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Old 12-02-2008, 08:18 AM   #1
motoman250f OP
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800GS vs KLR

I suppose nobody has had the guts to ask this question but somebody has to?
With the fork brace on a KLR and some suspension mods the bike feels a lot lighter than it is. I can hit trails hard and still feel in control. (mine is a pre 08) Can the gs 800 do the same things and feel as light being only 20 lbs heavier?
My 950 was a great suspended bike but it was very top heavy and in the tighter and more slippery conditions it was like a bull on ice. Will the 800 gs be more like the KTM or the KLR?

Thanks, and feel free to flame the KLR, its fun!

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Old 12-02-2008, 08:26 AM   #2
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I'd feel pretty comfortable doing anything I ever on my old 96 KLR with completely reworked suspension on the F800GS. No experience with the KTM. The 800 obviously kicks ass all over my trade-in, a Buell Ullysses, when the pavement ends.

There are plenty of places I'd be more comfortable on my DRZ.
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:01 AM   #3
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I sold my KLR for the GS8 and haven't looked back. It's not a trail bike by any means and I'm not keen to drop it repeatedly given the cost of replacing parts, but I bought the GS to ride long, fast miles on the highway in comfort without taxing the motorcycle or myself, then turn off onto rough roads and go exploring and camping. I don't have near the experience on the GS as I do on the KLR, but so far it's been very easy to ride on rough, rocky roads, much more stable than my KLR with suspension its upgrades. I'm confident I'll be able to take it on the same Utah back roads I rode on my KLR. When I want to ride gnarlier stuff, I'll take my DR-Z, same as I would if I still had the KLR. Where I miss the KLR is on my short commute and bopping around town. It seems a shame to ride the BMW on short hops, but I've got knobs on the Suzuki so don't have much choice.

If you're thinking the new KLR is an option, I've ridden the '08 and it's better on the highway than the older ones for comfort and high(ish) speed traveling, but all that new plastic needs protection if you take it off the pavement. It will still do what the old ones did in the dirt, it just carries a bit more weight in a duded up package. The '09s are fugly, but maybe they fixed the oil consumption problem.
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bucko
I sold my KLR for the GS8 and haven't looked back.
+1.

Stock vs. stock, the GS is better than my 97 KLR in every way except for two things: range and price. In my case, I get about 200 miles on the GS, versus 250-275 on the KLR, running the tank to a similar level. That was a sacrafice I was willing to live with. Price is self explainatory. Basically 3 times as much for the GS...and, for better or worse, I ride it as such.

The GS still needs comfort and suspension work (at least, IMHO), but so did the KLR. Note that the aftermarket goodies--including crash protection--don't seem to be THAT much different in price. Also, while the average ADVer can probably modify the KLR to be about as competent as the GS off road (for places the average ADVer is going to take either bike, at least), the KLR will *never* match the high speed characteristics of the GS.
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Old 12-02-2008, 04:36 PM   #5
mrleadfoot67
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Motor-Cycle

The word motorcycle is composed of two root words, motor and cycle.

The reason that an 800 GS is over twice the cost of the KLR is that they forgot to put the motor in the KLR.

It really is as simple as that.

Maybe when I'm an old man and don't care about whacking the throttle and a rush of acceleration a KLR would be an option for me...
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Old 12-02-2008, 04:46 PM   #6
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The big difference is in your head really. If cost (the cost of replacing or repairing the bike) were no object, then you could get the F8 anywhere you could get a KLR. You just have to get over the fear of dumping the bike - easier said than done.

On the pavement where you will always sepnd a considerable amount of time on your adventures the F8 is a whole different animal than the KLR.
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Old 12-02-2008, 06:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrleadfoot67
Maybe when I'm an old man and don't care about whacking the throttle and a rush of acceleration a KLR would be an option for me...
Not to go too OT, but I never found acceleration from the KLR a problem unless it was at freeway speeds. Not that this is saying much, but it had more poop than my F4i around town at 'normal' rpms.

The big thing, as noted, is price. The KLR, for all the crap it gets, its tough as nails. Its hard to break, easy to fix, and--when you have $3000 total into it--riding balls out all day is 0% worry, 100% entertainment.

The GS OTOH...well...lets just say I ride that bike neatly tucked into my tightie whities.
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Old 12-03-2008, 04:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motoman250f
I suppose nobody has had the guts to ask this question but somebody has to?
I'm actually suprised we don't see more comparisons to the KLR as the balance of street/dirt is much more similair than all the comparisons to the bigger adventure (street) bikes.

Simply put the 800 is what I always wanted my KLR to be, but it just couldn't. My KLR had the bigger motor, totally redone suspension and many other upgrades and was a totally different bike than a stocker for certain, and I enjoyed it very much (and still would), but I don't miss it. It was VERY capable for what I wanted to do, but I always wanted more power, even in the dirt.

The GS800 doesn't force me to decide if I want to explore off road or have a street ride with some balls. I can do both. On the street the GS outhandles, outpowers and out brakes the KLR no contest. Off road I was suprsied at how well the balance of the GS allows you to ride it so easy. Comparing STOCK suspensions they will both limit you about the same as far as how aggressive you can ride into ruts or catching small air. So far about the only time I wish I was on the KLR is when I'm not moving , or anything slow enough to require feet down paddling , first gear rock crawling step ups and such, then you feel the weight of the 800. It's not night an day, but it is noticeable. The lower powerband of the KLR is better for these situations as well, and the lack of power can actually be an advantage. Still, it's worth the tradeoff to me, and for my riding style.

Tmex makes a good point as well about the fear of dumping the bike, and I'll admit I'm more cautious with the 800 in that regard than my KLR. I'm sure the KLR could handle a hard hit better, but I am also still in the honeymoon stage with this bike. I laugh now, but when my KLR was brand new an shiny I really didn't want to drop her, by the end of our relationship, I'd casually step off the bike an take an easy fall if the hill got to tough an let the bike take all the abuse instead of my body. We'll see in time if I can get to that point with the 800.
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Old 12-03-2008, 07:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motoman250f
Can the gs 800 do the same things and feel as light being only 20 lbs heavier?

My 950 was a great suspended bike but it was very top heavy and in the tighter and more slippery conditions it was like a bull on ice. Will the 800 gs be more like the KTM or the KLR?

Motoman250f
Your questions had to do with weight and handling, not motors or long distance comfort.

In response to your first question - YES but you might not try it as often as on a KLR IF you are worried about dropping it. I have already learned about the outrageous cost to repair one of these machines. It will be on my mind constantly. It will limit what I do on the bike now. I dropped mine two months ago, and I'm still waiting on parts. $6,300 for a 20 mph low side (with crashbars). Yes, I had insurance but how many $6k claims do I want to make?

In response to your second question - the F800 might feel more like the KLR than the 950. The F800 is slightly heavier than the KLR but carries the weight low. With the wrong tires, any bike over 300 lbs feels like a bull on ice. Only aggressive offroad tires work well in slippery conditions.

Navaho screwed with this post 12-03-2008 at 07:21 PM
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:25 PM   #10
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The KLR can do everything ... but nothing perfect

I have done track days on my KLR
Surprised MANY sport bike riders in the twisties on it.
Rode 1100 miles one day, 1421 miles day two, and 1491 miles day three (19hours, 32 hours & 36 hours respectively).
705 kitted, stage two headed, completely modded KLR.
It does it all ... just not to perfection ... but neither have I ever in my life.
We're a match made in heaven :)

I love it ... but needed a DL1000 for the highway stuff (done now).

Would I want the F8 ??

Oh YEAH ... it's giving both the DL & the KLR705
nightmares in the garage.

:)
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:35 AM   #11
tmex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Navaho
Your questions had to do with weight and handling, not motors or long distance comfort.

In response to your first question - YES but you might not try it as often as on a KLR IF you are worried about dropping it. I have already learned about the outrageous cost to repair one of these machines. It will be on my mind constantly. It will limit what I do on the bike now. I dropped mine two months ago, and I'm still waiting on parts. $6,300 for a 20 mph low side (with crashbars). Yes, I had insurance but how many $6k claims do I want to make?

In response to your second question - the F800 might feel more like the KLR than the 950. The F800 is slightly heavier than the KLR but carries the weight low. With the wrong tires, any bike over 300 lbs feels like a bull on ice. Only aggressive offroad tires work well in slippery conditions.
Well said. A KLR is no doubt a great bike relative to capabilities and cost of ownership. The F8 is an amazing machine and will do everything the KLR does, but better. If I dropped a KLR and got scrathes on the side panels or dinged an exhaust I would not give it a second thought. The F8 on the other hand is such a beautiful motorcycle that I want to keep it as pristine as possible. The latter attitude does limit your off road envelope a bit, but it is not at all related to the bike's capabilities. I pretty much got over that attitude with respect to my HP2 (it is actually a pretty ugly bike by any measure), and maybe I will with the F8 in time.

I have a lot of bikes and love them all , but I can honestly say that I have never felt quite as strongly about any of them or previous bikes I have owned than I do about the F8. BMW really got it right with this motorcycle IMO. There is no doubt that I will be scanning ebay and all the other usual places in a year or so looking for a second one to use as a parts bike, and I have never done that before.
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Old 12-13-2008, 06:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmex
Well said. A KLR is no doubt a great bike relative to capabilities and cost of ownership. The F8 is an amazing machine and will do everything the KLR does, but better. If I dropped a KLR and got scrathes on the side panels or dinged an exhaust I would not give it a second thought. The F8 on the other hand is such a beautiful motorcycle that I want to keep it as pristine as possible. The latter attitude does limit your off road envelope a bit, but it is not at all related to the bike's capabilities. I pretty much got over that attitude with respect to my HP2 (it is actually a pretty ugly bike by any measure), and maybe I will with the F8 in time.

I have a lot of bikes and love them all , but I can honestly say that I have never felt quite as strongly about any of them or previous bikes I have owned than I do about the F8. BMW really got it right with this motorcycle IMO. There is no doubt that I will be scanning ebay and all the other usual places in a year or so looking for a second one to use as a parts bike, and I have never done that before.
how does the GS compare to the HP2?
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Old 12-04-2008, 12:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Navaho
I have already learned about the outrageous cost to repair one of these machines. It will be on my mind constantly. It will limit what I do on the bike now. I dropped mine two months ago, and I'm still waiting on parts. $6,300 for a 20 mph low side (with crashbars). Yes, I had insurance but how many $6k claims do I want to make?
WOW I had no idea. So here we see the kind of Catch 22 of owning a road bike and trying to force it into off road duty. With a KLR you aren't on the hook for much at all. And my DR650 crashes even cheaper .... no radiators, no hoses, no waterpump. Mine has been down dozens of times .... well I did have to buy a new shift lever!
(Dammit! )

So Horses for Courses. If I owned the F800GS I can assure you I would never try to trail ride with it. Fireroads, mild two track .... all fine. You know, all the dirt roads I rode on my Vstrom
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Old 12-04-2008, 12:39 PM   #14
Django Loco
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Navaho
In response to your second question - the F800 might feel more like the KLR than the 950. The F800 is slightly heavier than the KLR but carries the weight low. With the wrong tires, any bike over 300 lbs feels like a bull on ice. Only aggressive offroad tires work well in slippery conditions.
I agree. Even with the good tires it can be a challenge ... as you've discovered

Just a quick update on weights:
1988-2007 KLR Dry Weight: 337 lbs. (153 kgs.)

BMW F800GS Dry Weight: 391 lbs. (178 kgs.)
"ready to ride" weight: 455 lbs. (207 kgs.)

Difference in dry weights? 54 lbs.

54 lbs. off road is a substantial number. You will feel this!

The new KLR's from '08 on, are heavier, but most KLR's on the road today are pre '08's. Wet the KLR picks up a lot of weight if one fills the tank. Most do not do this off road. Since you can go nearly 100 miles on two gallons, why fill it up for a short Off road loop?

A naked (no luggage) KLR with better springs/shock, fork brace and damper, front brake up grade, is transformed from the stock bike. Much more capable, especially in the dirt.
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Django Loco
Just a quick update on weights:
1988-2007 KLR Dry Weight: 337 lbs. (153 kgs.)

BMW F800GS Dry Weight: 391 lbs. (178 kgs.)
"ready to ride" weight: 455 lbs. (207 kgs.)

Difference in dry weights? 54 lbs.

54 lbs. off road is a substantial number. You will feel this!
Dry weight is a mysterious number that manufacturers seem to use to hide the actual weight of the bike in a ready to ride state.

I've tabulated the wet weights of the different adventure/dual sport from various sources (mostly Motorcycle Consumer News). Wet weight is the actual weight of the bike when you are out riding it (with only a small variance based on the amount of gasoline in your tank).

'08 KLR - 428 lbs (about 13 lbs heavier than pre-08 KLRs)
F800GS - 462 lbs

A real world difference of just 34 lbs.

For comparison purposes

Wee-Strom - 472 lbs
2000 F650GS - 430 lbs
2008 R1200GS - 536 lbs
DR650 - 368 lbs.
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