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Old 08-13-2008, 08:36 AM   #1
Raoul Duke OP
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2008 KLR or 2009 F800 GS for multi-year round the world trip?

It's time for me to start selling/buying/swapping bikes around again. In about 27 months I'll be leaving for a 2+ year trip around the world. Right now the two bike options I've targeted in on are the new KLR and the new F800 GS.

The main, main, main criteria for my purchase will be reliability since I'll obviously be in some pretty unpopulated areas and, to be honest, I'm not a mechanical genius. I DO NOT want this trip to end or break me financially because my bike decides to be quirky.

So maybe my question should be - Which would you trust and why?

The power of the F800 is really tempting and I have a feeling it would be a more comfortable and capable ride in the end.

The reputation of the KLR for being simple enough to fix just about anywhere and cheap enough to throw away and replace with an Enfield if need be gives me second thoughts on the BMW, though.

I know this is the GS section but I'm really hoping you guys can give me some unvarnished feedback. Help me out guys.

Any other bikes you're recommend would be helpful too.

Thanks!
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Old 08-13-2008, 08:50 AM   #2
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A couple of things to keep in mind about the GS800.
Firstly, as a new model you may well be doing the final R&D for BMW, finding out the hard way what they didn't get right. Secondly, you need to check dealer support for where you're going. One thing about BMW, if you can find communications and demonstrate you have the cash they will get the parts to you somehow, but you will pay.
The KLR is a known quantity, but the dealer support caveat still applies.
Which bike will tolerate crap fuel the best? Always worth a thought.
Does either bike use an odd sized part? Tyre sizes, for example. Chain sizes (the DR650 here in Australia comes with a 525 chain, when most replacements are 520 or 530. See what I mean?). Just have a good look at both and I think the answer will appear. Good luck with your travels.
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Old 08-13-2008, 09:00 AM   #3
chiba
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I'd go with the longer-lived platform. The BMW is probably a great bike, but a brand-new model... the bugs aren't worked out and parts aren't as available.

--chiba
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Old 08-13-2008, 09:14 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiba
I'd go with the longer-lived platform. The BMW is probably a great bike, but a brand-new model... the bugs aren't worked out and parts aren't as available.

--chiba
That's kind of what I'm thinking. To me I kind of see the difference as:

With a KLR there will be times when I wish I had more power, it was more refined, etc... I KNOW that going in. And I can do some things with money I save to correct them to some degree before departing.

With the BMW everything *may* be fine the whole way through and I end up writing them a thank you letter at the end and running sales pitches for free from my home upon return. BUT, I could also be stuck in podunk South America or Africa and wind up blowing a huge chunk of my traveling money just "trying" to get going again.

Basically, I can mostly know the general limitations and expected gripes with the KLR. And accept them and move on. Or roll the dice. I'm not sure this is the situation to be rolling the dice any more than necessary when it comes to equipment.

I appreciate the good feedback and it kind of reinforces what I was thinking in my head.

If anyone wants to make a strong case against the KLR or for the BMW I'm still very interested, though...
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Old 08-13-2008, 09:28 AM   #5
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bmw gs100 pd.

better then either of your choices and parts can be had anywhere.
no chains to wear out or break at the wrong time an engine that has proven its self for years. and simple to work on .tubelss tires easy to plug or use a tube if you had to .
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Old 08-13-2008, 09:34 AM   #6
JaySoy
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As far as the KLR, you might talk to SgtMarty on this board and get some feedback. Here is his Alaska thread:

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=350965

Also, here are some fellas that did RTWs on pre-2008 KLRs that you might be able to contact to see what they thought of the bike:

http://worldadventuretour.blogspot.com/

http://www.rtwrider.net/index.html
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Old 08-13-2008, 10:17 AM   #7
Signal
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Many KLR's have serious factory production/quality control issues.......

If you get a new one, I'd make sure its well rung-out/gone over/re-torqued before hand.....

Either bike will get you there in all probabilty.......HOW they get you there is the question
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Old 08-13-2008, 09:10 AM   #8
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Since we're NOT talking about a boxer twin this don't really belong in GSpot, but we're comparing a "Beast" to a "Thumper" so it don't belong in either of those...

Back to the point. The F800 S and ST have been around so dependability shouldn't be an issue for most of the parts. If it uses an odd sized chain-carry a spare. But you gotta draw the line somewhere. You can't carry spare shocks without leaving something else behind.
Research the possible flaws of each bike and see what you might be likely to need.

Obviously it would be much more fun on the F800, so if I didn't discover any serious fualts reported with them that is what I would be riding on your trip.
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Old 08-13-2008, 09:26 AM   #9
JimVonBaden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flowupstream
Since we're NOT talking about a boxer twin this don't really belong in GSpot, but we're comparing a "Beast" to a "Thumper" so it don't belong in either of those...

Back to the point. The F800 S and ST have been around so dependability shouldn't be an issue for most of the parts. If it uses an odd sized chain-carry a spare. But you gotta draw the line somewhere. You can't carry spare shocks without leaving something else behind.
Research the possible flaws of each bike and see what you might be likely to need.

Obviously it would be much more fun on the F800, so if I didn't discover any serious fualts reported with them that is what I would be riding on your trip.
I have to agree! Though the F800GS has not been around long, the F800 drivetrain has, and I am not worried about the chain drive at all.

Jim

PS As a former KLR owner, I loved the bike, but it just doesn't compare to a BMW for quality, fit and finish IMHO!
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Old 08-14-2008, 06:02 PM   #10
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by GodSilla
A couple of things to keep in mind about the GS800.
Firstly, as a new model you may well be doing the final R&D for BMW, finding out the hard way what they didn't get right. Secondly, you need to check dealer support for where you're going. One thing about BMW, if you can find communications and demonstrate you have the cash they will get the parts to you somehow, but you will pay.
The KLR is a known quantity, but the dealer support caveat still applies.
Which bike will tolerate crap fuel the best? Always worth a thought.
Does either bike use an odd sized part? Tyre sizes, for example. Chain sizes (the DR650 here in Australia comes with a 525 chain, when most replacements are 520 or 530. See what I mean?). Just have a good look at both and I think the answer will appear. Good luck with your travels.
F800gs is chain drive! 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.
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Old 08-14-2008, 06:11 PM   #11
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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?
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Old 08-14-2008, 05:05 AM   #12
RoadMinge
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just do it

Ok why dont you sell your collection of misfits R1100RT, HD 1200N, Old Skooly CB750 Chop, and buy a used low mileage BMW F650GS and some touratech items and then read the new book by Dan Walsh " These Are the Days That Must Happpen To You". You will then realize your choice of motorcycle is really not that important, your motivation to just do it and get out there is.
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Old 08-14-2008, 07:06 AM   #13
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Ya, I was going to ask why you haven't considered the F650GS? More power, better brakes than a klr. More proven, cheaper and simpler than an f800gs.
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Old 08-14-2008, 08:38 AM   #14
CheckerdD
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I rode a Honda 125 across Asia in the 70's. If your leaning toward the 800 for horsepower - you really don't need it in the third world. Are you going to spend two years on the worlds equilivant of the interstate? If I was making your choice I would get the bike with the least gizmo's. Also the 800 has a 12 to one compression ratio which means it aint going to like bad gas. By coincidence I was talking to Greg Frazier on this subject. He said there were only about 7 BMW dealers in South America. He has been around the world 5 times - mostly on a KLR. Go look at www.horizonsunlimited.com which is a world moto site. There is quite a bit of discussion there on which bike to use. David
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Old 08-14-2008, 08:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CheckerdD
I rode a Honda 125 across Asia in the 70's. If your leaning toward the 800 for horsepower - you really don't need it in the third world. Are you going to spend two years on the worlds equilivant of the interstate? If I was making your choice I would get the bike with the least gizmo's. Also the 800 has a 12 to one compression ratio which means it aint going to like bad gas. By coincidence I was talking to Greg Frazier on this subject. He said there were only about 7 BMW dealers in South America. He has been around the world 5 times - mostly on a KLR. Go look at www.horizonsunlimited.com which is a world moto site. There is quite a bit of discussion there on which bike to use. David
Thanks for the replies everyone. I started reading a lot on the Horizons Unlimited site lately. Hadn't really used it much before. You guys are right - it's a great site.
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