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DR 650 vs KLR 650

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I asked the guys in the DR forum to compare these two bikes as commuters; can you KLR fans give me your take on the subject? I'm open to any opinions or advice you want to give me.

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The one gigantic factor for me would be comfort. The DR has a seat equivalent to a piece of plywood. You can almost feel the frame riding up your crack. The KLR has a very cushy seat that you could ride all day on. It is REALLY comfortable. Also, the KLR has decent wind protection, esp. if you purchase a tall windshield for it. I think it is the perfect commuter bike. The DR is a little more dirtworthy but a little less street worthy, so if commuter is what you need, then the KLR seems to fit the bill.

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I've owned both the XR650L and a DR650, and now own a KLR650, of the 3, for general touring, I think the KLR is the better choice. Each have their great points, for example, the XR is a far suprerior ride off road because if it's suspension. Granted, all are very close when it comes to weight but the differences are substancial if you had the chance to ride each. My KLR for instance, I ride a long way to work and do some very long rides in the summer. The stock seat is just plain junk, I spent the cash on a corbin seat and that made all the difference in the world as far as comfort. I added the tall wide windshield and a set of aluminium touring boxes. The suspension on the KLR is a good mix for off road and the highway, but doing neither well. Being so tall makes riding it in heavy traffic difficult for all but the more experienced riders. Being water cooled makes it more adaptable for the highway, but does tend to make it more fragile off road. I picked the KLR for the simplistic design, the basic motor hasn't really changed since it was first introduced. Which tends to lend itself to being extremely dependable though a bit dated, sure they could make it put out more HP, but why mess with something that works. The KLR has a large group of dedicated riders that would buy another any time. Sure it's a tank off road, but when you get right down to it, so are the other 2 options, well 3 now with the new KTM's, unless your a rich guy and can afford that BMW.

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I think I would change out the seat on either of them right away. On the KLR, mainly because the bike is very tall and I'm not. On the DR because the stock seat feels like sitting on a 4x4. I'm a little concerned that the KLR is a bit top-heavy once you have coolant and gas in it. I'm getting a dual sport because of the dirt roads I have to go over. They would ruin a street bike over time. Touring is not something I'm likely to do. Handling and acceleration on the street will be pretty important for me, as well as gas mileage.

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I've been checking out this thread and the one in the DR forum. A lot of good point's for both bike's. I had a XR650L for a while and for what you want a bike for your right to exclude it. Not very good on the hi-way. I have'nt spent to much time on the KLR. I think it's a few upgrade's away from being a really good all around bike. I have a DRZ400s and really enjoy it offroad. I've geared it a little taller for riding to work, but a little twitchy and high strung on the interstate's. I ride with a friend that has a 05 DR650. We switch up alot when we ride. I'm very impressed with the DR. Not as good offroad but great on dirt road's and for commuting. He get's 57 mpg commuting. The Corbin seat is a must on the DR. Best mod for this bike. Like the KLR it's a few mod's from perfect. I may get rid my DRZ and get a KLR or a DR, Both are great bike's. I think I would go wth the DR.

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hey mark, if you are interested in a KLR 650, i have decided to put mine up for sale. 2001 650, supertrapp ids2 slipon, uni filter, jetted, brand new michelin anakees f/r, cyclebrakes oversized front rotor, ss front brake line, progressive front springs, 16t front sprocket (+ stocker) galfer green pads front, galfer black pads rear, shorty turn sig, green and silver bike, 50+ mpg......located in tempe az. sent you a pm

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klr brakes are so bad it should be illegal, you gotta spend some $ to fix these , which would be weak on a 125......

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klr brakes are so bad it should be illegal, you gotta spend some $ to fix these , which would be weak on a 125......

SO many people say this, but our KLR's brakes seem to work just fine, at least to both of us they do. Maybe its just because we haven't had tons of experience on other bikes but what is bad about them? They lock up real easy when needed, and my boyfriend once had to make an emergency stop to avoid a dog while I was on the bike with him and it literally stopped within 10 feet. Now my 250, that bike has horrible brakes!

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As a commuter bike.... the KLR has it: mini-fairing, decent seat, large fuel tank, and just nimble enough to get into some hairy white-lining. After market parts are abundant (just dont believe all the hype on some stuff like lowering links/ fork braces), and there are plenty of mods which can be done. It will pull 80 mph all- day long, and you can even get the front wheel up!! I use an 05 for commuting and weekend camping up in the mountains; Even 10 day Death Valley trips loaded with saddle bags and gear...... this is where it does not shine. Though capable to some extent in the rough (alot has to do with rider experience), it is a pig in the dirt. Which is why I bought an 05 Yamaha WR 450 for serious desert/ woods riding. I know how far I can take my KLR,..... but again, it is capable of mild-rough terrain.

If you want a bike that is better in the dirt and just ok as a commuter, then go with the DR650. Aside from the shitty stock seat (get a Corbin) and small-feeling ergonomics (I am 5'11", 185 lbs), the bike rips. Look into getting the oversize 4.9 gal tank, the Suzuki rear rack, and some real bark-busters. This bike will also work well as a long distance road/offroad touring bike..... minus the comfort of the KLRs fairing.

For some good info on both the DR and KLR, check out the Elden Carl site:

http://multisurfacemotorcycling.com/index.htm

Jesse

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I have an 05 KLR. Last winter before I bought the KLR, I did a lot of research like you are doing.

1) I decided I wanted the larger fuel tank on the KLR. I rode in Colorado last summer with a friend who has a KTM 6 days 620. He had to carry extra gas in a can and found that to be a pain, especially where there are not many fuel stations. There were some days, we did not make it to our destination because he ran short on fuel and had to turn around.

2) More comfortable seat. At the end of the day, he was saddle sore too!!

3) More accessory options. totallywiredcycles.com klr650.com - just to name a few.

4) I also like the Liquid cooled motor in the KLR versus the air cooled DR. I never have a problem with overheating.

The DR is definitely more dirt friendly than the KLR. I found if you ride mostly on hardtop and occasionally on dirt, the KLR is the bike for you. If you want more dirt riding than hardtop, the DR is the choice. I rode 8000 miles last year and found this bike to be a great all around bike!!

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I had an 01 KLR650. I put 33,000mi on it in the three years I owned it. I rode it in urban traffic all the time, I rode it on really rough terrain offroad, and I rode long highway stretches. The longest day was 375mi, which was 125mi of dirt roads/fire cuts, and then 250mi home on the highway.

I had a Corbin dip seat (I'm 5'8") which was REALLY comfortable on the highway. The bike never had any trouble with overheating in the city (or the trails for that matter. I had barkbusters, a bash plate, and I did a bunch of mods to the suspension that would not be necessary for commuting.

You will DEFINITELY need a stainless brake hose, anyone who doesn't agree that the bike has a weak front brake, is accustomed to riding a bike with crappy brakes. They're not hopeless, just a stainless hose to firm up the lever makes a huge difference.

Try the stock seat for a while. Some people like it for the highway, it depends on how your ass is shaped I guess. The corbin seats are about $225.

There is a HUGE aftermarket, and you can sort out luggage to pack a TON of crap onto the bike for long trips.

Devon

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I just got a brand new 650 KLR today 3-16-06 Has not been ridden yet. My off road bike is a Honda XR400R 1996 vintage. Any suggestions on break in or things to watch for on the KLR ? Thanks .....Bob

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I put 6500 miles on my bike last year. I followed the factory recommended break in on the sticker and have not had a bit of bad luck. It is a great bike. The original tires did wear pretty fast though.

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as HC said .. the klr brakes suck. if you learn to ride with in the limits of the brakes you will be fine but over riding the capabiltiy of the brakes will get you hurt in a hury ( although this holds true for any brakes ). i will say that i love my KLR and i have added the stainless braided brake lines, and galfer green pads. it has helped but still not great. when it comes down to deciding out of the 3 big 650 dual sport bikes i think there are several things to consider. here are a few things the klr has that you have to add to 1 or both of the others.

1. large capacity gas tank

2. luggage rack

3. liquid cooled ( although some will argue this fact )

asfar as power goes in the engines, i really havent ridden a dr but i have a buddy with a 650 l honda and with his gearing, after market carb, and jetting, that thing feels like a rocket compared to my klr. all 3 are great dual sport bikes. do a search on yahoo groups for klr. thats a pretty big group of klr enthusiasts. oh yes .... the after market has huge amounts of goodies for the klr. heck even the military uses the klr :-) good luck, scott

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I have owned both. I'm 53, I started riding of an on road at the age of 12. Been riding a long time.

Last Spring I bought my first KLR650, it's a 2007. Previously I had owned 4 in a row DR650s, Each one lasted me about 3 years, they fall apart rapidly after you cross 40k miles. The DR650 has this irritating tendendcy to blow oil out the base gasket every 10k miles. No doubt due to it'e weaker than KLR650 cooling design. Get a service plan if you plan on using the suzuki as a commuter bike, it wears quickly in summer heat.

KLR650s seem to have a cult following so, my curiosity got the better of me and I had to try one. I presently ride the Klr650

Let me throw this out right away. If you are even thinking about riding more off road than on. You Need to buy the Suzuki. It's lighter, more nimble...it has better shocks, whether that's about running thru off road holes, doing jumps, or even on the freeway at the moment someone dumps a ladder or load of two by fours in your stream. Also the stock Height on the suzuki seems to fit more people than the KRLR, and is easier to adjust for height comfort. I'm 5'10 and I felt like I needed a stepladder to get on the KLR.

Okay so I did the KLR link changeout, then of course the kickstand was too long, got the modified stand, which seems to be too short? Parking a KLR on a mountainside, or even the pavement is a chore. I blew fuses right away on the KLR so Igot the fuse kit modification kit, but forgot about the fan fuse.

Klr kit didn't include that one.....main fuses stopped blowing, then I had to replace the fan fuse. Anyway All of these little irritations are covered by threads in the KLR cults. And they were never an issue with the Suzuki. Again tyhe Suzuki Achilles heel is it's tendency to superheat.

I like my KLR On the freeway it seems more stable in the wind, The suspension and seat are much more (street)comfortable, gas tank is bigger SO I don't have to stop every single day on my 75 mile daily commute. The wind screen did fall off on me at 1000 miles, That needs to be re-engineered with some longer bolts. The KLR can run full out at greater distances and hotter weather due to it's superior cooling system (Except for that damm fan fuse) , I haven't had any doohicky issues (I'm at 10k miles on the klr now) I've looked for the so called cracks, I think that issue is mostly a KLR paranoid fantasy, or it's just not an issue on the 2007 model.

The DR had lots of handlebar space, as a hunter I was able to mount either a rifle or bow rack, that was fun for those trips to the woods. I have been unable to duplicate that with the fairing in the way on the KLR. Of course the fairing does increase your stability. I do like the extra pair of wires in the KRL housing, as I'm commuting at 3:30am it's dar, and I was able to wire up some of those Blue NEON LEDS as side marker lights, makes it show up better in the dark. I ran my installation by my local CHP office, as long as the lights are in the middle of the bike, not front or rear, shining forwar or back...they seem to fly with the cops. Mine are anglend straight up from the crash plate

which allows me to see fuses, oil window etc, yet they don't shine in my eyes as there is a lot of stuff blocking them. Some people use this wiring for handwarmers.

All In all there are things that I love and hate on both bikes. The Suzuki other than changing the seat out doesn't need mods. The KLR needs mods to make it more like the Suzuki.

The Suzuki is more fun to ride. I miss doing the jumps, and flying thru the air.

When the KLR leaves the ground the fairing drags it back down, along with the heavier weight.

The KLR is more practical for me, as most of my miles are commute miles, especially with the price of gas. I do get slightly better mileage on the KRL.

I think the fairing lands that aspect in plus again, on the freeway the wind dynamics are better.

On tires Both bikes run well with the Metzler Enduro 3 tires, both handle better with them. They are a bit noisier than the stock tires, last about 10k miles., The front goes a bit further.

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