KLR650 as an adventure tourer?
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  1. #1
    Senior Member DonBenito's Avatar
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    So 4 months after I buy my first bike, a 2011 TW200, my wife decides that she's jealous of all of the fun I've been having and goes and gets her very own motorcycle license! She took the MSF course because she's no dummy, and she even had the privilege of popping her moto cherry on a TW200 owned by the school. Seeing as how she dumped it on the quick stop, I'm really glad she didn't decide to try and teach herself on my TW!



    So, needless to say, she's been eyeing my TW for her own use and that has us in the market for a new bike. I would just shop around for another TW if all I wanted to do was cruise the trails and side streets with my old lady, but I've got pals and destinations in neighboring states that require a little bit more displacement. I love my TW for it's ease of operation, capability, and high fuel economy, but there are some things that it just doesn't do well.



    I want to be able to cruise out to the California 1 if I feel like it, or take a few days to go see friends and the Rockies up in Colorado. I'd also like to be able to handle the FS roads, surface streets, and desert byways that my wife wants to ride together on the same bike. Seeing as how a BMW is a little out of my price range, it seems that a KLR650 might be my best choice. It's no FJR1300 or Goldwing for highway touring, but from what I understand it has enough of a fairing and enough displacement to fill the role adequately without being a complete brick on dirt roads.



    The fact is that I've never done any hardcore trail riding with my TW, and if I decide that I really want to then I can still use the one I'm not getting rid of for that, but I want a little more versatility in terms of highway performance that you just can't get out of 196ccs!



    So, does anybody have any thoughts on the KLR650 as an Adventure Tourer? With Happy Trails Nerf bars and luggage racks with Givi hard bags I think it might do the trick for both sides of my riding persona.



    The truth is that with my 32" inseam, the seat height is a little bit high for me compared to the TW, but I know shorter riders have mastered the KLR with or without the Corbin low saddle. I would plan on adding that saddle to help me out, and I'm in pretty good shape so supporting the bike's leaning weight on one leg shouldn't be a problem. I naturally lean and support the TW that way even though I could touch down on both sides, and in relative terms the KLR isn't really all that much heavier. And honestly, the fact that the bike is somewhat challenging actually appeals to me.



    So my question boils down to this: Do I purchase a KLR650 as another dual-sport bike with aspirations and occasional use as an adventure tourer and part-time dirt duty or just pick up a used TW to ride with my old lady and save up for a real sport-tourer? As I said we won't be doing a bunch of actual singletrack together so the KLR's comparative weakness off-road shouldn't be a real stumbling block, but at the same time I feel like I have a philosophical opposition to purchasing a vehicle that relies on pavement, so there are some misgivings about a dedicated sport-tourer.



    I'm not fully sold on either option, so, any thoughts?
    2011 TW200 - Sold - after 9700 miles and 1,000,000 smiles. So long Tee Dub!
    2012 KLR650
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    2013 Tiger Explorer XC
    2014 CB500X - RRP L3

  2. #2
    Senior Member retmotor's Avatar
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    I've been thinking about a highway bike that will do well on dirt too. I have no personal experience with them, but I have been doing a little reading and I'm in a sharing mood



    https://tw200forum.com/index.php?/top...-saying-hello/



    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=539010



    https://tw200forum.com/index.php?/top...ngneed-advice/

    post #2 "I bought it [KLR] and then I lowered my TW200 for my wife to ride. But I found that I didn't enjoy riding it at the slower pace that she likes on the TW. So I bought another TW200 for me, and I think that's great. Much more comfortable riding with similar gearing and power."



    https://tw200forum.com/index.php?/top...-450-more-ccs/

    post 15 is a must read
    The value of the internet is that when you're wrong someone will immediately correct you, and when you're right, someone will immediately correct you". Lizrdbrth

  3. #3
    Senior Member small's's Avatar
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    Great bike. I have a retired buddy who has ridden his all over the world. He raised the fork tubes and put a lowered corbin seat on it and i can touch very easy on it. Im 5'6" so definitely not tall. It is a pig for a dirt bike. I'd get another tw. So you can ride together at about the same place. But its all up to you

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  5. #4
    Member old betsy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonBenito View Post
    I'm not fully sold on either option, so, any thoughts?
    Have you looked at the DR650. Alot of guys in Australia are going for this option. Alot of adventurer options to add to the bike in the market place. With a bullet proof engine. It can be lowered if you need too.

    I myself have a F800GS.



    Old Betsy
    1997 TW200 The Happy Bike

    2012 ZX14R 190HP +

    2009 F800GSThe Best Adventure bike

  6. #5
    Senior Member Xracer's Avatar
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    I've got an 08 KLR so maybe I can answer some of your questions. First off the KLR can be modded to whatever you like.It's also easy to work on and there are several parts sources on-line. If your going to be spending alot of time on the highway then a seat upgrade or at least a pad is a must. Also a 16 tooth countershaft sprocket will lower the revs to make travel easier on the bike and you with out hurting off-road performance. Upgrading the doo-hickey and sub-frame bolts is also a good idea and takes care of a source of failure. There's lots more info. on KLR.net.

  7. #6
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    Not that this will help in regards to the inseam issue, here is a thread on ADVrider, which a couple has traveled all over the U.S. and Canada on DRZ400's. Point is I think the KLR650 would be fine, but it would be worthy to check out some other brand/size options for something that would stay within your price range. I'd love a BMW or KTM too, but no can affordo.



    No matter what you end up with, here is the thread from ADVrider for the "Mobius" husband and wife riding adventure. http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...ghlight=mobius For the past several years, this couple does a ride in May and August of each year. I've been following it for a couple years, and though it would take you a long time to catch up reading wise, it's one of the best adventure threads and could give you some good idea's.





    Good luck on your search, and I hope you and your wife have a lot of fun riding adventures.
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  8. #7
    Senior Member DonBenito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by old betsy View Post
    Have you looked at the DR650. Alot of guys in Australia are going for this option. Alot of adventurer options to add to the bike in the market place. With a bullet proof engine. It can be lowered if you need too.

    I myself have a F800GS.



    Old Betsy




    I have looked at the DR650, but I've also looked at my thermometer! The local temp tops 105 Fahrenheit almost daily for at least 2-3 months out of the year. My TW absolutely hates it. It doesn't run as well and I'm constantly worried about high-heat engine damage. As much as I ride I'm changing the oil almost monthly to keep up with the mileage in the heat. My TW has quickly become my primary means of transportation, which means lots of time at stoplights and in stop-and-go traffic a few inches above pavement far hotter than the triple-digit ambient temps.



    As soon as the TW is out of warranty I'll add an oil cooler, but honestly an oil cooler (whether on a TW or a DR) just doesn't do the same job as a radiator on a water-cooled engine.



    Beyond that is the factor of buffeting at highway speed. The addition of a Jimbo Shield made a huge difference on the TW, so I can only imagine that the semi-fairing of a 2012 or '13 KLR will be infinitely more comfortable than the dirtbike plastics of a similarly priced DR.



    I can cruise at 75 on my TW, but that's hardly what I'd call recreation. If I was in the market for another dirtbike that's serviceable on the street I'd buy another TW in a minute (and I still might!) but right now I'm really more interested in a streetbike that's serviceable in the dirt.



    I'm only a winning lottery ticket or about 40 paychecks away from a BMW GS myself though! The F800GS is about the same price as 3 KLRs here in Pima County, AZ, USA.
    2011 TW200 - Sold - after 9700 miles and 1,000,000 smiles. So long Tee Dub!
    2012 KLR650
    - Sold
    2013 Tiger Explorer XC
    2014 CB500X - RRP L3

  9. #8
    Senior Member turborob's Avatar
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    I've got a KLR, it's a good bike, not great at anything except being good at everything.



    Mine's got about 50000 miles and running well.




  10. #9
    Senior Member lizrdbrth's Avatar
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    I've no experience with the late-model facelifted versions, but I've racked up a zillion pre-'08 KLR miles since '85 or so.



    Slap some bags on it and it's a touring bike. My experience has been a bit different than Xracer's with regard to the 16T sprocket. I found it affected both highway fuel mileage as well as off road ability, but it does make the sensations (Which aren't at all unpleasant) a bit more pleasant at 80mph, which it will do all day long. 200+ miles to reserve no matter how fast you go and another 75-100 to go on reserve in case your enthusiasm gets the best of you.



    It is what it is and ain't what it ain't. But for what it will do vs. what it won't it's 3 times the bargain of most folks' "dream bikes". Some of the higher-priced options often leave all but the most fashion-conscious owners with a major case of buyer's remorse.



    Nothing wrong with the DR but by time you weigh it down with all the KLR's on-road advantages or try to lighten a KLR to match a DR offroad you're really just splitting hairs. If you want to do both without spending buckets of munny go with the KLR.



    One word of concern, though. The late model KLR's fairings are of the breakable sportbike variety whereas the earlier versions had plastics and fairings of the beadable, crashable dirtbike variety. I dropped mine plenty and often, but the newer ones may not fare as well in that regard.



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  11. #10
    Senior Member DonBenito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizrdbrth View Post
    I've no experience with the late-model facelifted versions, but I've racked up a zillion pre-'08 KLR miles since '85 or so.



    Slap some bags on it and it's a touring bike. My experience has been a bit different than Xracer's with regard to the 16T sprocket. I found it affected both highway fuel mileage as well as off road ability, but it does make the sensations (Which aren't at all unpleasant) a bit more pleasant at 80mph, which it will do all day long. 200+ miles to reserve no matter how fast you go and another 75-100 to go on reserve in case your enthusiasm gets the best of you.



    It is what it is and ain't what it ain't. But for what it will do vs. what it won't it's 3 times the bargain of most folks' "dream bikes". Some of the higher-priced options often leave all but the most fashion-conscious owners with a major case of buyer's remorse.



    Nothing wrong with the DR but by time you weigh it down with all the KLR's on-road advantages or try to lighten a KLR to match a DR offroad you're really just splitting hairs. If you want to do both without spending buckets of munny go with the KLR.



    One word of concern, though. The late model KLR's fairings are of the breakable sportbike variety whereas the earlier versions had plastics and fairings of the beadable, crashable dirtbike variety. I dropped mine plenty and often, but the newer ones may not fare as well in that regard.


    Yeah, I've read a lot about the new plastics. From what I can tell they're not as good as the old ones for when you drop the bike off-road, but I have read a few testimonials from riders who HAVE dropped them in the dirt without suffering any cracking or breaking. Heavy-duty Nerf bars, highway pegs, and rear luggage racks would be farkles job 1 to offer a little more protection for this very reason. On the flip side, the new plastics do appear to offer somewhat better wind protection. A taller windscreen would be farkle 2.



    I ride my TW 95% on pavement, so in truth the KLR would mostly be a street queen with a few FS roads thrown in.
    2011 TW200 - Sold - after 9700 miles and 1,000,000 smiles. So long Tee Dub!
    2012 KLR650
    - Sold
    2013 Tiger Explorer XC
    2014 CB500X - RRP L3

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