I remember Eagle Mike saying that he thinks there's a 20% failure rate on the Gen 1 doos. ...
I can understand that from his perspective, but wonder if it is complete in context. He's not seeing all the bikes that are produced, but rather OUR bikes, as we ride the snot out of them, hang out on forums, and show up at tech the days.
So, to put words in someone's mouth, 20% of OUR bikes have doo failures, which is to say that 20% of the bikes the we, a group probably two standard deviations to the right of normal, put a lot of miles on. What's that, 1% of ALL the bikes?
Even in that context, though, swap the damn thing out and adjust it correctly, with the right torque on the bolt. If you're going to ride it more than 5K miles it's cheap insurance, it's easy to to, and there are scads of people who will loan tools and help with the job.
I think that if 1 in 5 bikes were coming back to the dealers with crapped doos Kawasaki would have taken notice along time ago. But 1 in 5 don't show up at the dealer. 1 in 5 of 1% of the total bike population show up at tech days and have crapped doos, and WE fix them. The vast majority of KLRs are happily running around with a doo that's never been adjusted, rattling away, or are leaning against the garage wall and haven't been ridden much in the past few years - like most bikes.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to defend Kawasaki's weak design. It should have been perfectly robust from day one, either as a proper lever or as a gear-driven balancer. Or, hell, a nicely balanced parallel twin. I'm just trying to offer fleet-level perspective.
Still the heretic in the flameproof suit...