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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, my name is Bill and I am from Prince Frederick, MD. I do not currently own a bike and am looking at getting one. I have been cruising through this site and now of course would like to ask for some advice. So here goes:

I used to ride when I was a teenager (just turned 30) on a Suzuki 250 Enduro and loved it! I could go anywhere and do anything on it due to its road legal and off-road capability. I sold the bike to get a truck and didn't ride for many more years.

Back in 2006 I took the MSF, got my license, and got a sweet deal on a Yamaha 650 V-star. Now this bike was a real looker which was great, but also a problem. I enjoyed going out riding, but I would always spend so much time cleaning her up before and after that it took away from time to ride (I don't have a garage.) Another problem was that the ergos weren't right for me. The bike was physically too small and very uncomfortable. I could/did sit easily on the back seat and reach the handlebars/footpegs, I also found that I like the straight-up seating position of a standard better. The final complaint about that bike was that I was constantly bored on it. To me, it didn't have that much power and I longed to do something more exciting like my teenager days.

So, this brought to my attention the KLR 650 with its dual-purpose capability and more upright seat posture. So for the past few years I fiddled with the thought of a KLR but now the time has come to where I can purchase one...unfortunatley I am now questioning it. So, this is what I am looking for in a motorcycle and hopefully you all will be able to make some recommendations. BTW, sorry this post is sooooooooo long!

Me: 6' tall, 175 lbs.

Motorcycle likes: Upright seating posture, minimal cleaning required (shining chrome & such), some power, and fun.

Request: Daily rider...and I mean it! I want to be able to ride this bike year round, in any type of weather, and not have to worry about the wax job I just did. I'm all about function! While looks are nice, I prefer something that works and will continue to work when I call upon it.

Use: Commuter bike, roughly 80 miles a day, 99% asphalt/street riding. I travel 30 miles of 55 MPH each way to work. While I love the idea of going off road or the eventuall RTW retirement plan, I have to be honest with myself. The worst back roads I will travel will still be on roads that are driveable by a standard truck. I do however want to be able to cruise through some snow and/or rain on the bike. Last year we received approximately 18" of snow in a day. (Did I mention that I'm crazy?) :)

Problem: I don't know anything about wrenching, literally! Would love to learn, but really don't know anything. Also, what if I get bored say on a Versys...does it have at least a little off roading in it?

Solution: Hopefully your recommendations as to the KLR, Versys, or something else.

Thank you all for any advice you might have and for actually going through this extremely long post!

Bill
 

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There is no bike that I would be riding in 18" of snow. Unless it was a dirt bike with a snowmobile conversion.


For everything else I think the Versys will be just fine. It can do LIGHT off road, but is a street bike that gets the job done.
 

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I have had several dual sport bikes before getting my '10 Versys. They were all great off road but not much fun at freeway speeds. The Versys is much better for this and although not a dual sport, I have taken mine places that most would not on a street bike. It's heavy though at just over 450 lbs. but sure does not feel like it. The trick is to keep the bike moving so it stays balanced. My tallest dual sport was a 2000 Honda XR650L and I had a few tip overs because it was just too tall for me and got into places where had I known better, should have powered my way out but instead tried to stop and that caused the bike to fall over. Here is a picture of my Versys in a place that I had taken several dual sports to and it did just fine. Since most of your riding is on the street, I say go with a Versys. Being a twin and fuel injected, it is much more reliable IMO that any dual sport I have had in the past.
 

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You sound like a motard kind of guy? There's a guy where I work that commutes 35 miles each way on that Ducati Hypermotard 796. I haven't talked to him but it sure looks like fun. I think you'd be happy with the versys....but I wouldn't do anything with it beyond gravel roads.
 

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AAAH, the old Versys/KLR paradox.

A lot of us here have run your very situation through our minds for a long while. As have I. Without wrenching, here's how I see your situation and solutions I'd consider.

1. If you can afford only one bike, get a used Versys as cheap as you can and ride the heck out of it. Find out if it's the answer. If it doesn't measure up, sell it and get a KLR. Keep in mind, though, that once you do this and end up on the KLR, you likely will have post-partum thoughts about the V. You will definitely be conflicted.

2. Get one of each if you can afford it. A new or recent Versys for the commute and a used KLR for the dirt fun. This is what I did. The Versys is sweet on the street, KLR awesome everywhere else. No conflicts here, just ride the one that suits you on any given day.

It is admittedly a tricky decision. Both bikes are incredible rides at incredible prices, as witness the large numbers still sold in spite of the devastating economy that's been foisted upon us in the last year and a half.

Versys - highway commutes and trips, Fuel injection(awesome)
KLR - most surface roads and dirt, farkles aplenty,

Both bikes are dependable, long term and inexpensive.

V-Zee
 

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For pure fun factor, it is tough to beat the Versys on the road. Get it out in the twisties, and that is where it really shines. The KLR is a nice bike also, but for my money the on-road capabilities can't be beat.
 

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any particular reason you're ignoring the v-strom 650? it would be a good for 60 mile commutes, probably better than a versys. it will do everything else on your list (except snow) as well or better than versys.
 

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any particular reason you're ignoring the v-strom 650? it would be a good for 60 mile commutes, probably better than a versys. it will do everything else on your list (except snow) as well or better than versys.
Price? Availability? V-Strom importation has been suspended, which leads back to price.

V-Zee
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My goodness, I didn't expect so many responses and especially so quick! Thanks!

Ducati looks great, but I think I need to work more on my riding skills before I get to something like that, especially with the $10K sticker.

Not avoiding the V-strom, I'm actually open to almost anything except a cruiser.

I think you are on to something there about getting a used bike and riding the heck out of it. I'm going to the dealership on Wednesday or another one until I find everything that I am looking for (different bikes, styles, years, etc.). Hopefully that will help eliminate some possibilities.

I do have some more questions though about the Versys 2010 and prior models after reading some stuff on here. First, is the Versys being discontinued? I'm not worried about that part, just the aftermarket support for a vehicle is harder after that has happened.

Second, is the 2010 really that much better than the 2009? It looks like an updated fairing, different windshield, lights, rubber engine mounts, mirrors, and foot pegs. (Did I miss anything?) If so, and the sticker pirce being so different, wouldn't it be better to buy an 09 and purchase aftermarket parts to just update the things that you possibly might not like?

Thanks again for the help and sorry if I offend anyone with something I say (I am a newbie).

Bill
 

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2009 KLR (sold), 2009 650V (sold), 2012 V1000
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AAAH, the old Versys/KLR paradox.

A lot of us here have run your very situation through our minds for a long while. As have I. Without wrenching, here's how I see your situation and solutions I'd consider.

1. If you can afford only one bike, get a used Versys as cheap as you can and ride the heck out of it. Find out if it's the answer. If it doesn't measure up, sell it and get a KLR. Keep in mind, though, that once you do this and end up on the KLR, you likely will have post-partum thoughts about the V. You will definitely be conflicted.

2. Get one of each if you can afford it. A new or recent Versys for the commute and a used KLR for the dirt fun. This is what I did. The Versys is sweet on the street, KLR awesome everywhere else. No conflicts here, just ride the one that suits you on any given day.

It is admittedly a tricky decision. Both bikes are incredible rides at incredible prices, as witness the large numbers still sold in spite of the devastating economy that's been foisted upon us in the last year and a half.

Versys - highway commutes and trips, Fuel injection(awesome)
KLR - most surface roads and dirt, farkles aplenty,

Both bikes are dependable, long term and inexpensive.

V-Zee

Coming from a 2009 klr to a 2009 versys, I second V-Zee 100%
Maybe I will buy a use KLR in the far futur, but not now

On another note, the weight difference between the 2009 klr and the 2009 V is marginal (from the manufacturer klr = 432 # VS V = 456 #)

Let us know what you end up choosing !

Ciao
LOP
 

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obviously, people will tend to show a versys bias on this forum. but i think the wee-strom is worth a long look. unless you're a sport rider, it may be better for your job description than a versys. as Kiwi mentioned, the versys is more nimble. the flipside of that coin is that the wee-strom is more stable. if i had a sixty mile slog every day, "stable" might sound pretty sweet.

it offers more weather protection as well, behind the larger screen and tank.

the suspension of importation is news to me, but that does not necessarily imply high prices. if they need to clear '09s out of the warehouses, you may find deep discounts. honda was (is?) doing the same for VFRs and CBRs last fall/winter and it was very tempting to get a new bike for a nice price. you may have to drive to get there, though. i saw a few on cycletrader, here's a new one, discounted a few hundred, and a used one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hello,

So I have an almost duplicate thread on the Versys forum so that I could get some well rounded answers. Both sites are fantastic and it makes me wonder if the same people run both sites?

http://www.klr650.net/forums/showthread.php?p=892377#post892377

I'll state the normal stuff on both, but bike specific I will keep to the proper forum. Hope none of this offends anyone.
 

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Some of us are on both sites. :) I gave my opinion over there regarding the KLR vs the Versys, but I'll repeat it here.

The Versys will do fire roads and the like (as will any street bike), and people have been known to take them off the beaten path. But, it is a street bike. If you do take it off-pavement on a semi-regular basis, you will want to invest in a guard or shield for the header pipes for the bike, as they are exposed. You also cannot get a true bash plate for the Versys, due to the fact that there isn't a frame underneath the engine.

That said, I'm 6' and 230lbs and love the Versys for commuting. However, there are a few tweaks you would probably want to make
  • Lowering blocks for the footpegs. I have a 32" inseam and found the seat-to-peg distance too cramped. Lowering the pegs made the bike fun again.
  • Mirror extenders. Stock, it gives a great view of your shoulders.
For how I use it (commuting on pavement, Sunday rides), I can't see getting bored on the Versys. It's a fun bike to ride, and will do 55MPH (and more...hence the need for the mirror extenders...) all day quite nicely.

All that to say, definitely sit on both, and if you can swing a test ride on them, do so, and buy the one that puts the biggest grin on your face.
Dave C
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Alright so I went to the dealership and am still confused a bit on what I should do. Let me tell you about the experience.

Walked in, guy helped me out, real knowledgeable, friendly and he personally owns a KLR 650. He has owned various bikes over the years (street fighter/cruiser/etc.) and grew up riding dirt bikes. Nice background and was giving it all to me straight (more on that later). Not able to test drive any, just sat on them.

Hopped on a 2007 KLR 650, nice, only 230 miles on it, brought back some nostalgia of my teenager days. Hopped on some cruisers and one street fighter to check them out. I'm really turned off by cruisers (for myself) due to the seating position. My knees touch my elbows and legs stick up SO high over the gas tank. If I were to adjust the pegs to compensate for this, I would really just have Highway pegs instead it seems. Street fighter felt better but soooo small. I feel like they are a kids bike, not because of their performance, but because of their style. I know that those style of bikes are meant to have you forward and holding tight, but it really just doesn't appeal to me. Once again, my knees bulge up but not as bad as on cruisers. (Even though I'm only 6' tall, I must have a 44" inseam or something.)

Finally hopped on a 2009 KLR 650, and even though I have looked at them a lot I was still really suprised at how high they are when sitting on them. I still had both feet flat on the ground, but that bike sure is straight up! I really liked the leg room and feel of the bike, the only problem is that with sitting on it for just a few minutes I started to get sore on my inner thighs. Not as fancy looking as other bikes, but the true beauty is its capabilities.

Hopped on a 2009 Versys, fancy looking and definately just as comfortable to me as the KLR if not more so. The only problem that I could see was that the foot pegs could be lower and a different windscreen.

Small things that I noticed: The KLR was blue which is really pretty in person but looks ugly via the pictures online. The green Versys is sexy online, but ugly in person. The blue versys didn't thrill me either. I laughed at the windscreen on the Versys and figured that would be relaced, then I laughed at myself because I have never had a windscreen on a bike before...so it shouldn't bother me either way.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Other things I asked the rep at the dealer and figured I would talk about here. Mind these are primarily opinions, not meant to offend.

LowJack, he recommended it, do you all think it is worth it?

Synthetic oil he didn't really care about. Stated that unless you are putting over 30K miles on your bike (the majority of people never do because they upgrade/sell) that it doesn't matter. (Not trying AT ALL to turn this into an oil thread.)

Stated that Motoman break in he wouldn't ever do. While it may work just fine, odds are that after 20K miles or so you will start to see problems.

Mentioned fuel additive (I think it was called starton) as being really good and that should be used regardless of bike.

Talked about how cleaning carb or cleaning fuel injected bike are different and how much they cost. What have you all experienced here? What is the major difference, which one is better, easier to maintain, etc.?

Talked about extra brake lights or some type of flashing light and he didn't recommend it, but didn't go against it either. He stated that unless you have some type of lights as big as a X-mas tree and sirens going off, it won't make a difference. What he meant by this is that if a driver doesn't pay attention enough to see your stock brake lights, odds are that they aren't paying enough attention to notice some extra brake lights.

When we sat down he pulled out his card and wrote down some things on the back that he stated were more important than most other things. 1) protective gear (that is when he galked at my tennis shoes) and just said "no". (I know this, I wasn't planning on riding anything today.) 2) The fuel additive. 3) That I need to think about what I'm doing, off-road or on-road.

He is familiar with the area/roads and since he personally owns a KLR helped me out with some advice there. He stated that if all I was doing is commuting then I should probably go with a street bike. He then stated though if I ever just want to get up and go anywhere that I should go with the KLR. He did state that the KLR's are more tempermental than street bikes, but that it is nothing too much (talking about wrenching). He said the KLR is the best bang for the buck and he really likes the cost factor. He was talking about how if you drop/crash the bike that it is no biggee, just pick it up and keep going, that it of course isn't that way with street bikes and the cost of repairs is much higher. I asked about keeping up on the street and riding on the highway. He said that it is FULLY capable of doing that. That he personally laughs "at the two year olds" on their bikes when he keeps up with them.

Alright, so done listing about all of that and on to some more questions.

I plan on installing crash bars and hopefully pelicans on the bike I choose, I believe that should be ample crash/drop protection, any ideas? Also, if I remove the pelicans, I know the crash guards will protect the front, but what would or could I get to protect the rear. (I must be getting old because before even physically looking at bikes I look at protection gear for the bike and myself.)

What type of tools do you need to wrench on these bikes? Do you need any wrench higher than 1/2" diameter? Due to Father's Day, there are a lot of good sales going on and I'd like to take advantage of them.

If you could possibly save $200-400 on the same bike at another dealership farther away (80 miles or so) would you do it? What about the relationship and support of your local dealership?

Test drives: Anyone willing to sacrafice their bike? J/K, though what should you do on a test drive (special things, not just ride it.) How long should you ride it for?

Any advice out there for me on which to choose? I know this is my decision, but I still like to get a lot of information beforehand. Speaking of information, this site and the other one is FANTASTIC!!!! I have lost so much sleep researching on them it's crazy! Thank all of you so much for these sites. If you are still reading, nice job!

Bill

P.S. Wanna hear something only a newb like me would do? So, I am searching all over the Versys for the fuel on/off/reserve switch and can't find it. I must have spent a good 3-5 minutes searching for it. I started to feel like I was going crazy! That is when I talked to the rep and asked about it...that is when I learned fuel injection bikes don't have that. Never knew, I guess every bike I've ever had was carbed and just assumed all were. NEWBIE!!! :)
 
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