KLR650... or Vstrom650... hmmmmmmm.... - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 21 Old 04-05-2008, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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KLR650... or Vstrom650... hmmmmmmm....

Yes, another thread on this - sorry, I'm new here...

I was this ==><== close to pulling the trigger on a Kawasaki KLR650 tomorrow when the local dealer sold the bike I was looking at to another buyer. Fine by me, I wasn't in a hurry anyway. So this afternoon I'm killing time in another dealer looking at bikes and I get my first live look at the Vstrom... looks much better in person than online! I straddle the bike and really like the way it feels. Hmm... now I'm conflicted - wait for the dealer to get another KLR in a week or so, or switch my affections to the Vstrom...

Riding history: I've been riding since I was in grade school - primarily dirt bikes in progressing sizes and even did some light racing. I took about a 20 year break from riding on a regular basis but still rode occasionally dirt and street. Now in my mid-40s the invincible, pushing the edge of the envelope style of riding is in my rear view mirror. That's OK too. I'm 6'1" and 185 w/ a 34" inseam so I've got plenty of room on either bike.

Riding plans: I live in Colorado where there's no shortage of curvy blacktop and high elevation browntop to ride. I work from home some my "commute" is about 60 ft. I drive a Jeep Wrangler that's set up for going deep into the backcountry and playing in the rough stuff. My ideal bike riding now is somewhere between 60/40 and 70/30 road/trail with the "trail" portion being basic, established (no more that class 5 of 10) jeep trails and forest service roads. For those familiar with the area I'm thinking in terms of Engineer Pass, Mosquito pass, maybe Tincup, etc. with better than stock tires, of course. I have no interest in a bike that will pin my ears back on the road and weave through traffic like a crotch rocket. Likewise, I have no desire to blaze a path with my bike where mountain goats fear to tread. 90% of my riding will be one-up with a group of like minded old farts - some on KLRs, a F650, DR650, and possibly another Vstrom. The other 10% will include my wife and I on 3-5 day roadtrips throughout the intermountain west where the Vstrom will clearly shine. If it opt for the KLR this "other 10%" will likely disappear completely as it remains to be seen whether and how much she will actually ride.

Don't suggest recently used samples of each - like most of us, my garage is nearing capacity as is - besides, simplicity is becoming a byword for me. Due to my planned departure from the blacktop I'm heavily predisposed toward the 650 over the 1000.

So.... with all this in mind, do you think the DL650 will suit me and my needs or should I stay with my plan for the KLR?

Thanks guys!

Last edited by RockyMtnScotsman; 04-05-2008 at 01:02 AM.
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post #2 of 21 Old 04-05-2008, 05:15 AM
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If you are truely a 60/40 guy, I think the KLR has a lot to offer you.

If you are wanting to increase the 10% of the time riding on 3-5 day road trips with your wife, the WeeStrom sounds like your bike.

I own a Vee... and so this could be slightly off, but I think it will apply. Stroms are heavy off road. Certainly, with skill, anything can be riden off road... but something lighter would be easier and more fun off road.

I see my self as a 80/20 guy... but the truth of it is that I am a 98/2 guy (although next years trip has 2k miles of dirt planned in) So the Vee is an excelent choice for me.

Hope that helps. Maybe go see if you can get a test ride, or just sit on one for a while and see if it speaks to you.

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post #3 of 21 Old 04-05-2008, 05:31 AM
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I've ridden with a KLR , long hard trips , 1000km in a weekend with as much dirt road as we can find - the KLR is better off road, but the DL will go further each day on roads it can handle. I'm certainly less beat up at the end of the day than the guys on KLR's DR's KTM's.

The DL is good offroad and as far as I can tell, less effort than the KLR, PROVIDED you keep the speed down to "sane" and don't expect miracles. The KLR can be pushed harder though, once the speed gets up the weight of the DL is a killer, you just can't get it to handle as well and peeling off speed in a hurry is a real problem.

If you were a 10/10th offroad rider I'd say KLR, but if you just want to get there and you carry a pillion more than occasionally, probably DL 650.

Change the tires though, TKC-80's or Conti-Escapes and the DL is good on dirt roads, the stock Trail-Wings are terrible on sand and I found them treacherous everywhere else.(99% of the time they were fine, then for no obvious reason "Whoa .... what was that !".

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post #4 of 21 Old 04-06-2008, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quema View Post
If you are truely a 60/40 guy...

I see my self as a 80/20 guy... but the truth of it is that I am a 98/2 guy
You're right, the real split is hard to assess. I have no doubt I'm being overly ambitious about the splits in my original post. The reality is that I'll have to take blacktop to get anywhere I'd ride offroad in the first place. Then when I do get there the "offroad" I have in mind is still a road... just not paved, and frequently strewn with ruts, rocks and shallow streams - but still a road in the forest service / fire road sense. Even at that, I likely wouldn't hit one of these on every outing.
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post #5 of 21 Old 04-06-2008, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteW View Post
Change the tires though, TKC-80's or Conti-Escapes and the DL is good on dirt roads, the stock Trail-Wings are terrible on sand and I found them treacherous everywhere else.(99% of the time they were fine, then for no obvious reason "Whoa .... what was that !".
Thanks Pete - yes, changing the tires and adding a skid plate is a given if I go this route. Looking over the specs there's only a 2" difference in the ground clearance between the KLR and the DL - any clue how much more you sacrifice by adding the skidplate (the KLR already has one) to the DL ?
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post #6 of 21 Old 04-06-2008, 07:48 PM
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I had the same problem with my choice as well... was bouncing between the KLR and the wee big time. And to make matters worse I had friends that owned both the newer Klr and the newer wee's. So I test rode both for a day
bad idea. It screwed me up even more. I wanted both in the worse way.

The KLR is definitely more suited for the off-road then the wee (hell it comes ready to go off road without really doing any additional stuff..nor do you have to go in debt getting it ready buying aftermarket skid plates, etc.), just as the wee is all the more about the road. Both can do the other, but you're sacrificing something both routes. Honestly, if I was in your position and lived in your location I'd hit up the KLR, however, the wife wouldn't set foot on the back of it with me EVER. The new 08 doesn't have the vibration that the older models did, and they definitely enhanced a lot of other things about the bike as well. It handles excellent on the road, and far better off road. It is truly a "duel-sport". However, the seating of the bike isn't the best for long juants (easy fix..by the corbin seat for it)...still not the greatest, but better so long as you don't consider putting someone else on the back. The nobby tires are going to be a bit more noisey and noticeable on the road when cornering too. Of course less wind protection too.

While both are tubeless...the Klr is obviously spoked and the strom cast...this scares me a bout my strom when I go to take it off road...break a spoke in the cast wheel and I'm done and have to purchase a whole nother tire, spokes on the klr ...no big deal! Also, as mentioned...you'll have to shell out some cash to get the strom off-road worthy. Plastic cost a lot too...the KLR seems to have less and the stuff it does have seems to be less spendy by far.

Personally, I went with the strom cause I live in maryland..not nearly the amount of off road stuff..plus I only have two other friends that ride off road with their stroms and klrs...so if I'm not with them, I'm probably on the paved stuff. Plus I have a 100 mile commute to work every day on the slab...not a big deal, but I definitely like the wind protection of the wee and it does tend to have a little more juice in the higher speeds then what the Klr does (klr isn't too thrilled with the ride when they try hitting above 80mph to get out of the way of someone, or whatever).

If there is ever a possibility that the trails you are talking about riding on now may get you to the point of wanting to ride something more technical and a bit more rough, then go with the KLR. IMHO (and I'm younger then yourself still seeking the adventure a bit..maybe too much sometimes), if I lived in your area I'd most definitely go with the KLR due to the terrian I know that you have vast amounts of and we're limited here with.

~Joe

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Last edited by code; 04-06-2008 at 07:59 PM.
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post #7 of 21 Old 04-06-2008, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockyMtnScotsman View Post
You're right, the real split is hard to assess. I have no doubt I'm being overly ambitious about the splits in my original post. The reality is that I'll have to take blacktop to get anywhere I'd ride offroad in the first place. Then when I do get there the "offroad" I have in mind is still a road... just not paved, and frequently strewn with ruts, rocks and shallow streams - but still a road in the forest service / fire road sense. Even at that, I likely wouldn't hit one of these on every outing.
I had a 2006 KLR. I take the V-Strom up into NH and VT and ride lots of dirt roads but no tracks.

I don't miss anything about the KLR. it's very heavy for a "dirt" bike. At 75 on the highway you have little reserve acceleration and the brakes are marginal for road use. Maybe the new design is better but the quality of components on the KLR was so poor I'll never even consider another Kawasaki.

I've ridden on dirt roads with KLR's, KTM's, and BMW 1100's and 1200's. The stock tires are a little slippery on loose dirt but I've had no trouble keeping up with comparable riders - the good guys leave me no matter what they're riding.

the V-Strom is incomparably better on the road. The engine is much more tractable at low rpm and much more powerful at high rpm. I would say unless you're going to be 70/30 dirt/road the V-Strom is better: and if you're 70% dirt, the KLR isn't a great choice.

2005 DL650 (sold) | 2009 DL650A (sold) | 2008 Tiger 1050 ABS | 2012 WR250R | 2008 CRF100F

Last edited by garandman; 04-06-2008 at 08:04 PM.
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post #8 of 21 Old 04-07-2008, 08:45 PM
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I am about the same age, same height and same riding background as you. I've owned a 2001 KLR, a 2005 DL650 and a DL1000, so I know these bikes fairly well. Most of this has been covered so I'll just highlight.

KLR650 - of the three this is the superior dirt bike. In the world of dirt bikes it's heavy and awkward in tight woods. On open trails (with no jumps) it does fine and is more cushy than . You will never mistake this for a more nimble 450 dirt machine. Stock tires are tolerable for most general trail riding. On the road the bike is most comfortable up to 45 MPH. Over that it gets increasingly less comfortable.

DL650 - Reasonable dirt road bike. It's heavy and has lots of breakable plastic, so a tip over can be costly. You can see lots of pictures of people riding stroms on some nasty trails. If you are accustom to good dirt bikes you will not find this a rewarding experience. Just because it technically can do it doesn't mean it's good at it. Stock tire are downright dangerous in even the lightest mud. Don't even think about it. On the road this bike shine at speeds up to 65 mph. Over that the rpms start getting high. This bike is head and shoulders above the KLR on the street. It also has the smoothest engine of any bike you'll ever ride.

DL1000 - You've already said you're not interested so I won't bore you any further. I'll just say it's the best street legal bike I've ever owned...period.

Good luck.


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post #9 of 21 Old 04-08-2008, 12:31 AM
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Myself -- didn't go off road too much, sold my KLR for Wee-Strom. My wife likes it more too. I'm happy with the trade. Nuff said...
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post #10 of 21 Old 04-09-2008, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Dirt_Dad View Post

DL1000 - You've already said you're not interested so I won't bore you any further. I'll just say it's the best street legal bike I've ever owned...period.

Good luck.
Got to agree about the DL1K. One hell of a street bike. I'm on my 2nd one and have a little klx250s for the dirt and running around town on.

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