Welcome to the world of motorcycles and welcome to the forum. When you think about it, the only time anything is out of sequence when shifting is when you put it in first gear from neutral. After that, it's shifter up all the way to fifth, then shifter down all the way back down to first. Other than that, it's just fiddling to get it into neutral, which is something I hardly ever do.
If I'm at a traffic light, I leave it in gear with the clutch pulled in. If I park it anywhere, it's in first. If I need to push it somewhere, I just leave it in gear and pull in the clutch and push it. About the only time mine is in neutral is when I'm cleaning/lubing my chain.
Also, remember that the clutch is a more useful control on a motorcycle than in a car. I'm sure, like myself, you grew up with implicit instructions such as "don't ride the clutch" or "don't slip the clutch."
Motorcycle clutches are pretty robust, especially the KLR's. Don't be afraid to "slip" it for smooth starts or riding slowly in first gear if necessary, say if traffic is moving really slowly after the light in front of you turns green.
If your KLR has been sitting for awhile in neutral, the clutch plates will stick together and that will cause the bike to lurch when you put it into first from neutral. To alleviate that problem, before you kick it into gear, just simultaneously pull in the clutch and "rap" the throttle a little. That will unstick the clutch plates and result in a smooth shift into first. Or, you can just leave it in first gear when parked; not only solves that problem but also helps keep the bike from rolling off the stand if you happen to park on a slight downhill incline without really noticing it.
Have fun with your new ride and good luck with your MSF course!
Last edited by planalp; 07-15-2012 at 09:21 AM.