KLR Touring Review vs BMW, Triumph, Suzuki, and Yamaha

The italicized statements below are portions of a Popular Mechanics comparison of  "5 Tough Touring Bikes." The lineup includes the BMW F800, KLR 650, Triumph Tiger, Suzuki V-Strom, and Yamaha Super Tenere. These are each fine bikes, but differ so widely in price, size, performance, and technology it is silly to compare them one-on-one.

Overall, the KLR received so-so treatment by the reviewers at Popular Mechanics. Here are my comments on a few inconsistencies that jumped out at me as I read the article:

1. "It has just enough power to cruise at 80 mph, but don't ask for more."  Depending on gearing, you can go 80 mph, but I would not recommend it for long runs. I normally run 70-75 mph on the interstate.

2. "Engine has decent low-end grunt, but would probably benefit from lower gearing." C'mon guys, you want more speed, but then suggest lower gearing!! Lower gearing will benefit the torque curve for off road rides, but that will hurt your top end speed.

3. "Earned the trophy for both the slowest and thirstiest bike." Compared to a group of fuel injected twin cylinder bikes and that big Yamaha - I have no doubt the KLR was the slowest, but it is hardly a fair comparison. Finally, for a touring comparison, I assume the reviewers spent a lot of time running the KLR at 80 mph which does hurt gas mileage.

4. "Engine shake puts hands and feet to sleep." The reviewers never said if this vibration was related to a certain speed. But, at 80 mph the single cylinder engine vibrates a lot compared to a twin cylinder. Slow down a bit, and the vibrations are much less noticeable.

It speaks highly of the KLR 650 that it was included in this comparison with much bigger and more expensive adventure touring bikes. While the KLR does everything well, it has never been the best at anything and has never claimed to be. But, I have toured on the KLR 650 and can say it does just fine as a touring bike.

Click the green KLR picture below to read the article and decide for yourself.

Click the Pic to Read the Article