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7 Reasons Why the KLR650 is a Legendary Dual-Sport Bike

There aren’t too many dual-sport motorcycles that have earned the reputation that the Kawasaki KLR650 has over the years.

What’s most incredible is that they still make these. Generally when manufacturers are on to a cult-classic, they end the production based on ‘less than adequate sales’ when they simply can’t make this claim with the KLR. It’s simply a beast.

Kawasaki KLR 650 – The Unkillable of Dual Sports

Ask anyone as to what is the most reliable adventure motorcycle, and many would point you in the direction of the KLR650. Not just this, but it’s also a weapon offroad due to several reasons.

Here’s why we’d recommend this Japanese ADV weapon:

1. Serious Reliability

This dual-sporter goes and goes. It’s not uncommon to see a motorcycle like this with more than 30,000 miles on the clock still commanding good prices. It has one of those engines whereby you look after it, and it will look after you. Reliability is what you want if you’re exploring the world on 2 wheels.

2. Adventure Fairings as Standard

Kawasaki didn’t build this for the dirt bike rider to be modified into the dual-sport road. Nope. They built this as a dual-sporter from day 1, and thus, it has adventure fairings as standard. Some complaints are that it’s on the small side and doesn’t provide full protection, yet others say the full fairings don’t provide any degree of cooling for the rider. Two-way street that one.

3. Solid Fuel Range

The KLR 650 will give you several hundred miles before you fill up, provided you’re out there on the highway and aren’t hitting that throttle hard. Most riders doing cross-country trips aren’t likely to swap their tank out for a safari tank but some do. Some riders simply use the flexible fuel bags and leave them on the rear.

4. Lightweight Handling

Despite what the dealers at BMW claim, you actually need a smaller motorcycle when you’re starting out. One that you can throw around on the trails. Fortunately, the lightweight nature of this dual-sport motorcycle (even when loaded up with rider, supplies and full gas) are quite reasonable.

5. Doesn’t Get Noticed

Right – a slight negative here, otherwise this was starting to sound like a promotional piece for Kawasaki. We’re unbiased here at Frontaer and aren’t paid for our reviews. The KLR650 doesn’t get noticed because it isn’t a speed demon or able to win any drag races. Thus, it isn’t a prize for a thief and as adventure seekers, this suits us just fine.

6. Highway Cruising

Dual-sport motorcycles are meant to be exactly that: Dual. Sport. Very rarely do you find a motorcycle that can do both well, but Kawasaki has mastered this recipe. You’ll find the KLR650 ideal for long days out on the highway as well as the trails, though it certainly isn’t as comfortable as say the BMW, but that leads us on to the next point.

7. Affordable

You’re into adventure riding as you want an accessible means in which to explore the world. Who really has money for business class flights and fancy hotels anyway? Only a special few people. Thus, the KLR650 is an affordable motorcycle for the person who’s keen to get out there. It’s even cheaper than some mopeds that you’ll find parked in front of the local coffee shop. Go figure!

Getting Started

Get yourself out there and explore the world! Today, the price of adventure motorcycles has become down with popularity. Thank you Ewan and Charlie!

Now this has become a double-edged sword. Too many people are obsessed with seeing others ride and aren’t working towards making the dream happen for themself. The KLR650 represents an affordable bit of kit. As an alternative, consider Honda’s 250L Adventure which in our opinion, is even better. Its only let down is the top speed and lack of highway gearing.

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👉 39 Most Common Dirt Bike Terms (How Many Do You Really Know?)

🔥 21 Awesome Dirt Bike Riding Tips ('Cause We Want You Safe Out There!)

🌲 How To Go Camping With Your Dirt Bike (And Arrive Home Safely)

🔧 7 Tools Every Dirt Bike Rider Must Carry (To Avoid Those Awkward Rescue Calls)

🥾 Best Dirt Bike Boots That Go The Distance (Who's Got The Best for 2021?)

How To Buy Yourself a Cheap Dirt Bike (4 Ways)

Watching others ride dirt bikes when you can’t afford it isn’t fun, but there are ways to make it cheap to get into the sport.

You can find a cheap dirt bike and start riding by searching for used dirt bikes or pit bikes through auction houses or trade-in deals through dealerships. Likewise, Craigslist and Gumtree often have discount deals on dirt bikes. You can also buy a Chinese dirt bike which is considered much cheaper than their Japanese and European counterparts.

It’s not too difficult to get into the sport and you certainly don’t need to pay $10,000+ for something amazing if this is your first dirt bike. Dirt bike riding used to be expensive but it’s more affordable today.

Buying a Cheap Dirt Bike

Stop watching the dirt bike channels on Youtube and instead, get yourself out there on the bike itself! Seriously – these are a heck of fun whether you’re racing or simply riding around on local trails.

While we don’t recommend getting finance given that dirt bikes are liabilities, there are some dealerships like Yamaha which offer 0% finance. So don’t discount these more expensive bikes if you can get a really good deal. The mainstream brands are more reliable than the cheap alternatives.

Then again, there are some super cheap ways to get into dirt bike riding:

1. Search on Craigslist/eBay/Gumtree

Yep – there are deals to be had on these platforms. The trick is to set up notifications so whenever a bike becomes available, you’ll be the first to find it and these are generally pre-2010 dirt bikes. Otherwise, if you wait a few hours, there will be others in your local area being you to these great opportunities.

Note: Be warned that some of these dirt bikes could be stolen which is why their price is very low. You’ll want to check the VIN number and collect as much information from the seller as you can. Sometimes you’ll want to cross-reference this information with your local police station just in case.

2. Buy a Chinese Dirt Bike

Go back 10 years ago and any keen dirt bike rider would’ve laughed if you rocked up with your Chinese dirt bike. These days though, technology has really caught up and these bikes are becoming very reliable with longer warranties than their Euro and Japanese counterparts.

You’ll generally pay half the price of the western equivalent. One challenge is parts availability and most dealerships won’t touch them when it comes time to service, but a great and cheap way to get into the sport today.

3. Look for Trade-Ins and Auction Deals

A little-known fact is that dealerships get used dirt bikes traded in all the time. These include the big brands like KTM, Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki. Unfortunately, they sometimes get too many bikes at once and will fire-sell these at break-even prices to clear the space. This is a prime opportunity for you to get one cheap!

Likewise, look for government auctions where police dirt bikes are auctioned off occasionally. You’ll need to pay attention to the newsletters in your local area as you won’t find these deals online. Likewise, you’ll also find police-seized vehicles (retrieved from criminals) which weren’t claimed by the owners and are later auctioned off to raise state revenue.

4. Buy a Pit Bike

While not a true dirt bike, pit bikes are a great little fun toy to have some cheap thrills with. We do use the word ‘toy’ appropriately as these bikes aren’t going to win racing titles or climb steep hills or whoop sections, but a good for a few hours.

Once you’ve ridden one of these for a little while, you’ll be hooked on dirt bike riding and hopefully, you’ll be in a better cash position. Pit bikes are typically best for getting kids into dirt bike riding on a budget while adults will generally do better on a full-sized dirt bike.

In Summary

Dirt bike riding isn’t a cheap sport but it doesn’t need to be expensive either. The biggest cost is the bike itself which is quite excessive. After this, you’ll need to invest in some good dirt bike riding gear so you’ll stay safer out there on the trails, whether you buy a cheap bike or a normal one.

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👉 39 Most Common Dirt Bike Terms (How Many Do You Really Know?)

🔥 21 Awesome Dirt Bike Riding Tips ('Cause We Want You Safe Out There!)

🌲 How To Go Camping With Your Dirt Bike (And Arrive Home Safely)

🔧 7 Tools Every Dirt Bike Rider Must Carry (To Avoid Those Awkward Rescue Calls)

🥾 Best Dirt Bike Boots That Go The Distance (Who's Got The Best for 2021?)

Does My Dirt Bike Need a Headlight Fitted?

Have you ever wondered if you need to have a light up the front beyond the handlebars when riding to be legal?

Dirt bikes don’t legally require headlights when ridden on private property. This includes riding on your own property, your friend’s property, motocross tracks and private enduro parks. You will need a headlight on your dirt bike plus mirrors, indicators, a tail light and registration when riding on public land such as roads and trail sections which are open to the public.

This is a safety measure designed to reduce accidents. Other motorists can see your motorcycle much easier with its headlight on.

Dirt Bikes and Headlights

You’ll often see MX bikes with no headlights fitted and for the simple reason that they are only ridden at daytime and that extra weight from a headlight will cost them lap times. The sole purpose of their dirt bike is to get around the track in as fast as possible.

For such reason, you won’t actually find plugs on these bikes to actually accommodate a headlight nor will you find enough space in the front. That blank front panel is designed for a race number, not a headlight.

Some riders decide to get 2 dirt bikes. They keep one for the race track and the other is for riding through public land with their buddies. This is a great way to go yet can be expensive too, as you’re not just paying for the outlay for two bikes, but the ongoing maintenance costs too.

Now – you can fit on a headlight whenever you want to make it safer, even if you never intend to register it. You might actually be riding at nighttime and require the headlight to see around your remote area. Some hunters, for instance, need a headlight to see their pathway when hunting foxes with their dirt bikes.

Fitting Requirements

In addition to the headlight itself, it will need to have a high-beam and low-beam setting. The low-beam must be permanently on when the motorcycle is running. This is a government requirement in most countries and it’s aimed at reducing the deaths of dirt bike riders globally.

You’ll also need to write in the high beam switch somewhere on the handlebars. That said – if you’re not planning on riding on public land, then the high beam switch isn’t legally required and becomes more of a nice-to-have feature.

Consider having a rock-repellant for your headlight too. These will stop roost rocks and debris from flying up and damaging or breaking the plastic on your headlight. Think of this like hardened chicken wire and you should be able to find some at your local hardware store.

In Short

You don’t need a headlight at all, especially if you’re only riding in daytime. Some race organizers require their enduro riders to have headlights (such as the Baja1000 or Dakar Rally) while MX riders never need to worry about this.

Then again, some MX bikes aren’t setup for headlights let alone all the other gear that’s necessary to get their dirt bike registered for the road, such as mirrors and indicators. For this reason, you might want consider having 2 very different dirt bikes – one for fun and one for racing thrills.

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👉 39 Most Common Dirt Bike Terms (How Many Do You Really Know?)

🔥 21 Awesome Dirt Bike Riding Tips ('Cause We Want You Safe Out There!)

🌲 How To Go Camping With Your Dirt Bike (And Arrive Home Safely)

🔧 7 Tools Every Dirt Bike Rider Must Carry (To Avoid Those Awkward Rescue Calls)

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Will Electric Adventure Motorcycles Become The Future?

Electric motorcycles appear all the rage for this decade, but what about electric adventure motorcycles and their future?

Will they ever become mainstream and sustainable? This really depends on some factors.

Adventure motorcycles are used for long-distance riding where large fuel tanks are necessary between fuel stations. Thus, an electric dual-sport motorcycle isn’t commercially viable right now and isn’t likely to be during this decade. Currently, the range on the main electric adventure motorbikes in the market is less than 150 miles or 240 kilometres.

Let’s not forget that most riders love the tune of a humming 4-stroke on a highway, so this is probably some time away.

Electric Adventure Motorcycles

Right now the only sustainable electric ADV bike is the Zero Black Forest Edition. Yet this bike can get you to 160 miles before needing a recharge. Can you recharge this in a tent? Unlikely.

The technology in these bikes is amazing and the ride is very silent. Yet the bike is only ideal for weekend riders who are looking to come straight back home.

Let’s consider that most adventure riders will ride for 300+ miles per day. The charging time on electric times is considerably high and we aren’t likely to see genuine dual-sport riders hanging around the gas station for hours waiting for a top-up. Likewise, they aren’t camping there either!

Not only is the fuel issue but the sound issue. Who doesn’t love the sound of that 4-stroke on the highway? There’s also the joy of working on the engine on the side of the track.

Then again – much of the mechanics are the same otherwise. The tyres and brakes are the same, as is the seat and controls, just the throttle is more twitchy. You’ll find the handling to be different as the backend is more easily to slip out on some roads.

Going Forward

For now, the offroad motorcycling market will stay owned by petrol-driven motorcycles. The exception is MX bikes which are used in closed-circuits and are optimized for lap times. Additionally, there are now electric side-by-sides.

Manufacturers will need to be waiting until batteries can really go the distance, as well as charge quickly. Bonus points if solar charging can be amplified through smaller panels. For now – that just isn’t happening.

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👉 39 Most Common Dirt Bike Terms (How Many Do You Really Know?)

🔥 21 Awesome Dirt Bike Riding Tips ('Cause We Want You Safe Out There!)

🌲 How To Go Camping With Your Dirt Bike (And Arrive Home Safely)

🔧 7 Tools Every Dirt Bike Rider Must Carry (To Avoid Those Awkward Rescue Calls)

🥾 Best Dirt Bike Boots That Go The Distance (Who's Got The Best for 2021?)

Can You Ride an Indian Motorcycle Offroad?

Have you ever wondered if those street machines from Indian Motorcycles can actually handle going off the beaten path?

It does seem on the surface that all that beauty shouldn’t be ruined, but sometimes you don’t have a choice. Perhaps you live on a property without sealed roads.

Indian Motorcycles can be ridden on unsealed dirt roads, though cannot handle bumpy terrain or typical dirt bike riding environments. They are designed to be ridden on the bitumen and their heavy weights don’t lend themselves well to riding in any other environment.

These bikes belong on long stretches of highway or cruising along the esplanade on a Sunday afternoon. While you can take them on to a dirt road to reach a destination, we’d be taking it slowly as you don’t want the back end to slide out.

Indian Motorcycles Offroad

If you happen to be looking at a capable motorcycle that can be used for very comfortable and ergonomic cruising on the streets with an incredible look, yet with some mild capabilities offroad, then we can think of motorcycles way better than the Indians. For example, the 850GS and 1200GS editions from BMW lend themselves well to being a highway cruiser with some potential to be taking along a dirt track.

Now – don’t get us wrong. Here at Frontaer, we absolutely love the Indian Motorcycles and they have a solid reputation in the cruiser world. For a country-wide tour on the black top, there’s no better bike to get the job done well.

However, there are times that you find a great spot on the map but it’s, unfortunately, an unsealed road. There is then the question of risking the bike or risking the opportunity of not seeing the landmark. Tough choice!

Should you find yourself in this situation, you’ll be wishing you had bought a more capable bike for offroad use. Indian Motorcycles are heavy to handle at lower speeds, and on dirt roads, you’ll certainly be traveling at these lower speeds as you’ll be worried about scratching the undercarriage with rocks and debris.

Better Choices

We wouldn’t advise you at all to sell your Indian motorcycle. Most riders keep these for life, or at the least, only upgrade every 10 years or so.

So if you did want to ride offroad, you could either get yourself a dual-sport or adventure-orientated motorcycle for some company in the stable at home. There is nothing wrong with having 2 motorcycles, provided the accountant agrees! Some great choices include the ever-popular models from BMW or even a Royal Enfield which make excellent adventures, both on the bitumen and away from the crowds.

Likewise, you might want to consider a registered dirt bike that can be ridden to and from the local trails. These bikes aren’t really adventure-happy but are light and nimble, and even someone in their 50’s and 60’s can throw these around on any track.

It’s Possible

Now – don’t get us wrong. It’s still possible to ride your Indian offroad and indeed thousands of riders have done it. This can hurt your resale value and your insurance may not cover you in the event of an accident, depending on where you are riding that is.

The main issue is the heavier weights and the rocks flying up and scratching the paintwork. Then there’s the big job of cleaning your motorcycle afterwards which could take hours. This is time that you could otherwise be spending riding!

So you’ve got to make the ultimate choice. Do you risk your existing bike or do you buy an additional bike to stock in the garage? We’d take the later every single day.

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👉 39 Most Common Dirt Bike Terms (How Many Do You Really Know?)

🔥 21 Awesome Dirt Bike Riding Tips ('Cause We Want You Safe Out There!)

🌲 How To Go Camping With Your Dirt Bike (And Arrive Home Safely)

🔧 7 Tools Every Dirt Bike Rider Must Carry (To Avoid Those Awkward Rescue Calls)

🥾 Best Dirt Bike Boots That Go The Distance (Who's Got The Best for 2021?)