Dual Sport Thumper Bug!

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Thumper74, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. Thumper74

    Thumper74 Adventurer

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    I'm selling my Buell and I'm doing some research on which 650 to buy. There's the venerable KLR650, then the DR650SE and the XR650L.

    The KLR seems to be the most popular, but what are your experiences with any of them.
    #1
  2. OrangeYZ

    OrangeYZ Been here awhile

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    More dirt: XR650L
    50/50: DR650
    More street: DR650
    #2
  3. kubiak

    kubiak Long timer

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    how much can you spend on one?
    #3
  4. sandwash

    sandwash Long timer

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    more street=KLR
    #4
  5. montesa_vr

    montesa_vr Legend in his own mind

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    All three have a devoted following on this forum, with multiple threads dedicated to each.

    KLR comes with the fairing, the big tank, the most comfortable seat, the most electrical power for your heated vest or extra lighting, a good luggage rack, all of which make it a bargain. It is also ridiculously heavy, and probably the most gutless of the three.

    XRL is the lightest, has the best suspension, the widest gear spread, but some complain of overheating and it has the highest seat.

    DR is simple, air-oil cooled. I would bet on it of the three to take me around the world without a problem, but some KLR owners have racked up impressive trouble free mileage.

    I wouldn't buy any of them. They're all too heavy to be very fun in the dirt and not smooth enough to be very comfortable on the highway. If you really want a giant single the KTM 690 is a more modern interpretation, lighter and more powerful and better suspended than its aging Japanese cousins. But way more expensive and a narrow gear spread in spite of being a six-speed. The latest Husqvarna is interesting but kind of an orphan now that the BMW ownership of Husqvarna is ending.

    Everybody is waiting for the Japanese to update their big singles but the recession put any plans for that on hold. Good luck. How did you like your Buell?
    #5
  6. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    What size are you and what do you plan to do with the bike?
    #6
  7. soboy

    soboy Long timer

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    I've been riding dual sports since 1975. I have ridden all three bikes you mentioned and I owned a DR650 for 6 years. It was, hands down, the best dual sport I have ever owned. It did everything well and was fun to ride anywhere I went, on or off road. I used it as my only bike for a while and it handled everything I threw at it, from single track to touring. I farkled it to suit my desires, but the only mandatory change for me was a better seat. Simple to maintain, never gave me one bit or trouble in 6 years. Highly recommended.
    #7
  8. The_Commander

    The_Commander The Man.

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    Dr650. Hands down the most adaptive and enjoyable.
    #8
  9. KickStart1

    KickStart1 Lurking,with intent

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    They make,good Bar bike's to impress the Pirate crowd too.All bike's mentioned will do the trick,your job is to pick one and be happy. :D I have an 06 KLR650 it's like owning and old Jeep,it's not pretty or fast,but will take abuse and get you back home
    #9
  10. Thumper74

    Thumper74 Adventurer

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    I love the Buell, but I've been itching for a dirt bike, but don't see the value in a dedicated dirt bike as I don't have much land and would need to trailer it anywhere I want to ride. My intent with the dual sport would be more touring with the ability to go somewhere that requires more than 5" of ground clearance, plus light trail riding if I decide to try it. Mostly fireroads I suspect. I would like to ride to Alaska in a few years, but we'll see.
    #10
  11. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    Are you dead seat on a 650? How serious of dual sporting are you looking to get into. Of the 3 you mentioned each has their place.

    I've owned a ton of them including a KLR (my least favorite so far) to the most exciting the Husky TE610. I've had DRZ400, KLX650R, KLR650, DR650, TE610, WR250R, CRF250L, XT225 and ridden just about everything out there.

    Right now I have a DR650 & a WR250R. My wife has an XT225 and we just picked her up the new Honda CRF250L, so we have 4 DS bikes in the garage. I gotta say these latest 250's are pretty impressive, especially the WR250R. The 350w stator and 26k mile valve interval sold me on that bike and its so darn easy to ride, super light and so smooth, even on the road. Its a pretty high revving motor so takes a bit to get used to that, but its already been proven to be bullet proof. The new Honda is pretty impressive its self. Its got more torque down low than the WRR, but the WRR out pulls it in the higher RPM's and the WRR has better suspension in stock form. Amazingly, the Honda motor is even more quiet and smoother than the WRR like you would expect from a Honda. The WRR is also a very tall bike while the CRF has a more modest seat height. The Honda CRF is about 20lbs porkier too though and it shows. The components on the CRF are a little more cheaply made to get its $4500 price point new, but its not a bad bike by any means. The WRR has been out since 2008 and there are plenty of used ones in an around the $4k price mark.

    To get back to the 650's you mentioned, The KLR has the best street manners in stock form, but is easily the porkiest and heaviest off road with the worst suspension. The 08+ are even more road worthy and less off road worthy. It will do just about anything you throw at it, but its a hard bike to ride fast off road. Its more like a goat that just grunts along. The KLR is terrible in sticky mud though as the wheel is too close to the swing and no where to go so its very easy to pack up the rear wheel in deep mud and if you push it, you fry the clutch. Seen it many times. The DR650 can go either way with a few mods and can be a nice road worthy DS with a few add on's, but way more manageable off road than the KLR. Its so simple with its air cooled engine and lots of things you can do to it to make it better. The suspension isn't exactly great on the DR in stock form either, but the fact the bike is so much less porky than the KLR just makes it handle better. A few modest suspension mods though really changes the DR overall and completely transforms the bike. The XRL is probably the best off road in stock form and the least comfortable on the street. And for some reason on the used market maintain their value the best. The KLR is probably the worst at holding its value to a certain point, but that puts lots of cheap ones out there

    BTW, all 3 650's suffer from an outdated 5 speed gear box. The KLR & the XRL both have an annoyingly large gear spread between 1st & 2nd gear.
    #11
  12. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    The DR650SE isn't air-cooled like the XR650L. It's air/oil-cooled, and it almost never overheats like water-cooled or air-cooled bikes do. The screw/locknut valves can be adjusted in a hotel parking lot or in a campsite, without any shims to buy/carry/find. It isn't the best 2up bike (I use it that way, but we're both 5'8" or smaller), but it rolls slab pretty decent with just a few mods. The engine is smooth for a thumper and isn't prone to burning oil, even above 5K RPM. Mine even cruises sand pretty easily for me, with appropriate tires, and I'm a dirt-riding noob. It's also pretty darn durable, and parts are generally cheap and easy to find.
    #12
  13. Thumper74

    Thumper74 Adventurer

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    The WRR looks interesting and the added bonus of being out of production for a few years may make it more obtainable in the budget. I'm looking at used for the simple fact of having little off-road experience and not wanting to tear up a new machine...

    I'm fat, so I worry about the WRR having enough 'oomph'. I rode one after balancing the tires and it had power for street riding around my neighborhood... What about running on the freeway? I hate them, but they are a necesary evil soemtimes.
    #13
  14. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    What's fat? :D

    I'm 6'4"/250lbs and the WRR hauls me fine. Mine has a few mods including lower gearing, AIS removed, air box modded, FMF fuel mapper, etc. However I'm still on stock header and stock pipe because I like "quiet bikes".

    It will cruise at 65-70mph (Actual GPS verified) pretty decently. I can run all day at 60-65 without pushing it too hard. It actually can do the interstate okay. Not the favorite, but like you said necessarily evil sometimes.
    #14
  15. Luke308

    Luke308 Been here awhile

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    Everyone could argue back and forth endlessly over what's the best bike for you, but that decision ultimately rests in your hands. My only advice is buy something that will hold it's value reasonably well over the next riding season so if you decide you don't like it, you can always re-sell and try something else. Really nail down where you want to go and what your riding style is and go from there.

    With that being said, I used to own a 2001 KLR 650 and it sucked on the highway and sucked offroad. I sold it and bought a WR250R which isn't great on the highway, but is leaps and bounds better offroad. It's no hardcore single track bike, but it suits my conservative riding style. FWIW :deal
    #15
  16. warejn

    warejn n00b

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    I am doing the same. I had a 94 KLR that I sold on 06 with 47k on it. I loved it, rode it all over, not the best off road, not the best on road. It was one of my favorite bike I have owned.

    I have a 1200 sportster that I am selling now and I think I have decided on a DR650. Partly for something different and Suzuki has 400 bucks off and 0% financing right now which brings the sticker on a left over 2012 to 5400 ish. It's going to be the first new bike I have ever owned.
    #16
  17. bigkatie

    bigkatie Been here awhile

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    You owe it to yourself to take a Husqvarna Terra 650 for a test ride and you will will see why all the veteran riders that have had many bikes including the ones you are considering are so sold on this bike. Read some of the posts requarding it in this thumper section. I rode one and was very impressed.If I had to get down to one bike the Terra would be it. Good Luck in your search!
    #17
  18. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    The Terra is a great DS bike that I think should be a much better choice than say a KLR or DR for a long distance bike, but still decently capable off road, although a bit heavy, but not bad.

    However, with BMW dumping Husky and the Terra is using BMW's G650GS motor in its bike, that could very well become a 1 year only bike which might be a bit scary owning one now. I really had high hopes for that bike and its a shame it might become the victim of Husky being sold.
    #18
  19. Thumper74

    Thumper74 Adventurer

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    I like the 650 Terra, but I was really looking for something used, though a warranty is appealing working 80 hour weeks right now.

    I have a friend who's the sales manager at a Kawasaki dealer and can get me a sweet deal on a new 2012 KLR. Local-ish Suzuki dealer is selling DR650SEs for $4800. If I could get a deal on the Husky, it would be the best overall bike in the $6-7,000 new range.
    #19
  20. bigkatie

    bigkatie Been here awhile

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    New Terra on E-bay for $ 6500.The engine in Terra is Rotax,I don't think you would have trouble with parts in the future.Have you considerd a used Husky Te610 or 630? Also great bikes!
    #20