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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
I'm here for research purposes. I've had many bikes over the years, starting with my very own Z50R when I was barely tall enough to straddle it. The longest ownership of any bike I've had was my '85 XR350R, which I bought in '89 and I've had it ever since. Yes, it still runs great! For the past 15 yrs or so I've had a hobby of buying non-running bikes, fixing them up and riding for a while, then selling 'em. Most recently that was an '84 GL1200A. That was a great bike, but the full fairing just wasn't my thing. Plus, living in Montana there's a lot of dirt roads that still need to be explored. So, I'm considering getting a dual sport that's capable of fire roads and mild off-roading. I'm not really interested in a standard or street bike with DS tires, more a dirt bike that's street legal and capable of hauling enough of a load that I can camp out for a night or two.
Which is why I'm considering a KLR. I'm here for research mostly, trying to figure out what issues to look for before I get serious about looking. I look forward to my time on the forum.
Greg
 

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Welcome. The KLR would be a great choice for Montana. Are you thinking new or used? Personally if buying used I would stay away from 2008/09 models because of issues related to oil consumption. If you can find a cared for 1st Gen that would be my first choice. On any KLR you look at check that the oil drain plug has not been over tightened which results in cracking or breakage of the case.

@Tom Schmitz always has great things to say some of which you can read here: Tom’s Thoughts Condensed
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks gents, I’ll do some reading.
Most likely I’ll find a used one, but hoping to not buy another project. I have four other projects already in the works, this one I want to just ride.
ok… maybe a few mods…
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I should have mentioned earlier: my boss has a gen1 (not sure the year). I asked him how he likes it, and he offered to let me ride it for a few weeks. Then he told me how much he enjoys it. A couple years ago I went through his ‘75 GL1K for him, got it running great. Both of his bikes have sat in storage ever since. 😟
 

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Be real honest with yourself about how you will use the bike. Most of us think we will do more off-road riding than we actually do. We usually end up riding a lot more on pavement than gravel and dirt.

If you really mean “a dirt bike that’s street legal” then there are better choices than a KLR. In the dirt, weight is the enemy and a Gen1 “pig” is around 400 lbs unless you put it on a weight reduction program. But if you really mean “capable of fire roads and mild off roading,” then a KLR probably is the best all around compromise. A KLR can carry more than enough stuff for camping out a few nights.

And one other thing to consider: At this point, Gen1 and Gen2 KLRs are pretty much fully depreciated. If you buy a good used Gen1, try it for a season, and decide you want something with a different focus, you can sell it and get your money back. You might even make a little in the exchange, if you don’t spend hundreds of bucks on farkles. So look for one that someone else has already spent money on for the good upgrades. The good news is that the fall and winter are the best times to buy a used bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys, I do appreciate the discussion! Pete, I forsee more fire roads and mild off roading with the next bike. For true off road I can always get out the XR, but it's not street legal. And fair point about depreciation and timing. That's why I'm looking right now.

Of course, the wife is pushing hard for spending play money on a sail boat....
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quick update: we stopped by his storage unit and got the bike out. It was last insured in 2017, and it's an '06 version. The front tire was nearly flat, and the battery was completely dead. I pumped up the front tire, and we removed the side bash protection panels, plastics and got the new battery installed. Oil checked....fuel on... choke set and she started and was running before I could let go of the spin button. I checked all the lights and brake operations, overall visual inspection and then drove it home (about 5 miles) on back roads. That was last night after work.
THis evening after work I adjusted the handlebars to my liking, tweaked the handlebar controls a bit, lubed the chain and gave her a more thorough inspection. So far, no issues aside from the front tire and battery and both of those are solved. It's supposed to rain the next couple of days so I probably won't ride it until Friday or Saturday, then probably commute the next week or so.
First impression is that it's a LOT less weight than the '84 GL1200A was, but of course I already knew that. The bike has a larger aftermarket windshield, but still short enough I can see over it easily. Pics if I can remember to take them soon. :)
 

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Your should remove the RH side panel & inspect the air filter, it may be falling apart or mouse chewed on the back side, out-of-sight. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Good call PDW. I forgot to mention that in my list, but the air filter was checked before we put the new battery in. It's good.
( have an old ATV that I had to install hardware cloth in the frame behind the headtube because the mice would crawl all the way down the frame, through the intake tube and into the airbox. Nasty little vermin wrecked a couple good foam filters before I figured out how to keep them evicted permanently.).
 
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