KLR650 or R100GS

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

  1. advNZer?

    advNZer? Long timer

    Dec 31, 2008
    Wellington,New Zealand
    Have you actually owned a airhead.The internet makes it sound like a airhead breaks down every week.Not true.They have some well known faults,just like the KLR.Once sorted they are very very reliable,and they are easy to fix.Parts may be even more universal than KLRs.
  2. GypsyWriter

    GypsyWriter Yup, I'm a girl.

    Aug 28, 2009
    Visalia CA
    I'm in a similar boat, trying to decide whether to keep my '88 R100GS or look for a DR650 set up for adventure rides (like South America etc). I love the R100 (only recently got it so I'm still learning how it works), and any long and dirty trips would be a while from now, but I test rode a DR650 and thought it was a nice little engine (although the bike itself was set up poorly IMO). My 1200GS is about to be hacked (getting a sidecar added) but I think I'd be more inclined to have something simpler for any kind of RTW-esque trips. The airheads continue to do long distances (this one only has 33k miles) and its in my possession, but the idea of the dirt-simple DR is tantalizing.

    Grr. Too many danged bikes to choose from!!
  3. Wlfman

    Wlfman Long timer

    Sep 6, 2011
  4. TheWorstKind

    TheWorstKind In the Wind

    Nov 18, 2007
    Virginia Beach, VA, USA
    I've had three KLRs and they were fine machines. The only real shortcoming that I was unable to fix was the weak electrical output. Yes, I know, there is a slightly bigger stator available, but it still isn't enough juice. This lack of wattage will limit the heated clothing you can wear, probably to gloves only. If freeway and cold weather riding are your primary decision drivers, then the BMW is the better bike. My guess is, regardless of which one you buy, it probably won't be your last! :D
  5. AviatorTroy

    AviatorTroy Long timer

    Oct 15, 2007
    Castle Rock, CO
    That's funny because I had a KLR and it was the biggest POS I ever owned. Bought it new, it was nothing but trouble, spent more than half the time I owned it in the shop for warranty or down for maintenance of one kind or another. Oh, my favorite part, was that I only had it 2 years and it was worth half of what I paid for it when I sold it.

    My 1200GS on the other hand has been flawless and truly capable of taking what I have dished out at it and more.

    I'm sure the R100GS would be the same.

    KLR advantages.... Cheap!

    GS advantages.... Everything else!
  6. Bucho

    Bucho DAMNrider

    Dec 10, 2006
    Everything is relative. Coming from dirtbikes and riding only thumpers on the street. I felt my brothers KLR650 was pretty nice on the highway, (same thing w/ my buddies KLR I rode a few times.) Smooth with decent wind protection. Yes, its not a powerhouse on the open road. Especially compared to more powerful street bikes. Where I thought it was fine. My brother hated it and eventually sold it. His bike before it was a Suzuki Bandit 1200 and he just couldn't get used to the 35 horsepower thumper. He said it was okay on a dirt road, but hated it while riding to said dirtroad.

    I prefer thumpers, but have fun either way.
  7. AteamNM

    AteamNM Wonna Be ADVrider

    Mar 3, 2010
    Sandia Mountains New Mexico
    All you need to ride a motorcycle around the world cheaply; is a KLR and a milk crate. :huh

    Apples and oranges. Tooling around on dirt roads, hauling a shit load of gear, cheap to maintain then get a KLR. Cool factor, BMW, Bring More Wallet or Big Money Waster.

    From a guy who has a wife driving a 545 IL.
  8. Al Goodwin

    Al Goodwin Long timer

    Nov 16, 2007
    Cullman, Alabama
    61,000 miles....1 valve adjustment......Just lots of tires and.oil changes.

  9. luxlogs

    luxlogs Been here awhile

    Nov 3, 2010
    Joliet IL
    Get the Airhead GS and join The Airheads, save your repairs for local Tech Days and you only pay for parts and Beer.:freaky

    Best $25 dollars of Motorcycle Money I ever spent.
  10. RPKLR

    RPKLR Adventurer

    Oct 3, 2006
    Buffalo,Frozen North
    I 've had 4 airheads and spent a LOT of miles on a friend's R100GS/Dakar(in Europe). Then I rode my first KLR in '89. Sold the last Airhead and never looked back. Why ? Because the KLR just handled the pavement so much better. The Germans didn't call them "Gummy Cows" for nothing.

    Coming up on 100K miles on 3 KLR's since.

    Just my $.02.
  11. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

    Nov 20, 2009
    Hiding off Hwy 6, B.C.
    I had a GS for 17 years. Sold it 5 years ago as it needed some pretty expensive head and maybe transmission work.:wink: Then last year bought another one as an easy project believing some of the BS the mechanic/PO fed me.:huh Not worth fixing, price of parts is through the roof and yes they do fail expensively, had more than a few of them "expensive" failures in 17 years. :eek1

    Now I use the K1200RS as an ADV bike, another one that's expensive on maintenance but funnily enough, I take it to almost the same places I used to take the GS. Even funnier.....don't see too many of them newer GSs there.

    Looking for a big ADV thumper now, probably won't be a KLR but Eh!......you never know.:wink:
  12. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

    Dec 10, 2005
    Yes. I'd rather have a bike that I can dump on its side occasionally without worry. It simply makes trying new things more enjoyable.

    My '01 KLR powers my 90W jacket just fine along with other smaller additions. I have not made any power-saving changes to the bike, it is stock plus additional stuff.
  13. anchorman11

    anchorman11 loaded

    Feb 1, 2012
    San Francisco
    If you don't have a lot of dirt experience then I'd say go for a 650 single. Maybe even a 450 single. I've got the beemer (09 g650gs) and when my dad and I were on a month long trip on the CDT (we both have a lot of dirt experience) I was able to make my beemer move just as quick, and a lot of times quicker, through the dirt than him on his KLR with his new fork springs and emulators. If you really wanted to move through the dirt and be able to carry just enough gear to get you by you should go find used XR650R... not that piece of shit L model.
  14. XRman

    XRman Long timer

    Dec 9, 2006
    SW Victoria Oz
    I think a Suzuki V strom 650 twin cylinder should be considered. Good on roads. OK on simple dirt roads and can do slow off road sections if absolutely necessary ( add under bike armour) . Cheap and reliable. They have a big following. 2012 model has better suspension, lighter and abit more go I think.
  15. foxj

    foxj Adventurer

    Sep 4, 2004
    Lots of good points here. Best thing to do is try out the KLR, the BMW 650 GS single, the 650 twin, the 1200 GS, adn maybe the Suzuki Wee Strom 650. Allare good bikes (and you will find occasional clunkers in each). I have ridden all at some point. I currently own a KLR 650 2002 (bought it new in 2002), a BMW R1100RT 1996 (bought it used from a fellow BMW club member) and a Triumph Scrambler 2009. Got pretty much all of the bases covered with these 3 bikes (though I still lust after other bikes too). I have given thought to getting a Triumph 800 XC (test rode it, a very nice bike), a BMW G650 or F650 or even a BMW 1200 GS. BUT if I absolutely had to get down to just 1 bike -- and I'm not there yet ad hope not to be -- I would keep the KLR 650 for many of the reasons already cited:
    1. cheaper and much easier to maintain than the others
    2. lightest of the 3 -- a plus in picking up a dropped bike and in handling (although the Scrambler is a close second in handling -- the RT is fine under speed but is more of a chore in low speed handling and certainly is not the choice for any off road)
    3. The seat height and seating position are great for me -- 6 foot 2, 195 lbs.
    4. It is basic uncomplicated bike

    Yes, of the 3 it is slower, lower top speed, vibrates and consumes oil at higher RPMs, does have the wind/weather protection of the RT, not as pretty as the RT or as classic as the Scrambler but as an all around jack of all trades master of none, it is a great bike. I've made lots of upgrades -- suspension, seat, luggage, bash plate, controls, taller windshield, moose hand guards, etc -- but that's the great thing about it -- you can do all this at once or as you get to know the bike better.

    My 2 cents plus. Good luck with your choice.

  16. Thanantos

    Thanantos Ride hard.

    Jul 17, 2008
    How do you know the OP is not a woman? Or that "his woman" wouldn't ride her own bike?
  17. Super.

    Super. n00b

    Nov 7, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I bought a KLR 650, thanks for the advice!
  18. blues

    blues Long timer

    Feb 29, 2004
    Burlington VT
    And the adventure begins! Enjoy