Originally Posted by BerndM
Let me start by saying that I LOVE my 2006 R1200GS, and I would NOT consider replacing it with ANY other bike, BUT, lets get real here, the GS is a big, heavy and VERY expensive piece of machinery, and NOT optimally suited or designed for "serious" off-roading. Right??
So, I've spent some time looking at all the different dual sports out there and it appears (IMHO) that there is no PERFECT bike for that purpose, BUT the best may in fact be the Kawasaki 650 KLR. If you factor in ALL the variables, such as purchase price, registration, insurance, operating expenses, cost to repair or replace parts, weight and off-road capabilities, I think you'd be very hard pressed to find anything better. I know "better" is very subjective, but let's face it, honestly, other than extended touring (which many do successfully) on the KLR, does anyone actually believe that the GS will go places the KLR can't? I don't think so. As a matter of fact, I think the KLR is capable of going many places you'd never want to take the GS to. It is no problem riding the KLR 100 or 200 miles on the pavement, and then take it off the road and do stuff the GS can't match, because of its size and weight.
Not trying to start a fight here, just a lively discussion regarding the REALITY of the off-road aspect of our riding.
I like the KLR and in particular I really like the new KLR. However, I ride with a bunch of KLR riders including 2 former GS riders who switched to the KLR for the weight differential and TBH the KLR doesn't go anywhere any faster than I took my GS and now my HP2. We ride hydro lines, river crossings and jeep trails. The pecking order of our riding group hasn't changed despite expectations of the new KLR riders. The old adage proves true - it's not the machine it's the rider.
No doubt a lighter bike off-road will be easier to handle but the KLR aren't made for single track anymore than the GS, HP2, or KTM are. The KLR is still a big heavy bike.
In my mind this is more the endless internal debate between buying a 600 class or big bore DS. Same issue they have in the supersport v. superbike class. The 600 DS / supersports are as capable and more accessible (price and performance) for the average rider but like the superbikess there is something (more) attractive in big bore performance.
I won't be getting ride of my HP2 - ever. But I will likely buy a single at some point in time. The Husky 610 is appealing. But I'm going to buy a KTM 950 next - probably this year. There's something appealing about obscene power offroad and getting the back wheel sliding under acceleration... the 950/GS class is like a trophy truck... Yeah you don't need that performance off-road but get that back end slidding and keep applying power and you'll see your grin grow wider and wider...