Looking at a KLR. - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 42 Old 05-14-2014, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Ames, Iowa
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Looking at a KLR.

For the past few weeks I've been mulling over the thought of owning a dual sport. I've ridden everything from 80's style standard motorcycles to cruisers that were too small for me to the glorious Goldwing (which I can't afford.) If you want to skip background stuff, scroll to the numbered points below.

I'm 22 and I've had experience with lots of motorcycles, but the dual sport world has me interested. It would be my first dirtbike. Besides the fact that I sat on a KLR at a dealership and the dealer slapped my hand when I tried to take it for a spin, I have only been able to experience it through forums. I found one near me for a decent price. 2005 KLR 650, faded red paint, 5,851 miles, and decent tires for an asking price of $2,700. It's been sitting on Craigslist for half a month.

I haven't seen it yet since if I'm going to make the 1.5 hour drive to go see it, it's coming home with me. From what I've read online, I'm half and half on whether or not to get it. Maybe I can get some responses here quickly to help me make the decision. My second choice is a beat up 1989 CBR 1000F for $1,200 which I'm not really fond of, but it goes fast, has two wheels, and is in my price range.

1) This motorcycle will be primarily used for day to day use with either a back pack or other stuff loaded on back. Primarily city and highway use. Highways here have a speed limit of 65-70. I will use it for its second purpose on dirt roads and some off road paths if I can find some around here. How good is it for highway use without any mods?

2) Oil consumption issue. How bad is it REALLY for highway use? Is there anyway to check how bad it is (if at all) before handing my money to the maybe soon to be PO?

3) Doohickey thingy and that spring. I'm not mechanically inclined. Oil change, air filter change, car tire change, and suspension change (only if the spring comes prepared in a kit) are what I have done so far plus other small things. I also live in an apartment and rent a carport. My tools are limited to ratchets, torque wrench, and various sizes of small screwdrivers. How easy is it to do?

4) What else should I look for? I've seen motorcycles that had rotting frames and looked like they were going to break in half to motorcycles with gasoline shooting out of it and the owner saying "I knew it did that, I didn't want to fix it." This would be my first dirt bike/dual sport and I'm at a loss of what might be need to be checked. His house is in a rural area without a mechanic close by and my little Matrix isn't fond of pulling UHaul trailers around.

Any help would be appreciated. If you live near Ames, IA, have mechanical experience with motorcycles, and would like to spend time with a stranger in exchange for beer or other liquor, that would be even better. Maybe I'll even meet someone to ride with. I'm planning on seeing it tomorrow. Let me know what you think.
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post #2 of 42 Old 05-14-2014, 11:28 AM
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Well Goldwing, welcome to the forum.
Can I assume you posed the same question on the CB1000F forum? Obviously coming on here you are going to hear a lot of "Pro" arguments for the KLR right? In the end you have to know what type of bike you want because the two you are comparing are from completely different worlds. You want a road rocket or a slower "do-all" kinda bike.
As far as the KLR goes, the price sounds to me to be pretty good if it is not crash damaged. The bike has very low miles on it, especially for a 10 year old bike. That, maybe a problem in itself. If it's been sitting seals can dry, tires can crack. Machines like to be used.
As far as the problems you were concerned about, I have a completely stock 2005 KLR and it runs like a clock. Mine too is faded but 4 years in the Australian heat will do that. It doesn't use oil, has the stock balancer adjuster still and the only things I have changed are the tires and chain / sprockets. Normal wear and tear items.
Decide what you want and save / look for that. Don't settle on a price point because you will regret your purchase before the ink dries on the bill of sale.
Good Luck!
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post #3 of 42 Old 05-14-2014, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldwing View Post
1) This motorcycle will be primarily used for day to day use with either a back pack or other stuff loaded on back. Primarily city and highway use. Highways here have a speed limit of 65-70. I will use it for its second purpose on dirt roads and some off road paths if I can find some around here. How good is it for highway use without any mods?

With some 50/50 tires the KLR does just fine on the highway. It will run 70 mph all day.

2) Oil consumption issue. How bad is it REALLY for highway use? Is there anyway to check how bad it is (if at all) before handing my money to the maybe soon to be PO?

The 2005, and for that model, the gen 1 bikes, didn't have an issue with oil consumption. That came about mostly in 2008 when the new model came out. Still something to be aware of and check. You won't find out if it uses oil until you own it unless the PO is completely honest with you and discloses it. With that mileage I don't think it would be an issue.

3) Doohickey thingy and that spring. I'm not mechanically inclined. Oil change, air filter change, car tire change, and suspension change (only if the spring comes prepared in a kit) are what I have done so far plus other small things. I also live in an apartment and rent a carport. My tools are limited to ratchets, torque wrench, and various sizes of small screwdrivers. How easy is it to do?

Doohickey is an issue with that bike but it basically becomes a personal decision. There are some who will say it's not. There is a lot, I mean a LOT, did I say a LOT of info on the net about the KLR doohickey. Google is your friend and after you do your research you can decide. As far as doing it yourself with a little patience it's not hard. Again there is a lot of info on how to do it. You would require some specialized tools though. That's where connecting with somebody local that can help you is nice.

4) What else should I look for? I've seen motorcycles that had rotting frames and looked like they were going to break in half to motorcycles with gasoline shooting out of it and the owner saying "I knew it did that, I didn't want to fix it." This would be my first dirt bike/dual sport and I'm at a loss of what might be need to be checked. His house is in a rural area without a mechanic close by and my little Matrix isn't fond of pulling UHaul trailers around.

Just check to make sure everything works. Sounds like the bike has spent it's life outside if it's faded. Some TLC can bring that back. Check the tires, chain & sprockets, etc. At $2700 it's a decent price but you can expect to probably have to spend some money on tires and fluid changes.

Side note on the Doohickey. When I bought my 2004 I suspect that the PO was selling because he screwed up adjusting the doohicky. It slide on the shaft and when he started the bike it must have made a lot of noise when the starter gear hit it. There was a ridge worn on it that after it was worn in probably quieted up the bike but it probably worried the PO and he sold the bike to an unsuspecting, trusting person like me. When I went to change the doohickey I discovered the issue. It's been a great bike and it continues to run like a swiss watch 10 years later.

Have you asked the owner of this bike why the low mileage? Also don't go in thinking you are going to buy just because it's 1 1/2 hours away. don't get attached to it just yet. You have to be ready to walk away. There are lots of bikes. Get a good one.

Lastly. Welcome to the forum. If you wouldn't mind filling in your location info in your Profile it would help others who may want to help you.

.

My Kaw Barn - 2004 KLR, 2006 Concours (sold), 1997 Bayou 400.

"It's a friggen motorcycle, it's not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The wind noise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you shit your pants every now and then. "

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post #4 of 42 Old 05-14-2014, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Canamatt, you must have recognized the name. I did post on the CBR 1000F forum and I actually decided to get the CBR, however, my "buddy" has been avoiding selling it for whatever reason (ie, "I'm too tired to show it", "I'm busy", "Sure, come see it tomorrow" (and then ignores further texts or isn't home.))

I was tired of waiting and playing little games, so I had to look for something else. I found that dual sports in my price range are newer and not garbage like the 80's-90ish years on sale in this area. I've seen a lot of trashy motorcycles and haven't really looked into dual sports at all. I know I'll hear a lot of pro-KLR opinions, which is fine, I'm more looking for what to watch out for. I bought things in the past not knowing what to look for and they turned out to be busts (2003 Toyota Tacoma with rotted frame off of auction site, 96 CBR with non-matching plastics and vice grips falling out of them, 83 Goldwing with engine and brake failure.)


klr4ever

I haven't really talk to the owner yet. Motorcycles in this area sell quick, so I won't waste his time until I'm ready to go. Two of my coworkers walked out/got fired from work and the schedule changes ever couple hours. I did notice the low miles, but I'm more worried that it's been on Craigslist for 19 days. Granted it is out in the boonies of Iowa and at least an hour away from the nearest major city, I just think that if it was a good deal for the price, it would be gone already. I was planning on giving the seller a call today during lunch and asking him about the doohickey, mileage, tire condition, etc.

If the doohickey has already failed, what should I look for. You mentioned noise during start up (cold start up or warm as well?) I would love to get it taken to a shop, but that would mean 1.5 hours there, hooking it up, an hour to the nearest shop, might have to leave the motorcycle there for a day, and then doing it all over again.
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post #5 of 42 Old 05-14-2014, 02:37 PM
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Hi Goldwing,

I have had several motorcycles over the years ranging from cruisers, touring, etc. Since 2001 I have had a couple of Harley cruisers, Honda ST1300, Honda Goldwing (1800), and now a BMW K1600GTL. We also have a Honda Shadow 1100 and Yamaha XT250 in the garage but I don't ride them very often. I bought a KLR in February to open up dual sport riding. I really like having the ability to take off on dirt roads and trails if I want to. Prior to 2001 I had cruisers, all purpose bikes, and dirt bikes.

I have enjoyed all of the bikes I have owned over the years. All have been reliable so far with each having individual issues that never left me stranded. No bike or brand is infallible from my experience and it is easy to find issues with any of them. I really enjoy riding the KLR. I do not use it as my primary commuter but I usually use it on the weekends for running around or going off-road. If you want a nice, fun, all-around bike I recommend the KLR. I don't have much experience with it so far but I expect it will be reliable and fulfill its purposes.

Good luck and welcome to the forum.
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post #6 of 42 Old 05-14-2014, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Bl4935

If I was able to, I'd own multiple motorcycles, but I have to choose one. I figured why not get something that can do everything. If I like the KLR, I'll be making more mods to make it more touring friendly.

I took an 07 KLR for a spin yesterday. The wind was pretty bad, but I'd be sticking a longer and wider windshield on it.
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post #7 of 42 Old 05-14-2014, 07:41 PM
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I don't think anybody mentioned that a KLR is kind of tall. If you're short leg'd, a KLR may be a challenge off road.

I was debating between a DR650, and a KLR650 for some time. Decided on the KLR because of it's luggage rack, better seat, and ( to me ) more highway ready.

I haven't been disappointed. I like that it can go 70 - 80 and still get me down that abandoned road.

Another thing to consider, if a bike has low miles, and old years, it probably sat around a lot. ( Carburetor clogging issues. ) I once tried a 21 year old NX250 with 7,000 miles on it. Rode it around the block, and seemed to run ok. When I got it home, and ran it a while, I discovered idling issues, and high speed running issues. Carburetor. needed to be cleaned. Check inside the gas tank for dirt, rust , etc.

Look for rust on the bike. If it's been outside, it may have rusted hardware, fittings, and like.

I may be wrong, but my thought is, If it looks clean, maybe the guy who owned it took care of the mechanics as well. Not a hard fast rule, but has some merit.
Try to get to know the owner. Put your "bull-shit" detector on while listening to him.

Ageing Gracefully



2017 Yamaha XT250
1990 Honda NX250 (Green/White)
2011 Kawasaki KLR 650 (Orange & White )

My KLR Page..http://www.powers31.info/2011_KLR650.htm

Mod's to KLR:
Power socket, L.E.D. Battery Indicator, Camera bag holder
Custom Saddlebag frames .
Louder horns, Firstgear Onyx tail bag.
Custom Aluminum Skid Plate.
Cut down seat with Custom pad.
Go Pro Camera mount.
Doo-Hicky
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post #8 of 42 Old 05-14-2014, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larry31 View Post
I don't think anybody mentioned that a KLR is kind of tall. If you're short leg'd, a KLR may be a challenge off road.

I was debating between a DR650, and a KLR650 for some time. Decided on the KLR because of it's luggage rack, better seat, and ( to me ) more highway ready.

I haven't been disappointed. I like that it can go 70 - 80 and still get me down that abandoned road.

Another thing to consider, if a bike has low miles, and old years, it probably sat around a lot. ( Carburetor clogging issues. ) I once tried a 21 year old NX250 with 7,000 miles on it. Rode it around the block, and seemed to run ok. When I got it home, and ran it a while, I discovered idling issues, and high speed running issues. Carburetor. needed to be cleaned. Check inside the gas tank for dirt, rust , etc.

Look for rust on the bike. If it's been outside, it may have rusted hardware, fittings, and like.

I may be wrong, but my thought is, If it looks clean, maybe the guy who owned it took care of the mechanics as well. Not a hard fast rule, but has some merit.
Try to get to know the owner. Put your "bull-shit" detector on while listening to him.

That's what basically worries me. I don't have vast mechanical background, so when I go to check out a motorcycle, I can look for out of place things (rust, leaks, obvious missing parts,) listen for out of the ordinary sounds, and feel if it's running rough. When it comes to alternator and battery output, I have an altimeter, besides the battery, don't know where else to put it.

I was in a similar situation. I went to check out a 94 Goldwing. Guy said he was in a tough financial situation and injured his back. Was having a garage sale with what look like everything he owned and he had a back brace. Took the Goldwing out. Rode perfectly. 120k miles but ran like new. Bought it for $2,500. On the ride back home i hear rushing air. When I got home, I noticed when I started it it had heavy blue smoke. Sold it for $2,100 because I maxed out my budget buying it and had to move shortly.

If there are minor things, I don't think I'd worry too much. I'm concerned about getting it home and it needing to be pushed to a mechanic.

Concerning the tallness factor, I'm 6'3"ish, I mounted an 07 KLR the other day at the dealer. The height was actually comfortable and I enjoyed the ride. Beside the wind. Wouldn't be too bad with gloves and a helmet or a larger windshield though.

Last edited by Goldwing; 05-14-2014 at 07:58 PM.
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post #9 of 42 Old 05-14-2014, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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An update: Called the seller. Said the bike is stock, no do hickey work done to it. Front tire good, rear at 50%, but probably should be changed. Tank is free of rust, bike runs fine. Faded paint due to him having it in the garage and the garage had no door, so the sun could get into the garage and faded the paint (?). Asked him about low miles, said that it was ridden, but he bought a Harley and the KLR has been sitting. Before hanging up, he added "You know, I only take cash for it."

I don't really know what to think about it.
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post #10 of 42 Old 05-15-2014, 07:54 AM
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I would put the cash in my pocket and go and at least look. When you first get there check out the guys place. Is it ghetto or is it well kept? That will tell you a lot about a person. Same for inside the garage. If it's neat you can probably assume that the guy looks after his stuff. Check the bike for rust. Look at the chain and feel the links to see if they are free. A chain will rust fast if it isn't lubed. If it's been sitting it may have some running issues. Depends on how long and if the guy drained the carb. If you plan on riding it home fill it up with fresh premium fuel and take a can of Sea Foam along and dump it in.

If it isn't what you want be prepared to walk away.

.

My Kaw Barn - 2004 KLR, 2006 Concours (sold), 1997 Bayou 400.

"It's a friggen motorcycle, it's not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The wind noise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you shit your pants every now and then. "

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