"New" KLR - worse than the old one? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 93 Old 07-15-2010, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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"New" KLR - worse than the old one?

This post is more out of curiosity from other KLR owners than an honest-to-goodness bitch session (although that's probably how it'll come out ) Here's the scenario:

I have a 2000 KLR with about 75K on it. Nothing (serious) has ever gone wrong on this bike. I've crashed it, beat it, abused it, made it go for days on pavement at high speeds, threw it into rivers, threw it into mud pits... at most I had to reattach a hose or adjust the handlebars and add two zip ties to hold the bottom of the front fairing bits on. Needless to say, I love this bike. It bounces back, time after time.

My husband started riding two years ago and bought an '08 for his first bike. He now has 20K on it. There is nothing I like about the '08. Granted, he's taken it off road and dumped it a few times so it's not a garage queen. But when he dumped it the plastic didn't break; it shattered. There are still parts somewhere in Oregon. The fairing bolts holes have since spider-cracked their way into oblivion and parts are now held on with zip ties. A LOT of zip ties. During the ride through Oregon I found something shiny next to his bike; it was a subframe bolt(!). All four turn signal brackets have rotted away and fallen off, signals then held on with electrical tape for a while until we took it in for some recall work. The headlight, while brighter, burned out prematurely and required replacement. The cross piece that the rear of the tank bolts to has a broken weld (!). The brakes still suck. It burns oil.

In essence, I can find NOTHING redeeming on the new KLR. I wish that we could make it "go away". I ended up buying a second KLR for myself ('01). When I was pulling off the rubber band that holds the CA canister in place he noted that my band was 9 years old and still soft and stretchy. His had rotted out last year. Seriously, how could Kawi screw up a bike so badly???


Ok, so enough of my ranting. Does Dan have a lemon? Or have some/most/all of the '08s and newer fallen prey to poor quality and craftsmanship? I know that I will NEVER recommend that anyone buy a newer model KLR. Not after having shared the garage with the one we have. What's been your experience???

You don't know unless you ask.

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post #2 of 93 Old 07-15-2010, 11:38 AM
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The ABS plastic on the Gen2s is definitely an issue - it will shatter very nicely. The tupperware was much better. Ya gotta have nerf bars for the Gen2 - they are not optional. I've biffed mine a time or two and the nerf bars did what they were supposed to do. Lord help you if you impact an area not covered by them, though.

They do burn oil, and that's as big a problem as the owner sees it is. Hell, growing up I never had anything that DIDN'T burn oil, so checking the oil and topping off doesn't faze me much.

The rubber issue - some do, some don't. A lot of the rubber on mine has been fine. Kawi seems to have fixed the serious rubber issue of the turn signals falling off. Some issue about safety, I think, so they dealt with it but the rest of the rubber rots quite merrily.

However, there are some things about the Gen2s that are better. The brakes ARE better. Ya still can't pull a stoppie, but they are better. The thing does better on the road than the previous version and, like it or not, that's where most of us spend our time. The suspension was improved over the Gen1s, but of course it still sucks if you weigh more than about 160 pounds. There were some engine improvements.

Now, comparing a 2000 to a 2008 is also comparing a bike made in Japan to a bike made in Thailand (where you can't even buy one 'cuz they don't sell them there). I would expect some issues arise simply from the point of manufacture.

It's still a hell of a bike for the equivalent of BMW farkle money...

Tom

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post #3 of 93 Old 07-15-2010, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Schmitz View Post

Now, comparing a 2000 to a 2008 is also comparing a bike made in Japan to a bike made in Thailand (where you can't even buy one 'cuz they don't sell them there). I would expect some issues arise simply from the point of manufacture.

It's still a hell of a bike for the equivalent of BMW farkle money...

Tom
My 2002 was made in Thailand.. And when it dies a full death, I'll replace it with another Gen 1 KLR..

The only thing that I like about the Gen 2 bikes over the Gen 1 is the looks, but then again, I sold my V Strom. As far as brakes and suspension, both can be addressed with $$$.. Stainless brake lines and better pads, or go over size.. Suspension isn't cheap, but when done correctly, it's way better than Gen 2 stock suspenders.. I spent $85 for Progressive springs and a couple bottles of ATF type F Tranny fluid for the front end, but did pony up $500 for a MOAB rear shock made for my weight and riding style. It was money well spent and I LOVE that shock!!

The other thing that I love about the Gen 2 bikes is that most of the stuff made for it will fit on the Gen 1..

I've looked at the Gen 2 bikes since they arrived and I just haven't found any reason to actually buy one over the 2002 I already have.. If there was a huge upgrade over the Gen 1 bikes, I'd have one in the parking lot here at work, right now.. Instead, there's a goofy looking, faded OD green bike out there.. And a red 2007 not far from it.. Only 3 bikes in the parking lot today, and 2 are Gen 1 KLR's.. (the other's a FJR1300)

As long as there's no Harley's, it's a good day..
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post #4 of 93 Old 07-15-2010, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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Another slightly-unrelated rant is that when Dan and I travel together, we have to carry separate tool kits and spare parts. It would appear that very little is shared between the bikes. I have a spare set of wheels that I thought I'd throw on his bike - nope, won't work. I had a brake rotor - nope. I tried to take off his seat - don't have the socket that fits the screws.

If/when we go on another road trip with the KLRs, you can be sure that it'll be on my 2000 & 2001 and the 2008 will stay at home.

You don't know unless you ask.

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post #5 of 93 Old 07-15-2010, 12:43 PM
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I tried to take off his seat - don't have the socket that fits the screws.
Odd? Although it's not stock, I have a Russell Day Long seat on my 2002 that was made for a 2008.. Mounts up with stock hardware with no issues.
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post #6 of 93 Old 07-15-2010, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Probably misleading. I was actually referring to the bolts that hold on the side plastics, sorry. I don't know what they were stock on my KLR, but they're different than what Dan has.


Eh, it was an unfair example, but still... I don't think I would have the tools to remove one of his wheels if I had too

You don't know unless you ask.

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post #7 of 93 Old 07-15-2010, 01:22 PM
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Tom did a good job of summing it up. I think they moved from the Enduro identity to an "image of adventure" description. The Gen II plastic leans more towards style than towards function.
The Gen I is safe from such a comparison, as knowbody seems able to use the words "style" and "Gen I" in the same sentence.
We see this is society all the time. The gorgeous woman who marries the ugly man. Everyone knows she could do better and are confused. There is better available. She seems tickled to death with what she has.

If you have experienced enough disappointment, cobble his bike back together, spiff it up, cash in on the Craigslist culture and sell it. There are members here that are adept at locating and replacing shattered fairing components.{cough LJ}
Then get him a Gen I. He gets a ride that is more in tune with your habits. You get to cut back on the Xanax, the Gen II owners will forget what you said eventually and go back to whatever they do when they are not defending the honor of their bikes. We'll all be happy again.

Last edited by vatrader; 07-15-2010 at 01:26 PM.
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post #8 of 93 Old 07-15-2010, 01:36 PM
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{cough LJ}



Perfect!!
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post #9 of 93 Old 07-15-2010, 02:03 PM
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LOL. OK, here's my take. As the guys said, I shattered my cowling. Wasn't real happy about that. The new plastics suck. Granted. My bike burns oil, but I'm with Tom on that. Sure, it's a drag, but I don't do many LONG trips or spend massive amounts of time on the freeway, so it is just annoying.

Aside from the broken plastics and the oil issue, my 08 has been super reliable and I dig it. Haven't lost my turn signals (I got a later 08). The rubber does suck, but not a biggie for me. Sounds like your Dan got a more sour lemon than most of us.

Sounds like you got one hell of a bike, though! If I had it to do over again I MIGHT get a Gen1. I don't know, it would still be almost as tough a decision as it was two years ago.




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post #10 of 93 Old 07-15-2010, 02:12 PM
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I guess the issue is that there's no such thing as a perfect bike, period.. BUT, one would think that when you make the same exact (Ok, color and BNG aside) bike for 20 years, the updated version would cure all of the major issues of the former model, without causing more issues itself..

I mean, it's not like there's no discussion about the Gen 1 flaws (doo, ugly, underpowered, under braked, fading plastic, etc) and rather than just doing a quick touch up on a couple items and then covering the bike with V Strom plastic, you'd think there would have been time (20 years) for a major redesign??

I know.. Keep cost low.. Eh.. With an upgrade, one expects to pay more.. I just wish there'd been a real upgrade.. If there had, I'd have one today.. Instead, they did a bit and then cheapened up several things too.. It's not what I expect out of a Japanese motorcycle manufacturer... Chinese, yes, but not Kawasaki..
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