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Tripper 22 Dec 2007 18:31

KLR Travelling
 
What kind of Trips have people taken With their KLR's. What type of trouble did they have along the way, what type of riding. Any complaints about the bike?

Canada

markharf 22 Dec 2007 22:03

I am 10k plus thousand miles into a trip on a 2007 KLR. Most of these miles have been on paved highways, and this is due largely to a two-month delay early in my trip (by virtue of which I missed most of the fall, with my bike arriving in Germany in time for early snows and multiple cold waves). The delay itself was due to a failed balancer chain with catasrophic consequences and the ensuing wait for parts at a dealer in Canada. Also involved: a couple of long distance transports by flatbed, much driving of rental cars and flying around on commercial jets, etc. Note that I paid for all of this out of pocket, although repairs were fully warranteed. All in all, I'd sure recommend doing the standard "doohicky" repair before leaving on a trip of any consequence.

I have had plenty of time to think about Kawasaki in general and KLR's in particular, but I'll spare you that part. The balancer mechanism aside, I had some trouble with my fork seals (and with the warranty repair), but little else of consequence: a bunch of burnt out bulbs, a chain, some mysterious and unrepeated electrical issues, lots of lost fasteners and such. I also had some trouble with the carb vent, which sucks water when it rains, causing the vent to fail and the bike to die....or so I've concluded based on its intermittent issues with drenching rains. Overall, the bike seems rather cheaply made, but it's very amenable to seat-of-the-pants diagnosis and repair.

If travelling to Europe I can attest that there are few Kawasakis here, and although dealers exist they don't seem familiar with this model. The other day I went searching for brake pads, and the closest the interchange charts offered was a KLR 500 apparently sold in Austria! This may or may not be important at some point.

I'm planning to put another couple of thousand miles on the bike, then leave it here and return to tour some more, maybe getting off the pavement a bit more.

Hope that helps.

Mark

Edit to add: I've been wondering about the applicability of the dual sport concept to this sort of heavily-laden travel. It works for some, and might very well work for me in a gentler season (maybe next week in Morocco, for example, but certainly not last week in the Pyrenees), but so far my experience has been that with a full load the bike is just too unwieldy for the kind of terrain for which its suited closer to home. In fact, early on I took it over a high mountain pass on a jeep road, hit rain which threatened snow, found a ten mile stretch of slick clay and mud, dropped it in a ditch, spent two hours getting it upright and paddling my way slowly down from the pass, hit pavement long after dark in cold, driving rain, finally got to a hotel somewhat hypothermic near midnight.....this made me wary of doing the kind of travelling for which I bought the KLR, and I've been thinking about taking another trip with a Vstrom or similar for comparison.

narly 23 Dec 2007 23:47

My 2002 klr has over 36,000K. I bought the bike used with 28000k on it in the spring of 2006. Repairs to date include: replacing the rubber damper for the chain drive (located rear hub). Total cost: $62 cd. Other than that, I have put on new tires, chain and sprockets (standard for any bike I buy used). The milage is long rides to the coast and through the mountains.
When asked if I my next bike will be a klr, the answer is no...because when I buy a second bike, it will be for a different purpose (street). I will still have the klr.
Good bike. Ride reasonably, and keep up on maintaince and all is well. Abuse the bike and it will fail, just like any other bike.

Have fun with what ever you buy.
Narly

phoenix 24 Dec 2007 14:07

Adjust the suspension preload to cope with the added weight of luggage, and probably change to the progressive spring instead. Before I did this, I had the bike fall over because the suspension was lowered to the extent that the stand was too long! Ok, it was heavily loaded with luggage, before I managed to scale that back as well.

I find the KLR 650 quite vibey on tarmac, especially without a full tank. Very noticeable on long runs, with numb hands ensuing. More weight packed up front, rather than at the rear would probably alleviate this a little. Weighted bar ends are known to help, but didn't seem to help me.

The choke lever is prone to breakage because of its position, so possibly pack a spare, along with your spare clutch cable (which I needed).

Doohickey upgrade is a good idea, and *maybe* engine bars too. The usual other stuff: spare clutch lever, brake lever, clutch cable. I put in a waterproof power socket too (from a marine store). Other random upgrades. Oh, the subframe mounting bolts have been known to shear. An upgrade kit is available.

Agreed re stalling and very poor idling in *very* rainy conditions on tarmac. Problem disappeared once the bike dried out.

Caminando 26 Dec 2007 10:54

Quote:

Originally Posted by markharf (Post 164732)

I have had plenty of time to think about Kawasaki in general and KLR's in particular, but I'll spare you that part. The balancer mechanism aside, I had some trouble with my fork seals (and with the warranty repair), but little else of consequence: a bunch of burnt out bulbs, a chain, some mysterious and unrepeated electrical issues, lots of lost fasteners and such. I also had some trouble with the carb vent, which sucks water when it rains, causing the vent to fail and the bike to die....or so I've concluded based on its intermittent issues with drenching rains. Overall, the bike seems rather cheaply made, but it's very amenable to seat-of-the-pants diagnosis and repair.

If travelling to Europe I can attest that there are few Kawasakis here, and although dealers exist they don't seem familiar with this model. The other day I went searching for brake pads, and the closest the interchange charts offered was a KLR 500 apparently sold in Austria! This may or may not be important at some point.

I'm planning to put another couple of thousand miles on the bike, then leave it here and return to tour some more, maybe getting off the pavement a bit more.

Hope that helps.

Mark

Edit to add: I've been wondering about the applicability of the dual sport concept to this sort of heavily-laden travel. It works for some, and might very well work for me in a gentler season (maybe next week in Morocco, for example, but certainly not last week in the Pyrenees), but so far my experience has been that with a full load the bike is just too unwieldy for the kind of terrain for which its suited closer to home. In fact, early on I took it over a high mountain pass on a jeep road, hit rain which threatened snow, found a ten mile stretch of slick clay and mud, dropped it in a ditch, spent two hours getting it upright and paddling my way slowly down from the pass, hit pavement long after dark in cold, driving rain, finally got to a hotel somewhat hypothermic near midnight.....this made me wary of doing the kind of travelling for which I bought the KLR, and I've been thinking about taking another trip with a Vstrom or similar for comparison.

Hi Mark

Your KLR will be at home here in Morocco. Today its 25°. I don't know what that is in Fahrenheit. Check out Bike Friendly Accommodation for you and the bike in Marrakesh. Be cautious in the Rif mountain area if you go that way. I use, and my Moroccan colleague advises, the ferry crossing to Tangiers, rather than Cueta (Sebta). I dont know what you're carrying, but cant you dump some of your gear under a rock somewhere, and pick it up on your return? It's amazing what you can do without!

Come and get some sunshine and give your wallet a rest here too, after European prices! When you're riding around Morocco, I'll be back under the rain in London. (sigh!) It's not fair!

Tripper 26 Dec 2007 15:22

Markharf.

I hear people say that the "doohickey" was changed after 2006, but I guess not if you broke yours. sounds like you had quite a bit of trouble....

phoenix 26 Dec 2007 22:00

A bunch of the problems that existed with the US model were never really problems with the European model (front brakes were better, bigger diameter front forks, etc), but the European model has a waaaaay smaller tank (14L, compared to about 23L on the US model), plus a skinny little rear subframe that's only rated to something like 3KG (6.6lbs) on the rear rack. Now if Kawasaki had just tacked the US tank and subframe onto the C (European) model, it would have been a lot better from day 1. It sounds to me like this is effectively what they've done with the '08 model! About bloody time too! :)

Tripper 28 Dec 2007 00:26

awe, they did fix the doohickey. Thats awsome.... so many posts after posts of this flaw , year after year. The subject was getting pretty tiring. The only think I dont like about the KLR now is the weight. Im not sure what they did to increase the weight, but it is a much heftier bike. Wondering if its not getting a little too hefty, but sounds like a great bike. Why do you think they will upgrade the carb to fuel injection?

tdurden 28 Dec 2007 04:33

40,000km on mine, l really like the bike, lots of little issues, but nothing you cant mcgiver yourself out of on the road. Things to note:

- likes to drink oil when riding at high speeds
- clutch cable likes to break when you are out in the woods at night, hundreds of kilometers from any mechanical shop...

I find the build quality cheap, but it rarely lets me down!

Tripper 28 Dec 2007 05:24

What year was your bike...? What type of little issues. The 08" is quite a bit more heavy.

thecanoeguy 5 Jan 2008 01:39

2000 model round the world
 
100,000 km still going strong ,issues yes, the doo ,the front brakes and the rear shock but all good otherwise

narly 5 Jan 2008 18:07

Quote:

Originally Posted by thecanoeguy (Post 166631)
100,000 km still going strong ,issues yes, the doo ,the front brakes and the rear shock but all good otherwise

Now, that's the kind of posts I like to see when it comes to bikes. Compare that (100,000 km) to posts I've read of how the engine on a new bike was burnt out just because it was flogged for 3 days at 90 mph. The author was unimpressed with the bike since it was susposed to be reliable. No bike is ment to be run at more than 3/4 of the red line rpm for extended periods. The klr is meant to do reasonable speeds on the highway (read "speed limit") and to do very well on rough, gravel, or dirt roads. Under thoes conditions, it is very reliable.

Way-da-go canoe guy. Nice to see what what a good rider can do with a bike.

Narly

thecanoeguy 6 Jan 2008 08:36

cheers dude
 
1 Attachment(s)
its all about looking after it ,i never thrash it ,as riding around the globe ain't the paris dakar ,i sit on 90/ 100 kph thats it ,i have left other travellers who want to flog along at 120 ,i want to see things ,i change the oil every 5,000 km and keep the air filter clean ,my bike used f all oil between changes ,these tossers who drive there klr's on the freeway at 80 mph should go buy an R1 ,get off the main roads and into the hills is all i say

phoenix 6 Jan 2008 14:17

Nice picture!

Tripper 10 Jan 2008 04:15

Did your feet get wet?


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