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I have been out of the biking game for 25 years. I've owned 3 bikes in my life, 2 Suzukis and one Kawasaki.
Now that I am retiring, I want to buy a bike again and go solo touring/camping with it. I'll be doing about 60/40 paved/forestry-gravel roads. No single track. I'm thinking of riding 300 km per day max.
I've got my bike selection narrowed down between the Vstrom 650 XT, Tenere 700 and the new 2022 KLR 650. All weigh about the same. I wanted ligher, not built in China (like the BMW 850 or KTM790) and not over 500 lbs. like the African Twin. I'm worried about dealership and repair costs issues with Triumphs.
There is not much available sub-400 lbs. except the DR 650 and I'm not sure how comfortable that would be on the highway and it has no ABS.
The big plus for the Vstrom is the lower seat height (I'm 5'8") and tubeless tires. I am not a big fan of the "beak" and the way the exhaust sits on the bike but that's my personal taste. I can practically flat foot it in the show room.
The T700 looks way better, is also a twin, has tubes and is taller and likely has a higher re-sale value if I find out that adventure biking after all these years is not for me. I could get the shorter OEM Yamaha seat and feel comfortable on it.
I love the looks of the new KLR but not enamored with the single cylinder, the height and the tubes. I could always have the seat shaved.
If the KLR and the T700 were tubeless, I think the Vstrom would be out of the equation simply for the looks. However, I hate the thought of changing tubes in the countryside.

Any thoughts? I realize this is a Vstrom forum, but do you think that my tubeless focus is justified?
 

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Welcome to the forum, EBrooks.

To answer your question, no. But I would get the V-Strom anyway. Bought my V-Strom in early 2006 and it is still running strong.

YMMV



282525
 

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My .02

If you're just wanting to test the ADV bike waters buy a used KLR.

KLRs are virtually unchanged in 35 years. ABS came in with the 2008 refresh.
Now fuel injection. Really though its the same bike just new plastics/graphics.
Older bikes are lighter too!

2008 models had oil burning problems, 2009+ sorted that I think.

Tube tires yep but there are ways to convert to tubeless. Tubes aren't that big of a deal though. Builds character if you have to fix a flat out in the boonies, hah!
 

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Back in 2012 I got back into riding after a 30 year hiatus. You and the moto world have changed in 25 years. My advice is not to try and deduce what you should buy by reading specs and brochures or even forum comments. Step 1: get a cheap, used bike.

Since this is a V-Strom forum, of course I am going to recommend getting late Gen1 (2007-2011) DL650A V-Strom but any older used bikes that you mentioned will fill the bill. In the states used Gen1's can be had for around $3K often loaded with extras and meticulously cared for by the personality type that buys V-Stroms (and apparently Camry's, lol). Ride it for year, get your sea legs, collect your gear, etc. then from there decide if you want to jump to something else because now you have a base to compare and have good idea of what you like and don't like before dropping $10K new. I know it is not for everyone but now that you are retired I also highly recommend learning to wrench. The moto dealerships are garbage and wrenching is part of the fun of having a bike.
 

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The Vstrom is a better road bike by far. It sits lower though, so off-roading needs to be mild. It is a great ADV bike that leans more toward pavement.

The KLR is heavy, slow, and runs out of RPMs on the big roads. It is down on horsepower. It is a single cylinder too.

The T700 (have 2 friends on them now) is a nice bike. It is what the KLR should be. The T700 is going to be much better off-road than a strom, but not quite as nice on the road. The CP2 engine is a proven design. The suspension will need work to carry a load. I am riding a Super Tenere and Yamaha has their shit together when it comes to building a bike.
 

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Whatever, second hand. Be patient there will be good buys out there.

Doing long road k's occasional forays off road on maintained dirt roads certainly the DL, short rides with dirt roads KLR, long rides on dirt the T7. The T7 is possibly the best of the bikes but it's tall and expensive and there aren't many second hand. The height and cost make it not a good choice for a first bike.

The KLR is an O.K. bike around town and it will handle freeway speeds but it is uncomfortable at speed on seal. Certainly second hand the best of the bikes to learn on because they take spills well.

As others have suggested, find something second hand, try and avoid getting emotionally attached, ride it for a year and either sell it privately or use it as a trade in on what you want. First year or so is a steep learning curve with bikes.

And I know you rode 25 years ago - the peak death group is now returned riders. At least you aren't buying an R1 :). When I started riding the (Admitted 40 years ago) DL650 would have been up in performance with the supersport bikes of the day, possibly faster so the learning curve issue is still there even with previous experience.
 

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For 60/40 paved/gravel, Vstrom all the way. Way more power and comfort than the KLR, suspension's not as good but for that kind of riding it won't matter much. Tenere's nice but you can't buy a used one, and dealers can't keep them in stock. Buy a used Strom, if you decide you need to upgrade in a couple years you'll probably sell it for what you paid for it.

I quit riding for 20 years, got back into it and bought an old SV650. After a year I realized it really wasn't the bike I wanted. Had no problem getting my money out of it. If I'd bought new I'd have had harder time letting it go.
 

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Welcome to the Forum. Test ride each ride, then make notes on the pros / conns of each. This should help you decide which of these rides has the most things that you like about the ride vs which has conns / short coming that you can live with. Armed with knowledge on each ride plus what you are looking for in a ride, makes shopping for any new or used ride an adveture.
 

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I have been out of the biking game for 25 years. I've owned 3 bikes in my life, 2 Suzukis and one Kawasaki.
Now that I am retiring, I want to buy a bike again and go solo touring/camping with it. I'll be doing about 60/40 paved/forestry-gravel roads. No single track. I'm thinking of riding 300 km per day max.
I've got my bike selection narrowed down between the Vstrom 650 XT, Tenere 700 and the new 2022 KLR 650. All weigh about the same. I wanted ligher, not built in China (like the BMW 850 or KTM790) and not over 500 lbs. like the African Twin. I'm worried about dealership and repair costs issues with Triumphs.
There is not much available sub-400 lbs. except the DR 650 and I'm not sure how comfortable that would be on the highway and it has no ABS.
The big plus for the Vstrom is the lower seat height (I'm 5'8") and tubeless tires. I am not a big fan of the "beak" and the way the exhaust sits on the bike but that's my personal taste. I can practically flat foot it in the show room.
The T700 looks way better, is also a twin, has tubes and is taller and likely has a higher re-sale value if I find out that adventure biking after all these years is not for me. I could get the shorter OEM Yamaha seat and feel comfortable on it.
I love the looks of the new KLR but not enamored with the single cylinder, the height and the tubes. I could always have the seat shaved.
If the KLR and the T700 were tubeless, I think the Vstrom would be out of the equation simply for the looks. However, I hate the thought of changing tubes in the countryside.

Any thoughts? I realize this is a Vstrom forum, but do you think that my tubeless focus is justified?
Of the three You have mentioned the T7 is head and shoulders a better offroad bike than the other two and arguably a better all rounder. I am also 5'8" and aged 70, probably the same as Yourself and I am comfortable with the foot to ground aspect of the T7. I did consider one but as I am happy with what I have I never progressed that. The big downside of the T7 is a seat that would not have 300kms in its day without discomfort.

One bike You have not considered and is definitely on my radar as I get older and I am not as well equipped to deal with heavy bikes, is the Honda CB500X (current model) with the 19" front wheel. This is a great little bike with good fuel economy and range. It is very nimble on a backroad and it would be my bike of choice if I was to go on a world tour. It copes reasonably well with motorway speeds and I have had one up to 140kph sitting upright. It does have one downside and that is budget suspension. A good friend has one and modified the suspension front and rear with reasonably priced YSS products. It is now a really good motorcycle as there was little else amiss with it in the first place. Imho this is a bike well worth getting a test ride on. Unless I am mistaken it also has tubeless wheels.

 

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I have been out of the biking game for 25 years. I've owned 3 bikes in my life, 2 Suzukis and one Kawasaki.
Now that I am retiring, I want to buy a bike again and go solo touring/camping with it. I'll be doing about 60/40 paved/forestry-gravel roads. No single track. I'm thinking of riding 300 km per day max.
I've got my bike selection narrowed down between the Vstrom 650 XT, Tenere 700 and the new 2022 KLR 650. All weigh about the same. I wanted ligher, not built in China (like the BMW 850 or KTM790) and not over 500 lbs. like the African Twin. I'm worried about dealership and repair costs issues with Triumphs.
There is not much available sub-400 lbs. except the DR 650 and I'm not sure how comfortable that would be on the highway and it has no ABS.
The big plus for the Vstrom is the lower seat height (I'm 5'8") and tubeless tires. I am not a big fan of the "beak" and the way the exhaust sits on the bike but that's my personal taste. I can practically flat foot it in the show room.
The T700 looks way better, is also a twin, has tubes and is taller and likely has a higher re-sale value if I find out that adventure biking after all these years is not for me. I could get the shorter OEM Yamaha seat and feel comfortable on it.
I love the looks of the new KLR but not enamored with the single cylinder, the height and the tubes. I could always have the seat shaved.
If the KLR and the T700 were tubeless, I think the Vstrom would be out of the equation simply for the looks. However, I hate the thought of changing tubes in the countryside.

Any thoughts? I realize this is a Vstrom forum, but do you think that my tubeless focus is justified?
I'm on my 2nd DL650 and like both. I recently had to decrease my herd size due to moving to an apartment. I had a KLR650 for 20 years and I loved it. Great on the highway for me, and I rode halfway across the US several times. It was comfortable for my needs, got great mileage with slight carb modification, and would run as fast I as needed. It is not a speedy bike, and if anyone expects that they got the wrong bike to begin with. If I could have kept a 2nd bike, the KLR would still be mine. I had 2 BMW's at the same time, and always managed to get a couple long trips in each season on the KLR. I rode it from MX to Canada on the Continental Divide Bicycle trail which had lots of off road, water crossings, and above tree line routes. I took it places I didn't want to take the DL because of ground clearance and expensive plastics. Each of us has to decide what type of riding we plan on, and check bikes out accordingly. We have lots of choices luckily.
 

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T7.......
Agreed. With your use case this is a no-brainer.

However, good luck finding one. There are a LOT of people looking for a T7 right now.


So I'd say grab the nearest used KLR while you're waiting, and work on your riding and off-road skills. You're very, very, very rusty, and re-learning everything is going to be a LOT safer, easier and cheaper on a KLR than a V-Strom. The KLR is also more likely to come with crash bars, handguards, etc,. already installed.

When you find a T7, sell the KLR to the next guy; it's quite likely you won't lose a dime on the KLR. Or keep it around... they have an insidious appeal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks to everyone for all their comments. Much appreciated! Very kind of the forum members to chip in.

Based on your sage advice, I believe I'll skip the T7 for now and focus on used motos.

I had looked at the Honda CB500X and this will sound petty, but I hate the look of cast wheels. I love spokes. Can't get over it. I remember the Honda Silverwings of the early 80's when I was riding and I hated the wheels. Yeah, petty. Also, being younger then, I wanted a cruiser.

If I could find a CB500X with the Rally Raid kit wheels, I'd snap it up. But they are rare beasts in Canada from what I've seen.

I see that there are a few 2016-18 KLR's in my area, all dressed up for about Can $6000, and one mint Vstrom 650 XT for sale. Once the arctic chill removes itself, I'll start looking at them in person. If I do buy the KLR, I'll just have to practice tire changes repeatedly before any trip!

Thanks again.
 

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Agreed. With your use case this is a no-brainer.

However, good luck finding one. There are a LOT of people looking for a T7 right now.


So I'd say grab the nearest used KLR while you're waiting, and work on your riding and off-road skills. You're very, very, very rusty, and re-learning everything is going to be a LOT safer, easier and cheaper on a KLR than a V-Strom. The KLR is also more likely to come with crash bars, handguards, etc,. already installed.

When you find a T7, sell the KLR to the next guy; it's quite likely you won't lose a dime on the KLR. Or keep it around... they have an insidious appeal.
This is really good advice.

Above all else, buy used. You have an idea of what you want to do, but until you actually go do it you don't really know. You may hate the whole thing. Or, more likely, you'll find that some parts are great and some not so great, and that will change your focus. After a year or so on a used KLR you'll know what really matters to you, in terms of the bike you need, and you'll make a much more informed decision.
 

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Having gone through this and ridden 2 of the 3 (not the T7) I went with a (lightly used) Wee and never regretted it.
 

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If I do buy the KLR, I'll just have to practice tire changes repeatedly before any trip!
Good luck with whatever your decision is.
You could always try the Outex tubeless system on the spoke rims. Not an end-all to no flats, but it gives you more options.
 

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For the kind of riding that you’re wanting to do...you don’t “need” anything more off-road oriented than a Strom.

Speaking from experience...a KLR (I had a ‘13) is a jack of all trades and a master of none. It is not comfortable at highway speeds (despite some people convincing themselves that it is), it is under-powered (I’m not a speed demon and I thought that at the time), and it is heavy to deal with off-road (if you do decide to ride in conditions where you’ll be picking it up).

There are three reasons that I can think of to buy a KLR:

1. They’re cheap and plentiful on the used market. If you try one and you don’t like it, you aren’t out a lot of money and you should be able to pass it on to someone else relatively quickly.

2. There’s a good supply of aftermarket parts to address the laundry list of deficiencies. That being said, there’s nothing to do about the non-existent sixth gear (even with a highway oriented front sprocket, you’ll constantly be fishing for 6th on the highway), it being underpowered and porky as hell.

3. It’s a “settle” bike that will make you appreciate your next bike even more. I can’t foresee any reason that I would ever consider purchasing a KLR again.

What do I mean by that last one? You want an off-road oriented bike, go get something lighter (ex. DR650). You want a bike that will be really comfortable for 2+ hour rides to and from your “off-road” (fire road) area...get something like a Strom.

That’s just my $.02...I don’t think KLRs are “bad” bikes. They’re rugged, reliable, and easy to work on. Just saying that I would recommend considering other options for both types of riding that you’re wanting to do.
 

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The Vstrom is a better road bike by far. It sits lower though, so off-roading needs to be mild. It is a great ADV bike that leans more toward pavement.

The KLR is heavy, slow, and runs out of RPMs on the big roads. It is down on horsepower. It is a single cylinder too.

The T700 (have 2 friends on them now) is a nice bike. It is what the KLR should be. The T700 is going to be much better off-road than a strom, but not quite as nice on the road. The CP2 engine is a proven design. The suspension will need work to carry a load. I am riding a Super Tenere and Yamaha has their shit together when it comes to building a bike.
I've never ridden a Super Ten but from watching Fortnines vid on them they seem cope well off road for such a big bike and it must be a great touring bike, shaft drive is great when touring, the vstrom 650 is a brilliant bike but sometimes I'd like that bit more power and I'm not a huge fan of the 1000.
To the OP I'd go for a well speced used 2012-16 model 650 XT and put 5000miles on it and see what your thoughts are then, the T7 looks great but you'd need to riding a lot of dirt roads for it to make sense over a 650 strom.
 

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Good luck with whatever your decision is.
You could always try the Outex tubeless system on the spoke rims. Not an end-all to no flats, but it gives you more options.
A VStrom owner posted a trip report not long ago about riding remote routes out W US. He'd done some mods to the V for that type of riding. He put tubes in his tubeless tires and slimed the tubes. While the tube could possibly go flat anyway I suppose that goop contained in the tube would be avoid the messy clean up of a wheel. On my KLR I used heavy duty tubes, carried tire irons in a welding rod tube, a small air pump, and patch kit. If you will be riding with a couple other riders, not all of you need to carry the same repair tools.
As far as KLR comfort goes, I rode mine all over the W 2/3 of US, and N {---}S. 63 + years of riding a whole assortment of bikes, about 675,000 miles combined. With no convincing needed, that KLR was among my favorite bikes and very comfortable. My $.02.
 

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If you want sub 500lb bike the DL and the new KLR are out. They have most of the weight of the "big'" adventure bikes and none of the power or comfort.

The DR650 performs better on/off pavement than the KLR plus its much lighter. The KLR was an antiquated lower budget pig. Now that its been redesigned for 2022 it gained a bunch of weight and is now a lower budget hog.

Personally I would suggest finding just about any inexpensive bike near you buying it and ride it for a while. One to see if riding actually sticks. Second if you do get bit by the riding bug this bike will let you know what you do an d do not like and you can form a educated opinion on the next bike if you feel the need to change. All bikes can handle gravel forestry roads and haul camping gear.
 
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