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2008 XR650L or 2008 KLR 650?

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Howdy.. So I need a daily driver that I can do some highway miles on and ride two up once in a while and not feel like I'm a fat chick on a moped.

I ride/race Honda's but the KLR is a tried and true dual sport and liquid cooled.

I'm 5'8" about 190 so the L is tall for me but with the right sag it's not a big deal.

I am not worried about one or the other being "too much" bike but I do want something with some sack but gets good mileage. All I have found online about either is mostly marketing messaging.. Who has some experience with either or both of these ?

Your help is much appreciated!!!

Thanks

G.R.👍

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Two up on a 650L would SUCK. Get the KLR if you're really gonna do two up. The KLRs can and will make it up some very nasty single track terrain. Will you be tired afterwards, YES because it weighs twice as much a MX bike. However, it will do it. I've witnessed it do it several times via my friends 2006 model. He tries to chase my woods modded YZ250 in the trails.👍

The longevity of an air cooled motor is about 20K before a rebuild. I think the KLR is more bullet proof.

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XRl for sure, I have both and the 2006 KLR is a pile of junk. Kawasaki should be ashamed of themselves for making such a faulty piece of crap!! At least as ashamed as I am for buying one!!

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This summer, i bought a new XRL. A mechanic at work bought a KLR. I love my bike. He loves it too. Within 2 weeks, he sold his brand-new KLR at a $1500 loss, to buy an XLR. That should tell you alot- an ASE certified mechanic bailed out on the Kaw at 2 1/2 weeks' pay loss- he said he felt like a fool for buying the Kaw.

Radiators are your enemy off-road. They get punctured. Don't have to worry about that on an L. Cooling systems corrode inside, ESPECIALLY when they sit seasonally- leading to rotten radiators, head gaskets, and worse. Hoses go bad. Water pumps too. Keep it simple. There are threads on the XR page that have documented 40,000+ miles on their air cooled. If air cooled were a bad idea, you wouldn't see it on aircraft, would you??

The suspension on the L is fully adjustable, don't be intimidated by the height. After riding mine a few thousand miles, it has gotten to be quite plush. The Kaw only has just over 8 inches suspension travel, which to me says "road bike" and not "dual sport." Seems to be a trend across the board on the newer dual sports, except with the L. Honda has kept the classic look and purpose of the street-legal dirt bike.

I assume by two up you mean two people? I ride double on the L all the time, with my Mom on back the other day, in fact. We have a combined weight of around 450 pounds- and the suspension held firm and rode comfortable, with no problems handling or anything. That should tell you alot- the Kaw would have been bottomed with that kind of weight on it.

I don't think the Kaw has the ability for you to do maintenance and work on your own bike without voiding the warranty, either- something I do have with the L, no more $100 "oil changes" - as far as I am concerned, this is extortion.

I get 40+ MPG without even trying on the L, more like 50+ when I am riding it with an economical mind.

I rode all through the Ozarks last weekend. Some tight, tight trails. the extra clearance the L has saved me on more than one occasion when riding it through really deep water. The Kaw would have been submerged, for sure.

Last thing I have to say, but not least- was the thing i researched the hardest before i commited to buy. Resale value. I have seen a '94 L go for over $4000 recently, and one that wasn't heavily modded either. Great resale on the Honda- which is alot more than you can say for the Kaw. The fact the L has went virtually unchanged since it's '93 debut says one thing- it is an excellent machine that keeps selling without being changed, because it needs no changes. Parts are interchangeable throughout the spectrum.

Hope this helps your decision making, the L is so popular for a great reason. You won't regret it. It is the first vehicle I have ever owned new,(or even close to it, for that matter..) and I thought I would regret going into debt to get it. Boy, I could not have been more wrong!! -Josh

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Radiators are your enemy off-road. They get punctured. Don't have to worry about that on an L. Cooling systems corrode inside, ESPECIALLY when they sit seasonally- leading to rotten radiators, head gaskets, and worse.

You have a valid point here, however note that almost all modern dirt bikes are now water cooled. In the earlier days of water cooled bikes, corrosion was a factor but not so much any more.

Note that the 2008 KLR 650 is now considerably heavier than both the Honda XR650L and the earlier KLR 650 . The new KLR 650 is now more street oriented and less dirt oriented than before.

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You have a valid point here, however note that almost all modern dirt bikes are now water cooled. In the earlier days of water cooled bikes, corrosion was a factor but not so much any more.

Note that the 2008 KLR 650 is now considerably heavier than both the Honda XR650L and the earlier KLR 650 . The new KLR 650 is now more street oriented and less dirt oriented than before.

Just because most modern dirt bikes are liquid cooled, doesn't make them a good idea. If air cooling was a bad idea, it surely woudn't be used on aircraft! 👍 The whole point of a dirtbike is to have a minimum of moving parts and wear items, and things that will inevitably fail. This makes them more reliable. Any time you have an acidic liquid (coolant) and two dissimilar metals immersed in the acidic liquid (the block, head, and bolts of your engine..) This causes a battery. The charge is extremely low, but it is present all of the time. It is this constant charge that renders a battery dead in a matter of years, (the plates melt down gradually..) and the gaskets and dissimilar metals of your bike engine suffer the same damage.

I surf these forums all the time and hear guys complaining of boil overs. Over heating. Cracked heads. Coolant leaks. Needing electric fans. All of these you avoid by going with an air cooled.

The worst that can happen to an air cooled motor is burning the piston up, really- and after being stuck in mud holes and revving to the moon with mud caked in the cooling fins, and no wind circulating many times over the years with several different air cooled bikes, I have had none of those problems.

Either way, a piston is alot cheaper to fix than a cracked head, regardless.

Keep it simple- Low tech is the key to reliability- and that's why you will see 4 times more XR's out there than KLR's. They all have their strong points, but in long-term reliability, the Honda is unbeaten, at least as of now.

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I surf these forums all the time and hear guys complaining of boil overs. Over heating. Cracked heads. Coolant leaks. Needing electric fans. All of these you avoid by going with an air cooled.

Keep it simple- Low tech is the key to reliability- and that's why you will see 4 times more XR's out there than KLR's. They all have their strong points, but in long-term reliability, the Honda is unbeaten, at least as of now.

You can keep it simple and never have the boil over, over heating, cracked heads, coolant leaks, the need for an electric fan, etc. All this can be had on a liquid cooled TWO STROKE. But, that's not the point of discussion here. What I'm saying is that air cooled is not the only solution to the problems noted. I've never had these troubles on the gnarliest of all trails chuggin' right along on a converted MX two stroke bike.

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You can keep it simple and never have the boil over, over heating, cracked heads, coolant leaks, the need for an electric fan, etc. All this can be had on a liquid cooled TWO STROKE. But, that's not the point of discussion here. What I'm saying is that air cooled is not the only solution to the problems noted. I've never had these troubles on the gnarliest of all trails chuggin' right along on a converted MX two stroke bike.

Right on! 👍 2-strokes are a blast.. No doubt about it. But they aren't for someone that expects say- 10- 20,000 miles without a rebuild, or at least some tearing down. 2-strokes are great for the balls-to-the-wall rider, but not for someone that is looking for something more roadable and that you can putt around on without fouling plugs.

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Right on! :busted: 2-strokes are a blast.. No doubt about it. But they aren't for someone that expects say- 10- 20,000 miles without a rebuild, or at least some tearing down. 2-strokes are great for the balls-to-the-wall rider, but not for someone that is looking for something more roadable and that you can putt around on without fouling plugs.

Of course I'll have to rebuild the motor more than the XRL but that's OK with me since both parts and the procedure is simple even compared to rebuilding the XRL. My friend has a Wiseco piston in his CR250 that he rides frequently (4 times per month on 4 hr. trail rides). For three years now he has not had to rebuild his top end. He uses Maxima Super M at 32:1. I mix the same ratio too.

No doubt a four stroke is more "road-able" than a two stroke. Seriously though, I putt putt right along at even a walking pace for hours in the tight trails. No plug fouling. Fouled plugs and exhaust spooge are related to rich air/fuel mixtures caused by overly rich jetting frequently found on stock "un-jetted" carburetors. :worthy:

Anyway, my YZ250 ain't no smooth XRL or KLR but it does nevertheless have a street plate on it.👍

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Of course I'll have to rebuild the motor more than the XRL but that's OK with me since both parts and the procedure is simple even compared to rebuilding the XRL. My friend has a Wiseco piston in his CR250 that he rides frequently (4 times per month on 4 hr. trail rides). For three years now he has not had to rebuild his top end. He uses Maxima Super M at 32:1. I mix the same ratio too.

No doubt a four stroke is more "road-able" than a two stroke. Seriously though, I putt putt right along at even a walking pace for hours in the tight trails. No plug fouling. Fouled plugs and exhaust spooge are related to rich air/fuel mixtures caused by overly rich jetting frequently found on stock "un-jetted" carburetors. :worthy:

Anyway, my YZ250 ain't no smooth XRL or KLR but it does nevertheless have a street plate on it.👍

Three years?!?!?!?!? Wow.. That's a damn good run on a 2 stroke! You must have those jets down to a T! I don't know what the laws are in Massachusetts (where the inquiring party is from..) but I am sure their laws are close to as fascist as Cali's - I doubt they could plate a 2-stroker there..

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I rode it last weekend. It pulled hard and started in the first one to two kicks too. I'm thinking I need to get some Super M pronto!!!

We've got the same Fascist party here too. They take pleasure in denying others pleasure.👍 Find the loopholes and exploit them.

Saw a 06 XRL here for $4500 on Craigslist recently. The resale on those bikes is insane. I had a used beat up '93 XRL which sold for what I paid for it too.

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Saw a 06 XRL here for $4500 on Craigslist recently. The resale on those bikes is insane. I had a used beat up '93 XRL which sold for what I paid for it too.

..that is the main factor I took into account before buying the XR. Parts availability and the insane interchange, combined with the fact a used one is almost worth as much as a new one. As said before- I have seen a '94 gor for better than $4 large. Crazy.

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I was looking at the 08KLR and the 08XRL and almost got the KLR, but got outbid...THANK GOD and ended up with a barley used 08 XRL w/ 362 miles. I've owned nothing but Hondas since I was 18 and almost make the mistake of straying. I am 100% thrilled with my XRL, the amount of suspension, the ground clearence and the tried and true air cooled single lung engine is worth every penny. It doesn't have a crap load of plastic that you need to worry about screwing up. Trust me, I dropped the damn thing 6 times in deep sand my first time out and the worse that happened was I busted out one of the mirrors, the stem and backing were still intact, but the mirrir part busted out.

I've taken it off road 3 times so far and it is a handlful on the trails, but the only thing holding it back is my own low level of offroad skill. This thing was MADE for offroad. It rides perfectly fine on pavement, but the seat isn't comfy over 20 minutes or so, but is definately a blast on both.

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The KLR has been around since the mid 1980`s. The XLR gas tank is only 2.6 gallons- The KLR 6.1 gallons. Yes, you can buy a bigger tank for the XLR, but they are not street legal and there is the expense of buying it. The XLR also has that small tool pouch mounted on the rear fender whereas the KLR has a large integrated platform mounted on the back with tools inside. The KLR is a great bike for on and offroading adventures.Also, the point about Airplanes being aircooled is irrelevant.Airplanes are moving all the time the engine is running, and at several hundred miles per hour,generating enormous cooling capacity, Air cooled bikes get hot, which leads to faster engine wear.

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