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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.
Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA



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  • 5 Post By mollydog
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  • 1 Post By nickdcook

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  #1  
Old 20 Apr 2015
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Dr650 vs KLR 650

Quote:
Originally Posted by alan hopkins View Post
Well that was hilarious read and a wonderful slice through different attitudes, expectations and humour.
No wonder we can't even decide on the ultimate travel bike

p.s. have I told you that you are all nuts
Dr650 vs KLR 650? still trying to decide, I think the DR would be nice if i spent a bit more on modifications than i would have to do to the KLR.
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  #2  
Old 21 Apr 2015
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Originally Posted by nickdcook View Post
Dr650 vs KLR 650? still trying to decide, I think the DR would be nice if i spent a bit more on modifications than i would have to do to the KLR.
Required mods are about the same for both bikes. The KLR does not need a bigger tank, DR does. But the plastic Acerbis tank takes about 6 lbs. off the weight of the DR ... and it won't DENT like the metal KLR tank.

What both bikes need:
suspension upgrade front and rear
Seat (stock KLR seat is better than stock DR seat but both are crap)
racks/luggage
tuning: carb, intake, exhaust
Lighting
Protection (bash plate, case guards, bark busters)

Here's the thing: The DR is much easier to work on. Ask anyone who's owned and worked on both. Carb mods easier on DR with results that REALLY makes a big difference ... not so much on a KLR. Valve adjustments a PITA on KLR, 20 minutes or less on accessible DR valves.

Fuel Economy. About even ... around 50 MPG if tuned properly or if totally stock, untouched. (both run better once modified, especially the DR650)

In the end, the DR is smoother running at highway speeds, faster everywhere, lighter, more nimble and a better handling bike on a tight twisty road.

The DR650 is MUCH easier to handle in tough off road conditions ... big plus riding a loaded up bike on a long trip. The DR for example, handles deep desert sand remarkably well ... Vs. the KLR which IMO, is pretty tough to ride in deep sand.

Smoother? Why? Double counter balancer engine, rubber shock mounted handle bars and foot pegs. Smooth at 75 mph.

The KLR has a small fairing & shield. On my KLR, I took shield off ... and after one trip to Baja, I broke or cracked plastic fairings in minor tumbles

No such issues in dozens of falls on my DR650 as it has no breakable plastic. It crashes really well. Not so the KLR ... with it's radiators, plastic fairings, steel tank and other vulnerabilities ... more a chance of show stopping damage to coolant hose, water pump or rad.

Both bikes need case protection.

If you want a windscreen on the DR, you can add one, but many don't like having a shield riding off road. (very distracting ... but good in cold). Many good shields available for DR650, a snap to install or remove!

Another important factor often overlooked: The DR comes stock with a 525 size chain. KLR uses a 520. Difference? You will go about 30% further on the 525 chain/sprocket combo. Downside? More 520 parts out there than 525.
I carry sprockets with me. 25K miles on a chain. (X ring)

Strike Two: KLR's typically USE OIL. A lot of oil. No problem if you remember to top it up ... daily. DR's rarely use ANY oil at all ... even at 50 or 60K miles.

Service: KLR uses shim under bucket system. DR650 uses
Screw type adjusters. A valve check/adjustment on the DR650 takes about 20 minutes start to finish.

KLR, tank and radiator must be removed, hoses and wires moved, them struggle to remove valve covers ... then find correct shims if valves need adjustment. About 1.5 hours if you know what you're doing and have correct shims. (I've done it multiple times on both bikes)
Both bikes have very stable tops ends and neither need much adjustment ever.

Weight: New version (since 2008) KLR's are about 50 lbs. heavier than DR650 (stock vs. stock) This is A LOT of weight. 50 lbs. accounts for nearly ALL the luggage and tools I carry on board.

Aftermarket support is great for both bikes.
Best to ride both and decide for yourself.
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  #3  
Old 21 Apr 2015
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All good points given by Mollydog there, which market are you buying the bike in ?


If you are planning on buying in North America, theres plenty of supoport for both bikes, but the DR hasnt been sold for quite a while in Europe, so buying a new one is expensive and getting parts from North America will cost a lot.
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  #4  
Old 21 Apr 2015
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Um... I didn't make this post did I? I don't remember this I quoted that on another post I think hahaha.

Anyway thanks molly your so informative, I have been over on avdrider looking at some huge posts over there reading about the DR and some of the mods most you have listed here, but really shouldn't be more thank 3000$ and I'm going to try and buy a used one and go over all of it my self. I'm buying the bike in western Canada most likely because I live here.

I feel more comfortable on the klr when it was stock vs stock just sitting on it in the show room but I think once I change the bars (including raising then) , seat, tank (going with the larges safari tank) , suspension front and back I will get built by Jessie @ Kientech Engineering Home Page (also going to get some other mods on his website), also going to reinforce the motor due to stories of the shifter smashing through the side or rocks puncturing the oil case, in line fuel filter, and a bunch of other simple little things like kn airfilter and heated gel grips...

I just hope after all of this it feels comfy. All the guys at the shops here tell me to get the klr but I'm going to pick up a DR because of its more dirt bike like feel, I'm more used to.

Just might be hard to find a used one around here, but worst case I'll buy new...
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  #5  
Old 21 Apr 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickdcook View Post
All the guys at the shops here tell me to get the klr but I'm going to pick up a DR because of its more dirt bike like feel, I'm more used to.

Just might be hard to find a used one around here, but worst case I'll buy new...
DR sounds ideal for what you're looking for Nick. I've ridden both KLR and DR extensively.... over 35,000 mis on KLR and 19,000 mis on DR and the DR wins hands down -- ligther, funner, faster. The post-06 KLRs weigh a whopping 66 pounds more than the DR, 432 vs. 366. Makes a big difference offroad.

Enjoy & ride well ~~
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  #6  
Old 22 Apr 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickdcook View Post
Um... I didn't make this post did I? I don't remember this I quoted that on another post I think hahaha.
Nick, this post was moved to a relevant forum. What you did is called "hijacking a thread" and is naughty.
You should have made your reply, and then started a new thread to ask this question.
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  #7  
Old 22 Apr 2015
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Nick,
I'm a motorcycle mechanic in Alberta and currently building a DR for an extended trip. I would be happy to swap DR notes with you. Everything you could possibly want to know is also available at the DR riders forum.www.DRRiders.com
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  #8  
Old 22 Apr 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huskydoggg View Post
Nick,
I'm a motorcycle mechanic in Alberta and currently building a DR for an extended trip. I would be happy to swap DR notes with you. Everything you could possibly want to know is also available at the DR riders forum.www.DRRiders.com
Great forum! .. and for some light reading on WHY the DR is so loved ... read
this thread:
When did you find out? (that the DR650 is a great machine) : General DR650 Discussion
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  #9  
Old 22 Apr 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Johnson View Post
Nick, this post was moved to a relevant forum. What you did is called "hijacking a thread" and is naughty.
You should have made your reply, and then started a new thread to ask this question.
Grant,
Nick's right ... I posted the DR comments (responding to Nick's query: DR vs. KLR) My bad ... I forgot what thread I was on! .. as Nick's been asking about both bikes on several other threads. Chris of Japan did the right thing ... and didn't attempt to crucify anyone in the process.
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  #10  
Old 22 Apr 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Johnson View Post
Nick, this post was moved to a relevant forum. What you did is called "hijacking a thread" and is naughty.
You should have made your reply, and then started a new thread to ask this question.
I was merely joking actually because of the post above me that I quoted.... Now only if we could agree on the best adventure bike. But noted.

Ya my mind has been jumping around allot, but like I said I think it's been decided. Dr 650. Again thank you to everyone because I was just going to buy a klr650 and do a do hickey and be on my way to be honest hahaha but decided to ask and read around. Now it's time to keep reading more into the Dr and make sure I have a full list of what I want to do, because I won't buy the bike until next year (just got out of med school)

That's for the links I will read them tomorrow.
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  #11  
Old 22 Apr 2015
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There is probably a reason you see 10 KLRs for every DR. I will be using a '07 KLR for the trip to Ushuaia in November. Buddies made it two up on a '99 last year, not even a flat, used no oil and adjusted the chain once thanks to the Scottoiler.
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  #12  
Old 22 Apr 2015
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It all depends on what type of riding you are going to do. I believe the KLR is a "better" street bike and the DR a better bike when the going gets rough.


The KLR is built heavier, better for heavy loads and 2 up. Understressed engine which will last a long time, if not abused. Already has a big tank, a rear luggage rack, and some wind protection. Shim type valve adjustment is a pain, but rarely need adjustment. Carb and battery are puzzlingly hard to work on, you'd think they could have done better.


The DR is lighter, which is so important on rough terrain. Really, i think that is its main advantage, but that's enough, again depending on your purpose.


Full disclosure: I own a KLR with 85,000 miles on it, engine has never been apart. I also own a DR350, which I use on trips where I trailer to a destination.


Short answer: more street, KLR; more dirt, DR.
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  #13  
Old 23 Apr 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyT View Post
It all depends on what type of riding you are going to do. I believe the KLR is a "better" street bike and the DR a better bike when the going gets rough.
Lots of spot on comments Andy. Common consensus is that the KLR is better on road, but IMO, a well set up DR650 is actually BETTER. Many DR's are not set up properly or at least not set up to ride long highway at speed. On the other hand, a well modded KLR is worlds better than stock and pretty much the equal (IMO) of a DR650.
Key words here: Well set up ... a rare thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyT View Post
The KLR is built heavier, better for heavy loads and 2 up. Understressed engine which will last a long time, if not abused. Already has a big tank, a rear luggage rack, and some wind protection.
I agree with you on the engine ... strong, under stressed, as you say, and it's a BIGGER bike, wider seating area, more leg room, MUCH better two up for sure. (DR is terrible two up) IMO, the KLR is the better "big man" bike.

But the KLR frame is NOT as strong as the DR650. I've seen a remarkable number of broken KLR frames from guys riding hard off road in tough conditions on loaded up bikes. Some had main center tubes broke clean in half, some rear sub frames, some head stock. Bit worrying.

The Aussie guys have broken a couple DR's too ... but this is very very rare among DR650's. Simply put, they are Butt Tough bikes and even can take off road abuse pretty well. Many have done thousands of miles of rocks, washboard and whoops and survived with no damage ... include my own bike among the abused.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyT View Post
Shim type valve adjustment is a pain, but rarely need adjustment. Carb and battery are puzzlingly hard to work on, you'd think they could have done better.
Again, I totally agree, that frickin' carb is diabolical. KHI (Kawasaki heavy industries) certainly could have done better considering their amazing engineering prowess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyT View Post
The DR is lighter, which is so important on rough terrain. Really, i think that is its main advantage, but that's enough, again depending on your purpose.

Full disclosure: I own a KLR with 85,000 miles on it, engine has never been apart. I also own a DR350, which I use on trips where I trailer to a destination.

Short answer: more street, KLR; more dirt, DR.
The DR650 is lighter, but not that much on the 1st generation KLR's like your bike. But it's true the DR handles better off road ... but make no mistake ... the DR is no KTM 690 or Husky 610, not even close. But it's pretty tough and crashes well.

Andy didn't mention he rode his KLR all over S. America and beyond during his 85K miles. (!!!! )
To anyone paying attention, that's a big deal.

As mentioned earlier, a well set up KLR can be very good, pretty much the equal of the DR everywhere. So both are great travel bikes. Probably my favorite thing about the DR is how simple it is to do maintenance on ... and how little maintenance it needs over all.

Most know the Achilles heal of the KLR (DooHickey, cheap and easy fix!) ... but what is it on the DR? A couple things, unfortunately: 1. On rare occasions 3rd gear can break. (happened to roughly 1% of all DR's ever made ... according to Suzuki)

Some blame a loose NSU screw dropping into gear box for this ... and that HAS happened on some DR650's. The NSU must be loc-tite'd and made secure on ALL DR650's. (easy, free fix)

But on other DR650's, 3rd gear just busted. Once this happens ... you are usually done, engine ruined ... unless you catch it before it turns gear box to a pile of broken bits. No real rhyme or reason for this ... NO ONE has figured it out ... but some theorize Suzuki has "secretly" dealt with it in the last 3 or 4 years. Dunno.

2. A more common but easily fixed problem is the Pick-Up coil or Ignitor, this bit ties into Stator and a spare replacement is a good thing to carry, easy to install if original part fails, which has happened to quite a few riders.

Critics will tell you BOTH KLR and DR are ancient, overweight relics from the 80's. But believe it or not ... the Japanese engineers did some pretty stellar work during that time. Mostly what these bikes have over faster, lighter ... prettier ... and WAY more expensive Euro Bling bikes is: simple, cheap, reliable, easy to repair ... tough as a Brick Sh*t House. (both bikes) A travel ADV Dual sport needs to be a special kind of bike. Lightest and Fastest aren't necessarily top priorities.

But as always, ride and decide. Do a couple hundreds thousand miles on a few of your favorits and decide what is best for you. That's what I did.
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Old 23 Apr 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juanvaldez650 View Post
There is probably a reason you see 10 KLRs for every DR. I will be using a '07 KLR for the trip to Ushuaia in November. Buddies made it two up on a '99 last year, not even a flat, used no oil and adjusted the chain once thanks to the Scottoiler.
I question that figure of 10 to 1. 10 or 15 years ago the KLR was KING in Mexico, Cent. America and S. America, no doubt ... and almost NO DR's out doing LD traveling in those years. I rode a new '98 KLR press bike to Copper Canyon, via Baja. Not many bikes on the road at all then.

But in the last 5 or 6 years the ratio has changed. Lots more DR's these days.
Are there more DR's than KLR? NO ... but it's certainly not 10 to one these days. Read the ride reports.

In 2004 or '05 Andy and I met at the HU travelers meeting in Copper Canyon.
Only about 110 bikes in all showed up. 35 of them were KLR's!!
By far, more than any other bike. But that was then ... this is now!

Word is out on the DR650 and aftermarket support has grown, forums have sprouted and hundreds are out there riding DR's. Frankly, I can't believer either bike are still legal with Carbs.
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