Name: Rob Lane
Location: Coopersburg, PA
KLRforum ID: NEO_Doc
Stock 2002 KLR 650 (A16)
A little background on myself: I have not owned any street bikes other than the KLR ('89 250 and this 650) but am mechanically inclined and am willing to work on anything. I have owned this KLR since May 2006 and is primarily used as a commuter w/ some off-road.
Mechanical: The KLR is a nice bike to do your own work on, and if you can turn a screw and wrench, you should not have any problems reaching any component that you need to get to. You do want to get yourself a bottle of blue Loctite as fasteners WILL loosen themselves up due to the vibrations of the single cylinder. Anytime I remove something the bolt/screw will be replaced w/ Loctite on the threads.
The only weak spot I have personally run into is the fuel enrichment cable (choke) where it connects to the carb. It is plastic and it will break with any radial strain placed on it. So if you work on the carb, be careful. Right now mine is MacGyver?d with electrical tape and superglue.
The doohickey on mine has not been replaced to date, but the job is not daunting and there is plenty of support available on the web.
Drivability: I commute about 30 miles each way to work, and drive every day. This is not a crotch rocket or a smooth riding cruiser, but it has no problems keeping up at highway speed and acceleration is appreciable (better than most cars). Keep the tach above 4K and you will not lug and will be able to do quick maneuvers if necessary. I find the driving position comfortable and have no problems w/ the stock seat (some do).
The air flow due to the windshield is not the best since it dumps all the noisy air right at my helmet level (I am 6? 2?). I have tried removing the windshield but all the air then gets pushed into your chest, and I find it uncomfortable at speeds over 45 MPH.
Stock mirrors vibrate A LOT, but there are fixes depending on what you find comfortable (handlebar weights, vibration dampners, different mirrors, etc.). I personally have gotten used to the vibration and if necessary, I just pull in the clutch and lay off the gas and I can get a clear view.
Driving w/ DOT knobbies on the street can prove to be interesting, but when you are used to them you don?t know they are there. I have Kenda K270?s and love them for wear as they last a lot longer than the stock Dunlops. I have a foot pump so I can air down the tires when going off-road to improve traction.
Braking is suitable, but don?t have experience w/ other bikes so I cannot compare. It is easy to lock up the rear so I have practiced emergency stops and would recommend everyone at least practice.
The gearing is tall and I am considering changing the sprockets to make it more suitable for driving off-road. A lot of clutch work is currently necessary for some slower off-road driving.
The weight of the bike is heavy for off-road use, but it is manageable.
Overall I love the bike and do not regret purchasing it. It is a lot of fun to ride and a unique bike (you don?t see too many of them on the road, at least where I live), so you do get a lot of questions/comments when you stop for that cup of coffee. My experience shows that the statement that ?it doesn?t excel at anything but can do anything? proves true.