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  1. #1
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    Default Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    With fuel prices going through the roof and no end in sight from what I can tell, I'm tempted to get a bike for commuting. Considering this is mainly to save a bit of money every month, and the possibility of a weekend ride only on the odd occasion, the bike needs to be spacious and comfy but also cheap to buy and look after/run, and I keep leaning towards a KLR650 or the early single cylinder 650GS, so from owners experience what are the pro's and cons of each? I also see that old 1150GS's pop up for similar money every now and then, but with 100k+ km on them. I assume that's just too much bike for a daily traffic beater? Throw advice at me please
    2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara 3.2

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    The F650 GS (single) has fuel injection, which should cut down on regular maintenance costs. But I am biased, I prefer BMW to Kawasaki products.

    I am not really sure what the KLR's fuel consumption is, I have no experience with these bikes. But they pretty much never die.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    Both are good, I can't vouch for consumptions though. The early Funduros use the unbreakable Rotax engine, and the US Army's staple diet is the KLR, equally unbreakable.
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    Default Re: Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    GS. Nothing wrong with the KLR (I own one), the GS is just so much more refined.

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  6. #5
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    Default Re: Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
    GS. Nothing wrong with the KLR (I own one), the GS is just so much more refined.
    What he said.

    I also looked at getting a small bike for commuting.

    But I can fill my cars tank 42 times with the money I would have spent on a 30K bike. Over two years of fuel....

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  8. #6
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    Default Re: Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    Also look at F650 GS twin. The downtuned 800. Very much bike for less Mandela's.
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    Default Re: Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    I am not a Kawa fan but nothing wrong with the KLR.

    Personally I prefer the BMW 650 GS but the later twin cylinder version. It is a lot smoother than the single. Going for around R45K to R55K. (my daughter had one which I used once in a while.

    I personally ride a R1100 very similar to the R1150. These bikes are known for being very high milers without problems. Bullit proof. Price and condition will dictate.

    You will find versions for as low as R25K. My fuel consumption is around 19 to 21 km/l.

    The 650 is a bit narrower and lighter and will make for easier traffic & town handling.
    Find the solutions, not the problems.

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  11. #8
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    Default Re: Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    Quote Originally Posted by JBX View Post
    I am not a Kawa fan but nothing wrong with the KLR.

    Personally I prefer the BMW 650 GS but the later twin cylinder version. It is a lot smoother than the single. Going for around R45K to R55K. (my daughter had one which I used once in a while.

    I personally ride a R1100 very similar to the R1150. These bikes are known for being very high milers without problems. Bullit proof. Price and condition will dictate.

    You will find versions for as low as R25K. My fuel consumption is around 19 to 21 km/l.

    The 650 is a bit narrower and lighter and will make for easier traffic & town handling.
    Good point, spares would also be less of an issue.

    Howver, they are not great on dirt. It has all of the issues of the 800GS (crap suspension, twitchy front end), plus on a 19-inch wheel.

    But as a commuter it would be almost impossible to beat at the price.
    Last edited by theRéhann; 2022/06/23 at 11:11 AM.
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    Default Re: Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    There is no such thing as saving with a bike unless you get a 125cc scooter.

    Your tires last less
    Chains
    Sprockets
    Oil Changes
    Air Filters
    Add cost of Gear and Bike

    I still got a bike to "save money" tho, don't regret a thing
    Last edited by Spectaitor; 2022/06/23 at 11:12 AM.

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  14. #10
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    Default Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    Quote Originally Posted by IcePick88 View Post
    What he said.

    I also looked at getting a small bike for commuting.

    But I can fill my cars tank 42 times with the money I would have spent on a 30K bike. Over two years of fuel....
    You can’t look at it that way....rather calculate Kay’s per liter and traffic time....
    My daily drive died about a year and a half ago and I’ve been on my bikes since then (Africa Twin & BMW K100)- both of them give me 200km range on 18lts.
    So far: I’ve dropped the BMW twice (once in the rain and the other time was trying to get her onto the center stand)
    I’ve been drenched 3 times....
    I’ve been rammed from behind by a 70 year old tannie who didn’t notice that I had stopped at a pedestrian crossing,
    and the AT has broken down twice (fuel pump issues)

    The upside is that traffic doesn’t exist and my drive time is about a third of what it used to be....
    Last edited by GaryFrank; 2022/06/23 at 11:15 AM.

  15. #11
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    Default Re: Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
    GS. Nothing wrong with the KLR (I own one), the GS is just so much more refined.
    I like both, but I like the KLR more, maybe because it has minimal electronics to go wrong, maybe because of its reputation for reliability and dirt road cruising...
    2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara 3.2

  16. #12
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    Default Re: Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spectaitor View Post
    There is no such thing as saving with a bike unless you get a 125cc scooter.

    Your tires last less
    Chains
    Sprockets
    Oil Changes
    Air Filters
    Add cost of Gear and Bike

    I still got a bike to "save money" tho, don't regret a thing
    Suzuki UB125 is on the shortlist, R25k new with warranty, but I've seen decent KLR's for under R30-40k and that would be more welcome in my garage for many more years...

    As it is, commute is 26km one way, takes roughly an hour and is only 20% highway. The GV is consistent at about 8.5km/L (worse if the traffic is worse than normal), a scooter would be about 28km/L and a KLR about 20km/L. So in the car its R800-R1000 per week just on fuel for the daily grind, which could be cut to under R250, and travelling time probably cut by half.
    2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara 3.2

  17. #13
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    Default Re: Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    As a long time bike commuter and bike dealer ( close on 40years commute ) , rode many different models , from 150 cc Jonway scooter , to my current GSXR1000 daily . one thing that I say to most potential buyers wanting to change to a bike , You are not buying to save on fuel , you are buying to save on time . The fuel save is a bonus .
    I commute daily from Kempton park to Randburg , 32 kilos one way .
    On the scooter it took about 40 min , back roads , on my 1000 it takes 35 min highway. Using my Bakkie it takes me about 1 hr on good days and up to 2 on bad afternoons , morning are about the same , 40 min .
    using the bakkie , petrol consumption is around R840.00 per week , my bike R250.00 . so yes a saving , time is the BIG ONE .
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  18. #14
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    Default Re: Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    GS seat is more comfortable than KLR.

  19. #15
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    Default Re: Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    You don't save fuel on a bike.

    Ok, maybe if driving a scooter yes, but I was at the garage non stop when commuting with my bike. Not sure why. I think there was something wrong with the bike. It kept going to the redline in every gear, eating up my fuel. Tires also didn't last long. I bought one without traction control and kept spinning the back tire. Oh and the license on my bike was about the same as a small car.

    Buying a small bike for a commute is a waste of money. Soon you will be itching for a bigger one.

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  21. #16
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    Default Re: Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    The GS, both the single thumper and the twin are much more refined rids than the KLR. In saying that the KLR is a cult bike and has a huge following around the world, especially for it's dirt ability.

    For commuting and traffic, I would recommend the GS. The single thumper is getting long in the tooth, but still able to get spares. The other bike I would throw in the mix would be the Kawa versys
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  22. #17
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    Default Re: Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    Quote Originally Posted by NEON DEON View Post
    As a long time bike commuter and bike dealer ( close on 40years commute ) , rode many different models , from 150 cc Jonway scooter , to my current GSXR1000 daily . one thing that I say to most potential buyers wanting to change to a bike , You are not buying to save on fuel , you are buying to save on time . The fuel save is a bonus .
    I commute daily from Kempton park to Randburg , 32 kilos one way .
    On the scooter it took about 40 min , back roads , on my 1000 it takes 35 min highway. Using my Bakkie it takes me about 1 hr on good days and up to 2 on bad afternoons , morning are about the same , 40 min .
    using the bakkie , petrol consumption is around R840.00 per week , my bike R250.00 . so yes a saving , time is the BIG ONE .
    You haven't touched on the fun factor...also off high importance I'd say.

  23. #18
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    Default Re: Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    You are missing another great and reliable option: Suzuki V-Strom DL650.
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  25. #19
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    Default Re: Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    Quote Originally Posted by IcePick88 View Post
    You don't save fuel on a bike. vs a 3.2 v6.....?

    Ok, maybe if driving a scooter yes, but I was at the garage non stop when commuting with my bike. Not sure why. I think there was something wrong with the bike. It kept going to the redline in every gear, eating up my fuel. but big single cylinders don't entice one to visit the redline... Tires also didn't last long. I bought one without traction control and kept spinning the back tire. Oh and the license on my bike was about the same as a small car.

    Buying a small bike for a commute is a waste of money. Soon you will be itching for a bigger one. Hence throwing a 650 adv bike onto my shortlist next to the usual baby scoots
    2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara 3.2

  26. #20
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    Default Re: Commuting: GS vs KLR?

    Quote Originally Posted by NEON DEON View Post
    As a long time bike commuter and bike dealer ( close on 40years commute ) , rode many different models , from 150 cc Jonway scooter , to my current GSXR1000 daily . one thing that I say to most potential buyers wanting to change to a bike , You are not buying to save on fuel , you are buying to save on time . The fuel save is a bonus .
    I commute daily from Kempton park to Randburg , 32 kilos one way .
    On the scooter it took about 40 min , back roads , on my 1000 it takes 35 min highway. Using my Bakkie it takes me about 1 hr on good days and up to 2 on bad afternoons , morning are about the same , 40 min .
    using the bakkie , petrol consumption is around R840.00 per week , my bike R250.00 . so yes a saving , time is the BIG ONE .
    Very valid point. The last 7km of my morning drive there's 7 traffic lights, and this bit is easily 45min worth of idling and being near-stationary for a long while, and seeing many 2 wheelers happily zipping past between the rows of cars. Hell if there was a safe place to park my car before that last stretch I might even consider using a bicycle
    2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara 3.2

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