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Old 05-04-2012, 10:06 PM   #1
TrailCruiser OP
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KLR650 vs. KTM 690 R

I know, these bikes really aren't comparable, but I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I have a gen 1 KLR that I'm in the process of fixing up for dual-sport use. I have a Goldwing so I don't need this bike for street use other than to ride 20-60 miles each way to get the dirt roads and trails. My riding will be almost exclusively day rides so no hard bags needed. It's trendy to call this Adventure Riding but really it's just plain old dual-sport use. I'm in my late 50s but have been riding all my life. 170 lbs and in good shape for my age.

Here's my dilemma: I bought the KLR right on craigslist with only 2700 miles on it but I'm spending all kinds of money on parts and accessories fixing it up. Then I see the glowing review on the 2012 KTM 690 R and wonder if I wouldn't be better off just biting the bullet and selling the KLR and popping for the KTM. It is SO much lighter and seems to have the best of everything already on it. If I could just go out and ride both I'm sure I could get clarity on the issue but that just isn't possible so I thought I'd ping those here who may have experienced both bikes.

Anyone who's had experience with both that can give me some perspective? Finish the KLR and be happy with it knowing that I'm not 25 anymore? Or pop for the orange wundermachine and have the benefit of performance that's likely in another realm?
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:39 PM   #2
byron555
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day rides

If you only plan on day rides, no hard bags etc. Why not look at something smaller? The KLR is heavy, and the KTM is expensive.

There are a whole host of workable used bikes that would make great day trippers.

I am partial to my wr250r. Yes it is only a 250, but I find it superior to my old xr650l in almost every way. The ergo's are far superior, the engine is smoother, the suspension is better, the stock seat is way better, it's a lot lighter and feels lighter than it's 299 lb wet weight would indicate.

I thought I would miss the power/torque of the 650, and I actually don't... On the trail, the 250 is faster in almost every situation, easier to ride and at the end of the day I feel less worn out. It took a lot of energy to navigate that old 650 on single track. The WR cruises down the highway better too, it'll do 72 mph all day.

If you have the money, the new 690 with an aftermarket seat (I hear the stock on is truly awful) would be nice I'm sure. Of course if you are new to dirt/dual sport, it might be a bit of a beast. (that suckers got a ton of power)
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:55 AM   #3
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I had a 2008 KLR 650 and did a ton of mods to it. Sold it. Got a 2009 KTM 690r. Soooo glad I did. The 690 is in a totally different league in terms of power and agility. Well worth the money for me. I hated the top heavy nature of the KLR. I just got back from 6 days in Baja on the 690 and that bike was perfect. Also the 690 is OK on the highway...a toss up with the KLR there.
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Old 05-05-2012, 07:50 AM   #4
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I have the KLR and have a buddy who owns the 690R. The Katoom is a wonderful machine, but it requires work to dial it in, which equals money. The bike is in a different league from the KLR, but don't think it's turn key and go for your intended use. The gas tank is too small for a lot of riding conditions. The seat is dismal to say the least. Armoring up you investment, then racks, packs, and whatnot it all adds up to well beyond the already high buy in price.

It seems to me, finish the KLR, ride it and then evaluate your needs and desires.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:07 AM   #5
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Some people expect a "mostly" dirt bike to have a soft seat and suspension to make it ride like a boring cruiser. If you plan to use the bike mainly for off road use I would not go for the klr, it is underpowered and overweight. if you like to ride in the rough stuff the ktm will be great or look at the ktm lineup and pick which one fits your need better. the wr250r is nice, a drz400 would be nice, just see what kind of range you want, what kind of power, read up on the manufacturer websites and go with the one that fits you best.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:20 AM   #6
markk53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrailCruiser View Post
I know, these bikes really aren't comparable, but I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I have a gen 1 KLR that I'm in the process of fixing up for dual-sport use. I have a Goldwing so I don't need this bike for street use other than to ride 20-60 miles each way to get the dirt roads and trails. My riding will be almost exclusively day rides so no hard bags needed. It's trendy to call this Adventure Riding but really it's just plain old dual-sport use. I'm in my late 50s but have been riding all my life. 170 lbs and in good shape for my age.

Here's my dilemma: I bought the KLR right on craigslist with only 2700 miles on it but I'm spending all kinds of money on parts and accessories fixing it up. Then I see the glowing review on the 2012 KTM 690 R and wonder if I wouldn't be better off just biting the bullet and selling the KLR and popping for the KTM. It is SO much lighter and seems to have the best of everything already on it. If I could just go out and ride both I'm sure I could get clarity on the issue but that just isn't possible so I thought I'd ping those here who may have experienced both bikes.

Anyone who's had experience with both that can give me some perspective? Finish the KLR and be happy with it knowing that I'm not 25 anymore? Or pop for the orange wundermachine and have the benefit of performance that's likely in another realm?

Depending on where you are I'd opt for a 400-450cc machine, lighter and easily will do the short commute to the riding area. If you are in an area with tighter trails like I am here in Ohio the 400-450 is about the biggest you really want for managability on the trails. Out west where the trails are more open the big bores are great. On a dual sport the idea for off roading is lighter is better, less complication is better, less "stuff" is better. The exception is if riding really wide open areas where getting lost could be seriously life threatening. Eastern Ohio is not so much that way, the western deserts and such are.

Don't just go big because you think big is better. Here in Ohio I personally would go to a 250 if I had a 10-20 mile ride to the trails and that was what the bike would be used for a majority of the time. I might go to a 351 kit on a 250, but the 250 is much ligher and agile than the big bores. I would also tend to lean toward "the east" aka Japanese for the bike due to pure reliability factor with less maintenance and cost.

The KLR is just too much road and not enough off road and the KTM is just too much race and maintenance than a comparable Japanese bike. I want to ride, not fiddle and I want a minimal engine maintenance interval.

That's my take on it.
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:24 AM   #7
Adv Grifter
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Wow! Some great comments from a wide range of riders. I'm thinking the younger guys favor the KTM. Remember, the OP is in his a LATE 50'S, doesn't sound like a fast guy.

I'm 62 ... by my late 50's I began to see the value of a 250 in more technical off road conditions. I've ridden the 690 briefly ... I liked it! But as mentioned, it will need set up ... as ANY bike does. The 690 is no feather weight either ... and not really great on technical trails compared to a 250 or lightweight 450.

Really depends on how technical off road you want to go. The KLR can get mired easily in tough conditions. I owned one back in '98. Also ridden well set up ones, they are much better than stock. But still ... not a great enduro bike in more technical conditions for an older, conservative rider.

That said, if you are only doing fire roads and mild two track, the KLR will work fine. Up grade suspension and go riding.

I like the idea of the WR250R or DRZ400. Also consider the TE250 Husqvarna, a great little bike. Every bike needs some set up, which usually includes a better seat, suspension work and maybe a bigger fuel tank.

I'd buy something used that is already set up. The 690R is a great bike, but over $10,000 new. But are you going to be riding that fast and that hard to really appreciate it? I crash much less on my 250 (WR250F) than on my DR650 off road. I'm more confident and HAVING MORE FUN off road on the 250. YMMV.

I would go with a lighter, simpler and less expensive bike.
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Old 05-05-2012, 11:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adv Grifter View Post
Wow! Some great comments from a wide range of riders. I'm thinking the younger guys favor the KTM. Remember, the OP is in his a LATE 50'S, doesn't sound like a fast guy.

I'm 62 ... by my late 50's I began to see the value of a 250 in more technical off road conditions. I've ridden the 690 briefly ... I liked it! But as mentioned, it will need set up ... as ANY bike does. The 690 is no feather weight either ... and not really great on technical trails compared to a 250 or lightweight 450.

Really depends on how technical off road you want to go. The KLR can get mired easily in tough conditions. I owned one back in '98. Also ridden well set up ones, they are much better than stock. But still ... not a great enduro bike in more technical conditions for an older, conservative rider.

That said, if you are only doing fire roads and mild two track, the KLR will work fine. Up grade suspension and go riding.

I like the idea of the WR250R or DRZ400. Also consider the TE250 Husqvarna, a great little bike. Every bike needs some set up, which usually includes a better seat, suspension work and maybe a bigger fuel tank.

I'd buy something used that is already set up. The 690R is a great bike, but over $10,000 new. But are you going to be riding that fast and that hard to really appreciate it? I crash much less on my 250 (WR250F) than on my DR650 off road. I'm more confident and HAVING MORE FUN off road on the 250. YMMV.

I would go with a lighter, simpler and less expensive bike.
LOL, some of us older guys like fast bikes. BTW, the 690 while a few LBS heavier then the WR and actually less then the DRZ carries the weight much better then the other two bikes. I've ridden my 690 back to back with a WRR and the 690 feels lighter. Picking them up when they are laying down on the ground is the only place you'll find the WRR feels lighter That being said, there's no getting around that $10K price tag on the 690.
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Old 05-05-2012, 11:37 AM   #9
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The KLR is the ultimate bargan bike. It does anything (except motocross) you need a motorcycle to do & you can pick them up all day used for $1,500-$4,000. The KLR is simple 25 year old technology which is both a plus & a minus depending what you're looking for.

I've never ridden the 690 enduro but, it's one of my dream bikes. It is state of the art technology as far as big bore dual sport singles go. The 690 has better/modern components than a KLR from suspension to the motor & you have to pay for that. The 690 will run circles around a KLR in the woods. The 690 r makes 65 H.P. compared to the KLRs 37 H.P. so on the street the KLR will eat the 690s dust as well but, for long distance highway touring I hear that the KLR is more comfortable & less buzzy.

Yes the KLR needs a doohicky upgrade & a Therobob but, you can buy the parts & pay the kawasaki shop to do both those jobs & you've still spent less than $400. You end up with an anvil solid reliable bike that probably feels like an anvil compared to the 690. Spend some time on the 690 wunderfest thread here on ADVrider & the 690 has issues just as all bikes do as well. feul mapping issues seem to be the biggest complaint with the 690 but there are less common problems that pop up on some guys bikes.

The KLR is kinda like banging a fat chic. It's loads of fun & I truely enjoy it but, the 690 is more like a super model & you have to pay $$$$ accordingly.
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Old 05-05-2012, 04:31 PM   #10
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They are not even the same bike, you seemed to answer your own question in your initial post. You said it, your not 25 anymore, go get the 690 before it is to late. I promise you will not regret it, but will most likely regret not buying it.
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:52 PM   #11
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The KLR is kinda like banging a fat chic.

Priceless.

Just when I thought I had perhaps an ounce of any dignity or self respect left,

you stole it...

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Old 05-05-2012, 07:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallachian Spikes View Post
The KLR is kinda like banging a fat chic. It's loads of fun & I truely enjoy it but, the 690 is more like a super model & you have to pay $$$$ accordingly.
I beg to differ, with a few good mods a KLR is more like banging a butterface
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:35 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by TrailCruiser View Post
Finish the KLR and be happy with it knowing that I'm not 25 anymore? Or pop for the orange wundermachine and have the benefit of performance that's likely in another realm?
Is money tight? If yes, stick with the KLR.
If no, who gives a !@#$ if you're too old, too unskilled, too whatever ...... you only live once.

I sold my KLR maybe 5 years ago. Bought a KTM 625SXC. Had more fun on the SXC in the first ride than I did in the entire 18 months I owned the KLR

I went googling for pics of fat women riding bicycles with milk crates but came up empty, pfffft.
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Old 05-06-2012, 06:16 AM   #14
Wallachian Spikes
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Originally Posted by Unstable Rider View Post
The KLR is kinda like banging a fat chic.

Priceless.

Just when I thought I had perhaps an ounce of any dignity or self respect left,

you stole it...

Sorry dude. I didn't mean to urinate all over your dignity & self respect. I like fat chics & I love my KLR. I do occasionally fantasize about skinny chics but, NEVER super models. I find them to be fake & high maintenance, which is probably why I like the KLR. It doesn't look like a super model but, at least it's very low maintenance & always ready to ride.
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Old 05-06-2012, 06:25 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by DCrider View Post
I beg to differ, with a few good mods a KLR is more like banging a butterface
I actually like the look of the pre '08s. The quarter faring reminds me of my old GPZ 550 & that's a good thing. I don't care for the look of the '08 & up models. The KLR was always heavy but, now it looks bloated & heavy too.
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