anybody buy a DR650 who wished they bought a KLR?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by JeffD, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    At this point you need to get out and ride both of these bikes. For your use
    (80% road use) the KLR would be a fine choice. My KLR nut buddy let me ride his '09 ... I liked it. So much better than the original KLR. Yet even those old Chestnuts can be good.

    I rode with the site owner of that KLR.net forum. We swapped bikes. His older KLR was set up really well. We did the Colorado passes.
    A lot of KLR guys think the DR650 is not smooth on the highway. This is really not true. Actually, the DR650 is smoother than the KLR at 75 or 80 mph. Yep, surprised me too!
    Like I say, ride them both and realize BOTH have a TON of potential. Think of them as "blank canvas" kind of thing. So much you can do to make them better.

    I could easily get on a KLR and ride it to Tierra del Fuego. But I know the DR650 better, its easier to work on and maintain and a bit simpler than the KLR. But that's just me.
  2. 996DL

    996DL Buell me

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    "a bit simpler..." :lol3

    I buy bikes primarily based on the motor's design and the 1996+ DR650's are simply a jewel of a motor. An EXTREMELY effective single gear driven balance shaft, yields the smoothest motor in it's segment, coupled with a sophisticated SACS air / oil cooled format and the icing on the cake, is it's sohc topend with owner friendly locknut and screw valve adjustments, that hold their tolerances for very long intervals.

    If I'm saddled with dohc / shim valve adjustments in a water cooled format, it had better yield 50 rwhp and not be stuck with dual chain driven balance shafts and spring loaded tensioners, routine oil useage viewed as normal at highway speeds and aftermarket big bore kits deemed a rather acceptable add on improvement.

    If showroom appeal / pricing and the brochures listed features, are all that's important to a customer, then KHI rings up another sale. But that doesn't make it a comparable, nor especially a superior product, to my eyes.

    644DR :wink:
  3. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    You and I know all this stuff ... but Jar head Noobs don't believe any of it! :D I just wanted this guy to get out there and try out some bikes.

    Some of us are older and have been riding Dual Sports for decades ... I've come full circle ... after owning just about every dual sport out there, including KTM's, I've come back full circle to the DR650 ... which, as you say ... Is a true Jewel of a motor. The engineers out there will get this, few others will.

    To check KLR valves you have to loosen and partly remove radiators, hoses and such to get to valve cover. Not real accessible. Once cover is off you can check clearances. If they need re-shimming, cams must come out.

    Takes about 5 times longer than a DR650 valve check/adjust. The good news is BOTH bikes tend to held their adjustment well.
  4. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    no.
    had a KLR and a DR was a better choice for me.
    have friends with KLR and it works for them.
  5. MartiniUp

    MartiniUp Long timer

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    Very good info, thank you.
  6. Stobie

    Stobie Mr. Motivated

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    Several folks have mentioned that the KLR is a better fit for tall people than the DR. What is the ergonomic difference that makes this the case? Bars can be raised, and seats can be built up; but the pegs being too far forward for comfortable standing is kind of a deal-breaker.
  7. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    That is a good question ... not positive of the answers. I believe the KLR may have a longer "seat to peg" distance than the DR? I believe the reach to the bars on the KLR is greater than DR650 as well? The KLR seat is WIDER and LONGER.

    BOTH bikes, IMO, have rider pegs too far forward if you compare to a real dirt bike. And you are right ... It's not ideal off road. I've gotten used to it on my DR650 and have learned to ride it standing pretty well. It's not a huge deal for me. I ride a WR250F off road ... and getting on the DR takes about 20 minutes to re-adjust to.

    To me, the KLR just "feels" too big. Riding it standing, off road, it feels HUGE to me, Huge tank between your legs, Big dash and shield impeding your forward view. That Bigness affects confidence, IMO. Distinct disadvantage for me.

    I'm not sure why, but BIG guys feel more comfortable on the KLR. Maybe it's the Wider seat? Or longer bike? The KLR is more stretched out, it's wider overall.

    A very tall friend rides a KLR. He is 6'7". He had a "Tall" seat custom made, raised him up about 2 inches. He does OK. He also added bar risers to suit.

    You can do all these mods on either bike. One thing many taller DR riders do is to buy a footpeg lowering kit. Lowers pegs by ... maybe an inch or inch and a half? (not sure) Guys love that! :clap

    I'm only 5' 7" and the DR fits me perfect. Off road I hate shields (from Hare Scrambles/Enduro racing) so not required for me, even on long highway days in cold weather.
  8. ststrider

    ststrider some guy on a bike

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    lets face it they are both cheap bikes that need a ton of upgrades to work well. pick your team and scream at the top of your lungs that yours is best. or just go for a ride and enjoy what ever you ride cause that is what it is all about. now lets argue about oil.
  9. 996DL

    996DL Buell me

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    Congratulations on a low thread count, keep up the good work. :thumb

    996DL
  10. Tsotsie

    Tsotsie Semi-reformed Tsotsi

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    Partly remove radiator, hoses and such to get to the valve cover? You must be one of the 'jar head noobs' of whom you speak or are confusing it with another bike.

    I adjusted my KLR's valves at 2k. Now at 50K they are still well within tolerance. Cams do not need to come out.

    Both bikes and their motors have their failures, maintenance and wear issues - normal for all bike types. Both bikes can be modified to suit the type of riding you want to do, both off or on road. Both are old and proven designs. As to which is better? We all have opinions as well as other...

    Stsrider...+1, but leave the oil out...
  11. Thunderjet

    Thunderjet Adventurer

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    The DR I will pick up this coming Saturday will be my first. Previously owned a couple of dual sports one being a Kawasaki Big Horn 350 and the other a KLR, vintage around 2005 or so.
    Living in Alaska at the time I thought the KLR was a great choice, local dealers sell out of them every model year. But the longer I owned the KLR the less I enjoyed it. It seemed to run out of steam at about 65 mph and I grew to dislike the radiator. Never experienced any over heating issues but it just nagged at me that the radiator would be pretty easy to damage off road. The weird thing was we never took it off road so go figure.

    If you can only afford one bike the KLR is a great buy if most of your riding is on the street. If your fortunate enough to be able to afford more than one a DR makes sense if you will honestly take it off road. But both bikes are a clean slate and need anywhere from $500 on up in aftermarket parts to set them up properly. At the current time you can buy a new DR for no more than $6K, less if you are lucky. That's a pretty good buy in 2013.
  12. cdnabn49

    cdnabn49 Been here awhile

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    I started of with an 02 KLR which I found to be spongy and wallowy as well as being soft - but can can it pound the miles easy peasy, they are a great bike and the new ones have really progressed - good job Kawi❗️My buddy had a 2000 DR650SE and to my dismay it's the bike I should have bought... a couple of years later I bought a 2001 BMW F650GS - loved the fuel injection and all the goodies that went with it - for commuting it rocked - on narrow trails it was a bit soft and wallowed - I did end up ripping a side case off in a narrow spot and hurting my leg at the same time. Any how I ended up selling the BMW and took a two year break before getting back into riding - I was lucky enough to have. buddy who had a spare 06 DR650SE - it needed a little TLC; I love it, it's nimble and fun with enough power to commute and tears up the gravel albeit a brush pig - it does what I want and need it to do - thumps all day and can play. :evil
  13. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Hate to tell ya but 1100, 1150 & 1200 BMW boxer motors are very modern and also air/oil cooled just like the DR.