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Old 10-05-2012, 11:32 AM   #61
bomber1965
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Tarr View Post

I just keep mentioning dealers because its the easiest way for me to get up close with the bikes.

Then you need to get out more....


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Old 10-05-2012, 12:19 PM   #62
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Now that I know your budget I would get a DRZ400S and adv farkle the crap out of it. If you put a scott dampner, small wind screen, racks, luggage, etc on there than you would have the best of both worlds. I wouldn't want to take a KLR on some of the trails I go on. Like others have posted if your doing a ton of road riding you already have the Ninja for that. Don't get so concerned with the slab that you choose a turd for the dirt.
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:39 PM   #63
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Sig line material right there
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Originally Posted by itrack View Post
Don't get so concerned with the slab that you choose a turd for the dirt.
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Old 10-05-2012, 01:58 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by Johnny Tarr View Post
Hey guys. This is my first post here after lurker for most of the year. Yaay. Ok, anyway. I've been thinking about getting a dual sport for awhile now, and over the past few days have been doing some heavy research into what I want. After a lot of debate, and a lot of reading the back and fourth here, I decided I wanted a KLR.

Yes, I know it has downsides. But It fit everything I wanted it to do.

Easy maintenance.
Very comfy on the road.
Can take it on trails (even if its more hassle than a dirtier bike)

Well, I went on down to my local Honda/Kawasaki dealership and found their KLR650 display. Wow. First impression, this thing is HUGE. I ride a ninja 650r, and I was expecting something like that but a bit taller. Not by a long shot. This bike is massive, and tall. I threw my leg over and was quite shocked when I realized that my toes were barely on the ground. I'm 6'2, and had to stretch to hold myself and the bike up comfortably. I have no idea how anyone shorter than me could hope to ride it.

Second impression: This thing is heavy. It didnt really feel top heavy like many here describe it, just tall + heavy. So heavy that combined with the height, I wasnt sure if I'd be able to pick it up if I dropped it.

So after deciding the bike was plain out too large for what I wanted, I asked the rep to show me the next bike down that they had, and he showed me the KLX250 (Though he claimed it was 230.) This bike LOOKED closer to what I was looking for. But I'm a big guy. 6'2, 240lbs. When I sat on it, it was small. And light. I loved the weight, but im not sure if I like the size. If I was -2 inches and -50 pounds, I'd probably be looking for one online right now.

So, I just don't know what to do. The KLR650 is too big, the KLX250 is to small. The BMW DAKAR and anything by KTM are out of my pricerange, so please dont suggest them. The Honda crf230 was also too small, and the honda 650 was too ugly for me to consider.

The Tiger and Vstrom are as large and heavy as the KLR, right? I'm going to try to find a suzuki dealer so I can scope out the DRZ400. If that doesnt pan out, ill just have to choose between too heavy but comfy, or light, but not comfy.

The KLR didn't feel topheavy because it didn't have any fuel in it.
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Old 10-05-2012, 02:21 PM   #65
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At 6'2" how are you having troubles with the height of the KLR? I'm 6' with a 34" inseam and am able to rest comfortable on the balls of my feet, darn near flat-footed.

If your requirements didn't involve so much highway or two-up I would recommend the DRZ400S. At right around 300lbs it isn't much of a challenge to throw around on a trail and won't throw out you back when you have to pick it up. The downside is that it is taller than the KLR by at least an inch.

I've ridden a DR650 on and off road, and while it is better than the KLR on the trails it is no better than the DRZ400S on the highway, and the DRZ will easily outperform either the DR or the KLR when the pavement runs out.

If I had to choose all over again I would still go with the KLR650 modified to be better for dirt riding. Any shock/fork work you would do to a KLR would still need to be done to a DR650.
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Old 10-05-2012, 02:47 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nukemm View Post

1) I've ridden a DR650 on and off road, and while it is better than the KLR on the trails 2) it is no better than the DRZ400S on the highway, and 3) the DRZ will easily outperform either the DR or the KLR when the pavement runs out.
.
I think 98% of riders would agree with your first assertion, very few with your 2nd, and everyone would agree with the 3rd.

I bet you are in the very small minority who thinks the DR-Z400 is as highway capable as the DR650.

That said, it is a nuanced distinction. Leaning a little more dirt, def. prefer the DR-Z, a little more street, the DR. Both are cheap, reliable, and good tools for their niche.

I think the DR650 is one of the best, all-rounders out there; if I could have only 1, it would make the short list along with the KTM690R. Fortunately, I have a street bike, so I downsized the DR650 to a WR250R.

I wonder if the OP should consider the WRR too. Smaller than the others being discussed, but surprising, for 250cc
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Old 10-05-2012, 03:26 PM   #67
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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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.


Quote:
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.

Quote:
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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Old 10-05-2012, 03:56 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by jon_l View Post
I think 98% of riders would agree with your first assertion, very few with your 2nd, and everyone would agree with the 3rd.

I bet you are in the very small minority who thinks the DR-Z400 is as highway capable as the DR650.

That said, it is a nuanced distinction. Leaning a little more dirt, def. prefer the DR-Z, a little more street, the DR. Both are cheap, reliable, and good tools for their niche.

I think the DR650 is one of the best, all-rounders out there; if I could have only 1, it would make the short list along with the KTM690R. Fortunately, I have a street bike, so I downsized the DR650 to a WR250R.

I wonder if the OP should consider the WRR too. Smaller than the others being discussed, but surprising, for 250cc

Perhaps I should clarify my second point. The gearing on the 650 is a bit better for highway, but the seat is still seemingly made of plywood. I wouldn't want to sit on the DR650 or DRZ400S for more than an hour going down the road, but even with the stock seat I can manage 2+ hours without too much discomfort on my KLR.

Maybe a Gen1 KLR would be the best compromise? Still better road manners than a DR650, not as much plastic to break, more robust than the Gen2 KLR in the off road category, lighter weight, and still KLR simple.
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:23 PM   #69
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Installed the Sargent Low on the KLR....

.......and if I slide to the front I can damn near flat foot.....again, at 5'8" and 30" inseam. I just don't see the problem here.....but again, I haven't yet taken it off road.
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:40 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by nukemm View Post
Perhaps I should clarify my second point. The gearing on the 650 is a bit better for highway, but the seat is still seemingly made of plywood. I wouldn't want to sit on the DR650 or DRZ400S for more than an hour going down the road, but even with the stock seat I can manage 2+ hours without too much discomfort on my KLR.

Maybe a Gen1 KLR would be the best compromise?
'Definitely better than a new one for getting thrown around off-pavement.

Quote:
Still better road manners than a DR650,
Please explain. I read this a lot on this site, but also see many KLR complaints of buzziness/vibes, needing to keep the revs below 5K to conserve oil, needing to keep the speed down because they're over-revving/working at 70MPH+, getting blown around by large vehicles, buffeting with the stock screen, etc. These complaints don't seem to be nearly as common among DR riders.

Quote:
not as much plastic to break, more robust than the Gen2 KLR in the off road category, lighter weight, and still KLR simple.
A good seat for the Zooks can be had for $160 or less though, and some people are fine on the stockers. I did many days over 200 miles on it, with a few over 1000 miles. Aftermarket options add even more comfort. YMMV.

There are wide-ratio gearsets available for the DR-Z now as well. I've really enjoyed my DR650, as well as a few other peoples' DR650s , but if I can have a dirtier DR-Z with the same or better gearspread for dual duty, I'm likely adding one to the garage sooner or later.

With a durable and lightweight 220-mile+ tank, and a comfy aftermarket seat (maybe a windscreen for some people too), long-distance travel capability is no longer an issue on a DR or a wide-ratio DR-Z. DIRT capability still is though, and there's already a streetbike in the stable, hence my lean towards the dirtier Zooks.
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:42 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by TOzman View Post
.......and if I slide to the front I can damn near flat foot.....again, at 5'8" and 30" inseam. I just don't see the problem here.....but again, I haven't yet taken it off road.


How can you resist the urge? The dirt is calling to you.
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:03 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kommando View Post
...
Please explain. I read this a lot on this site, but also see many KLR complaints of buzziness/vibes, needing to keep the revs below 5K to conserve oil, needing to keep the speed down because they're over-revving/working at 70MPH+, getting blown around by large vehicles, buffeting with the stock screen, etc. These complaints don't seem to be nearly as common among DR riders...
My experience with a 2004 DR650 compared to my 2009 KLR650 was that the DR transmitted more vibrations to the rider and I felt I got blown around more (no real wind protection). That said, a STOCK KLR650 is not that much better - I do have to admit that my response is based on my KLR (2009 with Happy-Trails rally windscreen, KTM SM fender mod, H-T fork brace) so perhaps it is skewed. My comparisons to a DRZ400S are less skewed, however as my DRZ compared equally to the DR in all areas except vibration, and for that the DR would win, but personally I would take back roads instead of the interstate to get to the dirt for the added fun of the smaller bike.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kommando View Post
There are wide-ratio gearsets available for the DR-Z now as well. I've really enjoyed my DR650, as well as a few other peoples' DR650s , but if I can have a dirtier DR-Z with the same or better gearspread for dual duty, I'm likely adding one to the garage sooner or later.

With a durable and lightweight 220-mile+ tank, and a comfy aftermarket seat (maybe a windscreen for some people too), long-distance travel capability is no longer an issue on a DR or a wide-ratio DR-Z. DIRT capability still is though, and there's already a streetbike in the stable, hence my lean towards the dirtier Zooks.
That is exactly why I have both. I bought the KLR thinking it would do everything just fine, but found that when the going gets rough I still prefer the DRZ. I use the KLR for commuting and for anything more than ~3 hours one way just because the DRZ is downright abusive for long distances, but if I'm within ~120 miles of the fun I will choose the DRZ every time.



For the OP I still feel that the decision is between the DR650 or a Gen1 KLR650. Both are good bikes with enough aftermarket support to make them whatever you want them to be.
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:23 PM   #73
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Get a smaller dirt oriented ds bike.

If your goal is to travel a day, then ride trails for a couple of days...well, I'd rather have fun off-road and suffer a little to get there. Any 250/350 will travel highway speed for a day (it might be screaming, but it'll do it), then when it comes time to turn onto a trail...you have a manageable sized bike to throw around.
There are used bikes showing up all the time. Patience will pay off.
I ride a KLX250, bought it to commute, but ride the snot out of it in the dirt. No matter how good a rider I become in the dirt, I will never try and muscle a KLR on a trail, it'll never be as fun as a little bike. Maybe the KLX650 but not a KLR.
Almost bought a DR350 a couple of times. Good bikes.
Fun on the trails is where you should be focusing your bike search.
As someone else said - a 125 will get you there. CC's in the dirt are not as important to the fun factor as on the road. And bigger is definitely not better as a beginner in the dirt. I ride a 900 racebike on the street if I feel the need to go fast. My 250 goes plenty fast in the dirt. And is way too heavy after a long trail day with multiple dirt naps.
My KLX650 will be interesting to try in the dirt(if I get it running before the snow).
If it can have a kick start, you have a million used options.
Cruise all the bike specific threads, look at the flea market.
All of this is flavored with the belief that a KLR is not a DS bike, nor is any BMW. Round the world, while carrying the kitchen sink, you bet. Can you ride them like a DS, you bet. Singletrack, sure. Fun in the woods, not as much.
And I know nothing about the DRZ, but that seems the best bet from your list.
Weight on the trails is only a penalty when you drop it, not if, when. If I had to, I could haul my bike out of almost any situation I might get it into. A KLR, not w/o a winch. I look forward to being confident enough to take the 650 instead of the 250 onto singletrack, but will I? Only if I start hitting the weights.
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:24 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by mikesova View Post
I may be in the minority, but I don't mind my dual sport not having the same amount of power as my street bike. I am pretty happy with the KLX250s and I'm over 200lbs.

I agree completely there I'm a bigger guy tho, so the 250 just isn't enough for me as a dual-sport. But I don't see the need to have a street bike with aggressive tires and call it a dual sport. I bought my ds to ride in the dirt, and it has more power than I can use for that purpose. If I need to go fast on pavement I'll jump on my 270rwhp turbo zx14, or my busa, or even the drag gixxer 1100
Each machine has its purpose......for me, when I'm in the dirt I want a dirt bike, when I'm strictly street I want a street bike. My ds does an awesome job of comfortably getting me to the dirt, then acts like a real dirt bike when I get there
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:34 PM   #75
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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.

So, here are some more questions for you guys.

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 know neither bike is any good for two-up, but if I HAD to, which would be better?

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?

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?

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?

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'd love to, but the local dealer doesn't allow test rides on anything but cruisers.

Edit: I am buying used, for those who have commented on that. I just keep mentioning dealers because its the easiest way for me to get up close with the bikes.

Trust your instincts. The KLR is exactly as you found it, huge and heavy. Be aware of anybody claiming the KLR is as good as a DR or DRZ off road . Its not. I owned and '08 KLR and traded up to a DR650.

As a noob off road rider the DR650 and DRZ400 will be much more forgiving and 3 times as crash worthy. The DR and DRZ are also easier to work on than the 08+ KLR.

Look at it this way. If you are looking at Hiway and gravel roads the KLR is fine.

If you are planning on any offroad trails at all go DR650 or smaller. Maybe just look for a good used 250 dual purpose or DRZ400 and flog it for a year. You will know right away if you are an offroad guy or not.
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