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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 19 Oct 2012
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Two-up on KLR 650?

Hi all,

I'm a newcomer to adventure motorcycling but have been dreaming about it for years. I'm getting ready to purchase a bike for a 6 month trip from the US to Tierra Del Fuego, and part of the time, my wife will be on the back with me. I'd really like to spare the major expense of buying a BMW GS 1200 and would prefer something whose parts are cheaper and which is easier to fix. I understand though that this is a great bike (perhaps the only one?) for traveling 2-up.

I've always loved the KLR (though never actually owned one) and am wondering if any of you have experience riding for an extended period 2-up. I have a feeling I already know the answer to my question, which is that riding 2-up on the KLR is a no go, especially if I plan on having panniers, gear and all the rest.

Let me know your thoughts and feel free to suggest an appropriate bike for 2-up riding that won't break the bank.

Many thanks for your advice and suggestions.

Nale19
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  #2  
Old 19 Oct 2012
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A Suzuki DL650 V-Strom is a good option. Not as cheap as a KLR and more street oriented but good for 2up, good fuel mileage and very reliable.
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  #3  
Old 19 Oct 2012
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V-Strom

Do you speak from experience? Have you done long-hauls on it 2-up? What can you tell me about it?
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  #4  
Old 19 Oct 2012
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I have a V-Strom 1000 with 51,000 miles on it. The 650 will have a little less power for 2up riding but is far more economical. My nephew has a 650 which has about 40,000 miles. He has used a far bit 2 up. I've read several ride reports of travels riding 2up on them without problems. If you want something economical it is a good option. If you can afford the extra running cost and purchase price then the 1000 could be for you. They are physically the same size so equally as comfortable 2up. The 650 is smoother.
I think I would still go with the 1000 over the 650 because sometimes I like to ride quickly.
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Old 19 Oct 2012
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I'm biased, because I own two DL650's (2007&2012).. but can't deny that my experiences on 2-up travel with this bike have been pretty good. My longest trip 2-up was Europe to Australia, 34 thousand kms in 6 months. This was on the 2007 bike, it's now close to 80.000, and basically has not missed a beat, not on that trip, or later on.

Not much of an"off-road" bike, but I think 2-up will limit such riding anyway. Any roads it will do just fine.

I've ridden KLR650 a lot, too, great for riding solo, but I'd take a DL650 in a heartbeat, if I was going with a pillion. Transalp XL700 might be another option, if it's available in your country.
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Old 20 Oct 2012
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Thanks for the advice. I have spent all day researching the DL 650 and 1000 and it does look like a superior bike for 2-up riding. Seems to be more comfortable and sportier than the KLR. Most of my trip will be paved roads anyway so it makes sense to go with a bike that is stronger on pavement and maybe less so on dirt. I like the price tag too - way more affordable then the BMW R GS1200.

Now the question will be whether to go with a 650 or 1000. I like the gas mileage on the 650 but wonder whether there will be sufficient power with two people, panniers and all our gear.
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Old 20 Oct 2012
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In my opinion the roads once you get out of the USA absolutely do not warrant a 1000cc motorcycle. I did a 2-up trip from the USA to South America, and the road conditions were such that 35hp was adequate for even Northern Chile. I met many travellers on KLR650s and never heard one complaint about power, so a 650cc V-Strom will be more than enough.
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Old 20 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jordan325ic View Post
In my opinion the roads once you get out of the USA absolutely do not warrant a 1000cc motorcycle. I did a 2-up trip from the USA to South America, and the road conditions were such that 35hp was adequate for even Northern Chile. I met many travellers on KLR650s and never heard one complaint about power, so a 650cc V-Strom will be more than enough.
Personally I agree with you totally. You´ll be riding in unknown (to you) territory, and the road conditions, and traffic in general, are something to watch out for. And you´re there to see things, right? If so, travelling at high speed makes no real sense, either. I mean, the DL650 can keep 120-150 kms per hour all day loaded 2-up, that should be enough with something to spare for most countries. But I know some people want more power, so I can only speak for myself.

Another plus for the 650 is ABS availability, a great help in a tight situation, especially when the bike´s heavily loaded, and surface traction levels vary a lot, as is often the case in faraway countries.

The 2012 version seems even less thirsty than my 2007, maybe up to 10% improvement (so with the tank size going from 22 to 20 liters, range has stayed more or less the same). 2012 has improved in another areas as well.

There should be a fully new 1000 coming for 2014, with ABS and traction control, but no accurate specs of it available just yet.
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  #9  
Old 5 Nov 2012
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I'm having Kawasaki KLR650, I have been riding lots of other dirt bikes But I must tell you this the best adventures bike and fun to ride.
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  #10  
Old 7 Nov 2012
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Hola,
the dl650 is more comfortable.
But i have seen a couple doing the south American trip on the klr!,
and they loved it.
In Ecuador there are people with big bikes but way more people
with small bikes also driving 2 up,they would see the klr as a bike with plenty of space.
It is just what you are used to, and how much you can spent.

Good luck!
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  #11  
Old 8 Nov 2012
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Did 18,000 kms in South America 2up on a DR650 with my wife, and the newer KLR has a bit more room than the DR. Sometimes we really wanted more room, but having a simple bike that is easy to repair and maintain is good too.

Nale19, give us more info on your trip, where are you riding from? is it one way in 6 months or a round trip?
What is your budget for the bike INCLUDING any luggage, modifications etc? Will you be selling the bike afterwards or keeping it?

However id get SWMBO to sit on the bikes you are thinking about taking (side by side) in a dealership and help choose.

That way if SWMBO complains in the middle of nowhere then you can point out it was partly her decision!

If you guys are tall or larger then Id definitely go with the DL650 V strom, if smaller then the KLR 650 is cheap to buy/run/maintain and will take a beating, you dont need the 1000 cc bike, as the guys mentioned you will (probably) not be riding at warp speed and the 650 V Strom is a well proven 2up long distance bike.

Good luck, be sure to post on the HUBB when you make a decision and do a Blog!
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  #12  
Old 9 Nov 2012
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I have had 2 DL650s. Put 60,000km on my first one, a 2004 model, which was traded in on a 2008 ABS model. The current bike has done 117,500 km, about 30% of it 2-up with fully loaded panniers and top-box. Cruises nicely at 120 kph and has plenty of power for overtaking. A compression check at 75,000 km showed that the compression was still within spec for a new bike in both cylinders. The mechanic told me to get it checked again at 150,000 km. It will be doing another circuit of Australia in a few months time. As with all my vehicles I change the oil twice as frequently as the service schediule requires ie I change the oil every 3,000 and the filter every 6,000. The mechanic suggested that may be part of the reason for the longevity of my engine. It's certainly not because I treat it gently - I ride it hard and fast when solo. I make my own airfilters using a method found on www.stromtrooper.com. Cost $14 instead of $50+.

I did a 1,666 km iron butt ride in 24 hours earlier this year and after a feed got back on the bike and did another 400 towards home. I dont think there are many bikes that are comfortable enough to do that, though I have put a sheepskin seat cover on it.
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