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Old 10-05-2012, 03:26 PM   #67
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Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Spacecoaster FL
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Originally Posted by Johnny Tarr View Post
Ok, so the options appear to be:

1. Get a KLR and dirtify it, or
2. Get a DR and streetify it.
Nah. I'd get a DR or a DR-Z and dirtify it a little. You already have a streetbike. Get dirty. Put on a skid, handguards, and sidecase armor. Put on some decent turn signals and mirrors that won't bust off in the first fall. (My stock signals lasted until this past weekend before getting busted, BTW.) Spring it for your weight and find tires that work for YOUR usage...I use a front Shinko 244 and a custom-grooved rear Kenda K761 for all-around use. For serious dirt, I swap on a front knobby. Some people also gear their DR down to 14/42 from the stock 15/42. Most of these mods have no real downside on the pavement, other than maybe the dirt-biased tires and gearing. You can always swap tires/rims/sprockets, but some people don't need to. Many people run long-wearing knobbies/semi-knobbies everywhere, and the DR's gearspread is wide enough to be pretty versatile. I run 16/46, and it seems ok for slab AND trails around here. YMMV.

How much would each of the above cost me? I'm probably going to replace the seat either way, so you can leave that cost off of the suzuki, which as I understand is a mandatory upgrade for it.
I was OK on the stock DR seat...1up. I put on a Seat Concepts seat though ($160), and it's better, especially for 2up.

I know neither bike is any good for two-up, but if I HAD to, which would be better?
Stock, the KLR. It's more spacious. The DR can be made more spacious though, and I prefer it's gearspread, power delivery, smoothness, simplicity, and lack of oil-burning at high RPMs when on a varied-terrain long-haul. If you're going to leave the ergos fairly stock, the DR can be a bit tight for 2up. I'm 5'8"/200lb/30"inseam, and my passenger is 5'4"/petite/30"inseam. There isn't much room for us to move around on my stock-length DR seat.

I noticed that the KLR seems more suited to carrying a bunch of luggage. Is it far enough ahead in this catagory to be worth factoring this into my choice?
Not really. The DR subframe is pretty stout, for carrying panniers and a topbox/bag. The bike will also handle a front fenderpack, tank panniers, above-headlight rack, handlebar bag, tooltubes, and a tankbag well enough.

Though I come from an atv trail riding background, I'm a complete newbie at dirt riding two wheelers. The suzuki is significantly lighter, but several people in this thread and others say they ride their KLRs in single tracks. As a newbie, will I be able to?
That depends on you and your terrain. I started off last September, gradually, on easy terrain. I'm working up to harder and harder stuff. Powdery sugarsand is nothing for me now, when I put on a decent front knobby. Uneven ground and short legs makes it tough to hold up the unlowered DR if it gets leaned too far on slippery ground. I had issues riding on damp clay and loose rocks in hilly terrain with street-biased tires this past weekend, but I have no trouble picking it up repeatedly, so things worked out OK. I should have swapped on at least a front knobby though. The front end on something this heavy typically likes to plow in turns unless it has better lateral traction than the rear.

Some people can't handle a bike this size/weight on anything more technical than a gravel road. Some people can ride an R1200GS through mud and sand. Again, YMMV.

The DR, by way of having a lot less plastic, looks to be less sensitive to being dropped. I am expecting to drop my bike on the trails. Can the KLR survive drops, and if not, how hard would it be to add that protection?
Once armored, either bike will take a LOT of punishment, compared to a streetbike. The KLR would want for a bit more, and sturdy armor typically adds weight.

I've never owned anything oil cooled like the DR. Is that an advantage or disadvantage? Can anyone elaborate on this for me please?
I can't think of ANY downside to the air/oil-cooling on the DR. It just plain works. It works GOOD. The oil-cooler can even be bypassed if something busts, to run the DR as just an air-cooled bike. It's not known for overheating unless something else is seriously wrong, in which case, you wouldn't want to run an air-cooled or water-cooled bike either.

Kommando screwed with this post 10-06-2012 at 12:21 PM
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