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Guys, I’ve been looking for a decent used bike for my wife to ride. She used to ride a Harley 883 and did really well but she’s 5’3” and 140lbs and her arms were too short for the Harley bars and it was a tad too heavy for her. She wants a dual sport that she can ride the gravel roads with and do some light trail riding as well as something she can bebop around town on if she wants.

I’ve found a pretty good looking bike. It’s a 1989 KLR 250. Only thing the owner says is wrong is that it either has a short or bad ground and the lights don’t work. They used to because it has been licensed within the last year, but isn’t license currently. Needs a new seat cover, but that’s not a big deal. Has 13k miles and seller came down from $1000 to $800 cash. Does this look or sound like a good bike for my wife to play around on?







 

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Bike looks OK; battery/fuse/wiring/switch check oughta fix lights (required in safety inspections in this state).

Big question: CAN SHE ACCEPT A KICKSTART ONLY motorcycle?

Low-risk investment, IMHO.

Yet, the machine IS thirty years (31 model years) old! Don't be surprised at maintenance needs for a bike of this age.
 

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Yes she likes the idea of the kick start, especially since it’s a fun bike and not something that’s gonna see a lot of use.


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Yet, the machine IS thirty years (31 model years) old! Don't be surprised at maintenance needs for a bike of this age.

Care over its service life, and its current condition should justify the price, generally speaking.
 

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Yet, the machine IS thirty years (31 model years) old! Don't be surprised at maintenance needs for a bike of this age.



Care over its service life, and its current condition should justify the price, generally speaking.


I can change fluids and filter myself. I have a friend who can check valves and probably run down the electrical issue for not much money.


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Looks like the key has been left on. Dead battery = no lights? The 250 will run with out a battery and then the lights might glow dimly.

Does ANY Company make lowering links for the KLR250's? The KLR250 has about a 34+ inch seat height, IIRC. How long are your wife's legs?

Remove the seat entirely and have her set on it. Are her knees bent or is she still tip-toed? If knees are bent, how much foam could be left on the seat if cut down?
Could you make your own lowering links? Then slide the fork tubes up the triple clamps for similar drop.

I've seen the kickstand Brackets Bent on the 250's by people kick-starting them while on the side stand because of too short legs.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The seat height is 33 inches. I asked the guy to measure it. He said that was with the bike standing straight up. I’m sure once she puts her weight on the seat, it would sag a little more. And I’m guessing I can adjust the rear shock to get it down a little further if necessary. She probably won’t be able to flat foot touch, but I’m betting she can touch with the balls of her feet. I’ve got the guy talked down to $700 cash, so even if she tries it and hates it, I’m guessing I can probably get most of my money back on it if I need to sell.

I’m hoping the electrical is a simple fix because it was licensed and road riding at some point last year. Either bad connection, blown fuse, or a dead battery.
 

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Trimming the seat foam retains ground clearance & preserves proper handling characteristics.

Good Luck, it looks like a reasonably nice bike for its age.
 

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Thoughts;

- can't go wrong at that price.

- probably a battery issue

- she's gonna like that kick starter a lot less very soon.....trust me.

- seat height spec is always without load. ditto on Paul's comments about lowering.

- sure it'll need some love but the age (by itself) wouldn't concern me. looks to be in decent shape

- If money was no object, a Super Sherpa or late model DR350 (with electric start) are better choices IMO.....but then money usually IS an object. ;-)

Cheers,
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thoughts;



- can't go wrong at that price.



- probably a battery issue



- she's gonna like that kick starter a lot less very soon.....trust me.



- seat height spec is always without load. ditto on Paul's comments about lowering.



- sure it'll need some love but the age (by itself) wouldn't concern me. looks to be in decent shape



- If money was no object, a Super Sherpa or late model DR350 (with electric start) are better choices IMO.....but then money usually IS an object. ;-)



Cheers,

Dave


Thanks for the tips. This will be a “starter” bike for my wife so I figure for not a lot of money she can see what she likes and doesn’t like and if it’s something she wants to do more of, we can sell and upgrade down the road. If she hates it, then I’m not out much money and can probably recoup most if not all.

We are mostly an ATV family, at least me and my son are. My wife wants to ride with us but doesn’t want a quad.

Another side perk is that I have a large hunting property that’s 25 miles from my house that I frequently go to to check trail cameras and check on food plots. I always have to trailer my ATV out to the property when I go because it’s too large to walk on foot. With a dual sport bike, I can ride on the roads to get there and then I can take the KLR through the trails to do what I need to do. Saves a lot of miles on my truck and I won’t have the hassle of loading and unloading my ATV each trip. So there is a perk to this for me as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Got the bike home and did some initial tinkering. It’s really dirty and needs cleaned up. First thing is I changed the oil and filter. The bike had a rubber drain plug in the bottom. That can’t be right can it? I thought I was looking at the wrong thing at first. I could not for the life of me find the drain plug bolt on the bottom. Just this big rubber bushing thing so I assumed that had to be it. I pulled really hard and eventually it popped out and engine oil came out. After draining the oil, I put the rubber plug back in, but I’m assuming I need to find an actual plug bolt and crush washer?

I also put a brand new battery on it, but that didn’t help the electrical issue. I still can’t find where the negative wire connects to the frame for a ground.

As for oil, I used Amsoil 0w-40 Formula 4-Stroke because I run that in all my ATVs and UTV.
 

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unfortunately the presence of a rubber drain plug almost always means the DPO stripped the drain plug threads. Get a drain plug and washer and check it out; do NOT overtighten to stop a leak and check for cracks. I use 15 ft lbs on my bikes but not sure if the 250 is the same or not....


Dave
 

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Agree with Dave; more than likely drain plug threads stripped.

Even a stock replacement drain plug and washer might not seal the crankcase; an OVERSIZE oil drain plug might. Other options run from inserts to boring and tapping, to welding. Then, again; the rubber plug might do the job, if alternatives remain unattractive. Usually, rubber plugs used for the purpose are EXPANDABLE; a lever and cam arrangement expands the plug when inserted in the oil drain hole.

An M12 oversize plug and washer might provide a permanent fix; don't overtighten THAT one! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well the rubber plug wasn’t leaking. It was dry in the bottom. I’ve got it in my shop now, so I’ll see if it leaks any oil there over the next few days. If not, I’ll probably just leave it alone.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Also, my bike took about 2 and 1/3 quarts of oil. Is that normal? I got the level to be about halfway in the sight glass window, maybe a hair more.
 

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Usually, rubber plugs used for the purpose are EXPANDABLE; a lever and cam arrangement expands the plug when inserted in the oil drain hole.

I've seen the cam style but the ones I used to sell had a little nut on a stud to tighten.....not sure If I'd trust the cam style one to stay put.


Dave
 

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Also, my bike took about 2 and 1/3 quarts of oil. Is that normal? I got the level to be about halfway in the sight glass window, maybe a hair more.
250 or 650?
Either one, are you standing the bike Straight UP on a level floor after starting the engine to fill the oil filter and then turning it Off? Waiting about 1-2 minutes to allow the oil to settle and aeration of oil to dissipate?
I think a 250 take a little less than 2 quarts. A 650 takes about 2.5 quarts.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
250

Manual says 2.1 liters (which is more than 2 quarts) with a filter change. Sight glass is checked with the bike standing straight up.


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It is better to be 'perfect', to slightly more than necessary, than to be under-filled! Ride On. The engine will not care about 2-4 ounces.
 

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You are going to pay a little more and they are hard to find but I think the Honda CRF 230L is a great bike to learn on especially for ladies that aren't very tall. Electric start, low seat height, works pretty good on the trail and pretty good on the road. Put a Seat Concepts seat on and it makes a world of difference.

Good luck!
 
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