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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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  #16  
Old 13 Mar 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JillGat View Post
Norm, you went back to a big bike? What a sell-out! I'm on my way from a Tiger 800 to a Kawi 250. That being said, I love my Tiger and would keep both if I could.

What seat upgrades have people done on the Kawasaki KLX?
With you there JillGat, just sold my tiger (cracking bike by the way) and now looking for a smaller alternative.
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  #17  
Old 14 Mar 2014
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I have to admit that I miss the KLX.

As far as seat upgrades are concerned, I mentioned in my original post that I used an Airhawk which had served nicely on my ZR7-S. But it does not work very well on the KLX's narrow seat which allows the Airhawk to move around quite a bit. I ended up securing the thing further with lengths of electrical tape but it still loosened up eventually and started random migrations.

There are after market, wider (somewhat) seats available and that would be the way to go.

Happy trails.
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  #18  
Old 14 Mar 2014
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There are couple very long and detailed threads on the KLX over on ADV Rider. I was interested in this bike, but IMHO, both the new Honda and WR250R both out pace the KLX. The good news is its fairly certain Kawi will up grade the current KLX to a 300 ... to stay ahead of Honda/Yamaha.

I helped a friend sell his 2009 KLX a year ago.
I cleaned it all up and put about 500 miles messing around on it. It was OK ... but needed quite a bit to be it's best and after my DR650, was pretty weak on our wonderful Cali twisty roads. (best in the world)

I read THOUSANDS of posts on the KLX on the ADV Rider threads. One of the most popular mods was going to a 300 or 330 kit. And of course upgrading suspension. Stock is too soft with poor damping, especially loaded up. A must do, IMO.
I'm just 5'6" and found the KLX could be taller.

Stock seat is clearly a joke if you plan to ride more than an hour. Norm is right ... width is key. Air Hawks are for amateurs. I hate how they move around! Great way to get killed from the distraction. How anyone rides with that crap is a mystery to me. ??? A quality custom seat is the way to go.

But Norm makes a really good point. Unless you spend most of your time off road, crossing deserts or riding Himalayan mountain passes ... then (IMHO) there may be better choices for a dual sport bike. Since I've already gone the Vstrom route (92,000 miles), in 2006 I went with a Suzuki DR650. (324 lbs. dry)
Compare weight with any 250 dual sport. Just not that far apart. My DR gets 50 MPG just about everywhere, can cruise all day at 80 mph and easily carries a ton of gear through the roughest terrain.

At 55,000 miles my DR650 hasn't missed a beat, been all over western US and Mexico. Although ... it has just now begun to smoke on start up ... so this means valve guide seals have failed.

Not a big deal but irritating ... so a full top end rebuild is in my future. I'll do it myself, will replace valves, guides/seals, rebuilt head with new valve seats, NEW piston, piston rings. With luck, it'll go another 50K miles.

The current crop of 250's are great. But they all need upgrading to be travel bikes. Suspension, seat, fuel tank, lighting, rigged for luggage. They are good and can be made better. Not everyone fits on a 250 and if you choose one, you better learn to travel like a bicyclist.

Cheers
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  #19  
Old 15 Mar 2014
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Just spotted your excellent KLX report from 2012, Norm - good on your for trying something different. I did a similar experiment last year on a CRF-L in Southwest US, following dirt trails where possible and my conclusions were similar to yours: a more powerful) machine with a reserve of speed is just more relaxing to ride, just shame about the weight. I don’t get it myself, but I suspect this may be part of the appeal of these GS12s. Loaded up on rougher tracks, anything heavier than the CRF (about 180kg full up) would have got tiring. And the great thing on a loaded 250 is that you’ve no right to be intimidated by what dirt obstacle lies ahead as you know you’re on the lightest practicable machine.

Much of my ride was over 5000’ which I suspect took the edge off the hp, but once the bike was returned to stock breathing and black box fuel controller was dialled in, it averaged 72USmpg (87UK or 30kpl). That’s impressive but I bet if you rode your V-Strom, or my current 650XCo or these new Honda 500 twins under similar acceleration and cruising speeds you’d get close to those figures.

Running at 8000rpm in top does sound pretty high, even for a 250, and would kill mpg. Was it too low geared? I’m sure my CRF spun at around 5000rpm at 65 on standard gearing.

Like you, I didn’t find the extra gallon from an aftermarket tank worth the expense set against a $15 Walmart can. Plus one thing with a small tank (mine, typically 120 miles range, iirc) is that it makes the seat feel better than it is. Offloading the butt every 2 to 3 hours greatly extended its range. Plus on a 250 vibration just isn’t an issue like it can be on a 650.

As beat mentioned, the current KLX250S sold in the UK and Europe comes with efi and my experience is that efi mpg tends fluctuate less while also being more economical overall. Another thing to note is that a KLX-S on both sides comes with a fully adjustable shock including compression damping. Of course it could still be a crap adjustable shock - I didn’t ride one in the US long enough to notice, but the CRF shock was about as basic as they come.

Once I’m done with my X bike, unless something better comes along, a KLX250S in next on my list, but what is needed is something in between a 250 and a 650. Currently in the UK the CCM450 seems to be the only game in town. I’m spending a day on one next week, but it will only be off road so won’t be conclusive wrt travel biking and anyway, it's £8k new. Now that the likes of a 660 Tenere are near 200-kilo tanks, you’d hope the CCM450 might kick off a new class in light travel bikes, perhaps based on a detuned CRF450X or these Chinese XR400 engined machines or just a modernised DRZ450 efi.

Ch

Last edited by Chris Scott; 15 Mar 2014 at 20:02.
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  #20  
Old 15 Mar 2014
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Thanks for your comments Chris.

You're very right about not being intimidated by whatever's ahead when on a light bike. I have no real off road skills but always felt reasonably comfortable when hitting rough patches on the KLX. There was the sense that simply putting a tactical foot down could save the day.

it's a pity there's so little choice in the 350-450 dual sport range. I found that the DRZ 400 didn't fit me and, in any event, felt too dirt oriented. Beyond that there was really nothing practical.

Norm
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  #21  
Old 22 Mar 2014
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I'm sure I'm overthinking this, spending too much time on the internet doing comparisons.

Fact is that I am ambivalent because I like the idea of the klx250, except for when I'm riding my Tiger800. I love my Tiger, but it is too top-heavy in the dirt. Lois tells me that "smaller bikes are liberating." I know for sure that the 250 would be much better on the many adventurous dirt roads in New Mexico, where I live.

My concerns about the klx are:
  • being knocked around in the wind
  • messing with a carburetor
  • missing acceleration and highway comfort of the Tiger
  • having problems with the chain roller if I lower it
But there is a reverse-kind-of-cool adventurousness in having a smaller dual sport. I saw a million neat looking little bikes when I was in Turkey last year. It made me want one. I will have to get dogbones to lower it, get a new (lower, more comfortable) seat, tail and side racks, topcase and panniers, windscreen, possibly a larger tank. Something I could pick up if I drop it on a lonely dirt road in the middle of nowhere would be great.

Plus Kawi lime green.
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  #22  
Old 22 Mar 2014
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Jill,
You're so lucky to own a cool bike like the Tiger 800.
I'm sure it's a handful off road. IMHO, if you can handle the Tiger then any 250 ... or even a 450 ... would be a doodle by comparison.

How tall are you?
I'm 5'6", and have adapted to taller bikes, learned the techniques required to get a foot down and be comfortable. You DO NOT need to flat foot it. One foot is fine, ball of foot, not flat foot. Scoot forward on the seat, scoot over to left side of seat. Now you should be able to reach. Staying limber and strong also really helps if riding off road. It IS a sport.

If you are 5'2" or shorter ... then I'd agree ... dog bones are the way. But I can't imagine you'd be able to handle a 500 lbs. Tiger 800 if you were that short? Also, guessing you're pretty STRONG to handle that Tiger?
A 250 or 450 are 100-150 lbs. lighter weight. This fact is huge off road.

If you have substantial dirt riding experience, then you are all set. Try a few bikes out and buy the one that speaks to you. But ... if a total novice, I have some advice: (I teach off road to older riders, kids and women)

Start on a 125. A two stroke is fine. Try to find an experienced teacher to go riding with you and offer pointers. Ride Ride Ride. After a year of serious practice on a 125 ... you'll be ready for a 250. Still need more power? go 450 or 650.

Getting better/stronger off road will have a very positive affect on your ON ROAD skills too. It all crosses over, it's all good.

Always a tough decision when doing long rides that combine both LONG highway stints and some diabolical off road, desert or mountain trail sections in the mix. Add a loaded travel bike in ... and things can get tough.

The 125 training will pull you through. Small bikes off road give confidence and the learning curve is FAR Steeper than struggling with a BIG BIKE.

I'm not fond of 250's on day long, straight, boring highway. Rode my Honda XR250R through Baja ... 1500 miles there and back. The few highway sections we did went by SLOWLY as I had to cruise at 55 mph ... no faster.
But of course off road and in sand .. all was good. Compromises.

I'd get out a ride a few bikes ... try to get pointers about off road riding if you can. I see so many novices doing exactly the WRONG thing ... and then they wonder why they fall and suffer so. A few basic tricks can really change all this. Just not that hard.
Good luck!
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  #23  
Old 23 Mar 2014
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Thanks, Molly. I am 5'5" and the Tiger is a dream to ride. A much lighter bike will be a blast, though (according to the stats I saw, the Suzuki Dr650 weighs 366 dry; more than you say). Why can't I have two (at least) motos?!
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  #24  
Old 23 Mar 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JillGat View Post
Thanks, Molly. I am 5'5" and the Tiger is a dream to ride. A much lighter bike will be a blast, though (according to the stats I saw, the Suzuki Dr650 weighs 366 dry; more than you say). Why can't I have two (at least) motos?!
You can! Save your pennies! Do It!

I can link to several magazine tests that quote DR650 WET weight at 367 lbs.
Wet weight includes fuel (3.4 US gallons) oil, battery, et al. Dry weight can be deceptive on all bikes. So the 324 lbs. I quoted is just a rough starting point, and like on ALL bikes, are rarely 100% accurate.

Having actually weighed my bike on a industrial cargo scale I can verify the 367 lb. wet weight. I did this years ago when my bike was all stock.

My bike, in current form, is a bit heavier due to bash plate, bark busters, tool kit, pannier racks, rear rack. But to counter this, I added lighter exhaust, Alu bars, Ohlins shock (lighter than stock), removed passenger pegs, bar end weights, helmet lock, rear tail light & lic plate assembly. All this saves about 30 lbs.

My bike now, all up with full luggage (for 3 month trip), 5 US gallons of fuel is right around 410 lbs. Not too bad for a 650 class bike.


set up for camping ... most times I pack a much smaller tail bag.
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  #25  
Old 20 Apr 2014
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That DR is a good-looking bike.
I've had my klx250s for a few weeks now and it is so much fun. I've done freeway to dirt on it and commuting to work daily. I love the way the little bike handles. My Tiger is for sale at PJ's Triumph in Albuquerque.
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  #26  
Old 9 Feb 2015
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perfect! I'm just considering klx250 EFI as well as a second bike for shorter trips and more fun off-road. Good to hear klx so capable and reliable bike.


p.s.
BTW what's wrong with all those companies putting 2 gallons small tank on DS bikes...
it's like conspiracy.
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  #27  
Old 25 May 2016
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Hi all KLX 250 lovers or haters, just to say I took mine to Mongolia in 2013 and back to the UK. Didn't miss a beat cheap tyres maintenance and over 80 miles per gallon! 13000 miles in 5 weeks ! Fantastic little bike. Going to take up North Alaska next year then down to South America ! Happy touring.
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  #28  
Old 7 Jul 2016
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I'm also a big fan of the KLX250s, the 06/07 years in particular. I've had 3 of them over the last 10 years. I've sold them for a bigger or different bike only to miss it and buy another one, and I keep coming back to it. It's incredibly comfortable and easy to ride. I've ridden it on motocross tracks and done some 50ft table top jumps with the stock suspension. I've had a BMW F800GS, did a long trip on it, and while it was great on the highway, it was exhausting to handle on all the rocks and back roads in Colorado, and the sand in Wyoming. I can ride the KLX all day very comfortably and with little effort. The gas tank sucks, and I have to carry an extra gallon of gas with me when I ride with the big adventure bikes. I paid less than $2500 for it and it was barely broken in. Inevitably all the big KTM and Vstrom riders will ask to ride it, because it looks like so much fun. While they are cruising carefully and trying to keep their heavy bikes upright, I'm doing burnouts, cookies, powerslides, and wheelies. I drop the bike pretty much every time I ride it, but it's easy to pick up and keep going. Whenever I dropped my F800GS (which was only once), I had to take a break and wait for a buddy to come help pick it up. When you know you have to pick it up, you're going to ride way more carefully, and sometimes that's what takes the fun out of it. Even though you'd love to play in that mud puddle you know it just wouldn't be worth it if you got stuck.

Obviously there are drawbacks to having a light bike, riding on pavement at high speed is miserable. For that I have a rack that plugs into the hitch on the back of my Jeep, so I just load it up and drive to where we'll be riding that day. There's so much to consider in the Adventure/Dual Sport dilemma but really interesting to read about other people's experiences, so whatever you got, get out and ride.

jdizzle
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  #29  
Old 8 Jul 2016
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honestly, 250cc bikes used for longer trips? it's just torturing yourself...
The lack of power, the wind, small tank etc etc
Not for me for sure.
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  #30  
Old 21 Mar 2017
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KLX spare parts list

hey guys,

about to take my klx250s from Alaska to Patagonia.

i need to create a spare parts kit and was wondering what you would recommend.

thanks!

T
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