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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

I am brand new to the forum and hoping to get some advice. I currently have a ‘09 KLR and looking seriously at the 2018 AT, which is quite an upgrade. Have any of you done the same, and if so, what are the biggest trade-offs between the two machines?

I am mainly concerned with the off road capabilities of the AT and what I may need to give up by going to a larger, heavier bike. I ride solo so need to be able to pick the bike up. Can you do serious off road, even single track trails on the AT?

If you’re familiar with Colorado, there is an area in the southwest part of the state between Ouray and Lake City which has Engineers and Cinnamon Pass. There is a place called Rampart Range by Deckers. In the upper northwest there is Dinasaur Monument. In the central area is a place called the Flat Tops between Yampa and Meeker. Taylor Park has some great riding, too.

These are the places I’ve been to and now I want to ride longer distances to get there. The KLR is a great bike, but after loading my gear she is happiest at speeds 65 and under. I avoid interstate highways partly because I’d rather take the path less travelled, but also for safety and sanity. After setting up base camp, though, I can’t think of a better bike that makes getting there and back more fun.

The time has come and I want to extend my rides and the distances I go when I head out on an adventure.

If anyone has had a KLR, then moved to the AT, I’d enjoy hearing from you. I certainly don’t think I’d regret the Honda - I know it’s a great machine. Just looking for everyone’s thoughts, ideas and comments.

Thanks for reading!

Dan-O
 

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I did something more extreme. I went from klx250 to 16AT.
It’s just a different kind of riding. Long long distance becomes enjoyable. Off-road capablilty goes way down. The AT gets through the off road stuff the KLXenjoyed it. The klx got through the highway miles.the at enjoys it. Heavybike. Although your klr really isn’t that light...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Have any of you done the same, and if so, what are the biggest trade-offs between the two machines?

I am mainly concerned with the off road capabilities of the AT and what I may need to give up by going to a larger, heavier bike. I ride solo so need to be able to pick the bike up. Can you do serious off road, even single track trails on the AT?

If you’re familiar with Colorado, there is an area in the southwest part of the state between Ouray and Lake City which has Engineers and Cinnamon Pass.

These are the places I’ve been to and now I want to ride longer distances to get there. The KLR is a great bike, but after loading my gear she is happiest at speeds 65 and under. I avoid interstate highways partly because I’d rather take the path less travelled, but also for safety and sanity. After setting up base camp, though, I can’t think of a better bike that makes getting there and back more fun.

The time has come and I want to extend my rides and the distances I go when I head out on an adventure.

If anyone has had a KLR, then moved to the AT
First off, let me say that I'm a newer rider. I started riding 8 months ago and have about 13,000 miles under my belt. I have yet to ride any of the passes in Colorado, but I have ridden off pavement quite a bit including the K-Trail in Oklahoma/Arkansas though. So apply the appropriate grains of salt.

I went the other way. I bought an AT first, then bought a KLR as a dual sport bike. I quickly realized that was a mistake and sold the KLR.

The manual AT is about 80 lbs. heavier than the KLR when you factor in the difference between tank sizes. But beyond that, the rotational mass of a 999c twin versus a 650cc single also has a heavier feel to it.

I bought the KLR in the hopes of having a bike to throw in the back of my truck, but it really wasn't much smaller than the AT for that purpose. Moving the bikes around in the garage, the AT feels heavier. Picking up both of them from the ground, the AT was a little tougher to do.

I'm a big guy with abnormally strong legs and was able to lift either solo. Picking up the AT on a downward slope on the K-Trail after a spill was probably the toughest. I'm not completely sure I could pick up at AT solo in the thin air of a Colorado mountain pass. That said, I'm not sure I could pick up a KLR there or not either, never tried. That reminds me, the seat height is a little shorter on the AT which is a bit surprising as it as an inch and half more ground clearance than the KLR.

Also know you'll lose some fuel range going to the AT. At 200 miles on the KLR, I would start to look for a gas station. At 200 miles on the AT, I better be at a gas station. But there are after market fuel options. A guy I ride with has the Camel ADV tank:

https://camel-adv.com/products/honda-africa-twin-crf1000l-ct-atr

Those downsides aside, I couldn't find anything the Africa Twin couldn't do better than the KLR. Highway riding, its night and day difference. You can load the bike down and run 85 mph all day if you want to. I have been from Dallas to almost Missouri and back on my AT loaded down and you couldn't really tell a difference other than getting on/off of it.

The adjustable ABS, slipper clutch and traction control are all nice additions over the KLR for me. And I feel like the AT handles rough roads much better than my KLR did and it had the latest "upgraded" suspension from Kawasaki. I feel like I can get more aggressive off road with the AT than I could with the KLR. Granted, I didn't take either of them on what I would consider single track. I did do a lot of double track stuff on them though and I would MUCH rather be on the AT as it feels more like a big dirt bike to me than the KLR did. With good 50/50 tires, it also feels way more planted than the KLR does with the same tires.

Also, no carb to worry about on AT and it has a 6th gear as well. And being a twin versus a single, the engine is much smoother on the AT which resulted in less fatigue over time for me. Riding the AT really makes the KLR feel antiquated like driving at 57 Chevy versus a more modern car. Granted, the KLR does have a certain charm/character to it, but the difference was so much between the two that I affectionately referred to my KLR as "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." :)

Also, I always felt the KLR was just a moment away from a tank slapper at anything over 65 mph. I *almost* had one when running 85 mph/wide open down a Texas highway out in the boonies on the KLR. The AT on the other hand feels rock solid at any speed. When I had stock tires on it, I got it up around 118 mph and all was fine. With 50/50 tires, I try to keep it under 105 mph when passing. When I know there are no cops around I feel comfortable cruising that bike at 85 mph which feels about the same as going 50 mph on the KLR.

A friend of mine has the Ducati Desert Sled 800 model. He and a buddy of his on an AT went and did some of the passes you mentioned in Colorado in the summer and he said neither of them really had a more difficult time than the other. One of the guys I rode with on the K-Trail in Oklahoma was an Enduro racer and he made it all look easy on his AT with stock tires. So in the hands of a good rider, I'm sure the AT is more than capable.

Side note, I also have the DCT model AT. It adds 23 lbs, but takes away the chance of stalling the bike on a climb. That really saved my butt in some of the steep rock sections of the K-Trail. I personally wouldn't buy an AT without DCT, but I don't have decades of experience with a clutch lever either.

Anyway, hope that helps some.



Edit:
I thought of something else. Before I bought the KLR, I went on a long dirt ride through the Texas Hill Country with a couple of lifelong riders on KLRs.


At the beginning of the ride, I was thinking to myself that their bikes were better suited for the ride, but after riding behind them all day, I came to realize that my AT was handling the tougher parts of the ride better than their KLR's were. The rougher and more technical a section got, the more the KLR riders struggled while my DCT AT just stayed planted and carried me through. Same with the water crossings.

I actually almost hit one of the KLR riders in a deep sand section where he lost control and went sideways off the road while the AT just kept on rolling straight through.


Something else to consider is that new KTM 790 Adventure R that's coming out next year. It's around 460 lbs wet, I think. As much HP as the AT, I believe, in a smaller package with some cool features that aren't available on the AT. I think its going to be around the same price as a new AT, maybe a hair less. Probably not as nice on the highway, but I bet it is a lot more capable off road. New model year too is something to consider. There's always a trade off somewhere, it seems.
 

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I've been riding on the street for about 6 years now. Been on two wherls for almost 20. I had a KLR just before I bought my AT. Honestly. The KLR and the AT are both super capable bikes on and off road. They both have treated me well on both long distance dirt/gravel/fire roads and single track s. Of course, main difference is power. For the kind of traveling I do, I chose the AT because it can carry more weight and still ride highway speeds if necessary but also shreds dirt roads up. Also I like the Fuel Mileage compared to the other big bikes. The KLR acts more like a diesel in my opinion. Easy to ride at really slow speeds and low RPMs without much feathering. If you are looking into a ton more single track trail riding stick with the KLR. But for long distances on both asphalt and dirt/gravel roads, the AT is one of the best options.
 

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I too "stepped up" to the ATAS from my KLR, but have not decided to sell the KLR yet, as I have modified the suspension and set it up to the point that it tracks like it is on rails and is actually quite stable at 80 indicated with no headshake. SS brake-lines, bar risers, Oxford heated grips, thermobob, and a VStream windscreen make it a joy to ride. But if I had to choose just one, it would clearly be the ATAS and both the Wing and the KLR would go. I have not gotten around to weighing both with panniers and fully set up, but guessing the ATAS will come in about 50 lbs more. As for picking them up, I have not tried the AT, but have the KLR and my GL1800A, so not anticipating a problem, and this spring will likely put a packing blanked down in the drive and have my son help me to lower it just to get a sense of what variations on lifting technique are appropriate.

By the way, if you are close to Slumgullion/Lake City/Creed area for routine riding, you are truly blessed.
 

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There's a guy on YouTube who goes by the handle of "Colorado Dual Sport" with an AT. His videos are all over the region you described. I believe he changed from a KLR. Maybe.
 

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I had a 2010 KLR. Lots of accessories and upgrades. I rode it for 20,000 kilometres to Alaska and lots of local offroad trips. I never really bonded with it. Even when I first started riding it I felt underwhelmed.
It lacked refinement, power, comfort and the suspension wallowed. But, it was cheap to buy. With the accessories and upgrades along with the original price of the bike, I took a big bath when I sold it.

I've had a Honda Varadero XL1000V and still have my little ADV bike a CRF250L. Loved the Varadero for touring, range, power, sound (Vtwin) but it was huge and unwieldy in anything more than gravel roads, which it did just fine at. The CRF250L was a surprise, I still love it - about 25 HP, easy to maintain, durable and a blast to ride on road, gravel roads, and even trails. Then I got my AT in December 2016 and started riding the spring of 2017 - all I can say is, wow! This is my favorite bike of them all. Great power (usable), quite comfortable, good tourer, good fuel economy, and the suspension will get you wherever you want to go based on your riding skills. I've done long highway treks, last summer offroad and trail riding, and mixed riding and commuting. It's a terrific bike.

There is no comparison between the KLR and the AT - they are worlds away from each other. Take one for a spin on a demo day and try it out. I'm sure you'll be sold and will leave the KLR far behind. :)
 

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Jarrett wrote: "I'm a big guy with abnormally strong legs and was able to lift either solo. Picking up the AT on a downward slope on the K-Trail after a spill was probably the toughest. I'm not completely sure I could pick up at AT solo in the thin air of a Colorado mountain pass. That said, I'm not sure I could pick up a KLR there or not either, never tried."


If proper technique is used, even a 4'8" woman can lift a Gold wing. You turn your back to the bike and use your LEGS to lift.
 

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I've been riding on the street for about 6 years now. Been on two wherls for almost 20. I had a KLR just before I bought my AT. Honestly. The KLR and the AT are both super capable bikes on and off road. They both have treated me well on both long distance dirt/gravel/fire roads and single track s. Of course, main difference is power. For the kind of traveling I do, I chose the AT because it can carry more weight and still ride highway speeds if necessary but also shreds dirt roads up. Also I like the Fuel Mileage compared to the other big bikes. The KLR acts more like a diesel in my opinion. Easy to ride at really slow speeds and low RPMs without much feathering. If you are looking into a ton more single track trail riding stick with the KLR. But for long distances on both asphalt and dirt/gravel roads, the AT is one of the best options.
Well said!!!
 

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I still got my KLR , it got me started off road riding after riding slab forever. The best thing about it was I could drop it anywhere and pick it up no problem and hone some off road skills without worrying about the damage. Biggest issue was slab riding 100 km/hr + to get to my destination.The AT is like night and day, I can easily carry a lot more speed off road with confidence and blast on the highway after in comfort. I'm going to sell the KLR to fund a long trip somewhere but will always miss it like an old dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you

Hey guys!

Great information here and thank you, sincerely.

In many ways jxvak summed it up: if I were to sell my KLR, I’d miss it like an old dog. I appreciate everyone’s comments.

Jarrett - Huge thanks for your thoughts. I am looking hard at the DCT model for the stalling issues you mentioned. In altitude, even clutching can be a challenge to keep the KLR moving.

VFMoore - yeah, that whole area is a massive playground for adventure bikes. Between where I live and Lake City is Cottonwood Pass. More specifically it’s between Buena Vista and Taylor Park. The east side is paved and you can’t help but push the bike to redline and scape pegs on corners. The west side is a gravel dirt road with stunning vistas.

Much appreciated again, everyone. Glad I joined the forum.

Dan-O
 

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I am looking hard at the DCT model for the stalling issues you mentioned. In altitude, even clutching can be a challenge to keep the KLR moving.
DCT for off road riding is fantastic, imo. Climbing on rocks with steep grades is much easier. You also have a rear brake on the left handlebar for tough situations where you have to put your right foot down. That has saved me a couple of times on a right-slanted climb where I can put my right foot down and still keep the bike from rolling back with my left hand while giving it throttle with my right.

When descending, you can put it in manual mode and put it in first or second gear depending on speed needs and let it lug you down the slope. Can also disable rear ABS in that situation as well.

DCT for climbing, manual for descending. Kind of best of both worlds.

This video highlights what I mean about climbing. Granted, I'm sure he could do it on either bike, but for those of us that don't quite possess his skills, this functionality comes in handy:

 
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