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Old 03-13-2011, 05:20 PM   #1
dirtrider2010 OP
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The best 650 thumper?

Make? Model? Honda, Yamaha? Early 2000's KLR 650 vs an early 2000's 650 GS? Reliability issues?
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:50 PM   #2
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I would suggest you start reading threads on the 650 class thumpers.
KLR thread, XT600 thread, DR650 thread, KTM Lc4 thread, Husky TE610 thread, and even the BMW Xchallenge thread.

Just from what I've read here, the top three engines, DR650, XT600, Rotax 650 in the Xchallenge.

Best stock suspensioned bikes, Husky TE610, KTM Adventure and enduro, so your question is very subjective.

Most loved 650 might have to be the KLR, either because its cheap, or just the sear numbers of them sold.
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:06 PM   #3
dirtrider2010 OP
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Originally Posted by Zecatfish View Post
I would suggest you start reading threads on the 650 class thumpers.
KLR thread, XT600 thread, DR650 thread, KTM Lc4 thread, Husky TE610 thread, and even the BMW Xchallenge thread.

Just from what I've read here, the top three engines, DR650, XT600, Rotax 650 in the Xchallenge.

Best stock suspensioned bikes, Husky TE610, KTM Adventure and enduro, so your question is very subjective.

Most loved 650 might have to be the KLR, either because its cheap, or just the sear numbers of them sold.
I've heard from many that the KLR in recent years has become a "cult bike" so easy to acquire and maintain, its almost pointless to look elsewhere. I just don't know about their reliability. I have limited mechanical ability and would feel comfortable working with a KLR, but my other choice would be a 650 GS which I don't think I would feel comfortable working on myself. But i'll definitely look into the DR650...
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:12 PM   #4
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by dirtrider2010 View Post
I have limited mechanical ability...
No better place to learn than a KLR. The bike's simple, all the issues are known and have well-documented fixes, and it tolerates abuse well.

DRs are actually a bit simpler, but don't have quite the enthusiast knowledge base that exists for the KLR.

And the best 650 thumper is the one that fits you best. Go sit on a bunch and it'll be pretty obvious which one is right for you.
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:17 PM   #6
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The best is a dr650.
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:18 PM   #7
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Oh, best at what, drag racing?
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:21 PM   #8
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Best really depends on mission, though regardless of mission it isn't a KLR

I have an XR650R and it served its purpose really well and probably better than anything else available (the mission was fairly focused though - needed something cheap that I could buy used, then race for 534 miles with no prep work, then ride another 2k miles with nothing but basic maintenance).

For a more street oriented dual sport I'd take the DR over the KLR. The enthusiast thing is a bit off I think - you can get most anything for a DR. Want a 55hp, 780cc monster? No problem. I've yet to see a KLR pushed that far (though I've seen plenty of them pushed =p). The BMW 650 single (the funduro-style one) is a great bike too, though even more road-biased.
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:47 PM   #9
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Seriously?

Every person you ask is going to tell you something different and I can prove it. The best 650 thumper is the G650xChallenge. I just rode in Moab for the last 5 days with no issues. You will not find a motorcycle with a 6k mile oil change plan. 53hp. Top speed 105mph. Sips fuel. Tuff, I dumped it many, many times with no damage. And now because they are no longer made they are cheap to get into. Do nor listen to those that claim you have to replace or upgrade suspension parts. There is no issue with it's handling in the front or rear end. I just turn the key nag ride, ride, ride.

But I could be bias.

And EFI kicks ass!
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Old 03-13-2011, 06:52 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BikePilot View Post
Best really depends on mission, though regardless of mission it isn't a KLR

I have an XR650R and it served its purpose really well and probably better than anything else available (the mission was fairly focused though - needed something cheap that I could buy used, then race for 534 miles with no prep work, then ride another 2k miles with nothing but basic maintenance).

For a more street oriented dual sport I'd take the DR over the KLR. The enthusiast thing is a bit off I think - you can get most anything for a DR. Want a 55hp, 780cc monster? No problem. I've yet to see a KLR pushed that far (though I've seen plenty of them pushed =p). The BMW 650 single (the funduro-style one) is a great bike too, though even more road-biased.
Mission is weekend rides with dshallum and longer trips like route 66 from chitown to LA or nashville (where we live) to key largo for dive trips. backroads the whole way. time isn't as much of an issue as fuel economy and the ability to comfortably ride trails and a dirt track or two.
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Old 03-13-2011, 07:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtrider2010 View Post
Mission is weekend rides with dshallum and longer trips like route 66 from chitown to LA or nashville (where we live) to key largo for dive trips. backroads the whole way. time isn't as much of an issue as fuel economy and the ability to comfortably ride trails and a dirt track or two.
For that much road mileage, with plenty of dirt ability, used DR650, WR250R, or X-Challenge. The BMW EFI 650 single is a smooth gas-sipper when cruising, with a lot of power on tap. The DR650 with mods is simpler and usually cheaper, but won't pull the same performance with the same MPG. The WR250R has a bit less power than either, but is capable of running most highways and getting better MPG than the DR650. Check 'em out and see what suits you.

The other euro performance-oriented dualsports aren't known for being economical over lots of mileage. They typically like frequent maintenance, and gas. Lots of gas.
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Old 03-13-2011, 08:56 PM   #12
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Clearly the KLR 650 would be the superior bike.
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:16 PM   #13
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Since no one has said it yet, I'll say it, the best thumper is the XR650L.

There, I said it.

Seriously though, they all have their pros and cons. Off road ability, mileage range, reliability, on road ability, seat height, mechanical simplicity. They all have different pros and cons. There are a lot of threads here and on thumpertalk comparing different models.

The best advice I can give though is to go and drive all the ones you can and if you can't drive em, sit on em, take your time, preferably find a used dealer that has a selection of different models, sit on all of them. Go from there and then research how the bikes you like line up with your needs such as mechanical simplicity (if that's your thing).

Once you buy something, enjoy it. If you hate it, not the end of the world, just sell it and buy something else. If its a bike you plan on having for 5 years and you lose a grand on the switch but are happy in the end, I say so what.

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Old 03-13-2011, 10:19 PM   #14
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simple.... 2002 or later XR650R
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Old 03-13-2011, 11:02 PM   #15
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From the perspective of a new guy on this scene (30 years street bikes, last 15 primarily sport touring) who wants a go just about anywhere bike that still has the legs and capacity for touring, the DR650 won with me hands down.

From my perspective, few if any are really great street bikes if you're coming onto the scene fresh from a list of truly great handling street bikes... so the name of the game IMO is how well it balances it's street capabilities with it's off road capabilities. In the 650 class the KLR struck me as the better street bike of the lot, the XR maybe the best in the dirt when ridden hard in very demanding environments, and the DR the better balance of the three having better off road capability than the KLR, and better touring capability than the XR.

But what do I know?
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