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Old 4 Mar 2004
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Bellingham, WA, USA
Posts: 29
Broken KLR650 frame

I just read a post asking if the KLR was sufficient for two-up-touring. I suggested that it is not due its poor frame construction.

Has anyone else broken a KLR650 frame? or heard of one breaking?

I have.

On this 7 month trip through Central/South America both my frame and Jims frame actually ripped in half- let me also say that these were brand new KLR650's (2003) sponsored from the Kawasaki corperation.

Luckily they shipped us new frames, but i would not suggest riding the KLR650 2-up with it's current frame design.

VERY IMPORTANT - The problem is due to the welds and the placement of weight. When excess weight is put on the rear end of the bike (ie. extra passenger, excessive luggage) the frame will actually rip apart (I'm not joking, just go to our web site and look at photos under the Ecuador and Argentina Archives).

Steve Wallstrom


click on this link for a photo of Jims broken frame (Ecuador):

click on this link for a photo of my broken frame (Argentina):

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Old 4 Mar 2004
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: San Antonio, Texas, USA
Posts: 458
Wow, never saw one break there. I have had the top 2 of the 4 bolts that hold the sub-frame on break, but that is a well known weak point. Drill and tap from 8mm to 10mm and no more problem. I spend quite a bit of time looking at klr websites and have never seen the backbone of the frame break. How loaded down were you? Flying off jumps a la Robbie Knievel or anything?
Andy Tiegs
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Old 28 Sep 2004
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: chicago, IL, USA
Posts: 8
slightly off topic, but how did you manage to get sponsored by Kawasaki ?

Regarding the frame, it's rather scary: I had seen subframes cracked at the bolt, but at this location, it's quite surprising: too much flexing I assume? And it does not look like gusseting is possible there either.
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Old 6 Nov 2006
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Posts: 305
Just stumbled across this old thread and am surprised. I have never had any problems on my bikes (8 KLR 650 so far, 6 C's and 2 A's plus a number of C's before I took over the company).
Is this just from hecticly overloading the bikes?
My bikes often travel 2up and a lot of hard and rough gravel.
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Old 16 Nov 2006
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Location: Denver, Colorado
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Of all of the frame failures that I have read about, it was the sub frame bolts that sheared/failed, and not the frame itself. These bolts are easy to change with 12.9 hardness ones.

Also known to fail are the foot peg bolts, so changing those out is a good idea as well-
2001 Kawasaki KLR650
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