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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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  • 1 Post By mollydog
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  #1  
Old 30 Mar 2014
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KLR question

Hi KLR fans I have a couple of questions for you.
I love little old thumpers, I just basically have a very soft spot for them and especially love my KLR and have also spent thousands of kms on a DR650, what a GREAT bike.
My little green KLR guy has done 40000kms and is a 2001 model.
Questions:
What is the average lifespan of a KLR?
What kind of problems usually occur in KLRs especially little old ones?
If you had a choice of a KLR650 2001 model with 40000kms or a DR650 2001 model with 18000kms (just found 2nd hand at a local dealer) and were going to spend 8 months riding through South America estimated to do 53000kms, which bike would you choose?
THANKS
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  #2  
Old 31 Mar 2014
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Lots depends on how it's been treated during it's 40K kms. Oil changes? Serviced? What sort of use? Well cared for KLR's can easily top 80K kms.

There are always tell tales (on both the DR and KLR). Obvious ones are oil use, smoking and bad sounds. Bad sounds are the scariest and hardest to figure out. Also, oil leaks can be a sign but mostly are nothing to worry about if minor. Cracked and broken frames/sub frames and duff elec. systems also need to be sorted if acting up. (elecs pretty good on BOTH bikes) Most travelers neglect batteries. New ride? New battery.

If you already own the KLR and know it well ... then that may be the bike for you. I've owned two KLR's but currently own a '06 DR650 (since 2006/55K miles)

Being short, I prefer the DR as it feels lighter and easier to ride when loaded up. Definitely better (for me) off road. Its actually stronger than the KLR in some ways too ... but has a few flaws and niggles ... but is a lot easier to work on than is the KLR.

But BOTH DR or KLR can be set up to do well on a S. America ride, no problem. IMO, you can't pick two better bikes ... but I'm biased.

The KLR has a few more things to sort out and to keep an eye on. Since it's water cooled you've got to look after radiator,hoses and water pump.
(mostly reliable long term) DR only has oil cooler, no Radiator.

The DR is simpler and crashes better (IMO) than the KLR , with less damage
when it hits the ground. But the KLR is possibly one of the most traveled bikes in S. America ... going back to the 90's. (I was there in '98 on my KLR)
There is a good reason for that.

If you already own the KLR ... it might be cheaper to keep it if it's in good shape. Check compression, make sure valves are holding spec. If continually closing up on you ... that indicates it needs a valve job and top end rebuild. (figure $1000 usd for full job)

Other obvious things, DooHickey, cracked rear sub frame, cracked main frames. (both RARE)

Both bikes enjoy massive aftermarket support with plenty of used OEM parts out there if needed. I would meditate over both bikes and try to "feel" which one might be THE ONE. I am, of course biased towards the DR. But the '01 may have a leaky base gasket. (easily fixed with a bead in silicone round the seam).

Good Shopping!


Light, strong and inexpensive.

Last edited by mollydog; 31 Mar 2014 at 05:58.
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  #3  
Old 31 Mar 2014
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I've owned both. The KLR is better for long days riding. The DR better on rough roads. I currently own a 2013 KLR with progressive mono tubes in the forks and a .8 rear shock spring. I would go anywhere on it
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  #4  
Old 1 Apr 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Light, strong and inexpensive.


Great picture, I just love these bikes
Tough decision as I’ve done 17000k on my KLR (in Europe), and 21000k on a DR(across Asia) and really like both bikes. Tipping on the side of the KLR is that I already own it so don't need to use any of my travel money to buy the bike. Tipping on the DR side is that I have had to repair a DR fix starter motor etc all roadside so have more experience on maintenance, plus it's lighter and great off-road and I am a very keen off-roader. Went across Mongolia on a DR WOW

hmm so I will give it a little more thought and have a good look at my routes again to see how much off-the beaten track I will do, although no real trail riding just bad bad roads. I est 40% bad bad roads and things that try to resemble roads and 60% actual roads

SO much fun planning another big trip and having to make these ''hard'' decision

THANKS
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Old 1 Apr 2014
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Sounds like a close call.
The KLR will do just fine on "really bad roads", just like the DR, it eats them up. But I would stiffen up/improve suspension ... maybe pony up for a nice aftermarket shock. Cogent Dynamics make a nice one for KLR:
KLR 650 Moab Shock

I'd go through the KLR to make sure it's REALLY ready to travel. Maybe CHECK OR REPLACE things like: link bearings, wheel bearings, head bearings. If valve gear is stable ... then motor probably OK. Flush, check Radiator, check hoses, connectors. Flush, clean fuel tank, pull out petcock, clean internal filter screen.

Clean and service calipers, new pads.
New Plugs (one spare)
New Tires/tubes
2 new spare tubes
New battery
New X ring chain and OEM sprockets. (carry 2 spare front sprockets)
Check cables ... replace any suspect ones or ones that are not easy and smooth.
Bring set of spare jets for Carb, Plus pilot jet, O ring kit, new float.
New Air Filter
New fuel filter
Check all vent hoses for correct routing



And be sure to check for any frame or sub frame cracks!

Baja is rough on bikes! This guy's KLR broke clean in half! He had it welded back up in La Paz ... and rode it back to USA! Replaced frame ... and rode on!
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  #6  
Old 2 Apr 2014
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My 08KLR has 50,000+km and never missed a beat.
A mate has the first model 650,we did a rebore/piston/rings at 160,000 when it was drinking oil,now it has well over 200,0000 and still going strong.
Doohicky is a must fix.The rest is just normal maintenance/replacement as bits wear out.
Rycor shocks and Intiminators will turn your suspension from OK to great.
All the farkels are available,from 30+ litre tanks to big bore kits.

I like the DRs,Love the KLRs
Your choice but I would take the KLR(with Dunlop 606s)anywhere.
Cheers, Macca
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  #7  
Old 18 Apr 2014
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I was in the exact same situation you are. I was not sure to start a South America trip with my 1995 KLR with 45 000 kms. After collecting alot of info, I went for it.

The KLR is extremely simple and does always work. There is not much that can go wrong.
I have the C-Model, like you have. ( we are from Switzerland as well ).
There are altough some downsides:

- Oil consumption! My bike used around 1 liter on 2000-3000 km at the beginning. Now I am around 1 L on 1000 km. Very annoying !

- The famous Doo-Hickey. It is simple to replace.... and you can forget about it!

- Specially for the C.... no wind protection ! Not that bad, but in Patagonia it was really annoying... so I built a simple home-made-thing .

- Tank range... I have the Acerbis 25 liter tank. Sadly It is almost impossible to find.

...the rest just works .

Some Tipps:
-Take a clutch cable
-brake pads were easy to find in argentina
- the Hepco and Becker racks are super !
- dont worry about the frame bolts.... this flaw exists only in the US Models.
- If youre Bike uses alot of OIL, go with the DR or buy a Wössner Piston ( around 160 euros, it will stop OIL consumption)

It is a awesome bike..... and I would take it again. I should have done the Wössner Piston work though

Here is our blog with alot of pics: locos en motos !! Mit XF650 & KLR650 in Südamerika.
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  #8  
Old 20 Apr 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoon View Post
- If youre Bike uses alot of OIL, go with the DR or buy a Wössner Piston ( around 160 euros, it will stop OIL consumption)

Here is our blog with alot of pics: locos en motos !! Mit XF650 & KLR650 in Südamerika.


THANKS
my bikes oil consumption is 100% spot on at the moment so things are looking good for me taking it to S America.
Thanks so much for the info ... love the blog
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  #9  
Old 22 Apr 2014
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.... nice ! I have 2 KLRs and both drink the Oil away !
Do you have a Idea what to do about the tank range ? In Patagonia 350-450 is a must. Some times even then you wil have to carry a 5 liter canister.
From what I have read from the klr650.de forum, you can install the IMS fuel tank on the C-Model. Only the front seat-clamp wont fit with the tank. So you will have to built something... and of course, the custom taxes and shipping are expensive.

... ahh, yeahh, dont buy the SW-Motech mainstand! Piece of shit !


... Saludos from La Paz.
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  #10  
Old 22 Apr 2014
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tank

I definitely will put on a bigger tank.
I put a safari 28l on my DRZ when I went to Siberia, and am now investigating similar for the KLR ... still undecided but looking at options
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  #11  
Old 9 Apr 2015
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by muppet8mycat View Post
THANKS
my bikes oil consumption is 100% spot on at the moment so things are looking good for me taking it to S America.
Thanks so much for the info ... love the blog
so your bike drinks that much oil?
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