Powersports salesmen spend a lot of time researching and keeping on top of most models of the three, four or more brands their dealership offers; mostly on their own time I can tell you because I was one. However, the reality is that they sell about 20 sport bikes and 15 cruisers to every dually or pureplay dirt bike, so you can see where their time naturally goes. Unless they’re a dual sport or off-road enthusiast, they probably never heard of the klr doohickey. If they are, they know it as a beaten topic to stay clear of on AdvRider … until they buy one.
I've had dirt and dual sports but what I’ve learned about the KLR650 is that it requires more operational and functionality mods/corrections than any bike I’ve ever seen in almost 5 decades of riding and ‘renching bikes. I wont go through the whole list of funny names (doohickey, spongebob, 22 cent mod) as it’s been done many times in many threads on many forums. What I will say is that I have a long list of “things” I both need to do and want to do to my 5 week old 2016 KLR, but I’ve staged the work over time so that I can actually fit a ride in on the damn thing once and awhile between all the freaking ‘renching.
As for the doohickey, I plan to replace the tensioner lever and spring at somewhere around 4,000--5,000 miles. After culling all the threads and vids on this topic, many of which seem to get contentious, I finally found a vid that visually showed exactly what the problem is so I could make my own decision.
Plus, how can you not trust a motorcycle mechanic with a German accent and named Jorgen?
Of the 16:45 minute video, the meat of the problems with the GEN2 KLR tensioner are covered at 4:20 – 7:10.
Essentially, Jorgen points out in the video that the tensioner lever itself continues to be flawed because (i) it’s not firmly mounted with too much play and (ii) it’s design limits the adjustment range to only a small portion of the slot implying that it's not enough for proper operation of the lever. The other issue is that the tensioner spring becomes sprung and all but useless in a very short amount of time. The spring in the vid had sprung by 6500 kilometers or 4000 miles. Apparently, once sprung they also have a tendency to break.
Jorgen replaces the lever and spring with the Eagle Mike doohickey and torsion spring, which is my plan as well. The parts and tools for the doohickey/spring mod are individually $157.65 from Eagle Mikes, but he sells the whole package bundled up for $138. There may be some ops to fab some of the tools and save even some more.
That’s my story and I’m sticking by it.