help!! KLR vs KLX vs V-Strom

Hi, I'm new here. I've got the Spring "wanna buy a bike this year" bug somethin' fierce. I think I'm going to finally pull the trigger but I'm having a hard time deciding.

I want to ride from Texas, all around the U.S. and down into Mexico, Guatemala, and beyond. Varied road, but mostly highway. Some desert and eroded dirt mountain roads. I'm on a budget so KTMs and BMWs are out. I've pretty much settled on the KLR650 and have been workin' the local dealers for a week now. Looks like the best I can get is $5250 out the door for a 2005 with the tall windshield. One dealer just got a 2003 with just over 3000 miles on it... very clean, but he wants $4137 +TTL or, $4500 out the door. I'm thinking for just $750 more for a band new one I'm better off. True?

Also considering a used Suzuki V-Strom. I've read some good reports on those and there's a used 2004 for $5000. But, it looks way too much geared for highway to me, and perhaps not so good on dirt and eroded mountain roads. Still thinking about that one.

My friend tells me I should go for more of a dirt bike like the KLX400 and just load aftermarket bags on it. That way when I get out into the desert and jungle I'll actually be able to have fun with it, and that because it's so much lighter it'll be much easier to manage. But, I can imagine riding 300-500 miles a day on something that's more geared for dirt. Am I wrong?

Lastly, if I go with the 2005 KLR, is $5250 and 20% off a helmet a bad deal?

And what mods to I need to make right off the bat? I've read the stock brakes should be replaced with better pads and disks... most say the taller windshield is a must for hiway... most recommend a throttle lock and better front springs... and several report much better performance with a pipe change and rejetting. Is that all? Or, are all these mods not really all that necessary. I'm on a budget so I can't go hog wild. If the stock setup will get me by for a month or two of riding through Mexico and Guatemala, I'll just leave it stock.

Another former biker friend says I'm wasting money and that bikes are serious money pits, and my wife thinks I'm making a huge mistake and wasting money. Says for the same money of a new bike I could travel to India, Europe, and SouthEast Asia (I like to travel alot and know this to be true). I tell her just takin' off for a week to parts unknown on a bike is a much different vibe than a regular backpacking trip... and definately different than just taking my car. And as a photographer I can get so many shots that I have to just miss while riding the bus. Am I just deludng myself? Or, is the adventure touring thing really that intoxicating?

Any help appreciated!

Hopefully a new bike owner soon,

Skip Hunt

Austin, Texas

http://www.poppinfreshmedia.com

Over at the other site that I inhabit, the FZ1 Owners Assoc site, the KLR650 and V-Strom are highly spoken of. I'd say of the 3 that the KLR650 would be best for what you want to do. More juice than a 400 but better off-road capabilities than a V-Strom. A new one for $5200 ain't bad. The KLR is king of that class......unless you have big bucks.

Check your p.ms

I'm pretty much set on the KLR and found a nice 2005 used for $4300 so, I'll probably try to check that one out today. However, I'm beginning to give the V-Strom some second looks and there's a deal on a used on locally. I know most miles will be on the pavement, but as a photographer I'll want to jump off the road.. down the trail... etc. just to get the shot. Not so much off-road for fun, but as utility. Somebody tell me why I shouldn't consider the v-strom over the KLR.

thanks! And a big thanks to FREESPOOL for taking the time to chat on the phone. Big help!

What you are describing sounds brutal. I've done long travel on a bike and it's for iron butts and crazy people. Get a GoldWing and forget about the dirt and especially forget about a single cylinder machine. Just my $0.02 :naughty:

What can I say? If I was in it for comfort, I'd drive my car instead.... or just stay at home in the AC and a TV remote. ;-) I want to actually feel the ride. But, it's mostly about accessibility to better vantage points for photo images. My Dad had a Goldwing. Very comfy, but just a notch better than just driving in a convertible.

Well when you get back, most definitely give us a long ride report. Long travel on a bike is freedom defined. I probably could have made my similar trips more friendly by staying in hotels every now and then. I did this when I was poor and tent camped all the time. Once fatigue set in, it never left making for long long long days of long long long roads........

Good Luck! :naughty:

Oh, even when I'm doing the backpack thing on planes, trains, buses, and in the back of pickup trucks... I never really camp and rough it like that. The roughest it gets is a hut with a dirt floor. But, even then I'll have a light bulb I can swap out the bulb for and outlet to power the laptop ;-). I'll eat in a nearby cocina, etc. I wouldn't be carrying any real camping gear other than a coffee mug and a Yucatan weaved hammock.

After a week to 10 days, I usually take a break in a regular city for 2 or 3 days.. have my clothes cleaned, see some sites, eat a few good meals... then head back out to the next destination. I figure it'll be much the same with a bike, but I'll be able to stop when I want... won't have to get stuck in some small town waiting 3-4hrs for the next connecting bus, or having to get up at 4AM to catch the right bus. Seems like I'll be gaining so much more freedom to move, but only giving up the ability to sleep on the bus for long stretches. Believe me, I won't be setting up any tents or cooking taters on campfire coals. Even in the desert I rent a small cinderblock room from a farmer. There's a small gas stove to share with other backpackers in a small shared kitchen... a cold shower to share, and a basic bed with a lightbulb. I'll camp out in the desert for a night or two, but after that I'm back in a proper bed or hammock. ;-)

Ok, after much thought I believe I'm ready to pick up a KLR. I called on a couple used ones this weekend, but passed on a "Salvage Title" bike that was supposed just stolen and recovered. Something seemed fishy, so I let it go. Then, found another 2005 about 150 miles away in Houston.. but, it was already sold after being listed for less than 24hrs!

So it looks like I'll have to buy new. However, the last time I spoke with the dealer I asked him if he'd take $5k out the door. He answered with a resounding no. Then, I told him another dealer's best deal was "High 52's" but they were really pushing the extended warrantee etc. and the whole vibe felt kinda weasely. So I asked the other dealer if he'd take $5250 for the bike with the taller windshield and include Kaw bags and a modular KBC helmet. The best he said he'd do was include the taller windshield, no bags and 20% off the helmet. I told him I'd go for it, but it was near closing on Saturday so I'm supposed to call back today. Now, after sleeping on it. I'm thinking that I'm not getting a very good deal. I'm thinking that the bike with a taller windshield with a $240 KBC helmet included is a good/fair deal. But, if I call back an re-neg... well I'm guessing I'll just piss the guy off and I'm back to square one. What's the best way to basically continue the negotiation that I've verbablly already settled without coming off as an a$$?

thx,

Skip Hunt

Austin, Texas

http://www.poppinfreshmedia.com

If you are heading south of the border you will most likely be offroading it most of the time. I would buy the Honda xr650l. I have both the Kaw(250 + 650) and Honda (xr650l).I prefer the slightly older tech air cooled Honda. I personaly think the klr wins in most of the magazine test because its bieng driven by people used to street bikes and interstate driving. Drive both bikes thru that sugar sand in the south end of Tex and you will quickly appreciate the Honda's dirt pedigree.Do yourself a favor and try the big Honda. You can use the honda websites's dealer locator to find a dealer that allows test drives, of the 11 within 100 mile radius of me 3 allow test rides on saturdays. If you buy the kaw get a deburring tool to round off all the sharp edges on the plastic, a cut finger in south America could be a very bad thing.

Abernathy cycle, Union City Tenn, has the xr650l for $4984 OTD www.abernathyonline.com

If you are heading south of the border you will most likely be offroading it most of the time. I would buy the Honda xr650l. I have both the Kaw(250 + 650) and Honda (xr650l).I prefer the slightly older tech air cooled Honda. I personaly think the klr wins in most of the magazine test because its bieng driven by people used to street bikes and interstate driving. Drive both bikes thru that sugar sand in the south end of Tex and you will quickly appreciate the Honda's dirt pedigree.Do yourself a favor and try the big Honda. You can use the honda websites's dealer locator to find a dealer that allows test drives, of the 11 within 100 mile radius of me 3 allow test rides on saturdays. If you buy the kaw get a deburring tool to round off all the sharp edges on the plastic, a cut finger in south America could be a very bad thing.

Abernathy cycle, Union City Tenn, has the xr650l for $4984 OTD www.abernathyonline.com

Yes, I've tomented over this for a week or so now. I really think I'll be on the road about 80% of the time. Off to Big Bend, some national parks around the country, down into Mexico, Guatemala, etc. I've been all over Mexico and Guatemala by bus, and the roads have certainly improved over the last 10 years. Still, there are times when I'll want to get off the road just to get a better vantange point for photos.. not really to do recreational off-roading. I would like to have a little fun in the dirt, but the reality is.. I'll likely be on decent roads for very long stretches and the Kawasaki seems to win in that dept. Plus, I'd have to replace the Honda's tank for more capacity.

I will admit the kaw does very well on the highway, only complaint in the dirt is head shake over 40mph. klx 250r does not seem to have these problems but not very street friendly. I got the best qoutes of aprox $4800 OTD from more than one dealer on 2005 klr650, even both local dealers qouted $5000 even and cost on any accessories. Look at www.cycletrader.com then choose the search feature and you will see a number of dealers willing to roll you out for aprox $5k You might just choose Kawasaki 650 as search criteria for best results. Best of luck RichardT

Yes. I've been trying cycletrader for the last 3 days. I can't find anything better than $5099 +TTL. I just did a search for KLR650 "new" and that's the best it turned up. Which is more than what I'm paying here in Austin, ie. $5250 OTD including the taller windshield in addition to the stock one, a Nolan Modular helment for $190 (about the same as online). We've only got 3 dealers here in Austin and one is corporately owned, ie. hidden charges, heavy push for additional warranty, cheesy il-informed sales guyse, etc. Of my other two choices, one is too wishy-washy on what they quote. They had me drive twice to their shop implying they'd "work with me" on the pricing and led me to believe they'd take close to my offer.

When I got there, it was a big dance around the pricing, also HUGE pressure for more warantee, etc. And, ultimately wouldn't even take close to my offer. After being suckered into two 30mile trips to their dealership... I've decided my only choice is the dealer who's been no-nonsense since the beginning, no pressure, no trying to sell me extended warrantees, and very little haggling. He gave me is best price which although it's not the best Nationally, it's a fair deal and the best I can get locally.

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