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Old 31 Aug 2010
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RTW on 2008 KLR

I just got back from eight week RTW on a stock 2008 KLR. It had 8,000 km on it when the trip started. The things that happened to the bike during the ride were:
  • Had an inch taken off side stand because it tended to lean to the right when loaded - Blagoveshchensk, Russia (my choice)
  • Replaced battery - Ekaterinburg, Russia (failure)
  • Removed side stand down kill switch - Moron, Mongolia ( wires damaged by rock)
  • Noticed one frame bolt had loosened -Tula, Russia
  • Replaced prematurely worn front sprocket - Ohio, USA (failure? or chain tension wrong?)
  • Temperature and Tachometer gauges stopped working - Michigan, USA (failure)
  • Headlight - California USA (failure)
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Old 31 Aug 2010
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Originally Posted by Mickey D View Post

I don't see anyone railing about anything on this thread .... much as you'd like it to turn into a S#it slinging fest. The only one to "rail" here is you ... and Quastdog. But at least he's riding one, even if he is misinformed. What KLR are you on?

I think just about every single responder on this thread either owns or has owned a KLR (including me) and the general tone of the whole thread has been pretty friendly, helpful and polite. I'm sure you'd like to change that ... why don't you toss out some more bait ... then notify the moderators?
Hmmm, if you identify to such a degree with the original general comment “a few crackpots that we all know and love that have made up their mind centuries ago about the evils of certain manufacturers and will use any opportunity to rail against them while loudly pimping their own favourites”, that you feel the need to defend yourself, that’s your own issue.

It’s a general comment, whatever motorcycle make is mentioned will have the usual ongoing debate over a period of time and draw out many pro and con opinions, any regular user of this site will be know which fair minded folks are simply passing along their opinions and the others which are pimping or bashing.

I would certainly recommend that anyone “wondering how reliable and suitable the KLR650 is for an RTW trip” (the original posted question) read the responses, good and bad, with an open mind to determine which experiences might best match their intended trip.

I have met a couple of the posters (Chuck and Mark) who report very different experiences but as they have both just completed big mileage trips, that makes their experiences particularly timely and relevant. Mark has done a huge loop of the Americas and Chuck has been on the road for years on a RTW. Reconciling why they have come to different conclusions as to the suitability of the KLR for long distance journeys is a task for the individual reader. Having ridden a KLR in Russia and Mongolia, my own experiences would be that it is a budget bike that falls into a very large category of bikes that are perfectly acceptable for long distance journeys, but like all bikes has it's own unique set of pros and cons that have to be planned around.

Oh and Patrick, please don’t amend any of my posts in the future, it’s considered rude. And if you insist on randomly railing against the moderators for perceived injustices, then perhaps you should consider modifying your behaviour to such a degree that you won’t need to be banned from this site again or that your contributions won’t need to be regularly reviewed and moderated by them.
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Old 1 Sep 2010
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Jeez guys: grow up and take it elsewhere. Please.

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Old 2 Sep 2010
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Pointless posts removed. I'm getting sick and tired of sensoring the usual suspects. STOP IT NOW!

With best regards,
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Old 22 Feb 2012
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KLR Rules

Originally Posted by Mickey D View Post
So what's your next bike gonna be?

Sounds like some serious bad luck or maybe PPPP? I don't make a living following RTW KLR riders but do know many that have gone well over 18K and not had the litany of probs you claim. Now why is that?

I've owned two KLR's, one beat on '92 and a brand new '98. The '92 was set up and probably had all the crap fixed on it. Many years ago, but the worst thing that happened on that bike was when my soft bags caught fire on the Freeway Melted plastic side panel. I had too many bikes then, so sold it to a buddy .... cheap. It needed some overdue maintenance but was basically sound. Had about 35,000 when sold. (I only put maybe 10K on it) I beat the living crap out of it ... rode it wide open everywhere (just to keep up with manic group ...a real slug compared to my '87 XL600R.

With my '98 I spent a week prepping it like I would an Enduro bike. Only put 8K miles on the bike before selling. But did do the length of Baja and quite a bit of washboard, rocks and whoops there and then traversed Copper Canyon and down into S. Mexico. Just 5500 miles that trip. Only problem was when the boys in Vallarta changed oil they didn't replace the Copper drain bolt washer ... so it started leaking oil. I finally noticed it and fixed it. No other problems ... even after a few tip overs in deep sand. (it sucks off road with stock tires) A few bolts came loose but no big deal and no major issues at all ... except burning through tires. Never noticed the air filter getting all that dirty?? Of course it was cleaned once in a while, but this years ago ...

But much of what you say is TRUE. It IS a pretty cheap ASS bike and well overdue for a re-do. I agree ... Kawi should drop it and START OVER! But they won't ... at least not anytime soon.

I don't mind the riding position actually. This a Subjective area. But I've only owned 20 or so dirt/dual sport bikes to compare to. The seat needed help but not a torture rack. I rode ten hour days for about two weeks on my '98. Standing position was not great as I recall, but I managed somehow.

I would look a little closer at Dr. Greg's Sexploitations on KLR's and other bikes. He's got a few bikes stored in various places. Flys in, rides, flys away. He may have owned a few KLR's? Recently he had a KLX250S. Much better put together bike than a KLR. (I have a KLX For Sale!)

Quite a few HU folks have done some pretty good miles on KLR's, mostly without problem. There were 35 of them at one of the Copper Canyon HU meetings. Only guys with problems I heard about down there was a KTM
640 (worn out chain, water pump) and a BMW F650 (dead battery). One KLR guy did crash badly, they had to drive him out. Forgot what happened to his bike. He went over the side going from Creel down to Batopilas, IIRC.

I really saw a lot of the shortcomings on the KLR after working on prepping one. Compared to my DR650 (sat next to the KLR) they were a real pain to work on, poor access and the lack of quality on some assemblies was obvious. The DR is a gem by comparison, IMHO.

But so many guys have done big trips on them ... I just go with the numbers. Listen, I'm no KLR fan, but facts is facts. If the bike was such a POS how come Pancho Villa and many other rental outfits use it as a rental to go to Mexico on? Why does that guy in S. Africa use them (or did?) And what about all the ride reports going back twenty years involving KLR's?
Hey, guess what? Guys rode RTW on KLR's before internet forums.

The fact is, I sold my '98 KLR the week I got back from my trip ... and never looked back. But in recent years I've had the opportunity to ride a few really nicely set up ones. Like a different bike, IMHO. Would I buy another? Nope. Not until Kawi build a WHOLE NEW BIKE. then ... maybe.

Yes, you do have to go through them with a fine tooth comb and get rid of all the crap and replace with better components but once done I believe they aren't any worse than most other dual sports ... and don't often have the typical catastrophic failures of shaft drive and some other bikes.

The basic electrics are OK, and can be improved
The water pump and cooling system is generally trouble free
The bearings hold up reasonably well
The wheels are pretty tough
The frame and sub frame can sometimes crack but this is not common

With all the things above we could get into how these things fail so regularly on certain "other" bikes. So those who live in Glass Houses should not throw stones.

The KLR is a cheap date for many who otherwise could not travel at all.

But I still wish KHI would dump it and build a serious, modern dual sport. The '08 up grade is a cruel joke. Better, but still way off the mark. KHI have the ability to build any bike they want. They are one of the most incredible engineering firms in the world. Motos are childs play for them.
But they won't do it unless it will pay ... and at this point it won't.
I have a 93 kLR that I put 5000 miles on last year and only maintenance was oil, filter, and new rear inner tube. In Oklahoma I passed a Vstrom sitting all by it's self with a puddle of oil under motor. I'm sure my KLR would take me through hell and back as long as there is a gas station there.
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Old 22 Feb 2012
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Have an 02 klr650 that done 2 lefthand main bearings in 4000km.the bearings are not replacable so u have to fit a new crank.the bearing outer is part of the crankcase so if it is damaged the casings have to be replaced.didn't even make the start of a planned morroco trip.loved the bike when it was going but wouldn't dream of taking one RTW,ive ridden xt660z and its in a different league although stupidly way overpriced by yamaha
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