one very short best and worst list for 2010
December 23, 2010 at 6:33 pm #4296Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
Dec 17, 2010
From a longer article by Steve Bond
Special to the Star
Best: Kawasaki KLR 650
I get to ride a lot of exotic and expensive motorcycles over the course of a season, but the motorcycle that I liked best in 2010 was Kawasaki’s $7,299 KLR650.
The KLR is equally at home commuting, day tripping or riding across this great land.
Find a section of twisties, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can hustle the KLR through them. The KLR is reasonably capable on hard-packed dirt surfaces as well.
The supple suspension absorbs anything our atrocious roads can throw at it, and the stock fairing provides excellent wind and weather protection.
Worst: Ducati Streetfighter
After spending two weeks and 7,000 km touring on Ducati’s wonderful Multistrada S, it was a complete shock when I swapped it for the Streetfighter.
The fuel injection was so abrupt and wonky that it was impossible to maintain a steady speed and when leaving a stop it was, stumble, lurch, stumble and then — BOOM, a 150-horsepower whack to the backside.
It was reluctant to steer into turns, the Marquis de Sade ergonomics had me looking for pharmaceutical help after a trip around the block, and the dry clutch was exceedingly stiff.
for more info about the 650 KLR Kawasaki, see http://www.wheels.ca/reviews/article/792011 This bike is within the sane power limits for a beginner bike, especially someone with long legs or who weighs at least 150 pounds.December 24, 2010 at 6:40 am #28945madjak30Participant
But he may have told a white lie on this one…I have asked him “if it is your money to plunk down…what would you pick?”…without hesitation his answer “Bandit 1250S, no doubt about it…best bang for your buck and it simply does it all…”…well I may be paraphrasing a little, but that was basically his response…then he added that the V-Strom DL650 was the second choice…I’m really surprised that he didn’t say the 2010 Suzuki GSX1250FA, being the updated “Bandit”…maybe he has changed his mind??
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know him personally…I was chatting with him in a forum a while ago…just so no-one thinks he is my buddie or something…
Later.December 28, 2010 at 1:10 am #28948Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
The Kawasaki KLR 650 costs less than those other bikes he mentioned, and is better for gravel and dirt roads.
The Suzuki Bandit 1250 costs more and has more power, and is best on pavement and is not for gravel or dirt.
The Suzuki DL650 is in the middle for price, is best on pavement but has some ability on gravel and dirt, and has looks that many do not like.
A lot of people like the Suzuki SV650 or Kawasaki 650R/Versys that are more for pavement and less for dirt.
A beginner is probably best off buying a 250cc or 500cc Kawasaki Ninja, or a scooter to save more money, and moving up to more power and more weight after at least a few thousand miles of street experience.December 28, 2010 at 4:12 am #28951eonParticipant
I find the KLR to be an odd choice as ‘the bike I liked best’. This bike was on my radar for a while so I can appreciate the appeal, but it really excels at nothing. Unless you are planning trips of over a thousand miles including some rough terrain it’s probably not the best bike to have. Plenty of passionate owners out there and they seem to feel the later versions (with more plastic) have been a step backwards from the more offroad oriented earlier versions. Everyone I spoke to recommended a getting a good 2nd hand one for around $3k.December 28, 2010 at 6:19 am #28952Gary856Participant
Read between the lines – the guy started by saying he gets to ride a lot of exotic/expensive bikes, so his liking the KLR650 is a bit like a food critic who eats fancy stuff at top-tier restaurants all the time saying at the end of the day he enjoys a good old hamburger the best. It’s impossible to pick one best bike so whatever one picks is simply the one that fits the mood at the time.
I used to think the KLR650 was too “soft” for my taste, that it doesn’t excel at anything. But the more I read about it, the more I think it’s one of those bikes that makes the owner happy by exceeding the expectations with it’s simple, low-cost, honest-to-god do-it-all capability. For the freeway I’d still prefer a sportbike, but for everywhere else I don’t see why I wouldn’t be very happy with a KLR650.
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