The Achievable Dream 5-part series - the definitive guide on DVD for planning your motorcycle adventure. Get Ready! covers planning, paperwork, medical and many other topics! "Inspirational and Awesome!" See the trailer here!
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So you've done it - got inspired, planned your trip, packed your stuff and you're on the road! This section is about staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure. And crossing borders, war zones or oceans!
On the Road! is 5.5 hours of the tips and advice you need to cross borders, break down language barriers, overcome culture shock, ship the bike and deal with breakdowns and emergencies."Just makes me want to pack up and go!" See the trailer here!
Tire Changing!Grant demystifies the black art of Tire Changing and Repair to help you STAY on the road! "Very informative and practical." See the trailer here!
Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
"It has me all fired up to go out on my own adventure!" See the trailer here!
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I have a klr650, and like everyone who has one, I have read about all the modifications/upgrades etc. After reading a little more I began to wonder if some of the upgrades weren't correcting the manufacturers cheaping out on parts costs, but actually defeating a safety feature built-in. I'm not talking personal preference, or politically correct features like the sidestand cut off switch. As example having to shift into neutral just to restart the bike is no safety feature (in my oponion). I'm talking about things like everyone advocating upgrading the subframe bolt so you can overload the bike and not worry about the bolt shearing.
Well think about that one for a minute. Maybe the bolt is intended to break before the subframe goes. Guess which is more expensive to replace or repair. Sure if you upgrade the bolt, the bike will carry more without the subframe breaking (compared to the bolt shearing). However, that may just be the safety margin built in to protect the subframe.
On the other hand there are items like the doohicky that are just cheaping out on manufacturing costs.
I am just saying: think about the design purpose before blindly making modifications.
Have peace of mind: do the subframe bolt upgrade, pack your bike (You can go as high as 150lbs on the back no problem with the mod) and go riding!!! You will not break your frame unless you want to do motocross riding.
I agree that its a bit of a shame that Kawasaki didn't update the KLR650 with better brake, supension.. but in reality the bike is cheap so no complain there , I took mine across many countries and she never let me down,you can ride it almost on any terrain if you are a descent rider . I own few bike (xr650R, BMW) all are great bike but it doesn't matter wich one you pick you will have to spend money in aftermarket gear to make it better faster stronger. There is no perfect bike ,that what make our travel challenging ?.
I agree with not overloading the bike. Always heed to the max. weight capacity of the bike. However, I've found that with total kit weighing near max. load, especially on rough terrain, the bolt and/or subframe will fail usually sooner than later.
Read the travel blogs by people who have made long trips on KLR 650s. About half of them end with, or include as an amusing anecdote, mention of catastrophic engine failure.
Listen to my personal experience (not what people say on travel blogs):
My KLR's (KL650C as well as KL650A) do between 60000 and 75000 km before they need a rebore / OS piston and valve / seat remachine. They do the majority of mileage on dirt roads and are often heavily packed and travel two up. They have to endure the odd idiot on the controls. I own / owned 8 KLR's all together and am still servicing a few of the bikes that were sold before I took over Le Cap. One privately owned KLR is on 95000km and still runs fine. It got a new balancer chain at 92000 as the old one was stretched and the idler would not take up the slack any more.
Mechanical engine failures so far:
Various broken balancer chain idler levers (=doohickeys) and lever springs. This typically occurs after some 30000 km. It is very easily recognizable, cheap and easy to fix and has not caused any further problems on my bikes. The broken idler lever or spring only cause severe damage if the problem is left unattended for a long time as it causes the chain and chain guides to wear excessively and eventually to fail.
Water pump shaft seals: The water seal on one bike started leaking just before the engine needed an overhaul.
One massive gearbox problem. The dogs sheared off one of the gears and damaged a neighbouring gear as they got ingested. I have never seen or heard of a similar problem on a KLR.
One alternator developed an earth leakage under load (KL 650A 18 months old). Fixed by rewinding the stator.
Failures on frame / suspensions / wheels / brakes: Nil. Not even a single snapped spoke.
I wonder where you get the information about the new (2008 model although it will be available in 2007) KLR's new engine from? According to my information the cams and ignition system have been modified. The engine is still the same.
If you want to go fast you should get yourself a R1 or a 'Busa.
<<Read the travel blogs by people who have made long trips on KLR 650s. About half of them end with, or include as an amusing anecdote, mention of catastrophic engine failure.>>
Flying Gringo, would you please post the addresses of some of these blogs? This is a serious request, not an attempt to argue, because I like to keep records of any KLR 650 failures I hear of since I ride one extensively and depend on it to get me in and out of some remote areas. Thanks.
I get my information from Kawasaki. They seem to know a lot about the machines.
Funny, seems to me you pulled it out of your . I read the Kawasaki press release (the *ONLY* Kawasaki press release) and it does *NOT* say that the 2008 KLR-650 has an all-new engine. In fact, the only "new" things mentioned are a new piston, a new head, and a new ignition. It lists the other specs for the engine, but never states that any of those other things about the engine are any different from the current engine (for the record -- they aren't, Kawasaki changed as little as necessary to meet new emissions standards, and not one bit more).
My KLR currently has 34,000 miles (not KILOMETERS) on it, and actually burns LESS oil than it burned 15,000 miles ago (probably because I've been using better oil than the dipstick previous owner did, and changed it every 1500-2500 miles, and all this fresh oil has cleaned out the ring pack to make it work better). My current plans are to run it to 60,000 miles (100K kilometers) then part it out and get the new KLR. Given that Eldon Carl has 80K+ miles on his KLR's, that seems like a reasonable plan.
So yes, the KLR is a cheap disposable bike. But I know for a fact you can get at least 34,000 miles on the thing without any (*ANY*) engine problems (heck, it still had the OEM balancer chain adjuster in it when I changed it out at 22,000 miles, completely intact and functioning right), as long as you take care of the thing. If you don't change the oil every 2,000 miles, the engine *will* fail. But as long as you do that, the thing is bulletproof for the duration of its design life (which appears to be around 60,000 miles/100,000 kilometers), at least if you change out the sketchy balancer adjuster.
BTW, the reason there's so few high-mileage KLR's advertised for sale is because used low-mileage KLR's are so cheap, it doesn't make sense to try to sell a high-mileage KLR. The only thing that makes sense is to part the thing out. But we're out here, even if we part out our bikes rather than selling them. You are being a naughty boy to say we aren't.
To put the mileage before rebuild of some of my bikes into relation:
As mentioned my KLR's (6 KL 650C) did between 60000 and 75000 km before the engine top ends were rebuild. The use of engine oil builds up gradually over some 5000km to 1l / 1000km. I rebuilt and sold the bikes and some are still running a couple of years later.
Caltex Delo Gold API J 15W40 every 6000km / 3750 miles.
Compared to BMW 5 F650 Funduro: Most engines did not see 50000km as I regarded more than 2l of oil burned on 1000 km as too much. The problems develop rapidly and massive blow by can develop within 1000km. I did not bother to rebuild any of the Funduros as they were in very bad overall condition after 40000 - 50000 km with rear shocks damping AWOL as standard feature. Other weak points: Headlight breaks out of fairing, crap quality seals in carb float assy., dangerous circlip mounting for drive chain sprocket. Dreadful quality and fit of plastics.
I actually lost a circlip and sprocket while riding one of the bikes due to buildup of clay in the groove. The chain seized between swingarm and rear sprocket locking the wheel and I waved an elegant 40m skidmark onto the tarmac of Dock Road. Luckily no traffic close behind me and I somehow managed to stay on top and stop on the bicycle lane.
Happy to swop this feature for a doohickey.
The second series Funduro was slightly better as it had a locknut for the front sprocket.
1 F 650 GS: Steering head bearings replaced on warranty after 15000km and eight months. I replaced the bearings myself. The bearings were either set too tight at the factory or of inferior quality. Sold bike at 20000km.
1 F 650 Dakar: Steering head bearings worn after 11000km and one year. BMW refuses to replace on warranty (not covered any more). I paid, BMW does the job. 15000 km: Bearings gone again. BMW supplies bearings for free, I fit them. 24000km: Bearings gone third time. Top fine, bottom corroded due to lack of a rubber seal protecting the bearings(!). Bearings replaced and bike sold.
Looking at my experiences above I am quite happy to stick with my KLR turds like many others. Especially when I see that a KLR costs little more than half of what a F650Dakar goes for.
You don't have to be Jean Pierre Goy to ride circles around sports bikes with a 650 semi offroad. All you need is a bumpy and narrow, twisting road where the big guys can't use their superior power and you can play low weight and high centre of gravity.
I am pretty sure most of my customers ride the piss out of my bikes.
If you ride the piss out of the thing, it will not last. The only ones that seem to last are the ones ridden at very slow speeds.
When can I expect my Klr to fall apart?
I ride the piss out of mine daily. My Daily ride to work is 26 miles of super twisty narrow back mountain heaven followed by five miles on the valley floor. I have had my klr for six months and have put a little over 10,000 miles on the clock.( currently 21,000 total) I am on my six'th rear tire,third front one, 3rd set of brakes, and have worn the rubber off the ends of my footpegs.
I guess you could say I am riding the piss out of the thing.
The only problems I have had are keeping tires on it, Avoiding Birds.A broken clutch cable,and various pieces falling off from crashing while trying to ride it like a trials bike. It runs as good as the day i bought it.maybe even a little stronger. Zero problems very reliable so far.
I have rode several other bikes (zx7-r, xt-500, R100/7) on this comute. All had their pluses but the klr tops the list for me.
Get one cheap Modify it to taste. Ride it hard. Buy another switch mods. Sell old bike. Continue cycle anualy.
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