New to Adventure Riding, but not New to Riding - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 12-18-2017, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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New to Adventure Riding, but not New to Riding

I've been a street rider for years and rode when I was young and now I'm looking to get into the adventure riding. Looking to pick up a 650 because through the research I have done it seems this is a good multi-purpose bike. I like to join a forum before buying, so I can start gathering information on the purchase. Looking to get a used bike 2009 or newer to start out with and go from there.

Please excuse me if I ask too many questions, but looking to make the purchase right after the first of the year. Getting excited about doing the adventure riding.

I'm currently in the Richmond, VA area, so if you're around and care to share your knowledge, let me know.
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post #2 of 11 Old 12-18-2017, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by smokey_outdoor View Post
...Please excuse me if I ask too many questions...
Not possible! Ask away, we'll be happy to answer. Your purchase needs to be right for you. It would be so much better if people would do thorough research into the bike, finding out about it's quirks, strengths, and weaknesses before buying.

Are you buying new or used, and how do you think you will use your bike?

Welcome to the forum!

Tom [email protected]

“Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead.” -Philip Marlowe

“'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte


Sting like a butterfly.
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post #3 of 11 Old 12-18-2017, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the post. I am planning to buy used and am looking anywhere from a 2009 forward. I like to read and do a lot of research before buying, and then after I buy then I like to understand the mods I can make and the accessories that make the most sense. I am planning to do as much offroad I can with a mixed use concept.
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post #4 of 11 Old 12-19-2017, 04:39 AM
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OK.

I had a 2008 and currently have a 2009. What I would tell a prospective buyer is "Never buy a 2008 or 2009 KLR". There were simply too many issues with those two model years, as they were the first two years after the big re-design of 2008. There were issues with the rings that caused excessive oil burning, there were harness issues, the rubber rotted, and so on. Deals can be had on these two years and not all were oil burners, but enough of them that buying one is a crap shoot with bad odds. The fix for oil burning is to put in an overbore and there are quite a few options there, ranging from roll-your-own with a Wössner piston to the classic 'overbore kit' with a new piston, refurbed cylinder, and gasket set.

A lot of offroad will tax the suspension of the KLR, as it is a cheap suspension set up. The best money spent on a KLR is money spent on suspension. A lot of options, but the best option is Rick at Cogent Dynamics. He offers a range of upgrades from a well-built off-the-shelf shock to complete custom piggy-back units. He also has pieces that will fix the front suspension. A good one-stop shop for that.

The are so many mods that can be made to the KLR that there is no way to make a list of them. I used to try to keep a running list in a couple of stickied posts in the Wrenching subforums, but it became overwhelming and I stopped trying to maintain it. Let's just say that if you can think of a category of mods, people here will be able to chime in.

There are some KLR Killer mistakes that get made by new owners. Dave Pelletier has a post on that that is stickied in the Wrenching subforum.

One thing that will need to be done is replace the balancer adjustment lever. It's a problem that Kawasaki has never fully addressed. It's called the doohickey. Lots of videos and descriptions available. It usually needs to be addressed before 10K miles.

Tom [email protected]

“Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead.” -Philip Marlowe

“'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte


Sting like a butterfly.

Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 12-19-2017 at 04:44 AM.
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post #5 of 11 Old 12-19-2017, 06:32 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Schmitz View Post
OK.

I had a 2008 and currently have a 2009. What I would tell a prospective buyer is "Never buy a 2008 or 2009 KLR". There were simply too many issues with those two model years, as they were the first two years after the big re-design of 2008. There were issues with the rings that caused excessive oil burning, there were harness issues, the rubber rotted, and so on. Deals can be had on these two years and not all were oil burners, but enough of them that buying one is a crap shoot with bad odds. The fix for oil burning is to put in an overbore and there are quite a few options there, ranging from roll-your-own with a Wössner piston to the classic 'overbore kit' with a new piston, refurbed cylinder, and gasket set.

A lot of offroad will tax the suspension of the KLR, as it is a cheap suspension set up. The best money spent on a KLR is money spent on suspension. A lot of options, but the best option is Rick at Cogent Dynamics. He offers a range of upgrades from a well-built off-the-shelf shock to complete custom piggy-back units. He also has pieces that will fix the front suspension. A good one-stop shop for that.

The are so many mods that can be made to the KLR that there is no way to make a list of them. I used to try to keep a running list in a couple of stickied posts in the Wrenching subforums, but it became overwhelming and I stopped trying to maintain it. Let's just say that if you can think of a category of mods, people here will be able to chime in.

There are some KLR Killer mistakes that get made by new owners. Dave Pelletier has a post on that that is stickied in the Wrenching subforum.

One thing that will need to be done is replace the balancer adjustment lever. It's a problem that Kawasaki has never fully addressed. It's called the doohickey. Lots of videos and descriptions available. It usually needs to be addressed before 10K miles.


Thanks for the feedback. I was wondering about those two year models because I saw there was a redesign and I always stay away from 1st year redesigns. Is there any other newer year models I should be concerned with?
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post #6 of 11 Old 12-20-2017, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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As I look at bikes is there any points of what to look for as concerns? I’ve bought used bikes before, but want to make sure I know what to look for on this bike. Also, what is considered high mileage on one of these bikes? How many miles can you expect to get out of one of these motors if you take good care of it and maintain it?
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post #7 of 11 Old 12-20-2017, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by smokey_outdoor View Post
As I look at bikes is there any points of what to look for as concerns? I’ve bought used bikes before, but want to make sure I know what to look for on this bike. Also, what is considered high mileage on one of these bikes? How many miles can you expect to get out of one of these motors if you take good care of it and maintain it?
First, Welcome aboard!


Sounds like you're doing your homework.

I bought my 2008 (yeah, I learned) with 11,500 miles on it over seven years ago. I did a big bore kit around 30,000 miles to fix the oil burning issue, but made the mistake of using a "custom kit" that lasted just under 18,000 miles. I've rebuilt it again using a Eagle Mike 685 kit which utilizes a JE Piston & rings, and I'm very happy with it now with over 55,000 miles on the bike.
The bore kits wakes up the power a bit so you don't have to sling shot around anyone trying to pass, and helps a little with vibration.

The nice thing with KLR's is that they are mostly.....uh......er......um, Mature owned? And haven't had the snot beat out of them like some others. But they do attract people that like all the farkles (that's added on accessories, I had to learn that one 8 years ago) so be sure to ask what all has been done and added.

Ask if the "DooHickey" has been done. And if at all possible if you have a KLR owner friend that knows them, take them along to look at any used ones you find.
And Tom is right about the suspension.

Looking back, I think the one thing that helped me the most was a new seat for comfort, and then suspension for the ride.

Good luck with your search, and maybe Mrs. Claus will stash one under the tree for you this year.

Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation."

Jeff in Napa California

Last edited by campfire; 12-21-2017 at 09:54 PM.
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post #8 of 11 Old 12-20-2017, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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First, Welcome aboard!





Sounds like you're doing your homework.



I bought my 2008 (yeah, I learned) with 11,500 miles on it over seven years ago. I did a big bore kit around 30,000 miles to fix the oil burning issue, but made the mistake of using a "custom kit" that lasted just under 18,000 miles. I've rebuilt it again using a Eagle Mike 685 kit which utilizes a JE Piston & rings, and I'm very happy with it now with over 55,000 miles on the bike.

The bore kits wake up the power a bit so you don't have to sling shot around anyone trying to pass, and helps a little with vibration.



The nice thing with KLR's is that they are mostly.....uh......er......um, Mature owned? And haven't had the snot beat out of them like some others. But they do attract people that like all the farkles (that's added on accessories, I had to learn that one 8 years ago) so be sure to ask what all has been done and added.



Ask if the "DooHickey" has been done. And if at all possible if you have a KLR owner friend that knows them, take them along to look at any used ones you find.

And Tom is right about the suspension.



Looking back, I think the one thing that helped me the most was a new seat for comfort, and then suspension for the ride.



Good luck with your search, and maybe Mrs. Claus will stash one under the tree for you this year.


Thanks for the feedback and info. Greatly appreciated. Yes, I try to do my research and have been lucky with my previous purchases, so hopefully I can be lucky again. No, Mrs. Claus to put one under my tree, but Mr. Claus is planning a purchase after the first of the year. What better way to start the new year?
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post #9 of 11 Old 12-25-2017, 11:21 AM
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My 2 cents...

I was in your same position. Not being very mechanically inclined, I opted for a new ( soon to be old 2017) KLR 650. The dealer I purchased from, had 3-4 2017’s that he needed to move. I bought mine for $5900, and I know I could have found a used one for $2-3000 less. But I didn’t want to guess on reliability or abuse. Additionally, if I want to sell it in a few years and get something else...I’ll take the loss of a few thousand as cheap rent of a fun bike/experience.

“Anything in life worth doing, is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards.”
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post #10 of 11 Old 01-01-2018, 10:07 AM
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Hi Smokey_Outdoor,

It sounds like we have a similar biking background. I have ridden and owned bikes that range from motocrossers in my teens, to crotch rockets and cruisers. I hit my fifties and, after being without a bike for a few years (went to University and got a degree, so was financially "challenged" for a bit), I decided that I wanted to get into some adv type riding. (Also some turkey and deer spot scouting

The KLR seemed like the way to go, so I lurked and read and watched as much as I could about the bike. Also did the same for all the competitors including the africa twin, vstrom, bmw, etc.

Used KLR's here in Ontario seem to be selling too close in price to a new one, so last summer I went with a 2017 model. Never been happier. It hauls my big butt easily on the road, and is a ton of fun off road on the trails of the local forests.

Being the eternal skeptic, I also hammered the local dealers with questions regarding the bike and feel confident in my choice. I have made some upgrades and reasonable additions to the bike, and now have an awesome machine to ride for hopefully many years to come.

Good luck on your purchase, and I bet there will be a ton of great bargains on 2017's at your local dealerships starting about, say, right now!!

BrianV
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