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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 13 Mar 2011
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very close to buying a 2008/0km KLR for RTW but...

I'm having some last minute hesitation.
I'm currently watching the achievable dream DVD's and I suddenly feel the need to go light and easy on my RTW trip. I went to see my "future" bike yesterday and it suddenly felt so big and heavy and I'm kind of looking at those lighter 250 to 400 cc and they look more appealing.

I'm really confused now... I made a deposit for the bike but I can still change my mind, I haven't signed nothing yet...

I was suppoose to leave in fall 2012 but I decided to leave in october 2011 (those DVD's really had an affect on me hehe).

I'm going solo from Montreal to TDF then to South Africa and up and maybe India Asia if I have time. I'm going 13 months. I travel light (i'm new to motorcycle but not to travel and I like to travel light). I know most of the road is always tarmac... but inside of me a lighter bike just seem more fun and less of a hassle... and a recent concern about the KLR is part availability and maintenance on the road. Would that be an issue ?

Anyway tnx to all of those who've been reading me and extra thanks to those who help.
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  #2  
Old 13 Mar 2011
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Your KLR is a tiny, lightweight bike....compared to the giant GS monsters which prevail in certain quarters.

Ok, never mind all that. Seriously, this question gets done to death repeatedly here, with strong opinions powerfully presented from all sides. There are folks here who wouldn't have more than 125 cc's--and scooters, at that. Others favor huge beasts, with or without lots of chrome, fluff, or sidecars. And no matter what you choose, you're always running a degree of risk that you won't be able to find parts. Seriously.

Best bet is to ride your bike for a while. Take some short trips--a week or so. See how it works for you. There's no way for you to know what sort of rider you really are, much less what sort you'll turn out to be 6 months from home, without putting your feet on the pegs and heading out.

Having said that, I opted for a KLR and it's served me well on several continents; I'm not going to tell you why, because a simple search will fill in any details you crave. I've run into lots of riders on larger bikes, and mostly they seem equally satisfied, most of the time. And I've met fewer, but still a significant number, on smaller machines--they smile no more or less than anyone else. We've all got complaints, for whatever that's worth, but most of us are partial to whatever we've chosen. The same will probably be true for you, no matter what your choice. If it's not, you'll either notice before you leave (and make the appropriate adjustments), or you'll figure it out as you go (and make the appropriate adjustments). It's not the end of the world to make a less-than-optimal choice.

Hope that's helpful.

Mark
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Old 13 Mar 2011
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Originally Posted by markharf View Post
Hope that's helpful.
Totally !

Thanks

I spoke to one of my friend and he basically told me he was also intimidated by all the bikes he bought at first and after a while he would get used to it and was happy.

Let's give the KLR an honest trial then Worst case scenario I trade it for something smaller.
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  #4  
Old 13 Mar 2011
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Hi

I was in pretty much the same position as you a year ago. I never touched a bike for 30 years but decided to do Cape Town to Cairo on one. After lots of research all the bikes on my list were eliminated except the off-the-shelf KLR. When I did that excercize I didn't even know what the bike looked like. In fact, I had to write the letters KLR on a piece of paper to remember which one I was looking for. Well, my little excercise said it was the right bike for me, so I started my search for a used one. Found two....a red '06 and a blue '08.....read up on both, and decided to consentrate on the '08.
I took it for a spin and was totally intimidated (especially by the height). Because my little piece of paper said it was the right bike for me for this trip, I pushed through and bought the bike. It was a nightmare riding it home in rush hour trafic......my white knuckles are still recovering.
However, I was completely comfortable in no time and love my bike (Now at 37,000 kms). It proved to be the right bike for me (Me: 6vt, 190lbs) although I'm sure many other bikes would also have been "the right bike for me". It's been a very reliable bike, light enough to handle, and goes where you point it.
The one thing I can say about the KLR.......It needs no modifications or add-ons to do long trips. I use soft luggage which makes it easy to remove and with it's light weight (168kgs, I think), I enjoy exploring some of the "easier" trails whenever I have a nice stop over
Good luck with your choice
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  #5  
Old 13 Mar 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guillaume View Post
I'm having some last minute hesitation.
I'm currently watching the achievable dream DVD's and I suddenly feel the need to go light and easy on my RTW trip. I went to see my "future" bike yesterday and it suddenly felt so big and heavy and I'm kind of looking at those lighter 250 to 400 cc and they look more appealing.

I'm really confused now... I made a deposit for the bike but I can still change my mind, I haven't signed nothing yet...

I was suppoose to leave in fall 2012 but I decided to leave in october 2011 (those DVD's really had an affect on me hehe).

I'm going solo from Montreal to TDF then to South Africa and up and maybe India Asia if I have time. I'm going 13 months. I travel light (i'm new to motorcycle but not to travel and I like to travel light). I know most of the road is always tarmac... but inside of me a lighter bike just seem more fun and less of a hassle... and a recent concern about the KLR is part availability and maintenance on the road. Would that be an issue ?

Anyway tnx to all of those who've been reading me and extra thanks to those who help.
You quite right to hesitate.
You might be better off with a properly fitted DRZ400.
I've been talking a bunch with Daveg and the smaller bike really has much virtue and the DRZ is tough as nails. I'd say the new KLR650 is a bit fragile in comparison.
check his blog
daveg travels

His DRZ400 really is an impressive bit of kit. Tougher, lighter and easier to handle than the KLR. Lot's of nice used ones for sale. The seat is the main thing and he's got a really nice one from Renazco.
If I were to do it all again that's how I'd go.
I already have a heavily moded 06' KLR so that's what I'll be riding.
I wouldn't be buying a brand new one for a RTW trip that's for sure.
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Old 13 Mar 2011
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The DRZ400 is a great bike ,BUT , unless you are very young and with a tiny backside ,you will find the seat absolute torture .
Plus you'll need a bigger tank and a beefed up subframe if you want to carry any weight , case protectors would also help .
So if you are a complete novice and want a ready to ride package ,the KLR is probably better .
Don't dismiss the DR650 either ,again it needs a bigger tank ,but still a very capable bike [ and it's aircooled = simpler].
Some people love 250's but the extra performance of the 400 for a minimal increase in weight IMHO is worth having .The 650's are a little heavier and maybe thirstier.

Choices ,Choices !
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Old 14 Mar 2011
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Thanks for all your replys.

I forgot to mention I'm getting a pretty good deal on my KLR. Brand new 2008 for 4999$ + tx and no PDI. The suzuki's are more expensive that's for sure.

Still a few day to make my mind...
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Old 14 Mar 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guillaume View Post
Thanks for all your replys.

I forgot to mention I'm getting a pretty good deal on my KLR. Brand new 2008 for 4999$ + tx and no PDI. The suzuki's are more expensive that's for sure.

Still a few day to make my mind...
Yea but for a RTW machine you really don't need to buy a new one.
$4999+ tax isn't a great deal really. They were selling brand new 09's for that just last year. MSRP on that bike was $5350.00
Today's Nada average retail is just over $3600.00. The second you ride that bike off the lot it becomes a 3 year old bike. They know that!
You should be able to buy that bike for no more than $4000.00
If it was me I'd offer $4000.00 and be ready to walk away from it.
Shop for a clean used DRZ400 or a clean used 07' KLR. You can find them already fixed up for around $3500.
Here's a nice looking one in PA
If I had to do it all over again I'd give the DRZ serious consideration especially with the nice aftermarket seats available.
Whether you're a novice rider or experienced you'll appreciate a lighter easier to handle machine for the long haul. Even the older KLR's are fairly heavy machines.

Here's a low mileage F650GS with bags and everything already for $5500obo
Here's an 09' KLR with all the bags and extras already for $3600! Looks like a screaming deal

Anyway good luck with whatever choice you make.
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  #9  
Old 14 Mar 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
Your KLR is a tiny, lightweight bike....compared to the giant GS monsters which prevail in certain quarters.
.... and a giant GS monster is an absolute lightweight compared with my '86 Voyager 1300 - 381kg dry or close to 430kg with all fluids, .... and that's NOT including any luggage.

Surprisingly enough, it handled the 4WD goat track I took it on last weekend very well - you just have to drive appropriate to conditions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
There are folks here who wouldn't have more than 125 cc's--and scooters, at that. Others favor huge beasts, with or without lots of chrome, fluff, or sidecars. And no matter what you choose, you're always running a degree of risk that you won't be able to find parts.
Hope that's helpful.

Mark
The vast majority of my offroading is on a 650 Burgman scooter though. 15" front wheel, 250kgs before luggage and bugger all ground clearance hasn't stopped me tackling all the iconic off the beaten track in Australia places that out do anything I tackled in South America /Africa for difficulty.

Guillaume, your KiLleR 650 will more than eat anything the route will throw at you, providing you take it easy. The DRZ400 is a great bike for hard riding in rough conditions, but that isn't what RTW, or even regular adventure riding, is all about.

You want a bike that is comfortable and capable for months in the saddle, not a bike that is capable of getting there quickest in a 2 hour Sunday afternoon blast.
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