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Old 12-17-2014, 10:04 AM   #1
haulintx OP
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Question DR vs KLR vs XRL and maybe DRZ400 ?

Yeah, i know, another one of these threads.....BUT i have some questions regarding more technical things. Its my 1st post, so don't flame the hell out of the newbie.

I have read plenty of the online comparisons of these bikes and i get the general idea. KLR=good on road, "ok" off road, XRL=good off road, "ok" on road, DR=Somewhere between those two, DRZ, well ill have to learn more from you experts.

A little about me, Ive been riding for over 35 years, former motorcop, ive raced a little of motox, cross country, enduro, done track days on sport bike. I would say i am a decent rider. My off road riding was on CR250 and XR250. I would like to get my kids into the dirt and riding, but i want a competent off road bike i can roost with them and go on some DS rides, and someday do the South to North of the Rockies TAT, maybe a local cross country race for fun, and maybe commute occasionally. I dont have the coin to drop on a KTM or the likes, so i plan to keep my choices between the above bikes. I turn my own wrench's and feel i can handle any upgrades, repairs, ect.

With any of those bikes i plan to upgrade the suspension 1ST! Upside down forks most likely and something better in the rear shock. Manufactures list the weights as KLR-432, DR-366,DRZ-317,XRL-346, without fluids of course. No light weights for sure. If you own one of these bikes and done the above upgrades, how does it handle now?

I really like the simplicity of the air cooled XRL and DR. Seems like one less thing to go wrong or damage in a crash. But those of you with KLR or DRZ can answer of the crash ability of those bikes and reliability of the systems?

Of those bikes is there any engine transmission defects/weaknesses to be aware of? Ive read on the doohicky and i believe it was 3rd Gear in the DR. Is there a fix for the DR gear issue? I have seen there are big bore kits for the KLR and DRZ. The XR has been around forever and i am sure there are upgrades there as well. How will the bottom end of those motors hold up to the extra power? Long term reliability? I would start with airbox and exhaust/jetting(new carb?) mods and go from there if needed.

The Klr wins in comfort due to the fairing, but there is plenty of aftermarket support for all these bikes, with options to go from supermoto to around the world bikes. I have ridden a XRL on and off road, wasnt bad at either, but needed work. But it did give me an idea of the power. Are the DR and KLR on par, all uncorked? I am most concerned with the off road performance of these bikes once uncorked and suspension modded. Which puts the KLR at the bottom of my list but i wont rule it out just yet.
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Old 12-17-2014, 10:19 AM   #2
larryboy
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I think it's too heavy for a 250, but I think you're looking for a WR250R...it has the suspension you want and you could put your efforts/cash into a big bore kit instead of suspension mods on those other bikes.
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Old 12-17-2014, 10:30 AM   #3
gravityisnotmyfriend
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I've got an XRL and have ridden my buddies' DR and KLR. The biggest difference between the DR and XRL is the seat height. The XRL is much taller. Off road wise, they're pretty comparable. The KLR is heavier, and it is noticeable off road.

For what you're describing, the DR or XRL would work. Which one you choose should depend on how tall you are.
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Old 12-17-2014, 10:55 AM   #4
haulintx OP
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I am 5'10" around 190lbs but losing. The XRL i rode was tall but not bad enough to make it bad. But then again, i didnt do any slow speed , tight trails.

I really never considered a 250, but i will read up.
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:08 AM   #5
Kommando
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haulintx View Post
Yeah, i know, another one of these threads.....BUT i have some questions regarding more technical things. Its my 1st post, so don't flame the hell out of the newbie.

I have read plenty of the online comparisons of these bikes and i get the general idea. KLR=good on road, "ok" off road, XRL=good off road, "ok" on road, DR=Somewhere between those two, DRZ, well ill have to learn more from you experts.
All 3 have been around a while. A lot of it is personal preference. For example, I prefer the DR over the KLR, even onroad. Offroad, it's low enough for me to get my feet down, most of the time, on uneven ground. I'm 5'8"/200lb/30"inseam/athletic/42yrs old.

Quote:
A little about me, Ive been riding for over 35 years, former motorcop, ive raced a little of motox, cross country, enduro, done track days on sport bike. I would say i am a decent rider. My off road riding was on CR250 and XR250. I would like to get my kids into the dirt and riding, but i want a competent off road bike i can roost with them and go on some DS rides, and someday do the South to North of the Rockies TAT, maybe a local cross country race for fun, and maybe commute occasionally. I dont have the coin to drop on a KTM or the likes, so i plan to keep my choices between the above bikes. I turn my own wrench's and feel i can handle any upgrades, repairs, ect.
The XRL and DR are going to be simple, not being water-cooled or DOHC. The DR is air/oil-cooled though, but the oil cooler can be bypassed without running issues. The SACS is good enough to run it as just an air-cooled bike if you have to.

Quote:
With any of those bikes i plan to upgrade the suspension 1ST! Upside down forks most likely and something better in the rear shock.
Almost all bikes can benefit from tailoring the suspension to the rider. On a travel bike for BFE, you may want to consider conventional cartridge forks with adjustable damping/preload, rather than fancy USD forks. If a seal leaks on a conventional fork, the oil isn't necessarily gone immediately, all over the brakes. USD adjustable-damping forks are great for rough terrain though...closer to civilization.

Quote:
Manufactures list the weights as KLR-432, DR-366,DRZ-317,XRL-346, without fluids of course. No light weights for sure. If you own one of these bikes and done the above upgrades, how does it handle now?
Those should all be curb weights, with all fluids filled. I have 1 DR with heavier springs and oils, and 1 DR with stock suspension. The rear shock REALLY needs to be upgraded to something with rebound damping if you want to ride whoops or jumps aggressively. It has almost no rebound damping in stock trim. Other than that, the bike is manageable for me in sand/mud at speed with some knobbies and armor on it.

Quote:
I really like the simplicity of the air cooled XRL and DR. Seems like one less thing to go wrong or damage in a crash. But those of you with KLR or DRZ can answer of the crash ability of those bikes and reliability of the systems?
Armor up any of the bikes and they can take a beating better than most streetbikes. The KLR plastic does better with crashbars and the like.

Quote:
Of those bikes is there any engine transmission defects/weaknesses to be aware of? Ive read on the doohicky and i believe it was 3rd Gear in the DR. Is there a fix for the DR gear issue? I have seen there are big bore kits for the KLR and DRZ. The XR has been around forever and i am sure there are upgrades there as well. How will the bottom end of those motors hold up to the extra power? Long term reliability? I would start with airbox and exhaust/jetting(new carb?) mods and go from there if needed.
The DR650 wikia webpage discusses a lot of its potential issues. I've never experienced a 3rd gear failure, an upper chain-roller failure, a base-gasket failure, an NSU-screw failure, etc. My 2003 has over 30K miles of abuse on it, and my 2013 has over 12K miles of abuse on it. www.procycle.us offers an upgraded 3rd gear, as well as many other items of interest for the DR650 and other dualsports. The DR bottom end is allegedly pretty stout. The valvetrain could use some beefing, which Procycle can provide. The DR valves are screw/locknut, BTW.

There is somebody that posted in the DR650 thread with over 200K miles on their DR, using it as a courier bike. I don't know how far a KLR or XRL can go before needing a rebuild/replacement.

Quote:
The Klr wins in comfort due to the fairing, but there is plenty of aftermarket support for all these bikes, with options to go from supermoto to around the world bikes. I have ridden a XRL on and off road, wasnt bad at either, but needed work. But it did give me an idea of the power. Are the DR and KLR on par, all uncorked? I am most concerned with the off road performance of these bikes once uncorked and suspension modded. Which puts the KLR at the bottom of my list but i wont rule it out just yet.
The DR can be made pretty darn comfy for long hauls on the slab, while still being a decent dirty bike. Procycle can help you build the power from mild to wild (DR790 or DR900). My near-stock 35-40WHP DR wheelies easily enough in 2nd gear, and runs slab just fine 2up with luggage, so I don't plan to mess with it right now. Procycle can take it to the extreme if you have the money and inclination. I don't know of any XRL or KLR making over 50WHP though. The KLR and XRL fans can fill you in there.
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:14 AM   #6
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My suggestion is do a bunch of reading in the model specific threads here and be very realistic with yourself about your use of the bike.

You CAN ride a KLR on an enduro and you CAN putter around with the kids with it...but it probably won't be a whole lot of fun. Likewise you CAN ride a DRZ around the world but you'd be wishing you had something more comfortable, I'd bet.
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:26 AM   #7
dhally
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You will end up getting more than one bike, why not just plan on it to start with? XR250 or WRR now to chase kids around. Then you will know what kind of riding you like and can decide which 650 would be best for the CDT!
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Old 12-17-2014, 12:35 PM   #8
haulintx OP
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Im not to worried about long distance rides at the moment. Thats a few years off i suppose.
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Old 12-17-2014, 12:45 PM   #9
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I have a 1st gen KLR650. 410lbs wet.

Pushing 50K trouble free miles.

The KLRs Achilles' Heel is its height, and the weight it carries up high due to the big factory fuel tank.

It is my opinion that the water cooled/air & oil cooled argument is WAY over stated.

Put a decent (JNS Engineering comes to mind) front guard on the radiator & throw on a side guard for the radiator (or add an IMS 6.6g tank, which gives awesome side protection) for good side protection, and if you wreck hard enough to punch a hole in the radiator, you are going to have much more serious issues to worry about.

The KLR is NOT a dirt bike. That being said, I have taken it thru places it had no right going (based all the wisdom on the interweb) and it did just fine.

Wrestling it around can be a bear, no doubt. Suspension is way too soft from the factory.

I have seen a 52 or 54 HP DR dyno sheet, but it took $2,000.00+ to get it there. Big valve head (~$1,200 on procycle), 790cc kit, shop labor, etc.



I have seen a 46HP dyno sheet for a 685cc KLR. Also had a jet kit, exhaust and big valves. Haven't seen a dyno for a 705cc or 719cc kit, though. 719cc is the biggest kit made for the KLR at the moment.

http://www.patmanracing.com/klrdyno.htm

www.procycle.us for DR goodies & www.eaglemike.com for KLR goodies.
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East Coast Rider screwed with this post 12-17-2014 at 01:30 PM
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Old 12-17-2014, 01:41 PM   #10
RockabillySlapMatt
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I was in your same exact shoes 3 months ago, looking for about a year for a good decent priced dual sport with reliability and compromises that I could deal with (on vs off road comfort). I liked the klr for two up, but it was a burly beast, DR's never popped up in my area, and those that did were BEAT UP. XRL's Xr600's, and xr650r's were at the top of my list, but I didn't want JUST a kicker, nor did I want JUST another xr650l. I didn't even consider a drz, too common, ugly, repugnant, etc.

If you have read the advice of anyone anywhere, it almost always says "sounds like you need a plated E model".

They're right.






I ended up with a 2003 drz400e with E start and Kick start, plated, bunch of aftermarket goodies such as Scotts stabil, 3.7g acerbis tank, new seat concepts seat, new k270 tires, fatty bars, etc. etc. etc. for $1800 bucks. Best buy of my freaking life.

Top speed is 90mph with 1 tooth up front, off road it still crawls in 1st, GREAT power with that FCR carb, tuneable suspension, I can go on and on and on. I love this bike.
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Old 12-17-2014, 02:24 PM   #11
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Haulin; I'm a retired sergeant with more miles on an FLHTP than I care to count. Still ride a Harley for touring state to state. I wanted to have a dual sport for riding the dirt and gravel here and in the Smokey's.

I've had Beemers in the past, Dakar, 1150 G/S. I went with the KLR this time around and love it. But I'm only looking to putt down dirt roads, my motocross days are 40 years ago.

With what you said you would like to do, put the KLR out of your head. You said you wanted a "competent dirt bike". It's pretty hard to shave 100 lbs. off a KLR. There's some real nice 250's out there.

If you wanted to do really long dirt road trips like the TLH, then a KLR would be sweet.
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Old 12-17-2014, 03:02 PM   #12
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I'm about your height & weight. I've owned a DR650SE and it was bullet-proof. My current play bike is an XR650L, and while it's taller than the DR it's actually closer to a dirt bike (in my humble opinion).

Looking back, however, I should have bought a WR250R and focused more on learning good dirt riding technique. Building off-road skills while I'm wrestling with a pig is kinda' tough on this old codger.
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Old 12-17-2014, 03:32 PM   #13
haulintx OP
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What years were the DRZ 400E? Wasn't on Suzuki website, unless i completely missed it.

Maybe a plated bike is what i need, not to hard to due here in TX. Ive seen a bunch of super motos plated.

The XRL is the closest one to a reg dirt bike so far.
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Old 12-17-2014, 03:44 PM   #14
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If you're planning to ride real dirt/jeep tracks you want either the DRZ400 or the WR250R. The KLR/DR/XRL can be taken off road, but they are big pigs that will severely hamper your fun.

Unless you have tons of highway miles to go before you get to the decent offroad, then I'd choose the WR250R and get a trailer to tow behind my vehicle.

Serously, I've owned the KLR 650 and currently own a KTM 640 Adventure. Offroad the KTM blows the KLR away. That said, I spent a weekend riding rocky mountain jeep trails with some friends on WR250R's and realize just how much more fun they were having due to the weight and capabilities of their bikes.

That weekend I got the chance to ride one of the little 250's on some of the trails, and holy shit what a fantastic little bike.
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Old 12-17-2014, 04:39 PM   #15
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Guess ill start reading the 250R mega thread.......
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