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Old 03-30-2011, 04:35 AM   #1
nondual
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Default Seriously considering selling my car and riding a KLR for a year

Hey all,

I live in Southwest Virginia (not to be confused with West Virginia) and am thinking about buying a KLR and selling my car to get out of debt in a year instead of two and a half.

It snows here very occasionally, but I live within walking distance of work and the grocery store.

Do I have the right bike in mind? I've never ridden a KLR, but it seems perfect for what I need. My last bike was a 2001 SV650, which I loved, but had to sell last year. I'm an experienced rider and when I first got the SV650, I lived in Durham, NC and it was my only vehicle (I actually bought it in January and made it through the winter with no real problems).

Is there a bike better designed for my needs at a similar or not TOO far off price point? I'm looking at slightly used KLRs right now.

Thanks.
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:27 AM   #2
silentgrayfellow
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You didn't really describe your needs, so it's hard to give an opinion what bike will best meet them.

I have a car but I've been renting it out for the past year. When I need it (rarely), I just call and tell the renter I need it back for a day or two.

The times when I most need a car are inclement weather (snow), and when I need to carry something large, such as building materials or large appliances. For carrying the big stuff, I can often phone a friend with a pickup truck to help out. Sounds like you have the snow issue covered if you're close enough to work and to a store that you can walk.

Actually, based on your description, you could probably do without a car or a motorcycle. So if you just want a motorcycle for recreational purposes, get whatever you like.

Last edited by silentgrayfellow : 03-30-2011 at 06:32 AM.
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Old 03-30-2011, 07:52 AM   #3
trenttheuncatchable
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If you live in an area with dirt roads and hills, the KLR is a good choice for a bike. If you need some "cargo" space and do mostly small trips, a scooter might actually be a better choice than a motorcycle. And as Mr. Gray says, if you live that near work and the store, walk/run/bicycle everywhere and get out of debt that much faster. You'll save on your gym membership fees, too
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Old 03-30-2011, 08:23 AM   #4
Morbo the Destroyer
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A KLR is an off-road capable bike, so it's compromised for the street to make that work. It's usable on the street, but if your goal is to replace your car, there's better choices.

Look at the standards and add saddlebags and topcase so you can tote your stuff.
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Old 03-30-2011, 09:01 AM   #5
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KLR is a great jump on and go ride bike. Large tank, nice luggage rack, almost free to insure, cheap. Get the tail bag from Kawi and it carries quite a bit of stuff. Not the best for long freeway jaunts but it works.
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:44 PM   #6
nondual
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silentgrayfellow View Post
You didn't really describe your needs, so it's hard to give an opinion what bike will best meet them.

I have a car but I've been renting it out for the past year. When I need it (rarely), I just call and tell the renter I need it back for a day or two.

The times when I most need a car are inclement weather (snow), and when I need to carry something large, such as building materials or large appliances. For carrying the big stuff, I can often phone a friend with a pickup truck to help out. Sounds like you have the snow issue covered if you're close enough to work and to a store that you can walk.

Actually, based on your description, you could probably do without a car or a motorcycle. So if you just want a motorcycle for recreational purposes, get whatever you like.
I'm on the freeway once every two weeks for about 40 minutes - the reason I was thinking KLR is because it's so cheap to run - cheap to buy, and in a pinch, I could run it with a teensy bit of snow.

I also like the V-Strom, but I think it's too much bigger than the KLR for those brief times when I'll need something more maneuverable.
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morbo the Destroyer View Post
A KLR is an off-road capable bike, so it's compromised for the street to make that work. It's usable on the street, but if your goal is to replace your car, there's better choices.

Look at the standards and add saddlebags and topcase so you can tote your stuff.
Which standard would you suggest?
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Old 03-30-2011, 02:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nondual View Post
I'm on the freeway once every two weeks for about 40 minutes - the reason I was thinking KLR is because it's so cheap to run - cheap to buy, and in a pinch, I could run it with a teensy bit of snow.

I also like the V-Strom, but I think it's too much bigger than the KLR for those brief times when I'll need something more maneuverable.
The Wee strom will be better on the slab as its not out of juice by 85mph. The KLR shines for all reasons mentioned, but needs about $1500 in mods to wake it up. Stock front brake on the older model is scary if not upgraded with at least steel lines and sportier pads. Once you have brakes then the fork springs are overwhelmed in the front. So I recommend the following

Progressive fork springs
Brake upgrade (oversized front rotor kit ideal, but about $500)
jet kit
K&N filter
Slip on muffler

All the above can be easily installed by a shade tree mech in an afternoon. Only scary part is drilling into your carb, but its only through a cap that covers the fuel mixture screw. So no biggie. Then cutting down the fork spacer with a hack saw per the fork spring instructions.

Wee Strom pretty much only needs a new seat (for me I cant sit on one for more than ten minutes without squirming, too soft). But is mo money up front and I assume, higher insurance.
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Old 03-30-2011, 02:42 PM   #9
nondual
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12er View Post
The Wee strom will be better on the slab as its not out of juice by 85mph. The KLR shines for all reasons mentioned, but needs about $1500 in mods to wake it up. Stock front brake on the older model is scary if not upgraded with at least steel lines and sportier pads. Once you have brakes then the fork springs are overwhelmed in the front. So I recommend the following

Progressive fork springs
Brake upgrade (oversized front rotor kit ideal, but about $500)
jet kit
K&N filter
Slip on muffler

All the above can be easily installed by a shade tree mech in an afternoon. Only scary part is drilling into your carb, but its only through a cap that covers the fuel mixture screw. So no biggie. Then cutting down the fork spacer with a hack saw per the fork spring instructions.

Wee Strom pretty much only needs a new seat (for me I cant sit on one for more than ten minutes without squirming, too soft). But is mo money up front and I assume, higher insurance.
I have to admit - having had the SV650, the strom is really tempting. But I was going to cheap it out on the KLR and maybe ride some trails in my free time since I'd now be able to do so.

Could I HAVE someone do the mods you're talking about? The only thing I really want to mod off the bat is the power system so that it can support heated clothing - I've been told that a heat controller and LED replacement lights would do the job.
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Old 03-30-2011, 02:49 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by The_AirHawk View Post
I would avoid like the plague still LED replacement headlights. Yeah, they're out there - but the beam is more "spot" than "flood". It's a technology whose time has not-yet come.

So far as running/tail lights; choose whatever other riders of your bike have had good luck with - no sense "reinventing the wheel".
Oh yeah, not replacing the headlight with LEDs, just tail lights, blinkers, and brake lights. I would just need to free up enough juice for heated vest and heated gloves or grips.
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