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. MrMac

    MrMac Been here awhile

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    +1.. And believe me, I tried. I had a DL650, and after months of trying to keep up with my buddies on KLR's riding off-road, I finally broke down and got one myself. No comparison.
    #41
  2. TheLorax

    TheLorax Comitted Lurker

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    It's not even a valid question.

    If you are really going off-road, you would never take a bike the size of the KTM. If you are talking soft-core ADV riding (like the TAT), the KTM is a great bike (though a little thirsty). Then again, the KLR is hardly an off-road all-star. There are as many opinions on best off-road bike as there are opinionated people on this forum.

    The KLR sells because it is cheap, easy and fairly effective at certain things. Mine is set up as a pack mule for real ADV travel and rarely sees highway speed. Is it the best bike on the planet????? hardly. But it has delivered far beyond the money invested many times over and few bikes can say that.

    If you want a valid answer, you need to change the question. If you wish to incite bashing from opinionated hooligans, carry on as you were, they will not disappoint.
    #42
  3. acesandeights

    acesandeights Asperger

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    Guy I know that does suspension work typically works on the more expensive bikes. Why, because they need suspension mods too.

    I haven't met an owner of any brand that didn't want the suspension dialed in for them, especially riders going x-country or that weighed 200+ lbs plus luggage. Not a pro or con for either bike mentioned, but I'd want suspension upgrades right off whether I bought Kaw or KTM. They may be less expensive with the KTM because you're starting off with better components to begin with, but I'd still want it sprung/stacked/shimmed for me and my riding style.
    #43
  4. Gryphon12

    Gryphon12 Long timer

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    Ok, for a guy 6'3" tall and 240 lbs, the choices are different than they are for me at 5'10" and 170 lbs (31" inseam). While the DR may feel small to the OP, it would probably feel like a WR250R or a 350 EXC-F does to me. I want the smaller bikes for the greater difficulty of Western TAT, but they are not required for the Eastern TAT (and what about after the trip?).

    At 240 lbs, ALL bikes will require suspension work if they are to function optimally. KTM 950/990 maintenance can be done by talented amateurs, with the right tools and patience, but they are certainly more mainteance intensive than the KLR's. KTM water pumps are critical failures on the 9xx bikes, and fuel economy flat out sucks - they are race engines, remember?

    All that said, you need a bike that fits both your body and your EXPECTATIONS.

    For reference, wet weights (lbs.) without any racks or luggage:

    Thumpers:
    335 KTM 690 Enduro-R
    351 Husky TE-630
    367 DR-650
    403 TR650 Terra
    405 TR650 Strada
    410 KTM 640 Adv (2004 model)
    435 KLR-650

    Beasts:
    432 KTM 950SE
    460 BMW F800GS
    462 Tiger 800 Roadie
    467 KTM 990 SM-T
    473 Tiger 800 XC
    [480 Honda XRV-750 Africa Twin - not in US]
    485 DL-650 V-Strom
    491 KTM 950 ADV
    495 BMW R1200GS 2007 (later versions are heavier)
    512 Tiger 1050
    530 DL-1000 V-Strom
    534 KTM 990 ADV
    595 Yamaha Super Tenere

    Ground clearance and suspension travel matter, too, and they are all different. Then there are tank size (and aftermarket tanks) for range, and load carrying capability. Read individual threads for details on each choice, then ride them. What fits me certainly won't fit the OP!
    #44
  5. DLFLHT

    DLFLHT I'm a little fuzzy

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    It's been years since I had a KLR and I don't think I ever took it where I had to pick it up, but KLRs are heavy for a 650 thumper. Seems like a DR650 would be a much better choice. I learned very quickly with my 990 that I don't care to pick that sumbitch up - takes all the fun out of the ride real quick. I gave up my big-bike adventure fantasies and bought an Explorer. At 570 pounds wet, my intention is not to pick that sucker up. If I'm going on anything but decent FS roads, it's going to be on something much smaller.
    #45
  6. burmbuster

    burmbuster Long timer

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    HEYYYYYY! Our Tiger bikes are not twins. They are triples!:D
    #46
  7. Gryphon12

    Gryphon12 Long timer

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    Oops! Ok, Ok, but I wanted to document the trends. Fixed.
    #47
  8. telejojo

    telejojo Been here awhile

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    The KLR will go anywhere the KTM will go and last just as long and leave you with a lot more money in your pocket......................:D
    #48
  9. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    Have you read BigDog's page on the TR650? - http://bigdogadventures.com/11HuskyTR650.htm From everything I've read, it seems like a fairly decent light duty off road bike that would be more enjoyable than the KLR, but obviously not as high strung as the KTM. My wife has an 06 F650GS with the rotax dual spark single and I really like that motor a lot and the fact the TR650 is a bit more dirt oriented and smaller/lighter is really appealing to me.

    Not sure if you are familiar with BigDog, but from his web page you can see he's done a ton of dual sport type riding over the years like the TAT, Continental Divide, Mobius, etc. I think he did the TAT originally on his KTM 950ADV years ago and has owned bikes like the Husky TE610, KLR650, WR250R, and now the TR650 is one of his latest ones he's been building up.

    I bought a really well modded '99 KLR650 for my TAT trip in 09 (TN->OK) and I just never clicked with that bike. I'm 6'4"/240lbs myself and that bike was setup for a tall rider. Guy I bought it from was 6'6" and had had the seat built up high plus suspension, 685cc kit, etc. I actually could not flat foot that KLR at 6'4"! :eek1 Regardless even with all that great suspension and height, I still didn't think it was that great off road and definitely didn't care for it on road. It served the purpose of the TAT, but it wasn't a bike I decided to keep around after the fact.

    I bought a Husky TE610 for my TAT trip in '12 and loved that bike, but I did feel it was a bit finicky for my liking and although I never had any issues, I decided not to keep it around too long. I bought a WR250R a couple months ago after reading Big Dog's reports and man I really am enjoying that bike. Super light and so easy to ride and actually fits me pretty well as tall as I am. Its actually a very smooth motor and does pretty well holding 65-70mph. I mostly got it though because my wife rides an XT225 and I wanted a small bike to enjoy riding with her.

    I've actually lusted after KTM 950/990's for a long time, and have ridden them several times, but I'd probably have to sell my Vstrom to get one and although I know the KTM would rock so much more off road, I'm just not sure I want to give up everything the Vstrom has to offer me on road. Maybe one day.

    BTW, I have a '98 DR650 I just bought on a whim to hold me over when I was shopping for my WRR, but its really starting to grow on me and I've decided to keep it around. It is a much smaller framed bike compared to the KLR, although the WRR is much smaller & lighter and my bike of preference when I'm really playing off road. The DR I use more as my exploring bike. One day, I think I'd like have a TR650 to take the place of the DR650. As for the DR, I'm actually enjoying it so much more than the KLR. The KLR definitely had the comfort going for it in stock form, but the DR is so much easier off road, even loaded down.
    #49
  10. cug

    cug --

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    And you'll hear about all those great stories about the KTM riders that started with you on the two week trip and were at the location you are now two days earlier ... :lol3
    #50
  11. burmbuster

    burmbuster Long timer

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    This is true unless the KTM senses that you have too much time and money on your hands. They have left their fair share of riders stranded. But when they run right they are hard to beat.
    #51
  12. 2 SPOT

    2 SPOT wannabe

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    there are many ways to look at this,,, i have seen my share of KTM owners who dont even ride to a KLR's potential and have no buisiness riding a performance bike other than they can. so who really cares what ya ride, just ride it.
    #52
  13. browneye

    browneye PIN IT & BANG GEARS

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    Seriously, if you have to ask then you should buy a KLR. They are great bikes for noobs. Most riders used to own one. A 950/990 will run circles around a KLR. That said, it does not mean it's the right bike for you.

    I've been a KTM fan from way before they were even KTM's - their light bikes are great but their big bikes suffer from component failure. So I wouldn't own one for that reason alone. A LOT of guys put up with the issues and keep them in shape and love them. They are a superior bike to everything comparable for tough going.

    The best choice is to get something and get started, and then you'll develop a circle of riding buddies, or focus in on how you really like to ride, and then a more clear choice of a motorcycle will become apparent.

    Somebody mentioned the DR650 - would take one over a KLR hands down.
    Any motorcycle over 350lbs is not 'fun' for tough going offroad. Riders make a bike selection based on where they intend to use it most and what best fits those intentions. You can't very well do that if you have no experience. No one can make that choice for you. That is why there are so many to choose from.
    #53
  14. MookieBlaylock

    MookieBlaylock Long timer

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    you have to pick the good years- 2006 undoubtedly the best for the 950 as most all of the issues worked out and with the nice carburation and then skip a few years until they worked out the fi and good again, but no doubt you have to be proactive with issues. DR and other low 300 lbs thumpers definitely easier to handle off pavement but these bikes are not about all dirt as they mostly get ridden to the dirt and the 9xx and little tiger etc are so much more of a hoot on broken pavement and twistys that it makes up for other shortcomings in the context of an all round bike
    #54
  15. browneye

    browneye PIN IT & BANG GEARS

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    All true.

    I looked at all the big adventure bikes, rode most of them. Narrowed it down to the Tenere, 990, or Tiger. I found a couple of inmates selling 990's that were nice. After some corespondence I told them I was changing directions and THEN they told me yeah, I've fiddled and fiddle with their bike to iron out EFI issues with only minor success. For a guy that rides WOT all the time they're just fine. For the rest of us it's a problem - I guess it's like a lightswitch, on or off. I have also heard the brand new ones are supposed to be a lot better. I liked the S10, but it was just too damn big for this 175lb weakling. :lol3 Besides, I'm getting old too, my back can't handle picking up a 500lb bike. Even the Tiger loaded is too much, but I don't drop it. :wink:

    One of our guys rides his 990 like a dirtbike. He's really good on it, taking it amazing places. Lots of distance riding, lots of dirt. I know they are really good for all terrain, but definitely not as smooth on road as the Tiger. The 990 with Acros sure sound great though, eh????

    I finally settled on the Tiger 800XC for so many reasons, weight being one of them, great for road and 2-up another, and a great value. Had a smaller Tenere been available, or one at least a hundred pounds lighter, I'd probly be a yammer guy. I also have a Husky TE630 that is also setup for camping off the bike. The two of these couldn't be more different in their comfort and capabilities. I think I have the best of all worlds. :D

    2012 Triumph Tiger 800XC

    [​IMG]

    2011 Husqvarna TE630

    [​IMG]
    #55
  16. ANutt

    ANutt Keyboard Adventurer

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    Great input from everyone. Thanks!
    Looks like I'm keeping the KLR, since I dropped it last weekend and it's no longer pristine. I will say, though, that when I low-sided it, it was nothing to pick it back up. I Don't know if that was adrenaline from the crash, or what, but I had no problem.
    I had a Super Tenere for a year (a record for me). For mostly road stuff, or a more skilled rider, that bike rocks. But it's just too big for the stuff I want to do. I do miss the electronic aids and how easy it was to ride that bike around town. But it's found a new home with another member of this forum.
    The Tiger 800 also looks like a great choice, but don't want to spend that kind of $$ on the second bike.
    I like the looks of the Husky TR650 as well, but unless the KLR sold, I couldn't see doing that.
    So the KLR stays for a while. It's not a BAD bike, it's just uninspiring...
    Instead, I bought my son a CRF250L Honda for the trip.
    Sooner or later, I intend to own all of the bikes mentioned (hey, it's cheaper than swapping women all the time). After all, half the fun is getting to experience a new bike, right?
    Now, on to the farkling!
    #56
  17. Big Tall Bastard

    Big Tall Bastard Voice of Reason

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    The KLR and the 990ADV are similar in that they both have black tires but that's about it. Browneye has come closest to accurancy in this entire thread. I don't even put the KLR and the 990ADV in the same category. I had an 07 990 with the snatchy throttle. It was only a problem at part throttle around 3800-4000rpm. You just put it in a higher gear and roll on the throttle to smooth it out. It wasn't that big a deal.
    I had zero reliability problems with my bike in 12000 miles. I'm 6'6" and 240 without gear and never got around to having the suspension done other than adjust the stock components. It was fine. I did the Dual sport ride at the Desert 100 in Washington state a few years ago and it was no problem. Your roll through the whoops and keep track of the limits of a 500lbs motorcycle. It made you feel like Kenny Roberts on dirt sweepers, both feet up, rear end hanging out, super stable, absolutely kick ass!
    What do you want to do with your bike? If you want it to go down the highway at 65-75, do some gravel travel and ride it to Alaska on a budget have a good time with the KLR. The 990 has Brembo brakes, if you fall over the stock Renthal bars don't bend. It has 85-95 Hp, will cruise at 80-100mph all day long. Riding at this pace my fuel light would come on around 185 miles. I had the Leo Vince cans and mid pipe on it with screened baffles. I went one tooth smaller in front to gear it down. I didn't remap it and it ran great.

    I paid $12,000 for my bike and sold it for $8400 four years and 12,000k later. It held its value very well.They are kind of quirky like burping the cooling system, etc. I do maintenance on most of my bikes but decided to have my local KTM shop do the service on that bike. Their tech is Orange level certified, knows the bike in and out and is honest. Was the servicing pricey? Yes but well worth it. Like I said I never had a problem. I would have trusted that bike to ride all the way to Omaha or Cabo. Lots of people are capable of properly servicing their 990 ADV at home I just didn't want to do mine.

    It never made sense to me when someone buys a pricey motorcycle then bitches that the recommended oil is $18 per liter. If that is unacceptable to you then it is probably the wrong motorcycle for you. The manual for my 05 Kaw 636 said you could use regular 10-40 in it! I rode that bike mercilessly and still couldn't bring myself to run Walmart 10-40 so I ran synthetic.

    If you don't feel you will ride a 990 to its potential or don't see a need for the more expensive components don't spend the money on one. I never got close to the full potential of my 990ADV but it was still worth it.
    #57
  18. ANutt

    ANutt Keyboard Adventurer

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    Excellent insight, and thanks for the in-depth observations. When I factor in the fact that often I'm just a Keyboard Adventurer, instead of a real world-crosser, the reality is that the KLR will work, even if it's not as chi-chi as I'd like. If I ever outride the limits of the KLR, and survive, I'll look to something like the KTM.
    I had Traxxion Dynamics change out both front and rear springs on the bike last week. The stock damping was actually pretty good for the higher spring rates, so I left those alone for now. total cost with them doing the labor was around $350. Well worth it to me when being time-crunched.
    So I'll leave the KTM on the bucket list for now, and put some time on the KLR. Unless Yamaha does a smaller Tenere, I suspect I'll keep the KLR for a while.
    #58
  19. Big Tall Bastard

    Big Tall Bastard Voice of Reason

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    Spending money on proper suspension set up is probably the best money spent on any bike. Whether its a sport bike, a motocrosser, a KLR or a 990 ADV. Embrace the KLR and make it your own!
    #59