Kawasaki KLR650 V Honda Transalp

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by tonykiwi, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. Hi there

    I am looking to upgrade my motorcycle and due to budget restraints and a personal limit, I am to looking at either a 4-5 year old Honda Transalp or a new Kawasaki KLR 650.

    I favoured the Honda for some time however there is a good argument that maybe a new machine with two year full warranty is a safer purchase than a 5 year old machine with history.

    Has anyone got informed comments on which way to go, maybe regarding comparisons between the two?

    Thanks in anticipation

  2. I like to browse bike tests at www.motorcycle-usa.com lots of useful information!
    I'd go for the Honda if I'd do a lot of long-distance touring, but for shorter trips or commuting to work I'd go for the lighter Kawasaki single.
    I've never had a big Kawasaki but I had the Honda XR650L and the Suzuki DR650SE - lots of fun in town and on the backroads!
  3. Hi Tony,

    I'd go new as you get warranty e.t.c and the assurance that some idiot hasn't been messing with it previously. The question is then what will be it's main function? Touring and mostly onroad - KLR. Shorter hops and more offroad - DR650. I actually looked into getting a new DR650 and in Oz they worked out at 170K THB brand new - an absolute steal but add all the taxes e.t.c to get it here and I couldn't justify the expense as a second bike.


  4. Just got this from a review, thanks KZ :D

    Can someone please explain the 'rake' and 'trail' issue and put it into a relevant context for me as a potential rider/purchaser?

  5. That's getting a bit technical there, to fully understand it you'd have to talk to read up on it, I can only put it in a nutshell: rake is the angle of the fork; cruisers for example have an extreme angle which necessitates a longer fork, which makes for stability on freeways - you could take your hands off the handlebars and the bike would go straight. Sportbikes have a smaller angle, they need to be able to turn quickly.
    Trail is when you draw a line at the steering head back to the rear wheel at a 90 degree angle, it should come out close to the rear axle. Again, to put it simply, the wheel base affects the handling, a short wheelbase makes for a more flickable bike, a long wheelbase makes the cruiser use half the parking lot to make a turn. So if you look at the angle (and length) of the fork and the wheelbase you can kind of deduct the handling abilities of a bike. Just one more degree of rake makes quite a difference. If you change from a well-worn tire to a brand-new one, the bike feels different because of a few millimeters of rubber.
    The KLX and the D-Tracker are practically the same bike, but the smaller wheels of the Tracker change the trail (not the rake!) and the bike handles and feels different.
    Maybe a better informed rider can explain things a bit more in detail...
  6. Tony,

    The KLR650 is a big single cylinder... i.e Thumper, and there is a reason they call them thumpers... It is what I ride, but for long distances, they are pretty agricultural...

    Also, being a thumper they are harder on the chain and sprockets, and probably internals as well...

    The 08 was the first real update in a long time, and a lot say it was a backwards step, but I think most of them lament a reduction in off-road capability and 'look'.

    The KLR is also much less powerful 44hp & 37Ft/Lb @5500rpm, Vs 53Hp & 55ft/lb @ 5500.

    I guess I am trying to say, that they are very different bikes, I like my KLR, think it was a good value bike, but it isn't the same as a Transalp...

    I would love a transalp, but they are very rare in Australia, and therefore pretty expensive.

  7. There are a few around in New Zealand. Have you thought about shipping in from here? I am happy to help locally if that is any good to you.

    Thanks for your comments on the comparison.

  8. There are a few around in New Zealand. Have you thought about shipping in from here? I am happy to help locally if that is any good to you.

    Thanks for your comments on the comparison.

    It is very difficult (near impossible) to get an imported bike registered in Australia (unlike cars) unless you have owned it and used it yourself for 6 months prior to import... thanks for the offer...

    I was hoping to buy a few in Japan and import them to Thailand for hire bikes, but apparently they weren't sold domestically over there.

    Thanks for the offer. I am usually in Auckland for a week every 6 weeks or so, (not so much recently 'cause the company has a travel ban in place). Let me know if you would like to catch up for a beer.

  9. I am about four hours north of Auckland but visit the metropolis weekly at my leisure for business. Next time you are due a visit let me know and I will arrange to be there on business.

    Likewise, I am in Sydney in January, not too sure where you are but if it is Sydney a beer would be great.

    Best wishes

  10. Interesting comparisons but I was interested if anybody knew how the Suzuki 650cc Vstrom conpares to the Honda and Kawa bikes. Vstom is more of a road bike similar to a African Twin I would of thought ?
  11. The V-Strom is the bike to consider - it's got the SV650 engine, slightly detuned, which is still stronger than the TransAlp's 52 degree twin. They took the frame of the SV1000, which is stronger and roomier, spooned the 650 engine in and designed some bodywork for touring. And all that for a low price! Check out this comparo (I posted the link already in the Kawasaki section) http://www.fasterandfaster.net/2008/09/ ... ersys.html - I'd go for the Suzuki! (The F650 Beemer has 800cc!)
  12. For sure the DL650 is a great bike, and seem to be the bike of choice for Gentlemen Riders...

    Plenty of power, and a range of about 650km on a standard tank... but they have almost no off road ability (although there are a lot of guys who use them off-road anyways, see the ADVrider forums).

    They are also physically a lot bigger than the KLR or Transalp...

    Definitely on the list of bikes that should be investigated tho...


    P.S. Tony, give me a PM when you are in Syd, or know when and we will see if we can organise a beer...

  13. Have to agree with you daewoo..
    i took my strom off road .and didnt do anything right.
    iam going to stick with it though.. heading for oz soon and set up the suspension a bit better,it really is a great bike for touring.
    mainly the front end doesnt feel quite right .
    pm me tony if you want a ride.
    regards KEV
  14. I was still torn between the kawasaki and The Transalp. Whilst I guess I preferred the transalp, for the same money as it would cost me for a 5 year old one, I could get a brand new kawasaki,

    Anyway, I was looking in a bike shop in Auckland and a guy was in there looking at a replacement for his own Transalp. As things happen, I approached him and said that if he was ever in the market to sell his bike, I would be interested to discuss this with him. The chances were that if we dealt privately, I could come up with a cash offer which would be more than a trade in deal with the 'dealers' and he would have cash to buy his next bike and hopefully get a decent discount.

    He called me the other day to say he is now selling it and I hope to put a deal together at the end of the month when he is back from abroad.


  15. Would be interesting to know what bike will be the replacement for his Transalp - maybe he's looking for a lighter, single-cylinder bike.
  16. He didn't say what he was looking for. I asked why he didn't want the Transalp and his comment was that as a bike, it is 'characterless'. He said it did all he wanted it to do (and I get the impression he does a fair bit of touring through India and other such places) but felt it lacked something.

    After long and careful consideration I have bought a Transalp. It was worth the wait because the 'right' bike usually is somewhere around but takes a bit of finding and patience.

    It is about three years newer than the two I was previously looking at, for the same money (or thereabouts).

    It was probably the history of Honda and the 'Twin Cylinder' which made the difference to my decision. Fingers crossed that I was right.



  17. You can't really go wrong with a Honda - they have the biggest market share for a reason, they are reliable, fit and finish is way up there and they do what you want them to do. The irony is that the flipside of that is that they "lack character" and maybe feel boring. Kind of like a japanese girlfriend.
  18. I heartily endorse your choice, and the bike looks great.

    I was in NZ last year and had initially rented a BMW F650 that crapped out within the first hour. The rental people showed up with a TransAlp as replacement and it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened. I did 1000km in the 36 hours I had it and absolutely loved the strong engine and quick performance.

    I looked for one for a long time when I got back to Thailand, but never did find one. I did, however, find a GS1150 which is also great for this country, just bigger handful.

    Congratulations. Let us know how you like it.
  19. Mate... ya missus doesn't read the forum :) ...

    I think you made a good choice... as we discussed, you feel every stroke of a 650 single... while it may sound enjoyable for a short time... when you are going long time you want something with a little more class...

  20. Mate... ya missus doesn't read the forum :) ...

    I think you made a good choice... as we discussed, you feel every stroke of a 650 single... while it may sound enjoyable for a short time... when you are going long time you want something with a little more class...


    I am happy with the chouce. Intuition and patience always plays their part

    At least you have a bike available now in Godzone when you get an extra few days on work time.


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