KLR650 or R100GS

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Super., Nov 23, 2012.

  1. Super.

    Super. n00b

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    I am a noob to adventure bikes, and I want a group opinion, as a first adventure bike should I get a KLR650 or a R100GS? Live in Los Angeles the land of a thousand on-ramps, but might be moving to Duluth Minnesota the land of "my eyeball fluid has frozen". I'm not interested in speed, just which one would be better for freeways and cold weather.
    #1
  2. Traveling QMS

    Traveling QMS Adventurer

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    Depends upon your mission. How much do you want to carry? Do you want to travel a great distance? Do you want to travel a great distance with a woman?

    If you can travel with a sane load the KLR should do fine. If you need the kitchen sink then the load ability of the GS might fit you better.

    Both are fine machines and have traveled most of the planet.

    What is your ability? A light KLR is less in need of skill than a loaded GS on loose terain.

    I have one of each and each has is use. For me if I had to have one it would be the GS for sure.

    One thing to keep in mind is the KLR will depreciate, while the airhread should only appreaciate from here on out
    #2
  3. Super.

    Super. n00b

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    Well that settles it, the BMW it is.
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  4. orangebear

    orangebear Long timer

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    have you check the cost of parts ect. as i have a r100gs as my 1st big bike but found the parts to be costly.
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  5. advNZer?

    advNZer? Long timer

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    parts can be costly esp at BMW dealers,but you can still get most parts from other sources and there is a huge knowledgeable following for the GS.
    For me the GS is just so much nicer feeling than the KLR. At certain speeds the big twin is glass smooth.The GS could be more maintenance intensive than the KLR.
    #5
  6. DOGSROOT

    DOGSROOT OUTSIDE

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    Go whole hog and get the 1100GS... :norton

    Leave the 100GS for the old farts. :muutt






























    :hide
    #6
  7. peterman

    peterman cop magnet

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    I have one of each,,
    The 1992 R100GS is for sale.As a good friend said,,"I like it, but I am not in love with it."
    My KLR is not for sale. I don't like it,,but I am in love with it. :huh
    The simple difference as I see it is this, it's like riding along and having to stop to pee.
    Doesn't matter who had to stop, or where we are,, somebody has to pee NOW!

    The KLR is like lean up against a tree and pretend to be looking at the lake or mountain,,
    and the beemer is like looking for a place to hide to be able to pull your pants down to pee and hope no-one is watching.
    Stop and piss, or go thru a bunch of changes first.
    you may really be looking for a DR650, or DRZ400. Neither one has the problems of the two turds mentioned.
    #7
  8. orangebear

    orangebear Long timer

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    well i got a bike for my OZ trip some years ago and got a klr650c but found the bike to be rubbish and wonted to get rid of it and lost so much money selling it.
    but my r100gs i found it to be a better road bike but it a love hate thing. love it when it workes but hate it when it strops working.
    #8
  9. ddavidv

    ddavidv Thrifty not cheap

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    I had an old KLR and loved it. If you buy them used they don't lose much value. It will cost half as much to buy as a BMW, parts and farkles are everywhere for cheap and on the rare occasion that something breaks you can fix it with a zip tie and some duct tape. Never had a problem with mine, and it was beat to shit when I got it.

    OTOH...if most of your riding will be on the freeway, the KLR probably isn't for you. It's happy at 60-70 mph but above that it's a vibrating, oil consuming unhappy camper. "Smooth" is not a term that will ever describe a KLR. As my riding took me further from home and required more slab to get to cool stuff, I realized I needed something different. Hence, the Wee Strom now in my garage.

    The BMW is a nicer machine, but that comes with a higher purchase price and higher maintenance.
    #9
  10. dochstader

    dochstader Adventurer

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    In the past 20 years, I have owned one (troublesome) GS, and 8 KLRs.
    That sums up my answer to your question!

    El Mur.
    #10
  11. bush pilot

    bush pilot Long timer

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    A KLR is by far the best bike for the money. The R100GS is by far one of the coolest bikes for the money.
    And to really throw you off; the KLX250S is the best trail bike for the money.
    Both the KLR and the GS are excellent hwy bikes and in the right hands decent trail machines too. Make no mistake both are heavy pigs.
    The KLR is very cheap to acquire, and maintain. The GS not so much.

    I just bought my third older KLR for a travel bike off the flea market here. They just make too much sense and they're a blast to ride.
    I was also scoping out R100GS's but just too expensive to acquire and I know from experience they're also expensive to maintain.

    That said many here like myself own both a KLR and a GS.
    #11
  12. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    I'm not sure how you have narrowed the field down to those two bikes, as they seem to be substantially different in terms of the likely ownership experience. Both could be rugged adventure bikes for long-haul travel but the BMW will require a lot more TLC to get it right. For a first ADV bike, unless you are already a BMW boxer fan and/or have some experience with airhead BMWs, you would be better off with the KLR. The BMW 650GS single might be better for you. It is more capable off-road than the R100GS and more capable on-road than the KLR.
    #12
  13. KG6BWS

    KG6BWS Been here awhile

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    Thats what I did. IMO, your two choices are completely opposite ends of the spectrum. I too think you would be better off considering something like the f650gs. Good way to get acquainted with adventure riding and will give you a better idea of what youre looking for.
    #13
  14. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    Wow those KLR's must suck. :lol3
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  15. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    If I were to ride around the World it would be on a DR650 or an Airhead GS. :deal
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  16. Super.

    Super. n00b

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    Thanks for all the advice! Looks like I may be browsing for a little while longer!
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  17. blues

    blues Been here awhile

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    Getting started I'd look for a well set up 650 thumper, brand not important, as long as it's in good shape. It will be cheap to buy, cheap to own, and easy to sell when, and if, you feel the need. Keep in mind most adventure bikes will need a bit of work to get them just right for your needs. It's part of the fun.

    Air heads are pretty cool but I believe you need a certain mindset to own one. I may some day buy one but it will not be my only bike. If you are serious about owning I'd strongly suggest doing some in depth research first.
    #17
  18. ABHooligan

    ABHooligan The Flying Mythos

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    Which one will be more forgiving when you drop it in a driveway or parking lot, making those newbie mistakes we all make? If you bought a used, loved KLR, it won't depreciate much below what it is. The 07's were the almost the exact same as the 88's, so there's not a lot of market growth there. Don't let anybody kid you, KLR's are friggin rockets. Mine will do interstate speeds, and occasionally pass a car.

    I would point any new motorcycle owner toward a used dual-sport like a KLR or DR, just because they're cheap, cheap to fix, and very forgiving of those amateur mistakes (that a lot of veterans still make). If it doesn't jive with you after a few thousand miles, sell it and upgrade to the BMW. Neither is a fully-faired tourer that's gonna give you much protection in the cold.
    #18
  19. Al Goodwin

    Al Goodwin Long timer

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    The KLR was built unchanged for 21 years....parts-o-plenty, world-wide.....

    Needless to say I ride an '06 KLR with 60,000 miles on it, rode into work this morning it was 21 degrees outside, a 36 mile commute.

    I've ridden 500 mile days solo, 400 mile days 2-up....I even raced the Perry Mountain 24 Hour Challenge on it, rode it to the race and home the next day after the finish. The best bike I've ever owned.

    True about depreciation, but, the KLR drops off quickly although it levels off in the $2400-$3200 range. You can find '92 models for $2500....and '05 models for $2500.....

    Ok....that's my $.02 worth, but when it comes to an affordable adventure bike, none better than the do-it-all KLR.
    #19
  20. willis 2000

    willis 2000 neo-quixote

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    I am going to presume you are quite a wrench to even think of taking a 20-40 year old moto around the world. Leave the romance of the airhead to the experienced hands. Maybe get one later when your relatively trouble-free Japanese cycle leaves you jaded.
    #20