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Old 04-30-2010, 11:06 AM   #1
BerndM OP
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Best All Around Dual Sport Bike?

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.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:38 AM   #2
ricohman
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My preference is the KLR and the DR650.
But the answer really lies in what the individual wants to do with the bike.
For me, my R1150GSA fits the bill. As all my off-roading will consist of gravel roads and the Dalton in June.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:46 AM   #3
awonderfulworld
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I'd agree with the KLR sentiment...

The suspension sucks, the engine has no power, but they'll last forever, you can fix it with simple hand tools and anybody with basic mechanical knowledge can figure out what's wrong if it breaks.

I sold my KLR for the GS, and I don't miss it. The GS allows me to ride 2-up with my wife and that means more time on a bike instead of the cage when we go places.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:56 AM   #4
RED CAT
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Depends!

What you call Dualsporting! You mention serious dirt. The KLR isn't suitable for serious dirt, not as serious as a real dirt bike. Dualsporting to me means paved and gravel roads and maybe a few jeep trails. Single track is for dirt bikes. The smaller lighter dualsports like the KLR,DR, and XRL are great little dualsports for shorter trips although the KLR is better on longer trips but nothing beats the big GS for longer road/gravel road trips to get to the good stuff in comfort and in a hurry, if thats your pleasure. Younger fellows usually can hang in with the lighter Dualsports but as one ages the big GS is just so addicting especially in the long distance comfort factor.
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:19 PM   #5
GAS GUY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RED CAT
What you call Dualsporting! You mention serious dirt. The KLR isn't suitable for serious dirt, not as serious as a real dirt bike. Dualsporting to me means paved and gravel roads and maybe a few jeep trails. Single track is for dirt bikes. The smaller lighter dualsports like the KLR,DR, and XRL are great little dualsports for shorter trips although the KLR is better on longer trips but nothing beats the big GS for longer road/gravel road trips to get to the good stuff in comfort and in a hurry, if thats your pleasure. Younger fellows usually can hang in with the lighter Dualsports but as one ages the big GS is just so addicting especially in the long distance comfort factor.
you are right in their being no equal to the gs on gravel and DRY dirt.but in mud and sand i cant stand being on my gs.the klr is still big but i can manage it in those conditions and have fun if i am not in a hurry.but yes if i am pounding miles and running gravel all day the gs is king.
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:01 PM   #6
GAS GUY
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Quote:
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.
yes,you are right.for instance one day i rode my klr 650 about 250 miles on the rode to get to some single track in manistee nat. forest ,then i rode 8 hours of orv/mcct trail single track,then rode 250 miles home the same day.i could not do that on the gs,because of the single track.i have a 1100 and 1200 adventure.and the beemer twins sure are nice on the road !!!!but the KLR IS the best dual sport out there pound for pound and dollar for dollar.if i lived in a mountain,or remote area with great riding locally i wouldnt need anything but a klr.
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:19 PM   #7
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DS by it's very nature is a compromise. You can have a serious dirt bike that is street legal (Husky TE-250), and eats dirt, but truly sucks as a street bike. Some go the other way, better for pavement. It all depends what you want.

To me, I look at something like the KTM 640 Adventure as about the perfect adventure bike...if you can deal with riding a two wheeled paint shaker. Imagine that bike with a well balanced single. Other than that, handles single track, big tank, lots of range, etc. Yeah, droning on the highway sucks on all
thumpers. Again, you have to compromise for the intended use.

Service manager Gary at San Diego BMW won the Alcan 5000 a few years ago on his 650 Dakar. Rode it there and back from San Diego too. That is obviously a pretty capable bike as well, though I don't know how much single track I would want to do on one.

Endless debate on this subject.
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:19 PM   #8
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anything...........

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Old 04-30-2010, 12:42 PM   #9
ShaftEd
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What's really sad is that the KLR650 has been around 25 years and it is still one of the top adventure bikes. No power, crappy brakes, bad suspension, heavy, 5 speed transmission, doohicky issues, and this bike is still one of the best? You would have thought by now, some manufacturer would have built a KLR killer, but I don't see one yet.

BTW, what the hell ever happened to the KTM690 Adventure?
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:51 PM   #10
BMR
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Haven't seen this thread in at least.....2 months?
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Old 05-01-2010, 12:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
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...
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Old 05-01-2010, 03:57 PM   #12
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I have a DRZ 470 started as an S. It is set for soft bags and will go almost anywhere. I am selling my Z1000 as with dirt and SM rims the DRZ fill all the gaps the GS doesn't.
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:57 PM   #13
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"Best" is a slippery slope; there is no one motorcycle that does it all "best" IMHO. I think you have to look at your individual wants/needs/pocketbook and go from there...

Since my wife loves to ride with me and we wanted a bike that would expand our riding horizons, the GSA is the "best" bike, even though I hope I never drop it anywhere there may not be help available to pick it up!

I think the "best" adenture tourer is truly in the eye of the beholder...

Ride safe,

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Old 05-02-2010, 07:13 AM   #14
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I think the KLR is too close to the GS as far as capability. If youre going to have two bikes, try to cover as much of the spectrum as you can. My 1100GS is great for touring, streets and ok on dirt. My XR650R is ok on the street, Ive done 400 mile days, but its not too fun. But when you get to the dirt, it will blow you away, hang with pretty much any bike out there depending on the rider, desert, single track, etc. And it has that race bred power that sucks your eyeballs back in their sockets.

Just make sure that each bike you have thrills you in its own way.
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Old 05-02-2010, 07:45 AM   #15
"Spaniard"
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I have a 1200gs and love it. Won't sell it. I took a ride in northern Wisconsin last fall and took the 1200 with TKCs. The bike went everywhere the guys on KTM 640 ADVs, a KLR and a F650GS Dakar. After riding the KTM I wanted one. No more serious off road with the 1200gs. After looking around I decided to go even smaller and bought a used Yamaha WR250R. Great bike!!!!!! Glad I went smaller yet. You can take it down black top at 65 all day long and when the fun starts on a trail the KTM seems like a pig. If you need something bigger the KTM is hands down better than a Dakar or KLR.
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