Best All Around Dual Sport Bike?

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by BerndM, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. BerndM

    BerndM Shiftless One

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    Let me start by saying that I LOVE my 2006 R1200GS, and I would NOT consider replacing it with ANY other bike, BUT, lets get real here, the GS is a big, heavy and VERY expensive piece of machinery, and NOT optimally suited or designed for "serious" off-roading. Right??
    So, I've spent some time looking at all the different dual sports out there and it appears (IMHO) that there is no PERFECT bike for that purpose, BUT the best may in fact be the Kawasaki 650 KLR. If you factor in ALL the variables, such as purchase price, registration, insurance, operating expenses, cost to repair or replace parts, weight and off-road capabilities, I think you'd be very hard pressed to find anything better. I know "better" is very subjective, but let's face it, honestly, other than extended touring (which many do successfully) on the KLR, does anyone actually believe that the GS will go places the KLR can't? I don't think so. As a matter of fact, I think the KLR is capable of going many places you'd never want to take the GS to. It is no problem riding the KLR 100 or 200 miles on the pavement, and then take it off the road and do stuff the GS can't match, because of its size and weight.
    Not trying to start a fight here, just a lively discussion regarding the REALITY of the off-road aspect of our riding.
    :evil :evil :evil :evil
    #1
  2. ricohman

    ricohman Marinoni man

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    My preference is the KLR and the DR650.
    But the answer really lies in what the individual wants to do with the bike.
    For me, my R1150GSA fits the bill. As all my off-roading will consist of gravel roads and the Dalton in June.
    #2
  3. awonderfulworld

    awonderfulworld Lone Rider

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    I'd agree with the KLR sentiment...

    The suspension sucks, the engine has no power, but they'll last forever, you can fix it with simple hand tools and anybody with basic mechanical knowledge can figure out what's wrong if it breaks.

    I sold my KLR for the GS, and I don't miss it. The GS allows me to ride 2-up with my wife and that means more time on a bike instead of the cage when we go places.
    #3
  4. RED CAT

    RED CAT Bumpy Backroader

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    What you call Dualsporting! You mention serious dirt. The KLR isn't suitable for serious dirt, not as serious as a real dirt bike. Dualsporting to me means paved and gravel roads and maybe a few jeep trails. Single track is for dirt bikes. The smaller lighter dualsports like the KLR,DR, and XRL are great little dualsports for shorter trips although the KLR is better on longer trips but nothing beats the big GS for longer road/gravel road trips to get to the good stuff in comfort and in a hurry, if thats your pleasure. Younger fellows usually can hang in with the lighter Dualsports but as one ages the big GS is just so addicting especially in the long distance comfort factor.
    #4
  5. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    yes,you are right.for instance one day i rode my klr 650 about 250 miles on the rode to get to some single track in manistee nat. forest ,then i rode 8 hours of orv/mcct trail single track,then rode 250 miles home the same day.i could not do that on the gs,because of the single track.i have a 1100 and 1200 adventure.and the beemer twins sure are nice on the road !!!!but the KLR IS the best dual sport out there pound for pound and dollar for dollar.if i lived in a mountain,or remote area with great riding locally i wouldnt need anything but a klr.
    #5
  6. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    you are right in their being no equal to the gs on gravel and DRY dirt.but in mud and sand i cant stand being on my gs.the klr is still big but i can manage it in those conditions and have fun if i am not in a hurry.but yes if i am pounding miles and running gravel all day the gs is king.
    #6
  7. spagthorpe

    spagthorpe Long timer

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    DS by it's very nature is a compromise. You can have a serious dirt bike that is street legal (Husky TE-250), and eats dirt, but truly sucks as a street bike. Some go the other way, better for pavement. It all depends what you want.

    To me, I look at something like the KTM 640 Adventure as about the perfect adventure bike...if you can deal with riding a two wheeled paint shaker. Imagine that bike with a well balanced single. Other than that, handles single track, big tank, lots of range, etc. Yeah, droning on the highway sucks on all
    thumpers. Again, you have to compromise for the intended use.

    Service manager Gary at San Diego BMW won the Alcan 5000 a few years ago on his 650 Dakar. Rode it there and back from San Diego too. That is obviously a pretty capable bike as well, though I don't know how much single track I would want to do on one.

    Endless debate on this subject.
    #7
  8. funhouse

    funhouse Overdue

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    ......without a radiator......Bruce
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  9. ShaftEd

    ShaftEd Long timer

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    What's really sad is that the KLR650 has been around 25 years and it is still one of the top adventure bikes. No power, crappy brakes, bad suspension, heavy, 5 speed transmission, doohicky issues, and this bike is still one of the best? You would have thought by now, some manufacturer would have built a KLR killer, but I don't see one yet.

    BTW, what the hell ever happened to the KTM690 Adventure?
    #9
  10. BMR

    BMR Long timer

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    Haven't seen this thread in at least.....2 months? :D
    #10
  11. SQD8R

    SQD8R Eat squids and be merry

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    I like the KLR and in particular I really like the new KLR. However, I ride with a bunch of KLR riders including 2 former GS riders who switched to the KLR for the weight differential and TBH the KLR doesn't go anywhere any faster than I took my GS and now my HP2. We ride hydro lines, river crossings and jeep trails. The pecking order of our riding group hasn't changed despite expectations of the new KLR riders. The old adage proves true - it's not the machine it's the rider.

    No doubt a lighter bike off-road will be easier to handle but the KLR aren't made for single track anymore than the GS, HP2, or KTM are. The KLR is still a big heavy bike.

    In my mind this is more the endless internal debate between buying a 600 class or big bore DS. Same issue they have in the supersport v. superbike class. The 600 DS / supersports are as capable and more accessible (price and performance) for the average rider but like the superbikess there is something (more) attractive in big bore performance.

    I won't be getting ride of my HP2 - ever. But I will likely buy a single at some point in time. The Husky 610 is appealing. But I'm going to buy a KTM 950 next - probably this year. There's something appealing about obscene power offroad and getting the back wheel sliding under acceleration... the 950/GS class is like a trophy truck... Yeah you don't need that performance off-road but get that back end slidding and keep applying power and you'll see your grin grow wider and wider... :nod
    #11
  12. Plane Dr

    Plane Dr Been here awhile

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    I have a DRZ 470 started as an S. It is set for soft bags and will go almost anywhere. I am selling my Z1000 as with dirt and SM rims the DRZ fill all the gaps the GS doesn't.
    #12
  13. AdventurePoser

    AdventurePoser Long timer

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    "Best" is a slippery slope; there is no one motorcycle that does it all "best" IMHO. I think you have to look at your individual wants/needs/pocketbook and go from there...

    Since my wife loves to ride with me and we wanted a bike that would expand our riding horizons, the GSA is the "best" bike, even though I hope I never drop it anywhere there may not be help available to pick it up!:rofl

    I think the "best" adenture tourer is truly in the eye of the beholder...

    Ride safe,

    Steve
    #13
  14. KShow

    KShow Been here awhile

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    I think the KLR is too close to the GS as far as capability. If youre going to have two bikes, try to cover as much of the spectrum as you can. My 1100GS is great for touring, streets and ok on dirt. My XR650R is ok on the street, Ive done 400 mile days, but its not too fun. But when you get to the dirt, it will blow you away, hang with pretty much any bike out there depending on the rider, desert, single track, etc. And it has that race bred power that sucks your eyeballs back in their sockets.

    Just make sure that each bike you have thrills you in its own way.
    #14
  15. "Spaniard"

    "Spaniard" Adventurer

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    I have a 1200gs and love it. Won't sell it. I took a ride in northern Wisconsin last fall and took the 1200 with TKCs. The bike went everywhere the guys on KTM 640 ADVs, a KLR and a F650GS Dakar. After riding the KTM I wanted one. No more serious off road with the 1200gs. After looking around I decided to go even smaller and bought a used Yamaha WR250R. Great bike!!!!!! Glad I went smaller yet. You can take it down black top at 65 all day long and when the fun starts on a trail the KTM seems like a pig. If you need something bigger the KTM is hands down better than a Dakar or KLR.
    #15
  16. jam_nut

    jam_nut Back Road Explorer

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    I've owned a DR650 for many years and it did very well all around. Wife has a DR350 and I've spent quite a bit of saddle time on a DRZ400. Bought a 610 last fall and wow what an improvement. Better on road than any of the Suzukis. Way better off road than the 650 and even better than the 350 and 400. Although the 350 gets it by weight. All it needs for long range comfort is an upgraded seat which there are several options out there. I'm very happy with the TE-610 for my riding style. (50% back roads, 50% mud/rock/hill climb trail)
    #16
  17. BerndM

    BerndM Shiftless One

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    Thanks for your comments guys. Overall, it seems the general consensus is not far removed from mine. I totally agree that there isn't ONE perfect bike, but if you absolutely had to choose just ONE bike, to cover as wide a spectrum of riding parameters as possible, the 650 KLR would definitely be a contender.
    I actually have the 250 KLR as my "dirt" bike for the local trails. Its great as long as the trip to and from the dirt isn't too far. Compared to the GS, it feels like a mountain bike in weight and agility (and confidence):evil
    #17
  18. JustAdam

    JustAdam Bloody No's

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    I know I am not contributing much here, but I got the KLR for a reason :)

    Main reason is that it is capable of off road riding, whereas in my opinion, not many of the bigger bikes would be able to do what I can on tight single track, with that said, the KTM in most sizes would crush me - lol

    KLR FTW!
    #18
  19. Mr.Efficiency

    Mr.Efficiency Adventure Wuss

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    You are kidding, right? Now don't get me wrong. I love the KLR, I mean love the KLR. It is cheap, you can hammer the living pee out of it... did I mention its cheap?

    BUT, the best dual sport... Cmon, isn't that a bit of a stretch. I mean the KTM 690... and all the other KTM's for that matter. Even the liter class KTM adventure can go anywhere that the KLR could and the Katie could get you there on the road. Fact of the matter, the KLR doesn't keep up well on the death race 2010 American roadways and you have to consider that with the realities of the dual sport.

    Now I won't stretch anyone's imagination either. I ride an R1200GS and it would be difficult for me to drag it into the giggly bushes... its a big bike, but really folks, BMW doesn't sell it as an off-road bike, they sell it as an all-roads bike.

    If I were really going to take on single track I would want a KTM and accept no substitutes, since I don't and I won't the GS is the best all-round performer, and that is the reality of the dual sport world. Most aren't ridden off-road.
    #19
  20. BerndM

    BerndM Shiftless One

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    One of my original criteria was PRICE of the bike. Looking at the KTM line of 650-ish sized machines shows you can buy almost 2 KLRs for the price of 1 orange 690. This is IMO a huge factor in the selection process.
    #20