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KLE 500 or KLR 650

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by ssandor, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. Has anyone got an opinion on whether the 650 or 500 is a better bike.
    I have been looking at the 650 around the 2002 year and they are lot cheaper than the 500 around the same year.
    The 500's seem to start around the $5,000 with anywhere between 15K to 40K on the clock and the 650's around the $3,500 mark for about the same K's.

    ???? any reason why. Are the motors better or has the suspension been improved?

    Any information would be appreciated

  2. Had an 04 KLR - HUGE tank, but vibey single and five speed

    KLE - six speed, smoother twin but smaller tank - rode one and be my choice

    What are you looking to do?? Adventure riding, commuting???
  3. I owned a KLR650 back in… drum roll….1989 to 1994, it was the first model 1987 model.
    Just like this one: http://www.mijnalbum.nl/Foto-RA4S33ZH.jpg

    Bought it 2nd hand with 5,000kms , sold with 47,000kms.
    At that time was too young & dumb about bikes to know that you shouldn’t go heavy off road with these things. I used to ride out to Mt Disappointment & Wombat State forest with mates, screw off the rearview mirrors, drop the tyre pressures & hit the trails. Used to jump it & take it along the Great Ocean rd, and all sorts of stuff.
    My impression was that it was underbraked – the front would fade with heavy road use & the rear when used offroad heavily would ‘go away’. The suspension was soft, but for all the bottoming out (and smashing the plastic bashplate into pieces) it took the [ab]use.
    I preloaded the fork springs with 20cent coins & ran heavier fork oil (15wt??). I spaced the rear spring for more preload too, but damping was still soft & rebound used to fade & pogo my rear up off little jumps & ledges.
    The engine was good for offroad (to the sorts of speeds you could make it go offroad), but on the road it was a good fist-full to keep up with those peaky GPZ750s ( the Turbo ones no less). Hard to soup it up, you’ll be looking at big changes for more poke.
    The tank was THE defining feature of this bike KLR650. The amount of fuel has a massive impact on power & handling. Tiny airbox that was more a vacuum cleaner’s dust collector (make sure you clean it often). Plastics was OK, but the radiator shrouds – only one radiator though, the other shroud covered the coolant tank & horn – had flimsy mounts. The plastic hand guards were rubbish & the cross winds effect the ‘bars so I took them off early on.

    Good points? Reliable. When I cleaned it up to sell it after a interesting life with me, it was hard to tell what it went through (bought new bashplate).
    It instilled the idea for me that there is a lot on offer in many bikes people discount as weak or feeble, but a lot depends on the rider.
  4. Thans very much for the feedback.
    I'm looking to do mainly touring. I prefer the allterrain to the tourer.
    May get off into the dirt but it would be side tracks and definately no bush bashing.
    Only on weekends or mid week with mates.
    Not looking to use it for commuting as I work from home.
  5. klr is a MUCH better bike. theres just more of them which is why they are cheaper
  6. hmmm dunno about that got a friend with a kle i am trying to score a ride on but the klr, imo on the road is just farking scary with that front brake 8-[ fark drum brakes work better, off road actually better then it looks, me i still prefer the idea of the kle twin, 6 speed over the klr single 5 speed
  7. Sounds like a vote for the KLE. I've ridden both and the KLR would be better for more serious dirt (and more range), but the KLE is smoother and way more comfy. Range is decent with the smallish tank because it's economical.

    For what it is and all it's shortcomings (many of the same ones as the KLR, like weak brakes), it'll cruise at highway speed all day and is astoundingly smooth at around 110kph. It'll cruise somewhat faster with little fuss but starts to get some mild vibes up, but nothing the least bit drastic. It's also a lot more planted on the open road compared to the giraffe-like feeling atop the KLR.

    They'll go for ever too, with the very lazy state of tune. There's reportedly more grunt on offer, starting with the pipe.

    I only did a bit of dirt on a test ride, but if you're up for it, I reckon it would still handle some pretty gnarly terrain.

    I've seen late models with bugger-all km down to 4 grand, but 5-5.5G seems about the average ask. For a good one ridden away for 5 grand or less. You could rightly argue that they're gutless (but decent torque for a 500 twin), too heavy (but you wouldn't know it ride one), too vague and soft in rider feedback and brakes etc. Rock solid though, and with some wind protection and room for luggage too.

    But for the bargain price (and low running cost) of a low km recent model, it'd be hard to think of many bikes that can travel so far in such comfort and that are so easy to ride. I didn't find it exciting after the bikes I've owned (though the roads you choose can make up for that a lot), but they are a highly underrated bike that you could probably ride around the world on.
  8. kle or klr = tractor
    screw getting a single that uses as much oil as petrol.
    get v-strom, eats up the miles on bitumem.
  9. KLE on sticky tyres can be a very quick bike indeed on twisty bitumen.
  10. Forgot to add, easy front sprocket change to suit days riding was often done on the KLR, one tooth difference really improved the highway runs

    Need a HUGE socket and long torque wrench though, but easy enough once you've done it once