DR650 vs KLR650...pro's/cons

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by CasterTroy, May 11, 2004.

  1. CasterTroy

    CasterTroy Can You supersize that?

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Oddometer:
    131
    Location:
    Kernersville, NC
    Does the suzuki have any distinct advantages over the kawasaki?


    Vice versa?


    Any COMMON problems associated with one or the other to be wary of?


    Is one a better bike to ride on the road for greater distances until I GET to the beated path?


    I notice more KLR's are equiped with bags...does that mean the KLR is more touring friendly? or does it mean that there are fewer mounts for the suzukis


    Thanks
    #1
  2. jkam

    jkam Nomadic Man

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2001
    Oddometer:
    4,594
    Location:
    420 Farms
    To me, the main advantage of the Suzuki is the air/oil cooled engine. No radiator, t-stat or water pump which means less to go wrong and lighter.
    The only advantages I see in the KLR are the large fuel tank, but you can get a bigger tank for the Suzuki to offset that and much more aftermarket goodies.
    I've looked at most 650 dualsports and I've decided the Suzuki is best for my needs. Now if I can find a decent price on one, I'm all over it.
    #2
  3. bestride

    bestride Coyote

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Oddometer:
    100
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    DR650s are frequently listed on ebay (Vehicles/Motorcycles/Suzuki). It's a dirt bike you can drive home on the interstate with a big grin after some rough riding.
    #3
  4. CasterTroy

    CasterTroy Can You supersize that?

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Oddometer:
    131
    Location:
    Kernersville, NC
    Whats a good price?


    One sitting here in my town for $4999 (2004)
    #4
  5. bestride

    bestride Coyote

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Oddometer:
    100
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    I've seen the latest models sell for between $4400-$4999, low prices may not be out the door, high prices may include all fees and extra stuff. Some of the best deals are the '97-'02 DR650s for around half the price of a new bike. If you find one with low milage, grab it. That's assuming you want good offroad possibilities. If you're into touring, it might not be the right bike. You might feel "naked" along the highway, but at least you'll get there, have fun, and get back.
    #5
  6. jkam

    jkam Nomadic Man

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2001
    Oddometer:
    4,594
    Location:
    420 Farms
    $4999 is retail and I've seen them advertised on the net for $4425 but not locally. I know Kawasaki has a $1000 holdback currently to the dealers and was hoping Suzuki has some kind of holdback on the DR650.
    On Suzuki Australia they are offering a $1000 discount, I was hoping Suzuki here in the states had some kind of discount to offer but the local dealer says no. I think about $4400 plus tax would get me to buy a new one, but I'm willing to look at low mileage used ones for around $3-3500.
    #6
  7. Gravity's Dog

    Gravity's Dog Amanda's brother

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2004
    Oddometer:
    29,140
    Location:
    aweigh
  8. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2003
    Oddometer:
    264
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia.
    I've travelled with a Suzuki 650 and have to say it's a real good touring bike. When the rough stuff starts it just keeps on going and with a set of knobbies on, it's almost unstoppable.

    On the highway it seems to cruise at 60 - 75mph with relative ease. Basically if you are in touring mode after hitting greasy hills and such, that's not too bad a speed.

    Mick.
    #8
  9. CasterTroy

    CasterTroy Can You supersize that?

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Oddometer:
    131
    Location:
    Kernersville, NC
    What about vibration?


    My buddies 2000 KTM Duke II was a BLAST to ride with perfect power, but if you motored along at anything over 55 for ANY amount of time you would be BEGGING to detatch your testicles for a few hours because they were shaking like Catheren Hepburns head in a helicopter.


    And issues with constant vibration on a DR?

    I've YET to ride wither the DR or the KLR....like I said above my time has been mostly logged on the Duke and my KX250...I'm a sportbike/sport touring guy and looking for a dual sport to take advantage of the various fire roads that pop up on our typical sport rides.

    BTW...my buddy with the duke has sold it and is taking delivery of a 1200GS....I don't expect to compare what I can AFFORD to the GS in any way shape or form, so I'm looking for what will make ME happy...not compete with him.

    BTW...he'll totally molest that GS and it'll more than likely be used to it's full capacity off-road as well as be stretched to it's cornering limits on the road as well LOL
    #9
  10. Jedimoto

    Jedimoto V-Strom, Bike of the Jedi

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2004
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    Land of the Dusty Sun
    I just bought a DR650 three weeks ago and have to say, it's awesome! It'll cruise on the highway with very little vibration and it's a blast to ride on dirt roads too. To me the only thing that the KLR has on it is the amount of aftermarket going for it. Other than that, I think the DR is a better bike on OR off the road :nod . I'm loving mine, that's for sure. And you can still get stuff for the DR, there's just not as much selection. Still, I'm happy with my choice. Try and get a ride on both the KLR AND the DR. I think either one of those is better than the Honda, if you're looking for comfort on the highway.
    Depending on the money you want to spend, it might be good to look at the F650GS form BMW, too. Little more expensive, but a good bike. Mz has the Baghira, too. Heavier, but a sweet, Yamaha engine.
    #10
  11. CasterTroy

    CasterTroy Can You supersize that?

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Oddometer:
    131
    Location:
    Kernersville, NC
    #11
  12. 02Silver

    02Silver Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    242
    Location:
    Port Lavaca Texas
    Troy,

    Looks like we both got infected with this dirt disease. I assume you messed up and clicked the links over at Cycle Forum as well.

    See my similiar post asking for advice.
    #12
  13. Jedimoto

    Jedimoto V-Strom, Bike of the Jedi

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2004
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    Land of the Dusty Sun

    Yeh, but from what I hear, it vibrates too much to be good on the highway. Never ridden it, myself, though, so I could be wrong.
    #13
  14. HighwayChile

    HighwayChile greetings from Wa state

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,710
    Location:
    Bow, WA USA
    one thing missed in this comparo is that the KLR brakes are shit. single pot calipers! holy crap my DR350 has better brakes!

    the KLR suspension is firmly in the 1980's , as mentioned the KLR has a better long haul seat.. make sure you do the doohicky upgrade after 5K or so, not a big deal.

    one reason aftermarket is better for the klr is that they need alot more stuff to make them right, I just sold a klr and will be selling aftermarket goodies soon. keep in mind the return on after market sucks, the KTM may be cheaper in the long run. re the KTM I have a LC4 400 2001, same as 640 with smaller engine, i love Everything about BUT the seat is killing me, the riding position moves you forward, smashing your nuts, putting too much pressure on your wrists, upper back not to mention its like sitting on a cinder block. I have rode these back to back, 200 miles dual ride , loved the KTM handeling brakes, feel, but couldnt wait to get on the KLR as it was so much comfortable ( handeled like a bus compared to the ktm) . BTW i do have the ktm comfort seat-what a joke! keep in mind re comfort I am 46, 5-10 170, reasonable but in no way great shape, so you younger folks might like the LC4 better. I may sell the LC4 as its to painful to ride long distances, clearly not everyone has that problem. a flatter, wider seat would cure the problem, so far I have failed to Fab one.

    A DR 650 maybe in my future, try to ride all you are considering, short rides for me did not disclose my problems with the above bikes. re my views of the KLR, if you are happy with the basic proformance it may be the best bike out, all of these bikes have good resale compared to true dirt bikes. best of luck
    :1drink
    #14
  15. Nightrunner

    Nightrunner Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,335
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    If your main reason for a DS is fire roads, then the KLR or a Transalp may be the best choice. If you want to get into Jeep trails or single track, then get the DR. I have a DR650, a T/A, and a Tiger. I love the DR and would never trade it for a KLR. The DR feels smaller and more nimble even though its only a few pounds lighter than a KLR. It is more off-road capable. The main upgrades will be the seat and the tank (if you want the long range capability). The valves are screw-adjust. The brakes and suspension are adequate in stock trim. Later models came with cartridge forks. A dynojet kit and modification of the air box makes a noticable improvement in power/response. Note the 97 and early 98 models had a problem with starter system which can destroy the enigine if it backfires during starting (or something like that). The cure is to retrofit 96 or 99+ parts.

    The KLR has a huge cult following and lots of aftermarket goodies. It needs bigger brakes and better suspension for off-road use. My buddy has one and loves it but he has added nearly everything available for it. He tells me that they don't benefit much from dynojet and other power mods. Money is better spent on suspension. Valves are shim adjust so more work required there.

    The XR650 is another choice. It is closer to a dirt bike with lights.

    FWIW
    Cheers
    Scott
    #15
  16. ram1000

    ram1000 Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,846
    Location:
    Tricities Washington
    I ride a KTM dualsport and I bought a DR650 for my wife because of its roadability. I also ride with a friend on a DR650 and another with a KLR. Between the KLR and the DR the DR is the better all around bike for both dirt and street, but that is only in the realm of a true motocross riding style. The harder you ride the better off you are on the DR. Also the more you want to upgrade to effect performance in the dirt the more you want a DR. I have found that the road ride on both the bikes is too close to call. I normally prefer the highest technology, but the water cooling on the KLR is the only technology advantage, and the DR seems to respond well to jetting changes and other power upgrades. Of course the tank is only 3.5 compared to 6 gallons, so that is a dissadvanteg untill you are in the dirt again where the weight factors in. For longer rides they are both good machines. My wifes DR is very smooth especially compared to my KTM. I have done 250 mile road days with my wife and I don't realy notice the vibration of the KTM enough to limit my riding experience. I can lift the wheel of my KTM in 2nd and my wifes DR in first, but I was unable to loft the KLR with the throttle only when I rode it. If you want a better dirt experience go with the DR or better yet look into the DRZ400s.
    #16
  17. RideAbout

    RideAbout Mentally Retired

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,159
    Location:
    Oregon
    Spend a week on a KLR and you'll be calling in sick on Monday so you can make another loop. Spend a week on the DR and you roost the KLR's off-road, but you'll be looking for a pickup to load it in for the ride home...

    My $0.02

    #17
  18. Mountain Goat

    Mountain Goat Wandering Bike Dude

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    Texas
    I have owned both a DR650 and a KLR650. To make a long story short the KLR was a complete POS and left me stranded three times. My 2003 DR650 has not given me any trouble yet. Don't waste your money on a KLR.

    MG
    #18
  19. scootertrash

    scootertrash Mobile Homie

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,074
    Location:
    "My leg's tired, let's live here."
    I have owned the '93 DR in CO and rode it to Estes Park/Vail from Denver, it did great. Now I have a new 2003 and it's a big improvement. All of the simplicity benefits have been mentioned and even if it does not have as much aftermarket as the KLR, it has enough available to do to it what needs to be done, ie: seat, tank, suspension, exhaust, skid plate, windshield ect...
    I don't have any experience with the KLR, but the crudeness, extra mechanical complexity and stuff that has to be fixed, was a turn off for me..
    #19
  20. jeffs900s

    jeffs900s Prophet of Doom

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,167
    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    Well, I own 'X' so it's the best and I have no experience with 'Y' so it sucks... :evil

    Actually I have owned both of the bikes in question. I still have a KLR. They were/are both great bikes. Neither is perfect from the factory, but for the $ they're both pretty darn good.

    Neither really "needs" anything other than gas for you to go and have a blast on. The KLR suspension is a little soft, and the brakes are marginal. This may or may not be an issue depending on how you ride and how heavy you are. Both items can be fixed for reasonable $. The stock DR tires are garbage on anything other than pavement, the seat is torturous, and the tank is kinda small. Both bikes should get a skid plate IMHO. The KLR is one seriously ugly motorcycle, the DR actually looks pretty good, and 04's come in blue or yellow (if such things matter to you)

    The DRs stock handlebars bent like a pretzel the first time I dropped it. The KLRs seem a little tougher, but it's hard to say. The DRs valve adjustments were easier, although maintenance on either is a piece of cake. The DR really woke-up with a pipe, K&N, and jetting, everything I've heard about the KLR says don't bother, so my KLR is still stock.

    The DR is a great 50/50 bike, the KLR is like 60/40 road biased. After having owned both for a while, I'm really amazed at how similar they are. For the type of riding I do, the difference off-road is minimal. Either will get you down the trail, neither will make you think you're riding a real dirt bike. On road I prefer the better seat, fuel range, and wind protection of the KLR.

    You'll be happy with either. I think it's really just a choice of how and where you want to ride. Good luck.

    Jeff
    #20