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.