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Old 10 Apr 2010
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Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
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Essential KLR mods for SA?

Hi, I have been looking many places online as well as on the HUBB for information on KLR 650 mods for a trip to South America from the US. What I would like to know is what mods "farkles" are essential to get done for going on this kind of trip, and which ones are more or less just a waste of money. I am on a budget and would like to have more money to spend on the trip than on the bike. I don't really care if it is an older KLR as long as the mileage isn't too high.

Thank you,


P.S. If you could list the mods would be most appreciated.
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Old 10 Apr 2010
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I'd call the doohickey, upgraded fuses and t-vent on the carb essential. For me, pannier racks and engine protectors are equally essential (but others differ). Some sort of seat add-on was necessary for the sake of my sorry butt after about 25,000 miles, but this need not be a custom seat--I use an Airhawk, others do with sheepskin or gel pads. Better pegs are sure nice if you don't like sliding off whenever they get wet....but that might necessitate changing out the shift lever.

Lots of people put the springs, front and rear, or cartridge emulators and upgraded shocks, or all sorts of other stuff, in the essential column. I don't, but you can search for these threads easily enough and make your own decisions. Some claim to need different windshields, some find it necessary to move the license plate, add better lighting, modify fuel mix and/or jetting, etc. etc. etc. There's a lot which you might or might not define as "a waste of money," depending. Make your own decisions.

Hope that helps.

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Old 24 Apr 2010
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An essential mod for pre-O8 KLRs is to upgrade the subframe bolts. Those bolts have failed many, many times on KLR overland excursions, with bad results.

I seem to recall reading that the O8 and later models shipped with stronger bolts, but check that. I've been out of the KLR scene for a while (in favor of the DR. )

Dual-Star sells a subframe upgrade kit. I installed it on my KLR back in 04, no sweat. Well, OK, a little sweat. There are other options as well. Much more info at klr650.net. Good luck.
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Old 24 Apr 2010
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Maybe consider buying a KLR that is already set up? You may even find one in S. America, ready to ride. I've seen several for sale here on HUBB, mostly in Buenos Aires.

In California I've seen quite a few KLR's with all the essential mods already done on the bike, but Mark and Mark have out lined the essentials and the KLR.net site is
good for learning all about KLR's 20 times over.

A good shakedown tour should really help determine what you need. My guess is by the time you get from Michigan to the Mexican border you'll have a pretty good idea about what you need or don't need. I'd opt for a pre-farkled bike done by someone who knows what they are doing. This will save you thousands and you'll end up with a bike that will make the trip without problems and be a nicer ride over a stock KLR.
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Old 24 Apr 2010
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Two weeks pondering yields the following additions to my list: metal lever guards, because you will drop the bike (probably in a parking lot when surrounded by local admirers), and spare clutch cable ziptied to the working one, if only because I've broken three (3) on my current trip. And if really organized, a set of the next size thinner shims for each of your valves--I had to have one machined, courtesy of Javier, in Buenos Aires, for my whether-it-needs-it-or-not-70,000-mile-checkup.

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