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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 26 Jul 2010
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Yamaha WR 250R vs. Kawasaki KLX250

Hi all,

I am looking to downsize (from my 2001 Transalp) for serious motorcycle travel. The main reasons are handling on the crappy tiny roads and trails that I like and fuel economy.

My wife has just bought a honda NX 250 and it is a fantastic little bike! Light, easy to manouver, reputably indestructable, will go everywhere slowly and easily does 130 km/h - 75 mph on the highway all day. Add to that an amazing fuel economy of 1:33 km/l - 93 mpg (uk) - 77.6 mpg (us) and I'm happy...

but it is FAR to small for me. I am considering a Yamaha WR 250R and a Kawasaki KLX250, the kawasaki being a lot cheeper. It also gives me a better feeling (no justification, just feels more me...)

I would however like to put on a larger tank. For the yamaha a 12ish liter tank is available and I think a larger one is being made (?). For the KLX 250 there is a larger tank, but it doesn't fit so well on the newer model bikes. Aparantly you have to move some electronics and the choke can't be used anymore... Not really a problem since the EU KLXses have fuel-injection.

But will a non-fuelinjection tank fit on a fuel-injected bike? Do I need to add a fuel-return connection to the tank, and is that something that I could do myself on a plastic tank?

Does anyone have any experience with this? Or does anyone know why I should dish out an additional €1000 for the WR 250 R?

Kind regards,
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Consider a trip from the Netherlands to Singapore and back by plane...

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  #2  
Old 26 Jul 2010
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either based on web, wr based on me.....

No reason other than the WR is the real mccoy. Both sets of owners talk very highly of each bike and you won't be disappointed with either. The WR threads that I follow now have some serious mileages on them, which is encouraging - I'm taking mine to Russia next spring and I can't wait. If you can pack light you'll have a bike that can do roads adequately but is an absolute breeze to ride offroad. I admit its quite heavy for a 250 but this is a 250 adventure bike at heart with a modern twist (Revy R1 inspired cylinder, FI for altitude and consistent fuelling, 350W stator output for just about anything you want to run off it). When I say heavy, remember that it's quote weight is wet (298lb). It's also quite tall but can be lowered easily without too much sweat. Tanks can be an issue. They're smallish and have to have the fuelpump inside to cool it/because the bike is so small and it needs to go somewhere! Aqualine do a 3.5usGal tank and IMS are working on two tanks a 3usGal and a 4.5usGal - both the larger tanks have a secondary vacuum pump to lift fuel out of the wings but even the 'complexity-phobes' will have to admit that there is no evidence on the 'net that this has caused any problems in any high mileage bikes (back to your 'carbs, lads). I like my bikes stock but those that have fiddled report fantastic results from pipes/airbox mods. Not so relevant for the overland in me.

I've done a 1000mile long weekend up to Scotland on mine without any problems (with AndyStrapz panniers in my case) and even the rather sparse seat didn't cause any problems (I will be getting it widened a little for Russia though - don't want to take the risk). I am also changing the bars because I've noticed a bit of vibes creeping in but nothing some fatbars and a throttle-tamer-thing won't cure. I still find myself forgetting that it's a 250. It pulls more than adequately low down and still finds the enthusiasm for a lovely, revvy top end, more like sports-bike at times. Fit as a butcher's dog.

Honestly, go and see one. Spend a few moments soaking up the detail and the quality and you might find a space in your life for one...
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  #3  
Old 26 Jul 2010
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oh, and any questions, just ask...



This is on the Scottish border. Probably the most loaded I've had her (on way back from a wedding). No bashplate in this pic. Funnily enough I've also owned an XT660R, like the one in the picture, and I would take the WR over the XT anyday. The XT was buzzy and heavy where the WR is light and breezy.
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  #4  
Old 28 Jul 2010
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Looks good with luggage!

I have so far only seen WR 250 F's in the flesh. I am sceduled to testride the KLX this week and a WR-R next week so I can feel the difference.

What mileage do you get? What range out of the stock tank? and is that while taking it easy or riding hard?

regards,
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Consider a trip from the Netherlands to Singapore and back by plane...

You can ride your motorcycle twice around the world and you would still not have emitted the same amout of Green House Gasses...

If you take that into account, we are all GreenRiders!
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  #5  
Old 28 Jul 2010
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Good beast

Yeah, the WR-F's are totally different (barring the sprockets which are compatible). On my Scotland trip the best (imperial gallon mileage) was 74mpg and the worst was 62mpg. Usually that means the 1.75ImpGal stock tank gives you at least 100miles of blasting along the motorway at 75mph. Lower the speed into the 60's gives you late 60'smpg easily. People in the States report getting into the 50's on hard offroad outings but it's hard to compare when loads use powercommanders/FMF pipes and open the airbox for more performance.
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  #6  
Old 28 Jul 2010
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It may not be that popular in Europe but I recommend also a Kawasaki KLR650. Still you don't miss the TransAlp power underneath, with something lighter, practical and versatile.

Cheers from Izmir, Turkey.
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  #7  
Old 29 Jul 2010
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I've not ridden the WR250R but have ridden the KLX. Like in Netherlands, the WR is MUCH more expensive in the USA than the KLX.

My friend is selling his. He is retiring from riding, so this bike has had little use.
See ad here on Hubb:

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...near-new-51638

Good deals on the KLX-S Kawasaki's here in the US. Great little bike. The owner of the KLX above also had an NX250 before the KLX. The KLX is better everywhere. Gets 70 MPG (US gallons). Can cruise nicely at about 65 mph.
(top speed of about 80 mph). Nice off road if not too rough. By now I am sure either IMS or Clarke must make a bigger fuel tank for the KLX.

Our model has a Carb still. Not sure about adapting to F.I. Euro model. I'm sure someone will follow along on this idea. For the difference in money, I'll take the Kawasaki.
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  #8  
Old 29 Jul 2010
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Interesting...

Repeated from cycleworld.com:

"Okay, so it is clear we are not riding flyweight racebikes here. This message becomes more evident once you are under way, too, because an EPA-legal 250cc Single doesn't belt out tire-torching horsepower. But for quarter-liter commuters/playbikes, they deliver enough snap to have a good time. The extra pounds over a straight-up dirtbike are noticeable in most off-road conditions, but because the center of gravity is fairly low on both machines, they are easy to handle in all dirt riding situations. For the really technical stuff, the c-of-g is almost too low, actually! To keep seat heights on the lower end of the scale, ground clearance on both machines is less than that of your average dirtbike. The KLX has 10.8 inches while the WR has 11.2. A plus for the Yamaha is that you could actually replace the lower cradle if you get aggro and smash the rails into pancakes. In any case, not a deal-breaker for either bike, but be aware that if you ride on technical trails, the bikes will make contact with rocks.
Surprising, though, how well these 250s work in highly difficult rocky sections. The soft suspension of both machines makes for a relatively supple ride, even feeling better than an actual enduro bike in some terrain!
On the opposite side of the off-road speed spectrum is where the suspension falls short. When the riding gets faster, the suspension has trouble keeping up and bottoms often, more so on the KLX than the WR. Even with that, the Kawasaki is fairly competitive with the Yamaha if you and a buddy are racing around.
A surprising disparity is in the power department, which is quite different on each bike. The KLX has better bottom-end, traction-grabbing oomph and continues to be mellow all the way through the range. This is a trait that makes riding easy for beginners and even experts, especially when trying to get moving on difficult terrain or from a dead stop on an incline. Above 5 mph, though, the WR is the motor. In addition to being the quicker of the two, the WR makes a lot better power at high revs, and more-experienced riders will find it fun to keep those revs up like when riding a 250F motocrosser.
At higher altitudes, the fuel-injected WR continues to keep the majority of its power while the carbureted KLX loses a larger amount. Still, both bikes often have trouble pulling in their tallish second gears because of the large gap between second and first. On technical uphill trails, you either have to wring 'em out in bottom gear or bog out in second until you can gather more speed.
On the street, the WR's more potent power is very apparent, so the bike will practically wheelie from corner to corner while the KLX struggles to keep up. The WR also has more stable handling around speedy turns where the KLX tends to wallow sooner. Nonetheless, both bikes have a high degree of street appeal and are reasonably comfortable as daily commuters. Best is the fact that you don't have to stick to paved routes and can even explore a city's less-traveled areas. Not that we rode on any stairways or in the no-man's land between freeway interchanges or flood-control channels or anything...
It seems as though Yamaha went a little farther in putting the finishing touches on the WR, as the rider controls are more up-to-date and the lighting is brighter. A mark against the Yamaha, though, is that it drives its odometer off the transmission; so, every time there is wheelspin, extra miles are put on the bike!
For as much street guise as these two bikes have, they are very competent go-anywhere machines, and the small displacement has an appeal of its own." See the full article here

I would add that this is fair about the WR with the exception that people say that the wr can't '' up steep slopes in 2nd gear but it does - it just sounds quite clunky which puts people off.
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  #9  
Old 29 Jul 2010
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With respects to the KLX:

There is a tank, but it is made for the Carb version. I would be buying the FI version... So can I use the carb version tank?

Fuel economy figures from the US are of the carb model (with cat I assume)... how would that translate to the EU and asian FI model?

Regarding the WR 250 R:

I was hoping for even better fuel economy... 80ish MPG (UK) Fuel injection and all the other new toys should be able to make it as good as a 20 year old NX250! even with a cat.

But than again the economy on the Scotland trip would be with luggage... Do you think that makes a lot of difference?


With respect to both bikes:

How do they cope with low octane fuel?

regards,
__________________
Consider a trip from the Netherlands to Singapore and back by plane...

You can ride your motorcycle twice around the world and you would still not have emitted the same amout of Green House Gasses...

If you take that into account, we are all GreenRiders!
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  #10  
Old 29 Jul 2010
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Good points in the Cycle World review. I read that when it originally came out. No doubt the Yam has the edge on power but there are several simple and minor mods to boost power on the KLX a bit. Air box mods, jetting all help a bit according to some of the reports I've read on ADV KLX thread.

What I don't know is which would make the better travel bike. Obviously, F.I. has an advantage at altitude. But how does the Yam handle a load?

The KLX sub frame is not great from looking at it in person. Haven't seen the Yam sub frame, but I do know guys have toured on both bikes.

Greg Frasier toured up in Alaska on a KLX, seemed to work OK loaded up for him. He sold it here on HUBB also. (I think)

But price is probably the main difference. US MSRP shows $1000 USD difference, but KLX's are now being severely discounted at many dealers.
Like $3500 for a new one. (plus tax) The Yams don't seem to be discounted as much and used ones are pretty expensive too.

No idea what the situation is in Europe price wise.

I also don't know how either of these bikes will survive over the long term.
Both really too new to know much. Both have good, low stressed motors. I would think 60,000 kms. is not unreasonable before major work?
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  #11  
Old 29 Jul 2010
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See my answers:

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenRider View Post
With respects to the KLX:

There is a tank, but it is made for the Carb version. I would be buying the FI version... So can I use the carb version tank? Depends on whether the FI uses a fuel-immersed fuel pump.

Fuel economy figures from the US are of the carb model (with cat I assume)... how would that translate to the EU and asian FI model? They are also typically in usGAL's and need to be checked. Probably not much difference - the EURO WR has a lamda sensor for example whereas the US one doesn't.

Regarding the WR 250 R:

I was hoping for even better fuel economy... 80ish MPG (UK) Fuel injection and all the other new toys should be able to make it as good as a 20 year old NX250! even with a cat. Performance vs fuel consumption. I hear this alot when people see the WR mpg. It's a 120bhp/litre engine with dyno chart shown here

But than again the economy on the Scotland trip would be with luggage... Do you think that makes a lot of difference?
Yes, luggage makes a big difference when you only have 30hp at the crank. Pack less, ride more.


With respect to both bikes:

How do they cope with low octane fuel? 11.8:1 for the WR, 11.0:1 for the KLX. Not ideal but fuel quality across Europe/NorthAsia/Africa is improving year on year. I will have to wait and see how it performs in the Stans next summer.

regards,
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  #12  
Old 29 Jul 2010
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See answers in red

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey D View Post
Good points in the Cycle World review. I read that when it originally came out. No doubt the Yam has the edge on power but there are several simple and minor mods to boost power on the KLX a bit. Air box mods, jetting all help a bit according to some of the reports I've read on ADV KLX thread. This isn't an attempt to whitewash but mods work on WRs too.

What I don't know is which would make the better travel bike. Obviously, F.I. has an advantage at altitude. But how does the Yam handle a load? I said that luggage makes a big difference on a 30hp bike (crank at best) but I had no problems on the hardtop with the luggage. The problem is that on a small, light bike (it is seriously mass-centralised. you'll wonder where the weight lives) the luggage becomes a big part of the total weight and upsets handling if there's too much of it.

The KLX sub frame is not great from looking at it in person. Haven't seen the Yam sub frame, but I do know guys have toured on both bikes. The WR subframe is a masterpiece. Strong steel tubes attached securely to the ally double cradle frame. Probably adds to the weight a fair bit.

Greg Frasier toured up in Alaska on a KLX, seemed to work OK loaded up for him. He sold it here on HUBB also. (I think)

But price is probably the main difference. US MSRP shows $1000 USD difference, but KLX's are now being severely discounted at many dealers.
Like $3500 for a new one. (plus tax) The Yams don't seem to be discounted as much and used ones are pretty expensive too. WR's are too expensive for the real world but nowadays so are alot of other bikes. Only recently in the UK could you get cheaper 2nd handbikes.

No idea what the situation is in Europe price wise.

I also don't know how either of these bikes will survive over the long term.
Both really too new to know much. Both have good, low stressed motors. I would think 60,000 kms. is not unreasonable before major work? The WR engine will LIVE. Valve clearance checks are 20+ thousand miles!! Forks, wheels etc will proably not live that long
See answers above...
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  #13  
Old 30 Jul 2010
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I just went for a test ride on the KLX.

GREAT BIKE!

I love it... nice and docile, but with a punch. I felt very confident on it.

It is likely to be more fuel-efficient than the WR (but slower obviously) however I will have to forget about the fuel tank as it needs a fuel return thing. I don't fancy drilling holes in fueltanks... feels kinda wrong!

Other problem... It won't go faster than 70 mph. Not one bit... It feels strange. It speeds up quickly in 5th gear until you reach 7000 RPM and then... NOTHING...

That reeks of restriction! And indeed... the fuel injected KLXses are power restricted in 4th, 5th and 6th gear (to beat the emission rules)

There is a cheat though:

Derestrict klx250 2009 EFI for FREE - ThumperTalk

Best Way To Derestrict The D-tracker (klx250) - Thailand Forum

If that works... the KLX is the bike for me... if not... my wife on her NX250 will ride circles around me... and so will trucks in Russia... bigger problem...

Will still go and see the WR next week ;-)
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You can ride your motorcycle twice around the world and you would still not have emitted the same amout of Green House Gasses...

If you take that into account, we are all GreenRiders!
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  #14  
Old 2 Aug 2010
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this is a no brainer. yamaha all the way. after the transmission job on a kawi I did a few days ago, and seeing how HORRIBLE their engineering is, dont waste any money on their outdated and underbuilt pieces of garbage. if you want quality, Yammi and Honda are the two to consider.

mind you I spend a LOT of time working on bikes, rarely do I see yamahas or hondas fail without a LOT of severe neglect and abuse combined. kawis, well the last one, 2nd gear just BROKE, no reason at all, but it was demolished.
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  #15  
Old 2 Aug 2010
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If you really like the NX250, the Kawasaki Super Sherpa is very similar, but for me the WR should make a wonderful touring rig.
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