So ... Last week sometime I asked (yet another) KLR question, basically comparing it to the Vee offroad. Thanks for all the replies.
I've since gotten to ride a couple and I've also made a determined effort to spend some time with my relatively well-farkled Vee in the dirt ... here's some conclusions in the hope this might help someone else.
For starters, if you have a Vee (can't speak for Wee guys) the KLR is no comparison on road. My Vee is so much faster, smoother and more comfortable on anything resembling pavement it's just not worthy of a genuine comparison. They are two different animals. Two-up it's even more obvious how different they are.
My spare time is ridiculously limited right now, so taking my Vee off-road just meant some time at the local BLM OHV area, Ah Nei. It's mostly hardpack and small rocks with a few roots, some fairly steep gullies and some light sand. The Vee got through it all, yes. No, I didn't drop it. However, it needs a few things, some fixable, and some not. 1) If off-road stuff is going to be your thing, get lower gearing. I used 1 & 2 almost exclusively, but in harder stuff 1 is just geared too high; I wound up using the clutch an awful lot to compensate. 2) Ground clearance. The Vee doesn't have enough, and that can't be fixed. Period. I smacked my SWM skid plate HARD 2-3 times and less hard another handful, even without taking things too hard or fast, and that's on a Sasquatch-rebuilt shock with stiffer springs. To it's credit, it and my Vee made it out in one piece with no obvious damage. 3) Weight: the thing's just heavy. How fixable this is is up to you, but a heavy water cooled 1000cc V-twin won't lose a lot of weight without a lot of work (and yeah, I know about the guys on ADV cutting their Vees down. Too much work for me.) 4) On the plus side: I rode in, aired down my tires to 22/26, rode around and honestly had a blast, then rode to pavement, aired the tires up to normal and rode home. Not a lot of bikes you can say that about.
Now for KLR's. I see why people like them, I really do. Cheap as dirt to own, operate and fix. Fairly comfortable for one person or two small people with stock stuff. Goes highway speeds. It is much more friendly in the dirt - I didn't get a chance to take one for the length of time I did with my Vee but even in a few minutes the differences are obvious. The smaller DOT knobby tires, the weight, whatever else - these things are much more at home in the dirt than the Vee. I, for one, and only one, would not take one on any kind of trip over 100 miles or so, at least without some serious upgrades to the seat, wind protection and some vibe reducing work, but dump some money into it and it can be done. Look at all the people who have done it, for example.
Honestly, in addition to my Vee, I'd like to own a KLR, and probably will. However, I think I'd be just as ok owning a DR-Z400, DR650, XR650, or similar. I'd never take the KLR on a long trip and for sure two-up rides would be short. My goal is just to add something smaller, lighter, more dirt friendly to my garage, and any of these bikes will work. I was hoping the KLR would be a bit more two-up on the highway friendly, but it just won't be without lots of work. (I can hear you - the Vee doesn't do dirt without work, but I'd argue in stock forms the Vee is better at dirt than the KLR is at highway.)
So that's where it is. If you need a dirt-capable machine that will get you to point X and back and rarely carry a passenger, get the KLR. If you want a fast, comfortable road bike that you could take in the dirt if you have to, or do it once in a while, get the Vee. Just don't compare the two ... apples and oranges, IMHO. Now I get it.
Again, just my $.02.