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Kawasaki KLR650 as a first bike?

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Snok, Jun 26, 2015.

  1. Hi there,

    I am looking to buy my first bike to travel around australia (mostly NT, WA and SA). As I wish to do bush/dirt track I am looking for a all road bike, plus I gonna be loaded so I though (maybe I am wrong) that I need a bit more than a 250.

    I saw a kawasaki KLR650 that seems interested to me and on my budget. (I also saw a KLE500 but much older and much more kms on the clock

    Do you think it is too big for a learner (even if LAM's approved) and I gonna suffer on my journey from this choice or not?

    Do you have other bike to recommend me?

    my budget is (just bike): 4000$
    height: 1,85m
    weight: 85 kg
    state: NT

    thanks for your help!


  2. Since you are relatively tall, the KLR650 would be a great beginner's bike IMHO. It's just a little tall for shorter riders.
  3. The KLR is a good learners bike for a tall/stronger rider. It's very controllable in terms of power and an easy bike to ride.

    It is a bit top heavy and as a result feels like a heavy bike. But if you have bark busters even if you do drop it it's not going to be a massive deal. You can also get aftermarket crash bars for around $400 if your paranoid.

    It's probably the only LAMs adventure bike in your budget range anyway. It will be a great bike to do what you want.
  4. It would be a great learner bike for someone of your size
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Good choice. Consider also the Suzuki DR650 simpler and lighter than the KLR (so better off the bitumen) but no fairing, smaller tank and possibly a little cramped for someone of your height if you're doing big distances (although I'm taller and have got used to mine OK.

    If you can, ride both before making a decision.

    Both models have been around the world. Neither will disappoint in the role you propose.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. I have always maintained that the Suzuki DR650 is the better bike but the KLR is a better package from the factory. Ultimately to make the DR a useful tourer you'll need at the very least a long rang tank and a rear rack.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. I'm 195cm 85kg and find the KLR very comfortable, but I can flat foot it.

    It's a bit vibey, as most big singles are, but that's part of the charm.

    Proven design, many accessories, lots of used parts and knowledge out there.

    If McGregor and Boorman were ordinary blokes, that's probably what they would have used instead...
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. I won't move on it till later in the year but I am looking to buy either a KLR or DR650 later for more off-road orientated riding than the Tiger can handle. The only reason I didn't buy a KLR as my LAMS bike was my wife couldn't ride it (we shared to start with).

    You won't regret it and it will certainly not only get you through the LAMS period and around Australia but is pretty good training for larger, heavier bikes (albeit with more power) when you go for your R.
  9. The Kawasaki KLR650 or Suzuki DR650 would be ideal bikes, especially considering the road trips you've mentioned in other threads, SnokSnok. I'd second the suggestions of a long-range Safari tank for the DR650 and Barkbuster hand-guards for either bike as top-priority upgrades.
  10. A bloke has this bike at my new clinic. It's a good looking bike. He rode it from Melbourne to Kakadu. No problems.
  11. Having endorsed the KLR as a choice, I actually have more familiarity with the DR. A mate of mine has one, and has taken it / will take it nearly anywhere including some outback travel and more well travelled distant places. He did a few things to it - but not a lot:

    30 litre Plastic tank.
    Some work on the front end - he felt it needed a bit to cope with the extra fuel load to overcome the extra "sag" I'm not sure what he did, I'd think at least re-space the springs, possibly a change to progressive rate springs. I don't think he meddled with the gearing at all.
    A rack
    Some thick soft foam grips - big singles tend to transmit a bit of vibration through the bars. - they are a big fatigue buster
    Choice of tyres - I'm not sure what he had on, but when I had a similar bike, (XT 550) I was a huge fan of Metzler Enduros - Great road performance and OK, but not outstanding, in the rough (what dual purpose tyre is?) There are blockier patterns which give greater life on the road, which is where the Metzlers come undone - they wear out. 12-14k max however it was my only bike and I really liked the way they worked on wet bitumen.

    That is not a lot to "personalise" a bike. He was rapt with his purchase and what he had done to it to have a bike that would do what he wanted a bike to do - pretty much everything.

    I'm a big fan of this TYPE of bike. Not exotic, simple to maintain for the owner and there is not a lot that can go wrong. If you have real woes, you won't have trouble finding a mechanic willing to work on it, and parts are not hard to obtain.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Hey mates, sorry for the long silence, i was bussy working to make extra cash for the new bike i get!!!!!!!

    Here's my Black Mamba.
    • Like Like x 3
  13. Well done, mate. I'll likely follow down this exact path in the next 12 months or so.

    What a beaut beast. I think the only thing I would add is some proper Barkbuster hand guards and maybe soft luggage panniers.

    Keep in mind, that huge rear rack actually has a very modest weight carrying capacity. They tend to break off the mounting hardware easily, particularly with the vibrations on dirt roads. Some guys beef up the mounts to avoid this issue.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Hi Mick M,

    I actually have the side soft luggage bag with it but don't use them for now (that i haven't hit the road yet).
    I wonder about what you said for the weight carrying capacity. I am planning to buy proper pannier (comming with a mounting rack) to put on the side and plan to made some road loaded. Here is the link for the pannier+ rack: Panniers - Barrett Products - Australian Made Motorbike Exhausts and Panniers

    What do you think, will it re-enforce the carrying capacity or not?
    What do you call modest?

    for the barkbuster I agrain with you mate, it's on the shopping list!

  15. And hey, the KLR650 passes the Kick Test.

    • Like Like x 1
  16. Sorry mate,

    Haven't been back to this thread till today.

    The racks and boxes look good. I think the factory rear rack struggles with more than 5-8kg over rough terrain. They just break the brackets and shear the mounting points over the rear guard.

    KLR owners would know for sure. I read about it somewhere, but can't recall where...