Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Currently in Bogota, Colombia
OK here's the progress report. I am at a farm house outside of a midsized town in mountainous Colombia. Unfortunately today is a holiday, and Colombians take their holidays very seriously, so finding an open shop was out of the question. As expected, the tattered pull cable snapped as soon as I starting playing with it. Also, let the record state that you cannot fully switch the push/pull cables on a Kawasaki KLR, as the throttle housing end are machined to fit next to each other in only one way. Switching around does not allow for the throttle mechanism to screw back together.
I took the old snapped pull cable out. I used the multitool I carry on my belt to carve a notch in the plastic "guider" at the end of the housing for the push cable at the throttle side, so that the cable can now bend back in the direction of where the pull used to sit without bending too much. All reassembled, I can now successfully operate the throttle in the correct way (I even tried assembling it back in reverse fashion - pushing forward to rev the engine!), but there is enough resistence with my rigged set up that the spring alone on the carb won't pull the vacuum closed now.
So, in the end, yes: you "can" do this, if you are totally shit out of luck. But its not safe. Tomorrow I'll be making the drive a few hours to the nearest big city in hopes they have a replacement cable, and I'll be doing so by manually closing the throttle back with my hand. Not proud of it but it will work.
Oh, and I tried the bicycle shop route: no one had any idea what I was talking about. Welcome to Colombia. Love this place but it sure is different.