KLR 650 Dual Sport - Is this a dirt bike?


15 replies to this topic
  • pjlynch

Posted November 19, 2006 - 08:34 AM

#1

The other day I was riding my new 2007 Kawa 650 dual sport in the offroad park near my home. After parking my bike near my trailer, one of the parks's middle aged search and rescue rangers, who was loading up his Yamaha 400, came over to where I was sitting and made the following comments:

"Hey, I really like your bike...but be careful. The KLR 650 is not really a dirt bike you know. Its a street bike. Kawasaki markets it as a dirt bike, but its really a street bike. If you ride it too hard in the dirt it will get away from you. I've seen all sorts of accidents out here. I just wouldn't want you to be another one".

What the ranger didn't know, is that I had ridden the park's trails all that day, and on other days, without falling once (although coming close a number of times). Granted, I am not a very experienced dirt rider. I ride slow and avoid dangerous hills and trails. No jumps for me. I don't like falling. I just want to be able to ride with my son and enjoy the natural surroundings.

So is the ranger right? Is the KLR a crappy dirtbike? I would like to get the feedback from others with first hand knowledge of the KLR 650 if the rangers assessment is correct? After all, I bought the bike mostly for the street, but I also want to ride it in the dirt--and feel comfortable in the dirt. Did I get the wrong bike? Or, is this guy just prejudiced against bikes with a license plate and turn signals? I'd like to know that other KLR 650 owners have to say about this.

Thanks,
pj

  • oilplug

Posted November 19, 2006 - 08:42 AM

#2

The KLR is more of a 50/50 bike. That being said I ride with alot of guys on KLR's who go everywhere I do on my XR which is exactly where I went on my CR 250. You just have to work at it harder.

A good driver in a two wheel drive truck can go just about anywhere a 4X4 can - if he's careful.

Every machine has it's strengths and weaknesses. Generally the weakest link is the rider. Give me a good rider on a KLR vs a crappy one on a KTM anyday of the week.

  • simon@vic

Posted November 19, 2006 - 08:43 AM

#3

"Hey, I really like your bike...but be careful. The KLR 650 is not really a dirt bike you know. Its a street bike. Kawasaki markets it as a dirt bike, but its really a street bike. If you ride it too hard in the dirt it will get away from you. I've seen all sorts of accidents out here. I just wouldn't want you to be another one".


i would 2nd that!

-terrible suspension
-too top heavy
-wrong gearing
-most likely street tires
-metal tank
-too heavy

klr is a road and dirt road bike for people with limited $$$. the guy was right, it will get away on you and it will hurt!!!

  • rebelventurer

Posted November 19, 2006 - 09:24 AM

#4

I had looked at the KLR before I ended up buying an xr650l my impressions were that it was indeed set up for the street. longer wheelbase, too soft suspension too tall gearing, lower seat height with a soft wide seat, etc...
However I am sure that it would do trail riding okay, just as a beamer, or Triumph Tiger would, but theres no way it will keep up with a more dirt oriented machine, with equally skilled riders. If it were mine I would just keep doing what your doing, and not worry too much about the rangers comments, it does not sound like your blasting birms with it. When and if your ready look for a more dirt capable bike. But I must say the KLR is a great commuter bike with dirt road capabilities.

  • Phuzzy McPhuzzface

Posted November 19, 2006 - 11:15 AM

#5

I had looked at the KLR before I ended up buying an xr650l my impressions were that it was indeed set up for the street. longer wheelbase, too soft suspension too tall gearing, lower seat height with a soft wide seat, etc...
However I am sure that it would do trail riding okay, just as a beamer, or Triumph Tiger would, but theres no way it will keep up with a more dirt oriented machine, with equally skilled riders. If it were mine I would just keep doing what your doing, and not worry too much about the rangers comments, it does not sound like your blasting birms with it. When and if your ready look for a more dirt capable bike. But I must say the KLR is a great commuter bike with dirt road capabilities.


x2 :cheers:

  • goblin127

Posted November 19, 2006 - 01:25 PM

#6

The KLR is more of a 50/50 bike. That being said I ride with alot of guys on KLR's who go everywhere I do on my XR which is exactly where I went on my CR 250. You just have to work at it harder.

A good driver in a two wheel drive truck can go just about anywhere a 4X4 can - if he's careful.

Every machine has it's strengths and weaknesses. Generally the weakest link is the rider. Give me a good rider on a KLR vs a crappy one on a KTM anyday of the week.


I'll second that!

  • hypersthenos

Posted November 19, 2006 - 07:56 PM

#7

Yep, as long as you're comfortable at what you're using to for go for it! If at some point you begin to ride beyond the capabilities of the KLR in the dirt then look for something else. That just means you've become a better rider. Don't spend the extra dough until you've found out for yourself if the bike is a limiting factor. Any bike is better than no bike!

  • rcnutt

Posted November 19, 2006 - 11:55 PM

#8

I just saw a show about how the state of FL. is using the klr for it rangers in the everglades st. park.my riding buddy rides a klr and he rides fire road and some lite single track , but air is limited to agout a foot on less.he can do a 400 mile day of fire roads and twisties,I'm well done after 250 on my xr650r.the klr does it all well, but nothing great.

Visit the ThumperTalk Store for the lowest prices on motorcycle / ATV parts and accessories - Guaranteed
  • XR_RON

Posted November 20, 2006 - 07:17 AM

#9

We appreciate your concern,and you are welcome here.But this is a XR forum,were you aware of that???

  • Phuzzy McPhuzzface

Posted November 20, 2006 - 07:21 AM

#10

We appreciate your concern,and you are welcome here.But this is a XR forum,were you aware of that???


I bet he does...and he came to the most logical place to get feedback on Real dirt bikes. :cheers:

  • eastreich

Posted November 20, 2006 - 07:39 AM

#11

i would 2nd that!

-terrible suspension
-too top heavy
-wrong gearing
-most likely street tires
-metal tank
-too heavy

klr is a road and dirt road bike for people with limited $$$. the guy was right, it will get away on you and it will hurt!!!


I'm not trying to offend all of the 650L guys out there, but this could describe YOUR bike in the OEM/off the showroom floor condition as well. To really ride the 650L in the dirt you guys usually end up with resprung suspension (at the least), a plastic fuel tank (IMS or Clarke), way better tires (Dunlop 606's, etc...), different sprockets, aftermarket pipe (less top heavy), and what seems to be one of the favorite mods, an Edelbrock carb.

I'm sure that if you went and applied all of the aforementioned mods to a KLR650, you could get much closer to an "actual" dirt bike. It still won't be as dirt oriented as you can get with a 650L, but a good rider could still hold his own on most trails with it. Where there is a will, there is a way!

If you were a diehard Kawi guy, you could do the same to an old KLX650C and probably dead even with a 650L. The KLX650R/C actually had a killer motor, its just that everything else around the bike was too weak for the forces that the bike could generate.

  • squatpuke

Posted November 20, 2006 - 07:48 AM

#12

.
.
I paid the extra 8-9 benjamins for the XRL....just because I knew it was more dirty than the KLR.

  • MNMike

Posted November 20, 2006 - 07:52 AM

#13

-terrible suspension
Progressive springs front and rear. Handles whoops, jumps no problem with a #250 rider, packed for camping.
-too top heavy
Stand up...
-wrong gearing
Wow, that's a hard one to fix with a $20 sprocket and 10 mins of wrenching.
-most likely street tires
D606's will still get you past the nice officer.
-metal tank
Nothing wrong with that. 6.1 gallons right off the showroom floor.
-too heavy
Compared to what? Hit the weight room, sissy.

-klr is a road and dirt road bike for people with limited $$$. the guy was right, it will get away on you and it will hurt!!!

My KLR is primarily a commuter. I have to hit 80-90MPH regularly on the freeway driving to work. There isn't a dirt or gravel road I would hesitate to take within the county or any nearby.

It can be a handful in deep sand or mud. Technique and practice helps. It makes riding the WR effortless, but I can't ride the WR 2 hours to the closest riding area.

It is what it is, and for what it's intended to be, it works extremely well.

  • Owyhee

Posted November 20, 2006 - 09:10 AM

#14

I used to ride a 1990 XL600V Transalp. It was 400lbs or so and had the same level of suspension as the KLR (short and bad). At Transalp rallys some KLR guys would attend and we'd go on group rides.

The KLR and Transalp have nearly equal off-road manners. 4x4 roads, gravel, and open desert are fine so long as you don't jump or have to turn or stop in a hurry.

The Transalp was much better on the street because of it's V-twin and better fairing than the KLR.

As an aside, I got 50,000 miles out of the Transalp in four years including a 10,000 mile lap of the US and Canada one summer. Nothing broke on the bike in those 50,000 miles that wasn't a result of bad maintaince on my part. The best part was I sold the bike I got for $3000 (1,400 miles) I sold for $3,000 (48,000 miles, the speedo drive was broken for a summer because I never lubed it).

Honda, bring back the Transalp!

"O"

  • Ferdinand

Posted November 20, 2006 - 03:41 PM

#15

Honda, bring back the Transalp!

"O"

:eek: :p :bonk:
:cheers: :p :bonk: :crazy: :worthy:

  • brichter

Posted November 20, 2006 - 10:32 PM

#16

I've had both (well almost)

2003 KLR650, rejetted with a SuperTrapp.

Good for commuting, not so good for the dirt (depending on where you want to ride). The KLR felt heavy in the dirt, and stable on the freeway.

1983 XL600R, not modded yet (still lookin' for parts!)
Ok for commuting, not as stable at freeway speed, but still very manageable.
In the dirt it /feels/ a lot lighter. Still not as light as a specific offroad bike, but much easier to handle in the dirt than the KLR.

It all depends on what you want it for, I was looking for a winter commute/offroad bike, and found my preference in the old beater. I have 2 sets of wheels, one with knobbies and one with 50/50 tires for the street. The only other concession I make for the dirt is a 14 tooth front sprocket. I'll probably break down and buy a 13T for the front, just to see what it's like.

When swapping the wheels, it's an extra 3 minutes to swap the front sprocket at the same time.

If the KLR feels good to you, ride it!





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