The best 650 thumper?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by dirtrider2010, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. dirtrider2010

    dirtrider2010 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    14
    Make? Model? Honda, Yamaha? Early 2000's KLR 650 vs an early 2000's 650 GS? Reliability issues?
    #1
  2. Zecatfish

    Zecatfish XTique Rider

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    7,928
    Location:
    Arkansas USA
    I would suggest you start reading threads on the 650 class thumpers.
    KLR thread, XT600 thread, DR650 thread, KTM Lc4 thread, Husky TE610 thread, and even the BMW Xchallenge thread.

    Just from what I've read here, the top three engines, DR650, XT600, Rotax 650 in the Xchallenge.

    Best stock suspensioned bikes, Husky TE610, KTM Adventure and enduro, so your question is very subjective.

    Most loved 650 might have to be the KLR, either because its cheap, or just the sear numbers of them sold. :D
    #2
  3. dirtrider2010

    dirtrider2010 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    14
    I've heard from many that the KLR in recent years has become a "cult bike" so easy to acquire and maintain, its almost pointless to look elsewhere. I just don't know about their reliability. I have limited mechanical ability and would feel comfortable working with a KLR, but my other choice would be a 650 GS which I don't think I would feel comfortable working on myself. But i'll definitely look into the DR650...
    #3
  4. ShadyRascal

    ShadyRascal Master of None

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,577
    Location:
    Whippin' Scutt Farkus
    [​IMG]












    :1drink
    #4
  5. gmiguy

    gmiguy You rode a what to where?

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,340
    Location:
    Western NC
    No better place to learn than a KLR. The bike's simple, all the issues are known and have well-documented fixes, and it tolerates abuse well.

    DRs are actually a bit simpler, but don't have quite the enthusiast knowledge base that exists for the KLR.

    And the best 650 thumper is the one that fits you best. Go sit on a bunch and it'll be pretty obvious which one is right for you.
    #5
  6. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Oddometer:
    7,768
    Location:
    Southern New Jersey
    The best is a dr650.
    #6
  7. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Oddometer:
    7,768
    Location:
    Southern New Jersey
    Oh, best at what, drag racing?
    #7
  8. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2005
    Oddometer:
    11,260
    Location:
    Tampa
    Best really depends on mission, though regardless of mission it isn't a KLR :lol3

    I have an XR650R and it served its purpose really well and probably better than anything else available (the mission was fairly focused though - needed something cheap that I could buy used, then race for 534 miles with no prep work, then ride another 2k miles with nothing but basic maintenance).

    For a more street oriented dual sport I'd take the DR over the KLR. The enthusiast thing is a bit off I think - you can get most anything for a DR. Want a 55hp, 780cc monster? No problem. I've yet to see a KLR pushed that far (though I've seen plenty of them pushed =p). The BMW 650 single (the funduro-style one) is a great bike too, though even more road-biased.
    #8
  9. Teambarr

    Teambarr Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    VT
    Every person you ask is going to tell you something different and I can prove it. The best 650 thumper is the G650xChallenge. I just rode in Moab for the last 5 days with no issues. You will not find a motorcycle with a 6k mile oil change plan. 53hp. Top speed 105mph. Sips fuel. Tuff, I dumped it many, many times with no damage. And now because they are no longer made they are cheap to get into. Do nor listen to those that claim you have to replace or upgrade suspension parts. There is no issue with it's handling in the front or rear end. I just turn the key nag ride, ride, ride.

    But I could be bias.

    And EFI kicks ass!
    #9
  10. dirtrider2010

    dirtrider2010 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    14
    Mission is weekend rides with dshallum and longer trips like route 66 from chitown to LA or nashville (where we live) to key largo for dive trips. backroads the whole way. time isn't as much of an issue as fuel economy and the ability to comfortably ride trails and a dirt track or two.
    #10
  11. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    9,649
    Location:
    By the Great Lakes
    For that much road mileage, with plenty of dirt ability, used DR650, WR250R, or X-Challenge. The BMW EFI 650 single is a smooth gas-sipper when cruising, with a lot of power on tap. The DR650 with mods is simpler and usually cheaper, but won't pull the same performance with the same MPG. The WR250R has a bit less power than either, but is capable of running most highways and getting better MPG than the DR650. Check 'em out and see what suits you.

    The other euro performance-oriented dualsports aren't known for being economical over lots of mileage. They typically like frequent maintenance, and gas. Lots of gas.
    #11
  12. LngRidr

    LngRidr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    183
    Location:
    Colbert, GA
    Clearly the KLR 650 would be the superior bike.
    #12
  13. smoltz

    smoltz Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    72
    Location:
    NH
    Since no one has said it yet, I'll say it, the best thumper is the XR650L.

    There, I said it.

    Seriously though, they all have their pros and cons. Off road ability, mileage range, reliability, on road ability, seat height, mechanical simplicity. They all have different pros and cons. There are a lot of threads here and on thumpertalk comparing different models.

    The best advice I can give though is to go and drive all the ones you can and if you can't drive em, sit on em, take your time, preferably find a used dealer that has a selection of different models, sit on all of them. Go from there and then research how the bikes you like line up with your needs such as mechanical simplicity (if that's your thing).

    Once you buy something, enjoy it. If you hate it, not the end of the world, just sell it and buy something else. If its a bike you plan on having for 5 years and you lose a grand on the switch but are happy in the end, I say so what.

    -Adam
    #13
  14. sintax

    sintax Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    So.Cal
    simple.... 2002 or later XR650R
    #14
  15. GRN

    GRN Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    36
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    From the perspective of a new guy on this scene (30 years street bikes, last 15 primarily sport touring) who wants a go just about anywhere bike that still has the legs and capacity for touring, the DR650 won with me hands down.

    From my perspective, few if any are really great street bikes if you're coming onto the scene fresh from a list of truly great handling street bikes... so the name of the game IMO is how well it balances it's street capabilities with it's off road capabilities. In the 650 class the KLR struck me as the better street bike of the lot, the XR maybe the best in the dirt when ridden hard in very demanding environments, and the DR the better balance of the three having better off road capability than the KLR, and better touring capability than the XR.

    But what do I know?
    #15
  16. Ben99r1

    Ben99r1 Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,112
    Location:
    Pomona, Calif.
    Dirtrider. I have a Xrl that I really like to ride on the dirt. Its ok on the road. Any bike can be made to work for what you want. But with all the road miles you are wanting to do. I would go with the bmw 650gs. Its probably the best bike for the road. Its also not the worst on the dirt. That's from a xr650l HARDCORE owner. Ben
    #16
  17. nijkamp

    nijkamp n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    5
    I'd go for a 690 enduro which is/has
    - lots of power
    - good suspension
    - crappy headlight (R version)
    - 654 cc
    - super brakes
    - no vibrations
    - 139 kg ready to race (all liquids, no fuel)
    - highway-able

    But is not cheap
    #17
  18. coletrain

    coletrain All aboard!

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    480
    Location:
    Davie, FL
    The F650GS is easy to work on IMO. I have no mechanic experience. You should try riding every bike you are considering to see the differences in riding characteristics. The FI F650 probably gets the best fuel economy and long distance comfort out of the bunch. Its all debatable which is best. No one bike can do all things (milage, street, dirt, power, ect.) perfectly, but these single 650 thumper bikes can do it all at various levels of proficiency. Some are better than others on street, some are better than others on dirt. Just buy the cheapest one, ride the crap out of it, sell it and repeat until you find the one you like. :lol3
    #18
  19. StepOnIt

    StepOnIt Assitoner

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,059
    Location:
    Huntsville ON.
    Yes i know it is not a 650cc but can run with them anyway. It is a great on and off road bike that can travel far on a tank of gas. But that said there are soooo many different types of bike and depends on what YOU want to do with the bike. Good cheap and easy to fix KLR 650 all the way, more power and more power then the KTM 690. Good on road and great off road. but most of the time it comes down to price or we would all be driving the rally versions of our bikes.
    #19
  20. dirtrider2010

    dirtrider2010 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    14
    good stuff guys. thanks. buddy of mine went from a DR650 to a ktm 990 and never looked back. buuuut he had the money for it. im leaning more toward the BMW 650 something. x or GS can't tell yet. i need to (like you all have said) get out and ride em!
    #20