Hi there, fredtman. Welcome to the forum. If you plan on doing some long legged travel, consider the Gen II bike, '08 and newer. A better suspension that most toss and replace anyway, better electronic components. The fairing offers a bit more weather protection. The head lights allow you to see beyond the front wheel.
The Gen I bike is what it is....a proven general purpose mule. It'll go anywhere the Gen II bike will go, but the Gen II bike rider may have a little more life left in him after the trip. The Gen I will take the "timber moments" that happen on the trial better. You don't register the amount of money it will cost to cobble the Gen I bike back together the way you do with the Gen II. We have people on the forum here that can estimate the cost of repairs based solely on the sound of "crunch" when a Gen II hits the ground. The Gen II doesn't handle the "kabooms" as well as the lessor adorned Gen I.
Both versions have their share of Exxon Valdez wanna be's. Meaning old and new alike can loose oil like a freighter with a gushing hull. The bad part is that they aren't stamped. There are those that do use oil, those that will in time, and those that seem to avoid the problem. Toss of the dice. A couple of solutions, usually running into the $500 + range to correct. The engine on both versions has a chain driven engine balancer system. A couple components of this system are weak, should be replaced. Parts are readily available, help at hand, owner doable.
The suspension on both versions is comparable to that on a lower end car....immediate benefit recognized upon upgrade. Most people hate the seat. Lots of choices for replacement available.
Both versions are a bit tall and heavy for the average rider to be chasing much single track riding. Both are excellent multi-surface bikes, doing as well on dirt and gravel roads as they do on asphalt. Good after market support for both versions.
I have run into some KLR 650's that don't like gas with a high alcohol content...they seem to be tee-totalers. I steer away form all levels of ethanol. Regular grade 87 octane works well for me. Putting high test, high octane gas in a KLR 650 is like buying Dom Perignon for the guy who likes Mad Dog 20-20. There comes a point you gotta ask your self why am I doing this?
Of course you have the added benefit of the vast knowledge base and friendship, comradery and occasional claim of squatter's sovereignty from the warm and delightful crew here.
“many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased”- Steinbeck, [I]"Travels with Charlie"
[FONT="Century Gothic"][I]Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith[/I] [/FONT]