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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can you stand it?

I've read all the KLR vs. Vee threads I can find here, on ADV, VSRI, even two KLR forums. I just am curious about one thing I need boiled down.

My question is this: Is the KLR really that much better in the dirt than a stock Vee? I know the Vee kills it on the road and two-up, which are both important to me. But how about off-road? (No, I know I'm not tackling single track highly technical stuff on either bike.) By all the info I can find, the stock Vee is about 100lbs heavier with about an inch less travel on each end compared to a stock latter-year KLR. Is is really that big of a difference?

Further: my Vee has a rebuilt shock, stiffer fork springs (well, soon to be installed, anyway), a different skid plate, crash bars and Tourance tires. Assuming the original answer is yes, the KLR is THAT much better off-road, is the KLR still that far ahead of my bike after the mods I've made?

I know I need to ride one to see for myself; but few are the folks that will let a stranger hop on and ride off on their baby for questions such as these.

I love my Vee ... just wondering what I'm missing. I'm not a dirt noob - not a total one, anyway, as I grew up on old XRs and XTs ... just looking for some info.

Steve
 

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a well farkled KLR is much more suited to dirt duty than ANY vee strom.

sprockets
tires
suspension
685 kit

under $1k. worth every penny.

my KLR is much more capable than I am.


 

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Although I've only had the chance to ride locally on tar so far, I'm noticing the KLR ergo's don't fit me as well as the Wee does.

I need to move the bars further from my body somehow, I don't feel comfortable with my elbows at 90 deg angle.

However, on dirt that position may be ok.

I will try to do some tracks on Sunday maybe.
 

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Yes a stock KLR-650 is much better on dirt than the stock DL1000. I own both and will keep both...
Mega-Dittoes. I also own a KLR and a Vee.

Off-pavement, there's absolutely no comparison. Dirt and gravel roads are the KLR's natural environment -- you can happily roost along all day on a KLR on roads and trails that will turn you into a bloody smear on a DL.

Just for one example, the KLR suspension is serene and controlled on rough dirt roads that easily overwhelm and confuse the DL's road-oriented suspension. Plus, there's a much wider selection of dirtworthy tires available for the KLR, and they're a lot cheaper than DL tires (tubes are a pain in the ass, though).

If you drop the KLR in the dirt, you laugh at your silly self, pick it up, and motor on. If you drop a DL, you're a lot more likely to need an airlift out for your carcass and a team lift for the bike.

The KLR is also a hoot on tight twisty roads and great on crappy city streets. However, it's slow on pavement and downright hellish on the interstate -- it's not at all happy at over 70mph, which could get you squished flat. Plus, the brakes really suck on pavement at any speed.

The DL is a great sport-tourer with styling pretensions of off-pavement capability. The KLR is a heavy-ish, simple, somewhat primitive dirtbike with a few compromises to make it streetable.
 

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I have both, a 2004 KLR and 2010 DL1000. In my opinion the DL should not be called a dual sport at all, I would definatly say a sport tourer.
As soon as I got the DL, I put knobbies on the KLR and call her my dirt bike.

I have dumped the KLR on more than one occation. I get up, laugh, the bike laughs and the guys laugh, and away I go. With the DL tears may become involved.

Both are pretty much still stock (except for the knobbies), and the DL will always stay on pavement and the KLR will only see pavement to get to the dirt/gravel.

The decision is not so much which one suits you, but how to fit both in the garage. You should be able to pick up a used KLR pretty cheap (2-4thousand), so really no reason not to have both.
 

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There is no comparison.

The KLR is a dirt bike at heart that was made streetable.

The DL is a sport/touring bike that some idiot at Zuki thought to hand a dual sport sign over.

On the KLR you ride it like a dirt bike, you wheelie over downed trees, you hill climb, you slam mud holes and you can mildly jump it. Any of these things will ruin your day on a DL.

As far as dirt roads and gravel roads, that is not "off road" or "dirt bike" riding. Plenty have run Harleys and Goldwings on dirt and gravel roads, it does not take much to be able to carefully navigate a clean dirt/gravel road. You can see guys on Ninja 500s doing this now and again, and they are not dirt bikes.

Look at the KLR design, it is a dirt bike 1980's erra frame and suspension made bigger and fatter with a low power but high reliability engine. It is robust and heavy, able to take a beating that would destroy most "street bikes". You can bang the frame (with an aftermarket bash plate) off of any rock or tree with no worry. You can toss it on the ground repeatedly and can wheelie over rock ledges using the suspension to catch the heavy pig on the low side.

To try to compare the two bikes is unjust to both of them. They are not even remotely the same.

The KLR can and is often used for very long distance adventures, many that I feel would be better served with a platform like the DL. Many guys think that riding cross country or to south america needs the robust build of the KLR, but then you see the ride reports and the adventure is done on all paved and maintained dirt roads. The DL will do this with no problem.

Even mildy rutted dirt/gravel roads are not a big issue with the DL, but yes, the KLR with its longer suspension can soak up the rutts easier.

Consider your ride and consider your bike needs, like others here, I have both. I do not consider the KLR and the DL as bikes that cross over each other in type of use. One is a wrench and one is a screwdriver. There is a task for each and they are not able to be swapped and still deliver the job you require.

 

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The DL is a sport/touring bike that some idiot at Zuki thought to hand a dual sport sign over.
Oh, yeah. I think it's irresponsible for them to market it as a DS. When I bought mine new, the dealer made a point of warning me about off road. And the few times I've tried have been exercises in terror.

How offroad riding should be configured:

You
Bike
Earth

How it might look at any moment on a DL1000:

Bike
You
Earth
 

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Yes a stock KLR-650 is much better on dirt than the stock DL1000. I own both and will keep both...
+1 same here.

There is no comparison between them. The Vee is a big street bike and the KLR is a big dirt bike. Once you get off riding a Vee the KLR feels like a small dirt bike in comparison, yet the KLR feels like a huge pig compared to my KTM 300 trail bike, it's all relative. They all have their purpose in life.

Don't kid yourself that pumping up the suspension will make it any lighter, nimbler, or easier to pick up once the horizon is tilting the wrong way.

I do not really consider my Vee an off-road bike, just an on-road bike that won't totally choke if it leaves the pavement.
 

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Oh, yeah. I think it's irresponsible for them to market it as a DS. When I bought mine new, the dealer made a point of warning me about off road. And the few times I've tried have been exercises in terror.
I have never seen the Vee marketed as anything but an adventure tourer, which it is. Street, gravel, yada yada.

That said, I've offroaded mine in some sketchy places, ruts, loose sand, mud, and it does just fine if you stand up, point, and commit...and you're running aggressive tires. But, that's true of most bikes.

The one thing that stops the Vee offroad, where a true dual sport will keep on trucking are ground-clearance issues like log or big rock crossing...you're not bunny hopping that bike over anything, and it isn't able to support a true bash plate.

But, light trails and fire roads? It'll eat them up with aplomb.
 

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And the answer is.......

Now I will state right up front, I'm no motocross rider and my dirt skills are very rusty.

Today I finally got the chance to take my KLR650 in to the bush.

I went up in to the mountains with a member of the klr650.net forum.

He was very patient with me and the fact that he often had to wait for me along some of the tougher sections [for me anyway :embarassed: ] did not cause him to show any annoyance.

On the tar the Wee is miles better but the KLR copes well enough until you get to about 120kph, bear in mind my KLR650 is a stock 1986 model and my Wee is the 09 ABS model.

On the dirt roads the Wee is good, the KLR feels more stable though.

Now we get to the nitty gritty. :fineprint:

The KLR is much better once you get off the graded dirt, we went places I would not even consider taking the Wee :yikes: [I like my Wee to much to do THAT to it].

The two bikes do not fall under the same banner, but they do overlap to some extent.

If you are more in to long distance road trips with some dirt detours along the way the Wee is the one for it.

If you are the type who wants to do more dirt roads, logging tracks and fire trails on a trip and can stay off the high speed highways then the KLR650 will be the choice.

That's my two cents worth from my limited experience with the KLR so far.

So, like others here, it now looks like I will be keeping two bikes in the mix for a while.

As for the ride today;
I managed not to plant my face in the sand [came bloody close at least five times though :yikes: ] or the scrub.
I dodged a couple of trees by mere millimetres.
I hopped, bounced and bumped up and down rocky-rutted tracks with some resemblance of a semi skilled dirt rider.
The bike seemed very tractable at low speed and was capable of pulling up hills at fairly low revs allowing me to pick a path through the obstacles.

As for the bike;
I will try to move the bars further forward as I like my arms straighter [currently at 90deg. at the elbows], I'm thinking I can fit set back risers in reverse to give the bars some lift and forward placement from where they are now.
The seat will get a couple of inches shaved off it and be scalloped in a similar fashion to the Wee seat, I can get both feet down now-just- but I'd prefer to be able to flat foot the bike.
I don't want to drop the suspension because it feels so good to ride over and through the rougher stuff without having to worry about crunching the underneath of the bike.

Now when I don't have time for a long ride or road trip I will be able to "go bush" for an overnight camp or just a couple of hours riding in the mountains [and my overall skills will improve, which is why I got the KLR in the first place]. :thumbup:
 

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KTM 690 SM this is the bike you need, the klr is a 20yr old design, as a new rider those bike's will be heavy and hard for you to handle off road.
You think a supermoto will be easier to handle offroad? Not only is it not sprung for offroad, have the wrong tires/brakes for it, wrong gearing, wrong powerband, but it's still a 350lb bike that's really tall, and still a handful offroad.

There are KTM's I suggest as a better offroad alternative for a KLR rider - the 690SM? No.

Anywho, the KLR is a heavy pig and a challenge in actual technical offroad, but it for sure can be done if you have the skills, point it, and commit. It's a terrible bike to LEARN those skills on, but it's competent.

I think everyone serious about dual sporting and offroading their adventure bikes should invest $1200 in a used YZ125 and spend a few weekends in real offroad, on a light, easy-to-handle, easy-to-pickup true offroad bike. You'll get more skill, faster, doing that than 5 years of putting timidly around on a bigbore in the sloppy stuff. Then, when you're done, sell it for $1200.
 

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Do they just seem to make a lot of noise from the engine?

I just bought an 04 in pretty decent shape, no dirt miles, seems noisy...



.
Do the Doo [known as the doohickey adjust/fix/mod].

I recently bought a 1986 KLR650 and have yet to check mine [but my engine is quiet, so maybe it was done by one of the PO's over the years].

Also keep a close eye on the oil.

Here is a link to the Doo fix [it is a good forum for KLR owners, I'm there too now].
KLR650.NET - Your Kawasaki KLR650 Resource! - The Original KLR650 Forum!

Watch the vid through first, take notice of the little pop up notes he has added to the vid.
Not too hard to do if you have all the bits on hand, I will have my netbook computer beside me while I do mine so I can follow it through by pausing the vid at each stage while I'm doing it [I love modern technology :beatnik: ].

Like many here, I will be keeping the Wee and the KLR.

The KLR is better when the roads turn to single tracks,the Wee is better when the road turns to long distance highways.
Both overlap well in the middle, dual tracks/dirt roads/secondary twisty stuff [those areas where the real fun riding takes place].:thumbup::thumbup:
 

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I bought a 2010 KLR thinking I would be riding down every dirt road I encountered. Truth is, I found it too heavy for 'off roading' and tended to avoid doing it. I have since bought a 2010 V-Strom and stick to the bitumen as it really is a 'road' bike.:thumbup:
 

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Sorry

to derail the thread. When looking for an adjunct to my Vee I considered the KLR. But it is a bit big/clunky for real trail riding. I ended up with an XR 650L instead. It is about as close to a street-legal dirt bike as you can get. Has long-travel suspension, plenty of ground clearance, and plenty of grunt. I've taken mine on all the trails that I used to ride my motocrosser on, and it will definitely get you there, though a bit slower than a real dirt bike. Not for the short of inseam, though. Admittedly, less comfortable on pavement than a KLR, but doesn't seem as prone to oil burning at high speed as the KLR. So if you are looking for a dual-purpose bike with a bit less overlap in functionality (and you can reach the ground on one) might want to look at an XR650.
 
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