Looking for an article on the KLR 650 for S. Americal travel


My brother and I are in the early stages of planning a trip from California, to Belize where we have family, and back. I seem to remember there was a detailed article(post?) on Expedition Portal written by another adventurer about his bike selection, and why he ultimately went with the KLR. Basically the end result was that if a BMW broke down in a third world country no one would know how to fix it/ get parts for it. I know there were other redeeming qualities as well, such as price.

I am usually really good at finding this stuff, but I am stumped. Any help from the two-wheeled crowd would be greatly appreciated!
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Expedition Leader
I do not know about the article you are looking for but the belief that you will get parts for KLR in 3rd world countries is a bit off the mark. I had a 2008 in Chile and Argentina. None of the Kawasaki dealers kept parts for it. These are very expensive bikes in those countries and there are not many about. Even filters were hard to source. Generally I found that the BMW dealers were only in the major cities but carried parts (well most/some parts). The Kawasaki dealers could get the parts but they were a long lead time and very expensive.

My personal opinion (I have had multiple KLR's in multiple countries and currently have 2 BMW Dakars and 2 DR 650's)

Either bike will do what you need (BMW or KLR). The BMW is more comfortable, available with ABS and has fuel injection but it has more electronics and generally a higher purchase price. You can get the GS911 analyzer which makes fault finding a whole lot easier.

The KLR is simple, lots of plastic which does shake to bits, seat must be replaced with something remotely comfortable. (couple of bricks wrapped in a towel even). It also has a few well documented issues that need to be addressed before you leave.

The best bike for the trip is either the one you already have or the best deal you can get treating it as the purchase of a consumable item. Set it up with the best hard luggage you can afford. (I recommend Jesse Luggage but Al Jesse is a friend of mine). Don't carry too many spares or too much weight. Be prepared to leave it behind if the poo hits the fan. Remember its about the journey not the bike.


Check out Advriders, many ride reports, of all types of bikes in all different countries, by the way check out the Suzuki DR 650, a great bike for what you are planning


Check out the Enduro Bros blog / website as well - met them on their way through and they had an incredible journey on a couple of CLAPPED out KLR's through South America. I am a dyed in the wool BMW nut, and there is no way you'll get me to swap out my GS or HP for a KLR, but I was amazed at what the old workhorses can do!


New member
I have a BMW & a KLR, both are great but if i ever ride to south america it will be on the KLR, i can fix it roadside most likely and can change tires without trouble, and if something bad happened i could leave it with less regret than my R100GSPD classic, of course it does everything well, nothing great, and is a blast like all bikes....it doesn't matter what you ride you'll have an amazing experience.