klr650 VS motorbicycle?

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by Burtonridr, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. Burtonridr

    Burtonridr Wanderlost

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    I know this is more of a personal preference, however I would like to discuss some of the pros and cons of traveling with either. I know there are people here that could quickly point out not so obvious problems or benefits of traveling with each.

    So to start let me inform you of what Im planning to do. Im planning to travel all over the united states, canada, mexico, further south possibly, Maybe go to africa to visit my grandma in guinea (probably wont take the bike for that, just fly over, so that may or may not be relevant). I have the gear I need to travel by either method, I plan to basically travel as a minimalist. I dont know how long I will travel, I plan to take jobs and stay in places as long as needed to get money to travel to the next location. I want to just live as a nomad for awhile, Im not taking a 1 or 2 month joy ride where I have all the money I need to go there and back. I feel it will give me a better over all understanding of the local cultures and make me appreciate things more when I return as well as hopefully help me find what I want to do and where I would like to live, etc.. I want to travel to Africa to help my grandma teach the locals in a trade school how to build power generators for wind or water applications as well as make minor repairs to solar generators. She has set up an organization that is building a trade school to teach many things to the locals.

    So a little about my mode of transportation options.

    The KLR650 is a 2001 I think with about 8k miles on it. The first owner hit a deer and messed it up really bad, the second owner fixed it up and used it as a dirt bike basically. I fixed it up a little more, I have added a tank bag, saddle bags, handguards, protaper handle bars, new tires with less than 500 miles on them (they are kendas I think). I just replaced the forks seals and bushings in one fork, it has been dying lately after I close the throttle to slow down. I think it is because the rust inside the tank has clogged something in the fuel lines or jet or carb. I want to add a larger plastic fuel tank to solve 3 issues, no more rust, it will protect my radiator in a crash, and it holds more gas. It gets about 50mpg.

    The motorbicycle is pretty solid I think, its extremely to fix and work on and runs good. It is however a 2-stroke motor. It uses a mixture of 30 to 1. It will do 40mph, though I dont think I want to move that fast, 30mph is ok by me. It has its benefits but its ability to carry any amount of wieght is limited. I would have to rig it with a rack on the back to help take some load off my backpack. It gets about 150mpg and has a 1/2 gallon tank, Im going to get a kolpin fuel pack Jr 1.25 gallon container to carry on the rear rack. That would give me a range of 262 miles.

    Anyways, so what pros and cons can any see between the two, Im really leaning towards the motorbicycle route because of is simplicity and low cost to run and maintain, But I want to hear what all you more experienced people have to say :D
    #1
  2. scorch

    scorch Poser

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    motorbicycle you mean a moped?

    Post a pic of both. :)



    I would go with a klr650 mainly because its more comfy, and you could enjoy the sorroudings more.

    If you want to get great mpg on the klr650, then ride slow you could probably see 50-60mpg.
    #2
  3. VelvtRide

    VelvtRide i can haz a motrsykle?

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    I would post this in Thumpers. You'll get much more action/responses.
    #3
  4. Burtonridr

    Burtonridr Wanderlost

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    I mean a bicycle with an engine strapped to it, check out this link to see the kit these guys sell. I have it rigged to a mountain bike though.

    http://www.kingsmotorbikes.com/Motorized_Bikes.htm

    Thanks, I will try that :D
    #4
  5. approachbears

    approachbears 250cc is 50cc too many

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    Maybe take a look at some of the bicycle forums (though I suspect they'll be just as uninterested in the motorcycle as the folks here seem to be in a bicycle). Definitely look for bicycle maps cross country--they'll really help you stay on easy backroads and off highways (which in lots of states its illegal to use a motorized bicycle on). But, for what its worth...

    My brother rode a motorized bicycle from New York City to Iowa City a few years back. It was a 33cc, 2 stroke strapped on the back of a higher end mtn bike (Fisher if I remember correctly) with street tires. He bolted some plastic buckets front and back as hard panniers. The motor was friction drive on the back wheel, unlike the bikes on the link you provided. This set up started to wear thru the tire fairly quick. But the frame of a mtn bike (with more confortable handle bars) is probably a better long distance set up than the cruiser style on your link.

    Some days he just pedalled instead of using the motor. I don't think the daily speed/distance traveled was much different using the motor or not.

    My brother did a lot of research into different engines. A lot are pretty low quality that just won't last that long. He was really into a Minarelli engine that mounts beside the wheel. It got a lot of good online reviews overseas, but he could never find one here in the US. These days my brother is considering buying a Kikker 5150 (available in either 50 or 110cc) for a semi-cross country ride.

    Have you thought about an electric bicycle? There are some really good new offerings from Schwinn.
    #5
  6. Burtonridr

    Burtonridr Wanderlost

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    Yea not many people are interested in bicycles here, but I knew that someone like yourself would chime in eventualy:D

    How would I charge an electric bike on the road? The ones I have seen only go like 30 miles before they need to be recharged.
    #6
  7. Django Loco

    Django Loco Banned

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    If the bicycle is that easy to fix and ride, then I'd go that way.
    I would tow a small, lightweight bicycle trailer for all your gear. They ride
    really nice and can hold quite a bit. This way you don't risk breaking your bike frame, bending /destroying wheels or getting flats. (as often)

    I would make sure you bring plenty of piston/ring kits. A spare cylinder, O rings, gaskets, seals, and a new pipe. Crossing Africa or S. America or Asia
    would be a challenge....but if you know your machine, have the tools and skills and parts, you will be fine....just take it easy and allow Years instead of months.

    The trailer is good because anytime you get somewhere, you can unhitch it,
    leave it someplace safe and go exploring on your bike unemcumbered. This will work.

    Take the bicycle!!
    #7
  8. klxmack

    klxmack king of the box

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    The other day a kid rolls his schwinn mountain bike in our service department of our big metro motorcycle store. He was real proud of his new toy. He had a really neat (I think Chinese) aluminum motor tucked into the frame. It reminded me of the ducati Cucciolo motor. This was the first Ducatis made after WW2. http://www.bikepics.com/ducati/cucciolo/
    I said to the kid " congratulations, now you have the worlds slowest motorcycle and the worlds heaviest mountain bike".
    The service manager fell to the floor rolling in shits and giggles.
    Hey ride a KLR or ride a mountain bike, don’t mix them up. I ride both and love them.


    Cheers
    #8
  9. srileo

    srileo dot Indian snakecharmer

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    I am all for the motor bicycle!! dammit think of the smiiles you'll get all along the way! you will see more, experience more and it looks like you have a lot of time to get to where you are going. Think of all the carnets, documentation and what not crap you will be avoiding along the way.

    If you are savvy enough to take apart the engine yourself and fix it as you go (if needed), i think you will be on to something really cool, cheap and hassle-free. Added benefit will be the goodwill you will generate from the local populations.

    A little bicycle trailer behind you will not be a bad idea at all. in fact it is esssential! Go for it. KLRs be damned!
    #9
  10. petefromberkeley

    petefromberkeley -

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    Those motor bicycle engines are really cheap, made in China numbers. I can't believe you wouldn't have non-stop major componant failures. Then, yeah, it would just be a really heavy mountain bike most of the time.
    #10
  11. Zecatfish

    Zecatfish XTique Rider

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    Most locales they're illegal too, its no consiered a moped, if you really want a slow reliable conveyence get a Tomos moped they can run for 10k miles reliably and they're cheap. My preference would be the KLR reliable to a fault.
    #11
  12. TangoBravoMike

    TangoBravoMike n00b - (not)

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    Take a look at the chain drive engine kits by Staton Inc. at http://www.staton-inc.com/. You can choose between 2 stroke and 4 stroke engines. I'd favor the 4 stroke for the simplicity of fueling. You can get Honda 35 and 50 cc engines, and I'd expect them to be very reliable.

    Staton also sells friction drive kits, and it's worth considering the pros and cons of friction versus chain drive. I'd favor chain drive.

    I have pondered the motorcycle vs. motorized bicycle question myself. For me, the ability to ride backwoods fire service roads pushes the decision toward a small thumper motorcycle. I don't want to be chained to blacktop and concrete roads. Also, being able to crank up to 55 mph is useful to get to a campsite or the next town when bad weather is threatening. I'm leaning toward the Yamaha TW200, but any single cylinder of 250cc or less would do fine. I like the KLR650 (especially for its 6+ gallon fuel tank!!!) but as I don't have much experience on dirt bikes, I'd rather start with a much smaller machine. My motorcycling experience is fairly modest, something like 15000 miles all on various street bikes. I have a Honda 750 4 cylinder in the garage, Magna model, and it's nice and smooth and fast, but not what anybody would choose for a slow cross country ride on back roads, dirt, gravel, and trails.

    Your original post sounds like you already own both a KLR650 and a motorized bicycle, so my comments may not be very useful since I'd choose different machines for both alternatives. Given what you own, I'd choose the bicycle if it's reliable. The slower you go, the more you'll see. Just be ready to change that rear tire a couple times, since the drive system will considerably more than double the tire wear.
    #12
  13. Burtonridr

    Burtonridr Wanderlost

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    I decided to go with neither one, The KLR (that I owned) just wasnt reliable in my mind and to large and heavy for me to handle by myself in a crappy situation.... The motorbicycle is to small, cannot carry enough, the engine would be absolutely pushed to its limits, to slow(I would like to be able to do atleast 55 mph while traveling up to alaska and around the states), Then there was the real deal breaker... the gear inside the bicycle that enables the pedals to not spin while coasting broke, so I couldnt pedal at all, which means I couldnt start it... So after a lot of thinking and researching I narrowed it down to a suzuki dr350s or a yamaha xt350.. I got a good deal on a xt350 first so I took it. It is a 2000 with 7k miles on it, and in exellent condition, I went riding on it this last friday at an OHV park, that thing is a blast, its a little unstable when its super windy and your going 65mph, but it performed great on highway and off road :D

    Sorry to all of you who looked forward to my delightfuly miserable motorbicycle report:D
    #13
  14. Django Loco

    Django Loco Banned

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    I didn't know Yamaha still imported the XT350 to the USA???

    Even back in 2000, I thought this bike was long gone. Has it ever been updated from what it was back in the 90's? Did Baja with some guys back in '93 or so...a buddy had an XT350. I rode it one day and it was truly a cruel joke. Don't mean to rain on your parade but the Suzuki is literally a 10 year newer design with significant upgrades.

    A MUCH better RTW bike in SO many ways.

    Better suspension is one main thing. (XT forks are tooth picks) Bigger forks, stronger chassis, better wheels, more power, stone reliable.

    The XT is reliable too and the seat is wider than the DR350 but other than that, the DR leaves the XT eating dust in every other way...especially in off road performance. The other thing was that the DR ended up with a huge following and good support in the aftermarket, one of the first bikes that equaled the KLR in use as a dual sport adventure touring bike.

    Check out : Multisurface Motorcycling for more on the DR350, the KLR and the DR650.

    The XT350 had almost no support and has essentially been forgotten, where as the DR350 is still quite a popular bike and still supported today.

    But since your coming off pedals...then the XT is the best ever..for you! :lol3

    Honestly, if you're looking at bikes in this range/weight, I'd spend a few more bucks the get the best in class for your purposes: DRZ400S Suzuki.
    Best of all worlds in this class.
    #14
  15. Burtonridr

    Burtonridr Wanderlost

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    I rode the XT350 last weekend probably the hardest it will ever be rode last friday and it did just fine. The only thing I dont enjoy is that it doesnt have an electric start, its taking some getting used to. Other than that its a joy to ride. I know the DR is a great bike, but the from what I have read from the owners of the bikes, it is a very reliable and good bike over all. So Im ok with the little XT :D
    #15