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Relatively stock KLR and attained 50k miles w/o oil consumption or balancer chain troubles?

  • Have a stock KLR w/o oil consumption or balancer chain troubles at 50k miles.

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • No such thing. Major engine/trans work will be required by/at 50k.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Got 100k+ miles on my KLR, very little oil consumption, no major engine/trans work.

    Votes: 2 66.7%
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Personally if I was looking at doing that amount of riding and putting on those kind of miles in a few years I would be looking at something other than a KLR - unless you are 25 years old. I would be looking at the Yamaha T700 or maybe a Suzuki V-Storm or ……… At least a twin-cylinder bike.
 

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M

Please explain why it is wrong? It seems perfectly sensible to me, but I am open to learning.
Many things can appear perfectly sensible when half the facts and data are missing.

First, they have taken a KLR with serious wear problems - and this is wear that is completely atypical and of unknown cause - and generalized that to all KLRs with common balancer adjustment issues. They have assigned cause and effect erroneously and to conditions that no other KLR owners have cited. These conditions did exist in their KLR, but cannot be generalized to the universe of KLRs. The primary issue with the Gen 1 (such as theirs) was that the lever itself would break; the spring going slack was secondary. With the Gen 2 the lever was fixed, but the spring was inadequate to operate over the service life. There have been no general reports of guide wear or severe chain elongation in normal use. Ever. To find such conditions in one KLR and to then generalize it to all KLRs is a logical fallacy.

Further, their 'findings' only address adjustment issues only and not breakage issues. The Gen 1 they are working on is more known for breakage than adjustment issues. Again, adjustment issues are due to the use of a linear spring in a situation where the system can normally settle in and require a range of adjustment greater than a single linear spring can provide.

If the true cause of the loss of adjustment that we are 'papering over the cracks' is the elongation of the chain, how is this severe wear in the chain happening to literally all of the Gen 2 bikes that have less than 10K km before the adjustment stops happening? How does it happen to the ones that won't adjust after just 2k km? Why doesn't he address that? I'll wager that it is because he is simply unaware of what is going on in the universe of KLRs. Again, he found something in the one in his shop and generalized that to all KLRs.

Did you notice that he did not specify how much chain wear he measured? Wouldn't that be vital information?

The balancer chain wears very little. It is running in a complete oil bath. If it shows wear it is not normal and the cause of that chain wear should be found. The chain also does not run solely on the sprocket teeth. It rides on the polymer shoulders that are on the sprockets. Those polymer shoulders get indented after a great deal of use and allow slack in the chain. Even with such wear, there is still plenty of life in the system and those sprockets are not often replaced. Regardless, the aftermarket lever will accommodate far more wear in the system than the OEM one will, and the torsion spring will continue to provide enough travel to use that adjustability.

He advocates that when one installs the aftermarket balancer lever one should also replace the chain. We know this is unnecessary and would double the cost of the repair, but he ignorantly advises this almost carte Blanche.

All of this (and more) is what is wrong with that video and why it is wrong.

If the spring is too tight, then the doohickey/chain will wear too fast. You have to strike a balance somewhere between a spring with a lot of tension and tension-length, and a spring with so much tension that the doohickey or chain has an early failure. At least that's how I see it.
No. Simply no. The spring tension will not cause the chain to wear too fast. There simply is not enough spring tension or mechanical advantage to exert that much force on the chain.

By the way, it is not possible for the chain to elongate 'several centimeters. Chains elongate by wear on the link pins. In order for the chain to elongate several centimeters, there would have to be enough wear on the pins to completely sever them.

I have to part with you now, but before I go I must note that we are standing on the moist ground where a deceased and beaten horse once rested...
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
I think you might want to revisit your understanding of the balancer system. The spring is what adjusts or moves the lever to adjust the chain tension. A bolt is then tightened against the lever to hold it in position. If there is no spring tension the lever will not adjust the chain tension.
There isn’t much to understand, IMO, unless you are trying to re-engineer it. The balancer adjustment system works, Kawasaki just chooses to use lower quality parts.

There are people on here with near 35 year experience with KLR’s. They have a pretty good understanding of the balancer system.

You are over thinking the purchase. Go out and buy one, ride it and have fun.
Thank you. You are probably correct, but when you are looking into the bike, it is impossible to avoid 1000s of comments degrading the KLR due to this issue, and quality as a whole, and some like me live in very remote places where the Kawi dealer is 1000mi away, eg, Prudhoe Bay, where reliability and preparedness can't be understated and can be a life/death matter.

I think at least, the 'proaganda' on this issue should be:

'The balancer chain lengthens, as do all chains, and the doohickey upgrade provides a torsional spring that allows for a greater range of chain tension adjustments than the standard spring. Be sure to always adjust the chain tension every 6000mi to avoid destroying the chain guides.'
 

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Oopsy, you are overthinking this. And you are arguing with people here who have VASTLY more experience with KLRs than nearly anyone else.

With a couple minor mods, they are about as reliable as any other ADV bike, and I’d say they are even more reliable because they aren’t dependent on complicated electronics (except for the newest 2022 generation). If you look at other models that have been around for many years. You’ll find similar love-hate comments and videos.

I think you need to reconsider what you plan to do with the bike, then choose the best tool for the job. It may be a KLR, or it may be something else. Go look at other brands and models, then choose.
 

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Wow, been here one day and knows enough to argue with the collective group that have been living KLR's and doing this for decades.....

Tom covered off what is wrong with that video; my advice? Ignore it. .....but I sense you won't. Clearly you didn't click on the link I provide earlier - here it is again; https://watt-man.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/How_Many_Miles.pdf and if you are too lazy to click and read, here's an excerpt;

it looks like the balancer system will need some fresh parts just before 300,000 miles. The point - and I hope this is clear as there are some people out there who don't appreciate how great the torsion spring is - a properly tensioned balancer system will last a LONG, LONG time.

lastly; chains don't stretch.

Dave
 

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Thank you. You are probably correct, but when you are looking into the bike, it is impossible to avoid 1000s of comments degrading the KLR due to this issue, and quality as a whole, and some like me live in very remote places where the Kawi dealer is 1000mi away, eg, Prudhoe Bay, where reliability and preparedness can't be understated and can be a life/death matter.
Everything ever made will break down at some point and every motorcycle has it's weak points. Keep in mind that there are thousands of comments because there are hundreds of thousands of KLR's built over a 35 year production run. The KLR is proven to have excellent reliability and unmatched longevity in it's segment.....it's also simple, easy to work on and parts availability is stellar whether new, used or aftermarket. The bike is far from perfect but the only concern regarding engine longevity is the Counterbalance chain adjuster......and even it can simply be checked on bikes built after 2008. Replacement of the "doohickey" can be done with high quality EM parts for $59.95 and a few hours work for those that want to avoid taking the cover off again. It's hardly an insurmountable issue.......a PITA, perhaps and yes, it would have been great if Kawi had upgraded the parts themselves years ago but great quality replacement parts are available, the job isn't too daunting and once done you don't have to do it ever again.

There isn't a bike on the planet I would choose to ride into the great unknown over my KLR's.

Dave
 

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If you’re looking for a motorcycle that is going to deliver longevity, maybe a single cylinder thumper is not going to be your best choice? Unless you are prepared to spend some money on replacing components that are subject to wear over high mileage.
 

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From a slightly different perspective - if one is doing a Round the World-style trip (or trips), I think that having high serviceability might be a decisive factor. That said, I'd trust my KLR to take me farther than my BMW ever would for a few reasons; it's so ubiquitous that there's a lot of people who can work on it, parts are (usually) readily available, and there's not a lot of "magical" technology that can break down and leave you stranded. (Full disclosure: I'm still smarting from a bad BMW fuel pump that left me very stuck.)
  • In summary, if I were running away forever or fleeing a horde of ravenous zombies, the slow but reliable KLR would be my choice of escape vehicle due to its long term reliability.
 

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If you’re looking for a motorcycle that is going to deliver longevity, maybe a single cylinder thumper is not going to be your best choice? Unless you are prepared to spend some money on replacing components that are subject to wear over high mileage.

It does pretty good for a single cylinder thumper, unless you don't consider 183,000 miles for an unrebuilt KLR to be pretty good. https://watt-man.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/How_Many_Miles.pdf

Dave
 

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IMO, barring neglect to replace the oem doo-hickey & spring with Higher Quality EM Doo & Torsion Spring system and possible dust Ingestion from various owner or mechanic errors or exhaust melted air box, the KLR650 is as reliable as any bike can be expected to be.
100,000 / 150,000 even 200,000+ mile units are becoming "common".

Of course, many owners can trash any vehicle in 10,000 miles or less.
 

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Reliability? You can Find yourself an early 1980's GL1100 Goldwing & put some 50% off road tires on her & you could easily ride for a couple hundred thousand miles I bet! Change A couple belts... Couple spark plugs... Some oil... I'd seriously consider a Goldwing because it Sounds like you want the reliability of the "Honda civic" of motorcycles. Not as easy of a task as it sounds Especially if you are on a budget. I've rode over 80,000 miles on 2 wheels and my old GL1100 required the least maintenance. Heavy as can be! Probably 800lbs+??? But Hey, SUPER RELIABLE! Reliable propulsion systems aren't always necessarily light weight or cheap though.

The klr650 IMO has a great balance of Reliability, Power, Weight, Torque & Speed for on highway & off highway use. There are definitely heavier, faster more powerful & more EXPENSIVE options out there... You could Keep looking Or You could just drive a klr650 until the wheels fall off like the rest of us & simply buy another one when it wears out with all the money you saved in the first place or get the big bore kit & start all over again 😎👍
For your trip you'd be in the Americas... The klr650 is sold ALL over north, south & central America. I just bought a brand spanking new one. in America 🇺🇸 for a pretty good deal TOO!
I didn't base my purchase on any hypothetical situations from the internet.
This forum has been an awesome help with all things klr!
These dudes know what they're talking about and their experience is not to be underestimated fyi. Watch listen & learn they are trying to HELP
 

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Is there no definitive maintenance spec for that system in the service manuals? Does wear of the guides cause slack in the chain which gets blamed on the doohickey/spring? . . . Has anyone read the service manuals?
Balancer chain length specifications exist in service manuals.

KLR600 "Base" Manual: 20-link/21 pins--Standard, 190.5 - 191 mm; Service Limit 193.5 mm

Clymer Generation 1 Manual: Standard, 190.0 - 193.4; Service Limit 195.5 mm

Yes, some actually read service manuals.

As to reliability, oopsy . . . even the SPACE SHUTTLE failed.
 

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1) It has nothing to do with the oil......other than not enough of it will starve the cam bores and cause catastrophic failure. There are two kinds of oil usage; the normal high rpm consumption that all KLR's (and most other singles) will exhibit when used on the highway at sustained high RPMs for long periods of time. this is normal and not an issue but the consumption may be able to be reduced by using Paul's Oil Mods ( OIL Pressure, How much Ya got? ). Severe oil burning takes place when the oil ring can no longer control the oil flow into the combustion chamber due to wear, bad rings, broken ring lands or a damaged or out-of-round bore. Early Gen2's had ring issues which were resolved by early 2010. Any year of KLR CAN end up as an oil burner due to the propensity of the bore to distort based on the design, thickness of the sleeve and the fact it's unsupported at the bottom. Proper maintenance, break in and avoiding overheating can help ensure the bore stays round.......and a Thermobob has been opined (by knowledgeable people) to likely lessen the likelihood of bore distortion as it greatly reduces "cold shocking" of the cylinder due to the delta T between incoming and outgoing coolant. Read: http://watt-man.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Art_TB_Testing.pdf

2) See my post above. If you have a broken spring or one without tension, when you go to adjust they system you can introduce a catastrophic amount of play. Also see my above link to Bill's longevity data but NO, the guides or chain are not the issue.


Dave
Klr650 is the best dual sport bike cause as u can see it is famous and still fixable ,iron Mike has upgraded doohickeys
 

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just research all the issues and fix em. especially if u have a 08(like me)
banjo job is easy and straightforward.
 

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Yow I've got a 2000 klr650 c5 dirt oriented model and I have never had oil consumption problem from since 2002 to January 2022 , i upgraded the doohickey since 2017 and never had that trouble again,. i look at all the New bikes out including ktm Ducati model dirt and dual sport bike and they all trying to copy from klr not to mention the exhaust sound ,.... eagle Mike has the upgraded material in klr650 doohickey......KLR Owner
 

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Thank you, and I agree that you are probably correct. But that is my interest because I am planning several rides that will easily go beyond 50k miles in the 1st few years. So I am interested in how well the bike will perform at least that far, but preferably even longer because I need to plan for on the road maintenance. I even care about cylinder and transmission life. Mainly, I am looking at the KLR 650 and F850GS (2x more expensive). It's my before I die adventure that I always wanted to do my whole life, to go up, down, and around all of the Americas. I never had time or vacations in life to see anything, but did do a lot of travel to remote places for work in my 20s on bikes and have experience living cheap on the road, which is not easy or always fun, but better to burn out than to fade away IMHO.

I have had Honda and BMW twins that went over 100k without engine or transmission problems, and from what I understand the mfr technology has greatly increased engine performance and longevity in the last decade or so. Back in the 70s, 100k miles was a lot for an engine, but now, it is considered low mileage on many models, and I would guess that some of that technology applies to motorcycles now also.
Sounds like some good riding! Can I join you? 😎
 
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