Not on this forum, but elsewhere I have seen the comment that the KLR600 has a weak clutch. These comments have never really said what's weak about it, whether the thing is considered weak because it has one less plate or the basket or hub is weak or the springs are the problem; none of this is ever made clear.
This has been in the back of my mind to ponder over, but I've never done so. Damocles' comment has renewed my curiosity so I set out in pursuit of more useless knowledge.
Frankly, I've always dismissed such a notion based upon what I've noticed and experienced.
First, the clutch pack in the KLR600 is pretty much the same clutch pack used in quite a few bikes that put out a fair bit more torque and a lot more horsepower than the KLR does. Same for the hub. The basket design on the KLR600/650 is nearly identical to the baskets on those bikes, too.
Second, I have had the 'opportunity' to severely abuse the KLR600 clutch to the point where I was sure that I'd ruined it. When I took it apart there was no sign of damage on anything and one couldn't tell that a stupid person had gone to where he shouldn't have been, alone, and had become determined to get back to camp. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!
Taking it as a given that the mechanical pieces seem plenty strong I got the notion that maybe the springs were the issue. Perhaps they are not strong enough to prevent slipping. Never noticed that, but it seemed a worthy thing to look into.
I grabbed up what I had and put this together:
All of this tinkering lead me to wondering what the changes to the KLR clutch has seen over the years, so I spent some time with the fiches and came up with this:
There was a mid-year change in '11 that I haven't carefully documented.