Best 650 for 2-up ADV riding?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by n16ht5, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. n16ht5

    n16ht5 ride the night

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    Looking for a 2-up ADV bike for my in-laws under ~$5,000.. Hard to choose between....

    BMW F650GS
    Suzuki DL650 Vstrom
    Kawasaki KLR650
    .. DR650?


    They are not into the dirt riding as much as I am so they want a bigger bike that is really comfortable but will not be too hard to manhandle on two-track. This would be an easy choice if we could get the XT660 Tenere here in the USA :cry

    It seems like the DL650 is the biggest bike out of the three.. I have sat on one but not rode it. It felt huge... but super comfortable.

    I am leaning toward the F650GS, if we can find a good deal.. although the KLR would be cheaper to keep maintained over the years? I keep hearing reports of them burning oil on the newer 08-up models.. :huh

    The DR650 is nice but I don't think my mother in law would put up with the backseat for an Alaska trip like my wife did :lol3



    if the F800GS BMWs were cheaper that would be an easy choice, but dropping 10k+ for a toy is not something we are into.


    No big +1,000cc bikes.. they are not ADV bikes IMO.
    #1
  2. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fartografist

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    Here is a KLR owner telling you a 650 Wee is a better or best choice of those you are considering.
    #2
  3. SkiBumBrian

    SkiBumBrian DualSport Crazy !!

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    Its only a series of serial #s of the 08 KLRs that are oil burners, they fixed it late in 08 but to 2 up and gear on a KLR you have to beef the suspension and subframe. You would find the Wee alot more comfortable touring but more of a handful on the fire roads, double track, etc. It really depends on how deep your pockets are and the ratio of touring/dirt you are going to do.
    #3
  4. OKlr

    OKlr 25mph gate inpector

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    2up riding i would go wee any day, unless you just need the benefit of the wheel sizes for more aggressive rubber. The klr is not near as nice on the rd, seat sucks after a while. If you were planning alot of gravel/dirt the klr would be my choice, but not 2up.
    #4
  5. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    The DL650, if they're comfortable handling it on dirt roads. They're available inexpensively. You might have a little difficulty finding a used ABS model for sale, but the standard DL650 is around for about $3K and up. They're extremely reliable, get decent MPG, have decent power for 2up, and considerable room for a 650. I really like my DR, but it's a bit tight for 2 going long distance if you're not fairly small people.

    If they're not big people, the F/G650GS BMW singles are pretty comfortable for 2up. They're also smooth for a single, and they get very good MPG. Carry roadside assistance though. They can, evidently, be difficult to diagnose/repair, even for BMW technicians in a dealership shop. Field repairs could be almost impossible for the average owner. By comparison, an entire DR or KLR could probably be rebuilt over a weekend or two by any intelligent monkey with a decent toolset.

    If they don't mind going at a slower pace, the KLR has enough space for 2 moderately-sized people. KLRs have their issues, but the bike has been around so long that they are well-documented and fixes are easy to research online. If I was much bigger, and wanted to haul a passenger as much as I do or more, I wouldn't hesitate to own a bike like a KLR. I've done all my own wrenching on my bikes, and would rather field-repair something like a KLR than a modern BMW.

    If they're smaller people, they might even be fine on a modded DR. I wouldn't want to be any bigger than my GF and I though...5'8"/200lb/30"inseam and 5'4"/petite/30"inseam. With a tankbag, tank panniers, and a topbox, there isn't much room to move around. Touring pegs, lowered rider pegs, lowered passenger pegs, LARGER passenger pegs, a Seat Concepts kit, and a 4" rearward shift of the topbox make it work ok for us. It also has stiffer springs, 16/46 sprockets, a throttle-lock and crampbuster, FAR mirrors, 2 12V sockets, and better delivery of go-power than stock. We stop every 100 miles or so for a leg-stretch though.

    If they're bigger people than us, they'll likely want at least the space of a KLR or more. The Wee would be my choice for eating ADV miles in comfort on a budget though.
    #5
  6. Powderaddict

    Powderaddict Been here awhile

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    If you will not be riding anything more aggressive than dirt roads, get the wee.
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  7. Meter Man

    Meter Man Living on a prayer

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    I saw an F650 two up with out of state plates in Glacier Park this weekend.

    They seemed comfortable, but they looked pretty skinny.
    #7
  8. n16ht5

    n16ht5 ride the night

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    Okay, so it looks like the KLR is out.

    Leaning to the DL650
    #8
  9. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

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    DL of either size. KLR is too small seat wise if they are of any size at all. I'm 5'11 and theres only a 10 or so inches between my back and the trunk.
    #9
  10. RandoCommando

    RandoCommando Wannabe

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    The seat on the KLR is plenty big.
    It also depends on what tail bag/box you get and where you mount it.
    The KLR might be a tad under powered for two people plus camping gear, but I've seen two heavier ADVers 2up on a KLR loaded with a lot of gear and they had no problems.
    The Wee has nice power, lower center of gravity and nice luggage on the adventure model.
    Look into the 650 Wee Adventure.
    The dealer will let you sit on it to see if it's comfy.
    A new one costs around 10K though.
    #10
  11. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    The BMW will have the highest maintenance cost and I find my wife's F650 to be overly complex and it's a 2005. Just changing the oil or swapping a battery entails too much time removing the body panels and such. It is a great bike, has plenty of go 2 up but it will cost you.
    #11
  12. n16ht5

    n16ht5 ride the night

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    thanks.. BMW out.
    #12
  13. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

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    You may be right on the KLR, for sure if you are willing to scrunch up to the front or if your small and thinner, but add a different seat and a trunk far enough forward to carry a load and it is a squeeze. I'm 5'11" and I have to slide back a bit after an hour on the road. I'm a big guy who is well into my mid 50's and the factory seat is like sitting a saw horse, younger and lighter it might be fine with a ATV seat pad, for me the seat pad just moved it from a 40 mile bike to a hundred mile bike, the Mayer seat took it to a 250 mile at a sitting seat.
    [​IMG]
    #13
  14. n16ht5

    n16ht5 ride the night

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    you guys are soft :lol3
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  15. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

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    Ya you betcha. Give yourself 30 years and get back to us. :lol3
    #15
  16. Canuman

    Canuman Crusty & Unobliging

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    Having owned both a KLR and a Wee, I recommend the Wee hands-down for two up. It will handle gravel and moderate two-track, but is beyond its element in the really gnarly stuff unless you believe strongly in moto abuse. A skid plate is an absolute must.
    #16
  17. bobfab

    bobfab Long timer

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    My vote is Wee, no contest, provided the dirt riding is very tame and limited to flat non-rocky stuffs
    #17
  18. yokesman

    yokesman Been here awhile

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    my plan for this next bike is a KLR, the goldwing seat, has been fitted by DR Greg besides the normal, required seat mod for those of us not being the marathon riders or in my case 60+yo.after the seat to bar,pegs is sorted(I am 6,4)
    then the arrangement of the remaining boxes and baggs, the required suspension mods ( in this case front Brake also) to accompany them.In any case these things will need to be attended regardless of the mount you choose,to unless you are expecting a bolt up setup for the never average couple?.(me 230,she 100lbs) as for the power have not heard a word of it lacking, and i want to get away from that 80+mph cruise (average)requirement I have previously set just because that is the middle of the torque curve.Many are onlyaveraging 35-40 mph in the more underdeveloped places,what HP is needed there?.
    And for the last thing, the KLR is reliable and cheap to operate and own. by the way 2up eats tires, so do some homework in that department.Did i say anything about putting all the crash bars on? this is just my take ( the660 tenere is still twice the bike and 3x the cost even if it was available, for those in the fortunate places 2x all those here would have to be new or nearly.)
    #18
  19. BMWORBUST

    BMWORBUST Banned

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    Get the Wee, I did a lot of research on this subject and found the Wee was the best choice for us. We just came back from a trip with all our gear in the three hard cases. It has more than enough power and room for both of us. I'm 6'1 190 my wife 5'6" 120, and it's perfect. Smooth, roomy, and reliable.

    Get the Wee Expedition and get a map.
    #19
  20. Canuman

    Canuman Crusty & Unobliging

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    +1 on this. I love my KLR, but see it as primarily a solo machine. The Wee, while not overpowered, has a great deal more spank on the road. It's got all the power you need. You'd need to do significant suspension mods on the KLR to even consider it. It is simply not suited to two-up touring out of the box. Even with the suspension done, I'd worry about the subframe's durability. The Wee's transmission is very crisp. The KLRs is a tractor, and is short a gear.

    They will return approximately the same mileage, on regular gas. The range is roughly the same. The advantage is that the Wee is fuel infected. It's going to retain far more power if your riding goes to altitude.

    And frankly, two-up on more than two-track doesn't make sense. It puts you, the passenger, and the bike at significant risk.
    #20