Which is better off-road - KLR or 990Adventure?

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by ANutt, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. ANutt

    ANutt Keyboard Adventurer

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    (KLR 650, BTW) Seriously, which is better on rutted out, rough forest roads and double-track? Which is better on the road? Would appreciate any input.
    #1
  2. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

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    Depends if the KLR has had the doohickey mod done or not.

    These two bikes are so similar in every other way it would have to come down
    to the doohickey. No seriously.
    #2
  3. ANutt

    ANutt Keyboard Adventurer

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    You're a funny guy Pluric. :rofl
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  4. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fotografist

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    :evil "da milk crate mafia thanks ya for yer kindness"
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  5. DaveStockwell

    DaveStockwell Rock Fodder

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    I'll agree with the input so far. I've ridden both and own a KLR650. The KLR is a great bike and you'd be hard pressed to find anything better for the price. The KTM is much more refined across the board but costs more.

    • The KLR will leave you with a lot more cash for farkles and motels.
    • The KTM will handle the high speeds both on and off road better.
    • The KLR is very inexpensive to maintain and has decades of aftermarket suportting it.
    • The KTM can leave you in the cold with the nearest dealer a full state away.
    • I believe the KTM is lighter so picking it up multiple times in a sand filled day will be easier on your back.
    • The KTM comes in cooler looking colors.

    Hope this helps!
    #5
  6. T-FAST

    T-FAST Adventurer

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    Is the KTM really worth the price? I really like it, but dang its expensive.
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  7. Unkgd

    Unkgd Been here awhile

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    For me it was no contest. I found the KLR to be underpowered on the road and way under suspended off the road - but that is indicative of how I ride and how big I am (6'3, 235 lb w/gear). If you are a smaller or more sedate rider, then it might be a closer call.

    Without a doubt the KTM is more expensive to buy, maintain and operate than a KLR. For me the cost difference is well worth it as it feels and acts much more like a dirt bike than the KLR.

    As far as being easier to pick up from dirt nap than a KLR, I would find that hard to believe. That is its biggest issue for me, when it lies on the ground it is to quote a friend of mine " a 500 pound 2X4".
    Which is why I know also have a 500 EXC for the more challenging offroad material :evil
    #7
  8. Afry

    Afry Why hike?

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    All is true except the above

    And the real answer is....the 950se is what you want.
    #8
  9. WARRIORPRINCEJJ

    WARRIORPRINCEJJ Not in the clique...

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    Really? My SE spent a buttload of time on my trailer (broken).

    So, if a 990 Adventure is similar, and the truck pulling the trailer is a 4X4, then I would say that the 990 could be just as capable (offroad) as a KLR...




    ...as long as the trailer could squeeze through the trail.

    .
    #9
  10. Mulewright

    Mulewright Old Fart/Journeyman

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    Buy a late model KLR,do the following upgrades: Gold Valves & springs in the forks, Progressive shock & spring, Eagle Mike forkbrace, Em's Doohickey upgrade, 685 top end kit (also from EM's), subframe bolt upgrade kit, Bars, Grips& seat of your choice and the KLR would run much closer to the KTM off road when the almost Double horsepower is not a factor.
    Extended hi speed (meaning over 8o indicated) is not That bad on a properly sorted KLR... I put over 35,000 miles in a year on mine on mostly I-roads often at over 85 (gps) on SEVERAL trips of 325~600 miles at a time in that year with nothing more than standard maintnance & using a bit of oil.
    BUT the money you would save even with all of the "Upgrades" to the KLR will leave you with THOUSANDS of dollers in the bank to buy gas, farkels & trip money vs. the KTM Buy in & maintenance difference..
    That being said; I sold the KLR after 26 months of that kind of usage & replaced it with a V Strom 1000, Much better suited to my needs / usage.
    My local dealer is a KTM / Kawasaki / Suzuki / Polaris / Dealer. The owner rides a 300XC off road & a Z 1000 on road.I had asked him about why not a 990 KTM dualsport and he shot me a look and said 'I look That crazy?' not more than 100 miles off unless I had a chase truck!
    That told me what I needed to know.....:ear
    #10
  11. Dingaan

    Dingaan n00b

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    Comparing a Kawasaki KLR to a KTM 990 Adventure/ SE is like comparing a Volkswagen Beetle to a Porche 911 Turbo, the cost to maintain though, are just about similar... :evil
    #11
  12. AviatorTroy

    AviatorTroy Long timer

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    All that and you will still have a fat, slow, overweight, underpowered pig!
    #12
  13. steveWFL

    steveWFL Long timer

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    harshness [​IMG]
    #13
  14. E-town dirt dude

    E-town dirt dude Been here awhile

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    Or...for a bit less money than the KTM you could look at a Triumph Tiger 800XC or BMW F800GS. Both are offroad capable but have very different feels to them.
    #14
  15. DaveStockwell

    DaveStockwell Rock Fodder

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    Yep, got that one backwards. Sorry gents.
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  16. Mulewright

    Mulewright Old Fart/Journeyman

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    Given the choices you put forward & after riding all of the choices, I would have absoloutly no choice but plunk MY money down for the 800XC.
    The GS for some reason never blew up my skirt ( nothing really "fits" me on it) & the ktm just plain Sucks after 100 miles on the road.
    I may well replace the V Strom with one when / if I wear it out in the next few years... who knows?
    #16
  17. Adanac rider

    Adanac rider The Great Gazoo

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    Good question, :nod Too bad Dirt bike didn't choose to put a big bore kit on the bike in their up graded klr test.A 45 hp klr might be just enough.
    #17
  18. ANutt

    ANutt Keyboard Adventurer

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    This is my point; after doing all this, you still have a KLR that is worth what a KLR is worth.
    My choice is between a '08 990 with 10k miles on it that is already set up the way I want with seat/racks/grips, etc., or the stock, pre-farkled '12 KLR that I have, which I can sell for what I have in it. We plan to do the eastern half of the TAT this June, so the bike has to be dirt-capable and pick-upable, if that's a word. I'm 6'3", 240lbs. but I'm also 51 years old and less bulletproof than I used to think I was. Given my size/weight, the KLR will need suspension upgrades right off. Dependability means more to me than power.
    #18
  19. Kawidad

    Kawidad Long timer

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    Then stick with the Kawq.

    I've owned a 950 Adventure and it was a brilliant motorcycle, but it was the most undependable vehicle I've ever owned. The KTMs have hit and miss quality control and some strange engineering. The Kool aid drinkers will shout from the roof tops that KTMs are the best thing ever, and some of them may be, but other are not. The 9x0 line is, IMO, not ready for prime time, unlike their smaller bikes.

    A KLR out of the box has some issues, but they are well known and easily cured for very little money, but it will never be as capable as the big Katoom.
    #19
  20. T-FAST

    T-FAST Adventurer

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    Good point. The only upside I can see to getting a KLR is that it allows me to have two bikes, but If I really want one of the nicer bikes I would have to sell my zrx...
    #20