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Old 08-18-2008, 08:58 PM   #1
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RTW trip bike choice - KLR650 or r100GSPD?

Hi, this is my first post (well, actually second 'cause advrider ate my first copy when I tried to preview it!!!!) so if I've messed up in any way, plz let me know!

My travelling partner and I are Canadian, but visiting Australia. After driving around for a month in a toyota corolla and coming across many impassable roads that we really wanted to go down, we've decided to purchase a dual sport bike and see the rest of the country that way! We are planning to go to NZ next and then maybe to S. America or SE Asia afterwards.

So now for the conundrum: what bike to use! We're going to purchase one bike to start with, and then maybe graduate to two. I've spent many hours each day for the past three weeks researching and trying to figure out what bike we want/would be most appropriate. We've whittled it down to two (but are still open to other suggestions of course): a 2002 klr650 and a 1995 r100gspd. I've yet to test drive them, but plan to do so this week. However, a test drive can only tell you what the bike is like for the short term, and relative to other bikes you've ridden in similar circumstances, hence this post

So far as I can tell, the bikes have the following advantages over each other (both used of course):

KLR:
- lighter - this is important because I weigh 75 kilos, am 175cm tall, and have a 86cm inseam and sue weighs 50kg, is 158cm and has a 77cm inseam and I would love for her to be able to ride it as well - plus we took out a r1100gs and it was very difficult in tougher off-road conditions (deep mud, exposed tree roots, and so on);
- more reliable(?) - always important;
- newer - more reliable again I would think;
- has racetech shocks - more capable of carrying us + camping gear (we're very minimalist and currently have 25kg between us (not including h20 and food);
- 1/2 the purchase price

GSPD:
- shaft drive - less maintenance (the chain on my f650 drove me (even) crazy(ier);
- more comfortable & more stable on the highway;
- two cylinders - I had the front cylinder on my sv650s cut out a few times and got home just on the rear one;
- larger fuel tank but that is offset by poorer fuel economy
- more power - 60 hp vs 34

Typically I tend to take my bikes into places they probably shoudln't go: into blizzards, up long-abandonded mountain logging trails, into deep sand, etc. I'm going to try to keep a leash on that for this trip, but we shall see. As well, I'm not too handy with a wrench just yet, but learning.

We're planning on staying off the highway as much as possible for Oz, camping for the most part, staying with friends, and seeing as much as we can! The rest of the trip...we'll have to plan as we go - best way to do (most of) it in our experience

Best Regards to all,

Michael & Susan

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Old 08-19-2008, 06:14 AM   #2
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My wife and I each ride KLR's. We've been to Canada, Alaska, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Belize on them. I bought them because I could maintain them anywhere except if I had major engine failure.
We have ridden locally on them two-up and I would say they are less than enjoyable. I know there are some who have ridden the KLR's long distances on them but I wouldn't recommend it from a comfort level or from the ability to pack your stuff.
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Old 08-19-2008, 06:40 AM   #3
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I would pick the KLR. Mainly for its ease of repair and utter simplicity. Lots easier to pick up, too.
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Old 08-19-2008, 03:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GtW
We're going to purchase one bike to start with, and then maybe graduate to two.
Since I have both those motorcycles that you are considering...

One bike, two up with gear? I would't suggest the KLR.
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Old 08-19-2008, 03:27 PM   #5
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Your wife is clearly already a saint as she goes on these wild adventures with you and isn't allowed to bring any gear. I would suggest that you don't punish her more by stuffing her on a one up bike like a KLR.

I like the KLR for all the reasons listed above (simplicity, cheapness, reliability), but riding two up on it in biiiiiiig places like Oz and South America is pushing it a bit. It could be ok if you are a traveller who rides very little each day, but in the places that you mention, the distances are tyically very large to get to the next place. Plugging along the highway to Cairns is going to be tough on the two of you and tough on the bike. I had a KLR for the first part of my trip and switched to two up bike for the girlfriend portion. There are bikes out there that are better options, take a look at the Suzuki DL1000 and perhaps the 650. Feel free to fire me an e-mail if you have any other questions. Have fun!
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colomtnbiker
My wife and I each ride KLR's. We've been to Canada, Alaska, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Belize on them. I bought them because I could maintain them anywhere except if I had major engine failure.
We have ridden locally on them two-up and I would say they are less than enjoyable. I know there are some who have ridden the KLR's long distances on them but I wouldn't recommend it from a comfort level or from the ability to pack your stuff.
Sounds like fun! So your trip to alaska wasn't very comfortable, or was, but wouldn't be 2-up? That I can (theoretically at least...) fix it myself is a big draw for me as well. After reading the feedback on here, it reminds me that I was thinking about riding 2-up on a 250cc klr before I realized the suspension wouldn't take it and would be pushing the engine far too hard

Thanks for your feedback, much appreciated!
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:19 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Yossarian_47
I would pick the KLR. Mainly for its ease of repair and utter simplicity. Lots easier to pick up, too.
Those are big advantages. The 200+ kilo gs models are just too much to handle for any kind of difficult tracks, and while the engine will prop up the bike, it's just way harder to keep upright in the first place.
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:21 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Global Rider
Since I have both those motorcycles that you are considering...

One bike, two up with gear? I would't suggest the KLR.
Not the KLR then. Since you own..what, four beemers!, I'll take that as endorsement for the gspd, but I haven't seen anyone say it's good, just that the klr isn't great for two up....
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:36 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mountain
Your wife is clearly already a saint as she goes on these wild adventures with you and isn't allowed to bring any gear. I would suggest that you don't punish her more by stuffing her on a one up bike like a KLR.

I like the KLR for all the reasons listed above (simplicity, cheapness, reliability), but riding two up on it in biiiiiiig places like Oz and South America is pushing it a bit. It could be ok if you are a traveller who rides very little each day, but in the places that you mention, the distances are tyically very large to get to the next place. Plugging along the highway to Cairns is going to be tough on the two of you and tough on the bike. I had a KLR for the first part of my trip and switched to two up bike for the girlfriend portion. There are bikes out there that are better options, take a look at the Suzuki DL1000 and perhaps the 650. Feel free to fire me an e-mail if you have any other questions. Have fun!
Sue was watching when I looked at your post - I'm in trouble now! She was going around saying 'a saint huh? That's right - you saw what he wrote!'

I've had the stroms suggested to me by a friend who spent four years doing europe, the americas, oz, and nz. I was trying to keep it carburated, but not at the expense of comfort. We did some touring on the US west coast and a bit of baja on the f650 and it wasn't particularly comfortable, but we were planning on only doing between 200 and 400 kms/day on this trip and taking our time a lot more (we did up to 1000kms/day on the f650 and would not be in good moods by the end of it). But I do want it to be a comfortable 200 to 400kms. I'll have another look at the v-stroms though...come to think of it, and I know there is no 'ideal' bike, but what would suggestions be (from anyone of course) for the best bike for this type of trip, 2-up?

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Old 08-19-2008, 11:59 PM   #10
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Interesting dilema you have here, considering you are already kinda underway on your trip. Here is my $.02:

I have a KLR and have done some multi-day two up riding on it off-road and on. From a space perspective it is tough. I am 6'3" and 230 lbs (sorry about the metric/standard size comparison), and the girls I have ridden with have been small (less than 5'5" and 125lbs). That said, getting us and the gear on the bike is always interesting (keep in mind this is just one girl and myself at a time ). We stayed in hotels, as the camping gear I have now is just not small enough. My KLR is seriously moded with suspension and bolt kit, etc, and I still worried about the poor overloaded bike ( I have already cracked the subframe once). On rougher off-road sections, I would not want a bigger bike, as I was working hard to keep us upright and moving forward. On long droning sections, which you will surely face, a bigger bike would be great.
This said, I will tour two-up on the KLR in the future, but she will be small and it will be interesting.
My vote is think about where you want to get to on your bike two up. If you want to see lots, move over lots of ground, and keep your gal as happy as can be, go with the bigger bike, and stop letting her read how impressed we are that she is a trooper. IF you want to take the roads much less traveled, go slower, and have a bike that makes you truely believe origami is an art form, go with the KLR.
Either way, two great bikes, with two slightly different mission statements.
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Old 08-20-2008, 02:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GtW
Sue was watching when I looked at your post - I'm in trouble now! She was going around saying 'a saint huh? That's right - you saw what he wrote!'

I've had the stroms suggested to me by a friend who spent four years doing europe, the americas, oz, and nz. I was trying to keep it carburated, but not at the expense of comfort. We did some touring on the US west coast and a bit of baja on the f650 and it wasn't particularly comfortable, but we were planning on only doing between 200 and 400 kms/day on this trip and taking our time a lot more (we did up to 1000kms/day on the f650 and would not be in good moods by the end of it). But I do want it to be a comfortable 200 to 400kms. I'll have another look at the v-stroms though...come to think of it, and I know there is no 'ideal' bike, but what would suggestions be (from anyone of course) for the best bike for this type of trip, 2-up?

Lol, tell the saint that on long journey's you also have to adhere to the laws of the wild west, the horse gets taken care of first, then the passenger, then the cowboy. Feel free to reverse the order of these when you read this out to her.

It's all a compromise as you know, but in my experience singles are out, too small for the load combined with the miles. That leaves the doubles, of which there are a ton of good ones. Terrain and budget determine which has the least amount of compromise. There are a lot of nice older BMW's which have a great track record that are priced fairly reasonably, but IMHO that you can buy a slightly used DL1000 for roughly the same price with much fewer miles.. There is a guy over at HorizonsUnlimited that rode RTW 2 up on a DL650 but it would seem just a bit small to me. From what I've seen , the hard riding that you do when world touring is different than the hard riding you do at home. These bikes will handle almost all of it. Only real drawback is clearance, your rear skid plate (you do need to add one) will drag over quite a few things.
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Old 08-20-2008, 05:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by GtW
Not the KLR then. Since you own..what, four beemers!, I'll take that as endorsement for the gspd, but I haven't seen anyone say it's good, just that the klr isn't great for two up....
Like those "anyones" have been RTW.

One of my old students did his first two (of four) world tours on a R100 GS PD. It was flawless except for a failed rear shock (on the bumpy roads of South America) and a failed driveshaft (still the original) at 142,000 kms in China.

My pick would be a new early 80s R80 GS with a PD tank. BMW stopped making those unfortunately...all in the name of progress...

Funny thing is, I have a 2002 KLR that has been sitting in my garage since I got back from a test run on the Trans Labrador Highway in 2003. 10,652 kms and the engine rattles...good thing I have a reliable BMW to ride in the meantime till I get around to looking at it.
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Old 08-20-2008, 05:52 PM   #13
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Two up RTW? R100GSPD hands down.

Not that I've ever been RTW, but I do have an R100GS, whoever says that it is not offroadable has never had one off road. It's actually astonishingly good for what it is. I really think that whatever road your mind wandered down, the GS would surely follow.
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Old 08-21-2008, 03:09 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by mtndragon
Interesting dilema you have here, considering you are already kinda underway on your trip. Here is my $.02:

I have a KLR and have done some multi-day two up riding on it off-road and on. From a space perspective it is tough. I am 6'3" and 230 lbs (sorry about the metric/standard size comparison), and the girls I have ridden with have been small (less than 5'5" and 125lbs). That said, getting us and the gear on the bike is always interesting (keep in mind this is just one girl and myself at a time ). We stayed in hotels, as the camping gear I have now is just not small enough. My KLR is seriously moded with suspension and bolt kit, etc, and I still worried about the poor overloaded bike ( I have already cracked the subframe once). On rougher off-road sections, I would not want a bigger bike, as I was working hard to keep us upright and moving forward. On long droning sections, which you will surely face, a bigger bike would be great.
This said, I will tour two-up on the KLR in the future, but she will be small and it will be interesting.
My vote is think about where you want to get to on your bike two up. If you want to see lots, move over lots of ground, and keep your gal as happy as can be, go with the bigger bike, and stop letting her read how impressed we are that she is a trooper. IF you want to take the roads much less traveled, go slower, and have a bike that makes you truely believe origami is an art form, go with the KLR.
Either way, two great bikes, with two slightly different mission statements.
A very helpful perspective, ty.

We test rode the '02 klr today for about four hours, on a little more mountain track than road, but about 2 hours on each type of terrain. I loved it. It's light, responsive, agile, and a lot of fun! Sue liked it too, but her behind went numb after a while, and apparently I tend to slide back on the seat and she ended up sitting on the rear rack a couple of times which vibrates a lot, so she wasn't very happy about that. It's tough being a saint! But after she told me, I kept forward and she said it was decent from then on. Also, at 20km/litre for going up and down rough mountain trails half the time isn't bad either, especially for a carbeurated engine! If it was just me, I'd get this bike for sure.

We also got to test ride a '98 1100gs and that is a very nice machine. Definitely too big for me in the dirt, but on everything shy of deep mud or large tree roots/rocks etc., it was amazing. The balance is superb, and you really can go 110kph confidently on a corrugated dirt road without any discomfort at all. And we weren't sore in the least. A little tired from messing about in the dirt, but our behinds were very comfortable the whole time. You don't even notice how many kms you're putting behind you!
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Old 08-21-2008, 03:19 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Mountain
Lol, tell the saint that on long journey's you also have to adhere to the laws of the wild west, the horse gets taken care of first, then the passenger, then the cowboy. Feel free to reverse the order of these when you read this out to her.

It's all a compromise as you know, but in my experience singles are out, too small for the load combined with the miles. That leaves the doubles, of which there are a ton of good ones. Terrain and budget determine which has the least amount of compromise. There are a lot of nice older BMW's which have a great track record that are priced fairly reasonably, but IMHO that you can buy a slightly used DL1000 for roughly the same price with much fewer miles.. There is a guy over at HorizonsUnlimited that rode RTW 2 up on a DL650 but it would seem just a bit small to me. From what I've seen , the hard riding that you do when world touring is different than the hard riding you do at home. These bikes will handle almost all of it. Only real drawback is clearance, your rear skid plate (you do need to add one) will drag over quite a few things.
I think I'll have to stop logging on here when she's around! j/k of course. The 650 might be alright for us as I'm a fairly conservative rider on the highway, but steep hills could be an issue. The skid plates are definitely essential.

Thanks for the insight!!

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