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2008 KLR or 2009 F800 GS for multi-year round the world trip?

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by Raoul Duke, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. men8ifr

    men8ifr Been here awhile

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    If it were me I would pay attention to the MPG figures for the bikes I was looking at as well and total range. Don't know what the F800 is capable of but the F650 can get 70-90mpg and that 90mpg taking it easy could be important when you are looking for a fuel station. I guess the KLR may get 45-50mpg but check. The difference may pay extra cost of the F650 over a KLR.
    Yes you need to find out the worst fuel grade each bike will run on - the F800 despite high compression probably has knock sensors which I would feel safer with rather than having none.
    Whichever bike you buy run it for a minimum of 1 year 6000 miles to iron out niggles and your luggage etc - if you're buying a new bike you could negotiate the dealer may be willing to act as technical support if anything goes wrong?
    #21
  2. tpresten

    tpresten RideUmAll

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    At this point I would not drive a BMW outside of cell phone coverage. My 2008 has been the worst motorcycle in my 35 years of riding. BMW has gotten way too technical with their machines and they need to go back to building something that is reliable before adding bling to it. IMO of course.

    I say get a KLR and "suffer" through it. I am considering one myself at this point believe it or not and I have no budget and am mechanically inclined. I am just tired of needing my mechanical skills all the time on the BMW and I am tired of returning it to the dealer for warranty issues (Final Drive, oil leaks, EWS failure, fuel guage strips).
    #22
  3. blender

    blender Just another rider

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    IIR the first three times were on a BMW R80GS, the fourth time was the KLR (his preparation of the KLR was written up in MCN). The fifth trip was a mix of bikes....
    #23
  4. v8toilet

    v8toilet Nothing to see here.

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    Why not an R100 or another older GS ?
    #24
  5. space

    space a.k.a. Jake

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    If I was going to do a trip like that, I'd want a carb. Sure, they mean less power, less fuel economy, and less ability to handle altitude. And they probably fail more frequently. But when they DO fail, they are easy to repair, either by yourself or whatever mechanic you meet along the road.

    If you're talking carbs, you're talking R100GS, KTM 640ADV, or the KLR 650. I'd probably choose the KTM, since it's the lightest and most capable when things get ugly. I'm pretty sure it also has the best range. Then I'd ride the crap out of it well beforehand to work out the bugs and get to know the bike.
    #25
  6. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    This one belongs in Beasts or Thumpers.. but not in GSpot. Moved to Beasts..
    #26
  7. space

    space a.k.a. Jake

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    Maybe this should just be in trip planning? Seems like "what's the best bike for a round-the-world journey" fits in there pretty well. (I'd be surprised if there wasn't one there already.)
    #27
  8. Wildman

    Wildman Long timer

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    F800GS without a doubt but then, you'd expect me to say that! :D
    #28
  9. Mountain

    Mountain Adventurer

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    There are few more dealers now, 4 in Argentina, and one in each of the capitals from Chile to Columbia, Brazil, etc. Nice guys typically, very happy to see travellers and very cheap labour rates:) Parts are usually pricey due to import taxes. Still, can be a looong way if you have to get something and can't wait until you hit the next capital.

    By contrast, and I'm surprised that this rarely gets mentioned, if you ride from Turkey to Egypt and down the east coast to South Africa, guess how many BMW dealers there are in between? The answer, is one, and that is in the country just above South Africa, Namibia. There is an ex BMW mechanic in Nairobi though and he gets to see everyone coming through.

    Wandering point, but it's a mindset change to go overseas. When riding in North America, Europe, South Africa, and a few other places you rely (in your mind at least) on having parts and service somewhat relatively accessible. The shift when you head out is to start thinking more independently, carry what you think is critical, plan where you can get things like tires, and the hardest part of all, is to accept that some things you can't plan for and shit will happen, things will break, and you know what, everything will be just fine.
    #29
  10. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Broke it/Bought it

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    Whatever you get, take it completely apart at least once before your trip. It will help in every way.
    #30
  11. littlebhatia

    littlebhatia Adventurer

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    met a guy that just did a world tour....he was on an 07 1200gs. he said the computer went bad in south america. the computer is keyed to the VIN of the bike only in germany. He waited for 5 months in Argentina for the computer...customs for the part into argentina took the longest.

    Get a Vstrom 650 and you have the best of both worlds. you have the power of the 800 with the mileage of the 650.
    #31
  12. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    the klr is half the price,so you can afford to bolt the best of evrything on the bike.better yet buy a couple year old bike with a couple thousand miles for about 3,000 dollars,then spend 3,000 upgrading evrything with top shelf products including the suspension and you will have a bulletproof world class bike,that is what i am doing now.

    jeff smith

    p.s.-there will be a group buy any day now in vendors forum for klr 650 rear suspension from ELKA if you decide to go with the klr.i will be on that list buying it for mine.good luck.
    #32
  13. HighTechCoonass

    HighTechCoonass Living the Dream....

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    F800gs is chain drive! :lol3 I have a F800gs sitting in a warehouse somewhere in America...

    I had a KLR and a F650gs DAKAR....I would go with a F650gs Dakar for a world tour - more parts avilable...a lots nicer refind ride. KLR is a mule - F650gs is a Tennesse Walker. Cant really go wrong either way...its all about comfort.
    #33
  14. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    I also have one in a warehouse somewhere, and I wouldn't consider it for a round the world trip if you are including any 3 rd world countries. In 2 years you will have a better handle on computer glitches, immobilizers, canbus and all the other stuff that could go wrong and only be fixed by BMW.
    I would choose any simple, cheap, reliable bike, and KLR would be up near the top of the list. If it disappears some night you won't be out that much, although who would steal one?:D
    #34
  15. Django Loco

    Django Loco Banned

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    Jesus be praised! Right On evil one! :clap 27 months to launch? This guy must be a Jar head or something?

    The BMW is a really neat bike for sure, and will kick the KLR's ass on highways. But guess what soldier? Lots of what you will be doing will be small villages dodging goats and Oxen. Greedy police will size you up everywhere you go and that Blue Rondel means the price goes up substantially to get free.

    I would try some shorter trial run type warm up adventures first. Like maybe a month in Mexico or something. See if you like this travel thing. A very small percentage of ADV guys ever go anywhere, so I'd ditch this forum and get with some real travelers elsewhere. But on bike knowledge, lots of good info here on ADV. (apologies ... you know who you are)

    These days, the way things are going, I'd really think about buying bikes for the continent your on a la Greg Frazier. Falcon 400
    for S. America (Honda made in Brazil), Minsk or XR250 for Vietnam/ Asia. KLR, XR, DR or DRZ for Russia, Mongolia, and the Stans.
    Fact is, the days of shipping your bike everywhere are coming to an end. Not only will your be priced out but in places, you will not be able to even do it.

    But get on a bike and learn how and what to pack. Learn to fix your bike. Take courses if you have to or hire a good mechanic who likes beer and will take the time to learn you good.

    best of luck! :1drink
    #35
  16. Django Loco

    Django Loco Banned

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    Plus One+++ Where did you find Dan's book in the US?
    #36
  17. Django Loco

    Django Loco Banned

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    Wow! I'm surprised you haven't been crucified by the BMW zealots around here! :rofl
    (they mostly live on Jo Momma! Poor bastards!) Funny, I read about problems
    and see some interesting drama's from time to time on rides I go on with BMW
    guys, but everytime I bring up the idea that BMW may not live up to its
    reputation, I am positively strung up. According to local dealer salesman,
    nothing ever goes wrong. What say you?

    I do really like the F800GS, but I think a semi-expendable bike would be best on a
    RTW ride. Low investment, less to lose. Less to worry about.

    But Dan Walsh DID buy a used F650 Dakar from a dirt bike school in the UK:lol3 Good luck Dan!
    #37
  18. glasswave

    glasswave Long timer

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    Well you've mentioned two to 3 different styles of bikes, each with specific advantages in many areas. I'll try and advise you regarding some of the differences.

    Geometry -- the KLR bascially has enduro geometry while the bmw has adventure touring or could be argued UJM. I believe that for world touring a more UJM street bike style geometry is vastly superior. You will be more comfortable on long stretches of tarmac as well as gravel. The enduro geometry really won't help much in the knarly stuff when you have a fully loaded bike. In fact, a low seat height can be an advantage over ground clearance when horseing a loaded bike through 4wd ruts, deep sand and river crossings.

    Simple vs complex, parts availability etc., You mention three levels, a computerized fuel injected bike, a carburated simple design, and local bikes. Simple bikes are much likely to be fixable by yourself or any old roadside mechanic if you don't need parts. Computerized bikes tend to stay in tune over a wider range of conditions and for a longer time.

    When it comes to needing parts, there are three levels to consider. With local bikes there is a good chance of finding parts locally or within a few days. With others, it bears consideration if a parts distribution infrastructure exists at all, not just for your bike but for your brand. In fact, I think you'll find BMW to be more widely supported in many parts of the world than you think, they have parts networks set up due to car dealerships and such that you can get some parts in strange places. The best choice for world wide parts distribution would be a Honda, followed closely by Suzuki, next Yamaha, Kawasaki less so. I don't think I saw a single Kawasaki in China, Nepal, India, or the stans. Next to none in S Am as well. If you go enduro consider a Honda instead of a Kawa.

    On my recent 15 month trip, Idecided to go with local bikes. There is a certain adventure/romance about crossing Tajikistan on a Ural, China on a Hotian 150cc and India on an Enfield. Some places it is easier to buy a local bike than enter on a foriegn bike (China), others it is easier to enter on a foriegn bike than to buy local (most of S Am, excepting Chile).

    For a true around the worlder, for me it'd be a FI transalp or a strom, followed by a the 800gs, which I believe to be the best World tour design to date, but Japanese reliability would likely win out. If you want something simpler along these lines, go for an Africa twin. A truely inspiring design, very common from Europe thru Africa and in Latin America as well.

    Also, don't dicount the need for some power, many developing countries have some very good central highways that you'll be on for good shares of time and the power can make a long day on a little bike into a pleasure cruise.

    Good luck.
    #38
  19. Endorphin Addict

    Endorphin Addict Adventurer

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    I'd take neither of the two, but would take a pre 08 KLR anyday. Have heard a lot of crap about the new KLRs. And I would not take any post 1150GS Beemer anywhere (too much electronics).

    I would either buy a Suzuki DR650 and put on big tank, better seat, windshield and rack for more offroad oriented touring, or get the DL650 Wee-strom for staying on tarmac. The DR is wonderfully low tech, the DL not so, but apparently bulletproof.

    However, any bike will do an RTW, from 50cc Scoot to R1 to softtail, it has been done. Take the bike that you love, that "speaks" to you!
    #39
  20. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy Supporter

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    Take whichever bike you're willing to leave behind if circumstamces dictate. Be it theft, deportation, destruction of the machine, etc., it's always a possibility that you could leave a country bikeless. Losing a KLR would hurt quite a bit less than a new BMW.

    I agree with those who've already recommended buying an '07 or earlier KLR and getting it ready. You've got more than enough time to do the necessary work, and your learning curve has the possiblity to pay big dividends later on. The aftermarket support is mind-boggling, and you're more likely to be able to fix a KLR with less-than-Teutonic methods.

    Most of all, plan on enjoying the journey.
    #40