense, and the lower initial cost (5 grand for a new one) will allow for many improvements and selective accessories (I mean useful and light weight).
Both my friends already agreed going with the same bike model is a plus (nothing but common sense).
I'm a 49 years old guy recovering from cancer (lymphoma) and we all plan to do this between 3 and 4 years, and now (although I'm REALLY leaning toward the KLR) I believe there is no substitute for actually trying and riding both bikes I bet you guys one of these bikes will speak to me, and if it is the beemer, well, I'll carry a jerry can to equal the KLR
Off road stints will most likely be limited to what's necessary. Obviously the bikes will be kind of babied to improve the odds of failure during the trip.
Thank you again you guys!
Dario


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  #8  
Old 27 Jul 2004
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Dario, be sure to get to the HU Meeting in Mexico Oct 14-17 - you'll have lots of opportunity to see both bikes ridden by guys who do lots of travelling, and talk to the riders, as well as get general inspiration from all the stories and seminars.

See you there!



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Seek, and ye shall find.

------------------------

One world, Two wheels.
www.HorizonsUnlimited.com
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Seek, and ye shall find.

------------------------

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www.HorizonsUnlimited.com
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