Honda XR650L, Kawasaki KLR650 or Suzuki DR650S?

Kawasaki KLR650Sooooo, considering a dual-purpose motorcycle, are you?

They sure aren’t for everyone. See the earlier post on Dual Purpose Motorcycles for the good and bad for this category.

If you remain undaunted by the inherent compromise between street and dirt that these bikes offer, then which would best serve your future?

You probably won’t go wrong with either of these 2007 models: The Honda XR650L, Kawasaki KLR650 or Suzuki DR650S.

All three have an electric start.

All three are the same engine class.

However, their wet weights do vary and those weights are good indications of how they may fit your personal requirements:

The Honda is the slimmest at 344 pounds. It also has the highest seat height at 37 inches, as well as the longest suspension travel at 11 inches and sports the smallest fuel tank at 2.8 gallons. All that adds up to the strongest dirt-riding bias of the three.

The Suzuki takes the middle weight at 368 pounds, the middle fuel capacity at 3.4 gallons, the middle suspension travel at 10 inches and although it does have the lowest seat height of the three at 34.8 inches, for most riders, it would represent the middle compromise of the three.

The Kawasaki comes in at the heaviest at 411 pounds. The extra KLR weight is primarily attributed to its water-cooled configuration, as well as its much larger fuel capacity at 6.1 gallons which is almost twice that of the Suzuki (3.4 gal) and more than 2x of that of the Honda (2.8 gal). The suspension travel is 9 inches. Seat height is 35 inches. Additionally, it is the only bike of the three with a tachometer, luggage rack and a skid plate. it also has the largest wind deflector. One thing is does not have is dual-piston front brakes, which means the KLR lacks the better stopping power of the XR or the DR.

Writer/tester, Clement Salvadori, sums his conclusion as such: “Overall the KLR seems to be the best compromise among a trio of compromises, as it offers good power, the most range and comfort and some offroad capability.”

Click here for more info on the newly updated “2008” Kawasaki KLR 650.

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