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Old 08-15-2002, 08:25 AM   #1
Jim Kelleher OP
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KLR 650 vs. XR650 (or KTM)

My GS has given me a taste for dirt biking. I realize the GS is as much a dirtbike as a Lexus SUV is an off road vehicle. I am thinking about picking up either a Kawasaki KLR 650 or a Honda XR650. To qualify this further, I live in northern Illinois (so no desert racing and damn few hills), and I am 6'5" and 290 lbs. Would love to hear from this asylum what bike would be the better choice for me (or KTM) and why?

Thank you, I will hang up now and listen for my answer.
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Old 08-15-2002, 10:57 AM   #2
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Might want to post this question over in the Thumpers forum.

-BS
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Old 08-15-2002, 11:35 AM   #3
Jim Kelleher OP
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isn't this thumpers forum?

isn't THIS thumpers forum?
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Old 08-15-2002, 11:43 AM   #4
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It is now that I moved it.
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Old 08-15-2002, 12:01 PM   #5
Jim Kelleher OP
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Thank you pescado!!!

from a Circus Bear to a fish:

muchly appreciated.

Grassy ass
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Old 08-15-2002, 12:47 PM   #6
R-dubb
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Re: KLR 650 vs. XR650 (or KTM)

Quote:
Originally posted by Jim Kelleher
I am thinking about picking up either a Kawasaki KLR 650 or a Honda XR650. To qualify this further, I live in northern Illinois (so no desert racing and damn few hills), and I am 6'5" and 290 lbs. Would love to hear from this asylum what bike would be the better choice for me (or KTM) and why?

Thank you, I will hang up now and listen for my answer.
You may as well add the DR650 to your list as well.

Not that I'm going to buy thumper, but I sure would like to. I want a bike that I can ride to the mountains and back (300 miles of freeway) and do 150 miles off-road while I'm there. Also I want to travel back country with a light pack, and perhaps do Mexico. My impressions are:

KTM is a great bike! Lots of power, lots of travel, very cool. Probably too tall for me at 5-10. Perfect for you. That seat sure feels hard for long days! I want one real bad even if it's the wrong choice.

Honda is very tall also. A street legal XR650R would put it ahead of the KTM in terms of offroad performance/weight. Large tank and seat upgrades are available. Drawback is grey legal status and potential lack of insurance coverage.

The XR650L is old technology, air cooled, not a great suspension and still too tall for me. Top speed might be an issue. Not cool enough.

KLR is a venerable bike for sure. Been around, gets around. Lower power output, not too tall. Lower means limited travel and harsh ride. Easy to pack like a mule and does long days with a wide saddle. Being tall and heavy you would likely bottom out too much.

Suzuki DR may be a good compromise for me. Strong motor. lower height, but still very dirt oriented. Seat is better than Honda or KTM. Downside is soft setup which helps in the dirt might bottom out with lots of weight and a massive pounding.

For you I vote either KTM or XR65R with an after market seat. This assumes your riding goals are similar to mine.


R-dubb

R-dubb screwed with this post 08-15-2002 at 02:57 PM
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Old 08-15-2002, 01:20 PM   #7
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So, are talkin' "dirt" as in unpaved roads, or are talkin' "dirt" as in, well, not roads?

All the 650's are really big and heavy on single-track or in the woods or in the mud. Any are fine on most twin-track, until it's really gnarly. P-D replicas are the fashion, and along with the big XR, really are more desert-sleds than trail bikes. You're a big guy, so you might need some ponies to pull you along, but lighter is better in the dirt.


How far are you gonna ride on pavement to get to the dirt?

The KLR is fine on the highway. I've done several 500+ mile legs on mine. The KTM is okay. The XR's--at least the old XR650's--are quite unpleasant on pavement for any distance. By "any distance" I mean ANY distance. I was happy to thrash my friend's for hours in the sandy roads, then hit pavement and in few minutes, I just wanted off.


A pal went from R100GS to Ducati Elephant 900 to XR650 to KLR650. He moved to Boise ID and now intends to get a 250, likely a TTR or TW and just plonk along in the mountains. Less is more. He's not in a hurry.

If you want to ride dirt for sport, as opposed to trying to get somewhere, then you might want more power. But light is still better for building skills. The KLR feels little and light coming from Beemers, but believe me, start tossing it around on soft dirt roads and grows into a huge heavy thing very suddenly.

The real dirt experts (I am not one) have always told me to buy a cheap, used little bike to really have fun in the dirt. I'm sure they're right, and someday I'll be smart and wealthy enough to take their advice.
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Old 08-15-2002, 01:20 PM   #8
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I have a 93 DR650. fookin thing is indestructable. Crashed 3 times once hard on the paverment. only a busted brake lever. I have run it hard in the trails and throught winter wet months. No problems. Im 6'5 230. its a wee bit small i the leg room department. the seat is a plank, but long enough to slide around and get some relief.
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Old 08-15-2002, 04:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by boyscout
Might want to post this question over in the Thumpers forum.

-BS
BS,

How tall are you?

I'm 5'-10" and rode a KTM a few weeks ago. That bike was pretty tall for me. I want to have more reach than I do on the GS just so I can be a pussy in the rough stuff.

That's why I sort of like the DR650 idea...


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Old 08-15-2002, 09:27 PM   #10
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If you really want to travel and adventure tour, the klr is the best bang for the buck. A little suspension work, and its good to go. I know its not sexy....but it is a real tool for real traveling.
Did I buy one....no, I bought the ktm adventure...hey, I want my sex. I sometimes think I wasnt using my head though.
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Old 08-15-2002, 09:40 PM   #11
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If you're thinking of the DR650 better move QUICK. When the 2002's are gone there isn't a 2003 to replace it.

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Old 08-15-2002, 10:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gerg
If you're thinking of the DR650 better move QUICK. When the 2002's are gone there isn't a 2003 to replace it.

Gerg
there is assloads of used ones out there. the 93 is kick only ('member me kicking the shit out of that beyotch?) the 94 has an electrick leg. But the 93 has no aftermarket. why? all the shit is already there. big tank (4.5 compared to the 2.3-ish) of the new ones. rear rack, skid pan and front disk guard. I think the 94 is all the same but no kicker. the newer ones wil cost you extra to put the other stuff on it. the biggest drawback is the weak alternator on mine. 150 watts. not much there. not much neaded when there is no starter. I'm trying to find out if the 94 has more juice and if it can be swapped.
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Old 08-16-2002, 08:56 AM   #13
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Yo Chopperman,
Why not just get the stocker re-wrapped for more output?

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Old 08-16-2002, 09:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by MountainMan
Yo Chopperman,
Why not just get the stocker re-wrapped for more output?

-MM
well that may well be what they did with the 93.

however rewrapping requires thinner wire. Thinner wire is easier to break. broken wire. no juice. no juice. no ride.
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Old 08-16-2002, 07:48 PM   #15
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I am 6'4 " and 195 pounds.Ihave a 1996 KLR 650 and it fits me well.I installed some Progressive front springs in the front fork to give it better handling.I live in Florida and the radiator helps my killer keep its cool,and you gotta love that big gas tank As far as the rear suspension is concerned I have no problems with the stock setup.I am planning to put on some Kenda 270 tires when my current tires wear out.They are Dunlkop Trailmax,they were on the bike when I brought it.Okay for the street but not much good in the sand here in Florida.:mad:
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