2008 KLR 17 mile test ride - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 09-08-2007, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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2008 KLR 17 mile test ride

Lucky me, my dealer picked an '08 KLR off his inventory as a demo bike from Kawi. He threw me the key and told me to get lost for a while to clear my head and make sure the KLR was the bike I wanted.

First impression; damn this thing is tall! I was tiptoeing even after sitting and letting the suspension settle. Hmmm, these bars are kind of wide, but we'll see how it goes on the pavement.

Helmet, gloves, check. Turn key in ignition, no fuel pump priming. Ohhhh yeah, this one's still carburated. Open the choke, twist the throttle about half turn and she fires righ up to a resonant hum. Nice exhaust note for a factory exhaust. Note to self; research new KLR exhausts.

Click down into first, let out clutch and a nice lunge forward. Note to self #2; twitchy throttle at first. First thoughts in parking lot. This thing is pretty plush for a ride. It soaks up the bumps, the seat is comfortable, and I actually feel like I am sitting on top of the bike, and not down in it like the Strom. Nice little hum from the engine at low throttle.

Wait for traffic to clear in both directions, twist of the throttle and she's off. Good pull from a dead standstill to 50 mph. A little buzzy at 5K rpm's, but it is a thumper and it hasn't fully broken in yet. Try to keep in my mind that it only has 13 miles on the clock, and I should not goose it too much yet. Quickly reach 60mph on a country road and I can take time to examine all the controls and displays.

Very simple. Kawasaki kept to a bare minimum and strictly adhered to the K.I.S.S. theory. Tach, speed, turn indicator, neutral indicator, trip reset button and temp guage. That's it. No more, no less, and all of them are analog dials. No digital. I did find myself a bit disappointed w/out a low fuel warning light, but they put a reserve switch in easy access near the left knee. I will just need to keep in the back of my head how many miles I can get to a tank w/ varying riding conditions.

A little windy at 70mph, but no more than the Strom and in fact, it was quite a bit more comfortable now that I think of it. It seems to be a very capable replacement thus far. Damn these bars are wide. Note #3; get a new set of bars.

Foot placement; great. Body position; great. Throttle response; a little anemic below 4K, but it comes on strong after that up to 5K. Not as buzzy as I expected it to be, and quite comfortable. It is top heavy, and the suspension needs tweaking. I can only think of three must haves before I ride mine one mile. Change out fork oil w/ heavier weight and maybe add a touch. Replace front brake line w/ s/s braided for some feel. Change out bars for something a bit more narrow. Beyond that, I could not come up w/ anything in my 17 mile jaunt. I tried a little of every situation. From city stop-n-go to wide open county roads with some sweeping and mixed tight curves. She handles well for such a large bike w/ older technology. The brakes are good, but can be better. Lots of suspension dive under braking and accelleration, but I think the fork fluid will alleviate some of that. Good wind protection w/ a bit of heat coming off the left engine side. Good foot placement seated or standing. Wide tail w/ large grab handles if any off-road muscling is required.

To sum it up, I like it alot. From discussions of the older KLR owners, this is an entirely different riding experience, but in a good way. Kawi listened and answered all the issues w/ the legacy KLR. I'll give a long term ride report after owning my new steed in a few months. In the meantime, I am stoked about getting back my ADV ride and fulfilling some lost time w/ friends who should be ADV'ing w/ me.

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post #2 of 12 Old 09-08-2007, 06:13 PM
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post #3 of 12 Old 09-08-2007, 07:11 PM
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He did not ride a Tiger. No growl applied here.

Sounds like a good deal. I wonder how it will handle the ride to FL....

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post #4 of 12 Old 09-08-2007, 09:06 PM
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Don't worry about the height. You can buy a lowering link and shorter sidestand from DualStar.

You can go about 240 miles on a tank, more if you just cruise.

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post #5 of 12 Old 09-09-2007, 08:14 AM
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Some Southerners still need a ride North West. Great roads on the way and a great way to test it.
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post #6 of 12 Old 09-09-2007, 03:36 PM
 
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Ridge - I got the TN section of the TransAmTrail ordered today, you down for a possible early october trip ? -Assuming everything is well that is !

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post #7 of 12 Old 09-09-2007, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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I'll have to look at vacation time, as I have quite a bit slotted for my trip to TX in Oct.

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post #8 of 12 Old 09-09-2007, 04:52 PM
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I was out trail riding today, and I saw a V-strom and a new KLR ride by on the road. I was curious. The new KLR looks a lot more like a V-strom and a lot less like the old KLR. Did the changes to the KLR sacrifice some of its off-road ability?

-Joe
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post #9 of 12 Old 09-09-2007, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hooker_47 View Post
I was out trail riding today, and I saw a V-strom and a new KLR ride by on the road. I was curious. The new KLR looks a lot more like a V-strom and a lot less like the old KLR. Did the changes to the KLR sacrifice some of its off-road ability?
Yes, if you crash you will pay more.

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post #10 of 12 Old 09-09-2007, 08:15 PM
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Yes, if you crash you will pay more.
I figured as much. The new plastic is pretty though.

-Joe
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post #11 of 12 Old 09-09-2007, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
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I figured as much. The new plastic is pretty though.
My budys blue KLR is a fine looking bike, but I like my 05 wallflower. She might not be stellar looking, but man, she puts out!

“In my opinion, the M1 rifle is the greatest battle implement ever devised.”
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post #12 of 12 Old 09-12-2007, 06:38 PM
 
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^ And thats how we like em !

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