KLR650 (2005-2006) made in Thailand - a piece of junk?? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 07-15-2007, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
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KLR650 (2005-2006) made in Thailand - a piece of junk??

We run a motorcycle rental & tour business in Costa Rica since the mid 1990's. We started out with some Suzuki DR350, but soon also had inquiries for larger bikes. Over the years, we bought several used KLR 650's from American and Canadian riders, who had ridden their bike to Costa Rica. The bikes were model year 1993-1994 and were ideal for the bad Costa Rican road conditions. Back then, 80% of the roads were lose gravel, the rest was pavement (often with big potholes). A perfect terrain for dual sport bikes.

The durability and reliability of these KLR was amazing. Despite heavy usage in the rental business and constant exposure to dust, sand, mud, sea-water and potholes, close to nothing ever broke (besides the usual wear and tear, such as drive chains, brake pads. etc).

Having this great experience, we decided at the end of 2004, to buy half a dozen newer KLR's (three brand-new 2005 models and three 2004 models with low mileage).

What a bad surprise were those bikes!! While our old KLR's still were running without major problems, the new ones gave us headaches from the first day we got them.

While lots of lose screws on the new bike might have been the fault of the Costa Rican importer, all other problems were Kawasaki home-made. On those 6 bikes, we had the following problems over the last 3 years:

1. Doohickey worn out (of course) 6 times.
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/08.jpg
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/31.jpg
2. Safety switch for side-stand defective 6 times
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/24.jpg
3. Safety switch for clutch defective 6 times
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/29.jpg
4. Fuse-holder broken 6 times
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/01.jpg
5. Battery defective within one year or less 6 times
6. Shift lever broken 6 times
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/21.jpg
7. Handle bar broken 1 time
8. Gear shaft broken 1 time
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/10.jpg
9. Thermostat switch not working 3 times
10. Thermostat not functioning 2 times
11. Ventilator (radiator) wings broken 4 times
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/17.jpg
12. Ventilator (radiator) motor broken 1 time
13. Choke cable jammed on all bikes (needs maintenance every couple of weeks)
14. Original clutch cables only lasted a few month on all bikes
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/06.jpg
15. Leak in fuel-tank (underneath saddle) 5 times
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/28.jpg
16. Water pump leaking 2 times
17. Heat guard on exhaust pipe rusted through 3 times
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/09.jpg
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/03.jpg
18. Major oil consumption on all bikes after 20.000 km. We finally found out, that the material/surface of the cylinder liner is too soft and therefore wears off quickly.
19. Distribution chain worn out
20. Balancer chain worn out.
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/13.jpg

With lots of patience and even more work, we could modify the bikes and find the following solutions

1. Exchange standard doohickey with aftermarket doohickey from Arrowhead
2. Bypass (deactivate) safety switch.
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/23.jpg
3. Bypass (deactivate) clutch switch
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/30.jpg
4. Replace fuse-holder and relocate to cockpit
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/27.jpg
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/25.jpg
5. Installe Odissey Dry Cell batteries (gel batteries)
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/26.jpg
6. Welt shift lever on both sides or replaced with aftermarket side-stands
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/19.jpg
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/22.jpg
7. Install aftermarket aluminum handlebar
8. Use gear shaft from '93 model
9. By-pass thermostat and have ventilator running permanently
10. Change thermostat
11. Shorten (cut) ventilator wings.
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/18.jpg
12. Install ventilator of KLX 650
13. Replace choke cable with choke stiff from Suzuki DR350
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/05.jpg
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/04.jpg
14. Replace clutch cable with more durable cable from Yamaha
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/02.jpg
15. Hart soldering of gas tanks
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/20.jpg
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/12.jpg
16. Install new gaskets
17. Install heat guard from '93 model
18. Cheap solution: New piston rings, fine-honing of cylinder. Expensive version: Put new aftermarket cylinder liner made from heavy duty steal, and aftermarket piston and piston rings (from CP pistons).
19. Replace distribution chain
20. Cut crank shaft case
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/15.jpg
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/16.jpg
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/14.jpg
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/11.jpg

So is the KLR made in Thailand a piece of junk? Yes and no.
Yes, because you should not encounter all of these problems on a brand new bike.
No, because after we did all of the repairs and modifications, the bikes now are reliable and (almost) as good as the old ones made in Japan.

I am wondering, if anyone on this forum has had similar experiences.

Last edited by Wild Rider; 07-15-2007 at 04:20 PM.
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post #2 of 24 Old 07-16-2007, 01:39 PM
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Thanks for the good post showing your records. Although most of the "broken" things are normal,(for the KLR) and a few could be contributed to the riders, over all the KLR is a pretty good bike for $5000 +.
Not sure when they moved the factory to Thailand, but I have a 04 with 32K on the clock and love it.

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post #3 of 24 Old 07-17-2007, 11:29 PM
 
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i have a '06 and mine is made in Japan for all i know...
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post #4 of 24 Old 07-18-2007, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
 
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KLR650 made in Thailand-a piece of junk?

Hi AdmKLR,
have a look on the label on the frame

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/35.jpg
http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b...RiderCR/34.jpg

so you will know where your bike is produced
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post #5 of 24 Old 07-22-2007, 01:41 AM
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Just looked at my '08...... made in Thailand...........hmmmm
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post #6 of 24 Old 07-22-2007, 10:23 AM
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My 07 is a Thai model, and seems to be doing awesome, no issues what so ever. I think they are like everything else made somewhere, you will have good stuff and you will have some that just seem to have gremlins.

2008 DL650 VStrom Yellow and Black
Previous ride was a 2007 KLR Black/Silver, I miss it..
Looking to get back into KLR's sometime soon.

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post #7 of 24 Old 07-22-2007, 10:38 AM
 
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I dont think it matters where it is made, IMHO the KLR is a cheaply made POS.
Life is too short to ride ride a cheap motorcycle.

Last edited by StealthRider; 07-22-2007 at 11:03 AM.
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post #8 of 24 Old 07-22-2007, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRider View Post
I dont think it matters where it is made, IMHO the KLR is a cheaply made POS.
Life is too short to ride ride a cheap motorcycle.
Maybe so, but I sure like it better than anything else out there.... +1 for KLR's.

2008 DL650 VStrom Yellow and Black
Previous ride was a 2007 KLR Black/Silver, I miss it..
Looking to get back into KLR's sometime soon.

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post #9 of 24 Old 07-22-2007, 04:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DXKLR View Post
Maybe so, but I sure like it better than anything else out there.... +1 for KLR's.

******

Last edited by StealthRider; 07-23-2007 at 10:03 PM.
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post #10 of 24 Old 07-23-2007, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRider View Post
Life is too short to ride ride a cheap motorcycle.
Like a Vstrom's expensive. Shouldn't you set your sights a bit higher?
Jim

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