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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 5 Jan 2013
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V-Strom DL1000 vs KLR650 in South America?

Hello all,

So first let me explain my situation shortly: me and my girlfriend (both 23 years old) are going to travel with the motorcycle through South America from February to August. We will start in Buenos Aires and end in Bogota. We both just got our motorcycle license and thus are not experienced drivers (although we have a fair share of auto driving experience in foreign countries).

We currently have two motorbikes in mind: the Suzuki V-Strom dl1000 and the Kawasaki KLR650. Could you give your opinion about which motorbike is more suited for 2-up riding in South America, considering that we might also experience roads that aren't that smooth or well maintained? (dirt, gravel and that kind of things?)

A bit more information about the characteristics of the two specific bikes we are thinking about of buying: the V-Strom (2007) is optimalized for 2-up riding with a big sprocket and heavy duty suspension (which is very nice for us as nonexperienced drivers) and should be more comfortable for two. It has about 80.000 kms on it but is well maintained. In total it will cost is 4000-4500 dollars. The KLR650 (2008) in contrast has about 100.000 kms, but also seems wel maintained. The top-end has been rebuilt some time ago, although we do not really know how well this has been done. And, a big plus, we hear it is better in off road situations. This one is about 3000-3500 dollars. However, I have no experience in driving in South America and do not know how many times we will drive off road.

So, it is a hard choice for us. Please share your thoughts and experiences with us, as you will surely help us! We try to collect as much as information as possible, but we are both new to motorcycles.

Kind regards,
Tobias de Graaf
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Old 5 Jan 2013
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There are to many opinions to make a decision for you. Go and try them both . Long distance 2 up with more comfort and some light offroad would be the susuki. There are other susuki and klr bikes out there.
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Old 5 Jan 2013
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If I went solo, I'd take the KLR. Two-up, out of these two, the DL1000, but if you're not experienced, it could be a bit of a handful at walking speeds. But the KLR with that much load on board is gonna feel exhausted, and even more so at altitude.

Are you really stuck between these two? A midsize twin like DL650, or Transalp (700 over 600-650 because it's the only one with FI) might fit your needs better, a bit lighter and cheaper to buy than a 1000, and probably with better fuel economy.

edit. high mileage could turn out to be a bit of an issue, especially on the KLR.
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Old 5 Jan 2013
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Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
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@buyarbi It's true that there are many opinions and that we have to choose for ourselves. However, I'd like to read as much as opinions as possible, because they contain a lot of information and I can probably learn from them. Thanks for the tips!

@pecha72 These are two that are available from other travellers. My spanish is not so good that I can buy one there on the spot I think, so I prefer having a deal in place before I leave in the beginning of February. So currently, I'm exploring these options from the HUBB. I guess this is the only forum where travellers sell their bike to other travellers right? But you're definitely right that I should consider searching further for the lighter Suzuki or a Transalp. Next weekend I think I will testdrive at least the dl650 and the klr650 here in Holland. Should give a general image of how they ride

Any other opinions are more than welcome!
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Old 6 Jan 2013
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There are lots of things to consider making each case different, however I would choose the DL1000 over the KLR650 for two up touring in South America.

One big factor to keep in mind is the comfort of the passenger as an unhappy passenger makes for a lot of stops and avoiding of roads that are rough on them. The DL is a much better bike for this as it has a bigger cockpit, decent seat, etc. It can of course be done on a KLR but it's a different experience. A custom seat on the KLR would be a minimum requirement if you ended up going in that direction.

I have previously ridden around Turkey two up with a pillion on on DL1000 and just did a short bit of two up riding in South America over New Years on a KLR. Most riders and passengers will find the experience on a DL more comfortable.

In regards to roads, the main limiting factor will be the fact that you are two up, not which bike you will be on. At minimum, put a knobby tire on the front of the DL and it will be fine for the vast majority of roads that you will encounter on the the standard routes. If you want to be doubly sure, bring over front and back Heindeau K60s and you'll be fine unless you really get off the beaten track or encounter mud. If that happens, then the main issues of two riders and all their gear will make any bike very heavy and you will quickly learn which roads to avoid in the future.

Happy planning.
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Old 8 Jan 2013
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I just spent 7 month in South America part of it two up loaded, the best bike for the job is a DL650 , not the DL1000 . I owned the KLR and loved it but two up is not at all the best choice ( under power, no brake, no injection .....) the dl650 is lighter than the 1000 and more economic in gas , same ergonomic so not a smaller bike , the 1000 is too powerfull for this continent and also have some problem the 650 doesn't have .
Hendi Kaf


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Old 10 Jan 2013
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Go with the DL1000....!


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dl1000, klr, klr650, v-strom, which bike

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