KLR 650 Questions



I'm considering doing a multi-state ride through AZ, CO, WY and the probably back down via MT, ID and UT. Throwing in a lot of dirt; mostly forest road but some moderate stuff with some of the CO passes. Could the KLR be an appropriate bike for this?
I used to have a KLR. Bought it for exactly the same reason. They are great bikes for what you want to do, but...
Once you get the bug to tackle more difficult terrain, the KLR will make you work a lot harder, which is fine as long as you are comfortable with that, because the bike can handle it.

When I got mine, I was very rusty and out of shape. I had the habit of putting it in places that made me work really hard, but still enjoyed it. That being said, if I was to do it all over again, I probably should have got a DR 650 to start out with due to my dirt preference and not caring as much about highway comfort in stock form. Now I ride an enduro, get blown around a bit on the highway, chew thru tires faster than gas, spend $65 to change the oil myself, and love every minute of it :)

Little Red

I am currently selling my Suburban and looking at getting a KLR 650. I really like the BMW GS bikes to though, but a little too pricey for me.
I had a bunch of the same questions too. Lots of great info here. Thanks!


New member
I bought a nice 2009 KLR about a month ago. Really happy with the purchase. Handles well on the highway and does pretty good on the little dirt I've had it on. I've put nearly 1000 miles on it so far and decided to let a local upholstery shop redo the seat. He's gonna round the sharp edges and replace some of the factory foam with softer foam. He has been in the business for about 40 years and does awesome work. Can't wait to get it done.


Love my KL 650 Tengai

I have a nice Old 1989 KL 650 Tengai , it is great to ride and has now got rear cargo box and tank bag, I have ordered a moose bum bag and recently added a seat saddle bag Love my Bike and enjoying Tasmania on it. No Regrets. :):bike_rider::bike_rider::bike_rider:


New member
Yes, I know this is an older post I'm replying to. But others asking the same question will be reading as well. I have a 2011 KLR. To answer your first question, the KLR will handle 70 MPH all day no problem. Second question, altitude. I've only ridden mine from 0-5,000 feet but have experienced no problems. Third question. 10,000 miles is low (only broke in) unless the bike was poorly maintained. A few thoughts of mine...... Off road the KLR is a good trail and dirt road bike. But too heavy for deep sand or super tight turns in rough terrain. You can't muscle it like a dirt bike. On the paved highway only one thing scares me on my KLR, and that's the wind. It's a tall bike for the pavement and side winds affect it more than street bikes. It also doesn't have the weight of street bikes so you have to deal with the wind more. When it's really windy, (45 MPH plus) I don't do the pavement if it's a long ride. I wait for the wind to die. Bottom line, especially considering price, in my opinion it's the best all purpose bike ever made. Which also means it's not very good at either the street or the dirt. But it is the very best compromise I've ever ridden..

Christophe Noel

Expedition Leader
. Second question, altitude. I've only ridden mine from 0-5,000 feet but have experienced no problems. ..
When I was in Ecuador, I was on a very well used, but nicely maintained KLR with 40,000 miles of rental service on the clock. At least half a dozen times we rode over passes topping 13,000 feet and one 14,000 foot pass. I'll admit, the old KLR putzed along getting there, but it did it. It didn't particularly like it, and there were times I was crawling along, but that's pretty high. There's only a few places in the US where you can get over 12,000 feet.