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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all. I am new to the site because of my recent interest in purchasing a KLR for a rtw trip I have in the works. I have the opportunity to purchase a 1993 Barbie model with 11910 miles on it because buddy of mine collects and wanted to hook me up with one for 1500ish. It has the doo mod and runs good so he says. I was wondering if I should pull the trigger? Or should I save up some cash and get a younger gen 1 model with less miles. Thanks so much in advance! Looking forward to being a part of the community.
 

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Maybe, mostly depends on your needs and skills.

If you need a ready to go New York to LA bike, then I'd suggest a late model Gen-2 (2008 or later).

If you're handy with a wrench and don't mind resetting all the maintenance yourself, then a low mileage Gen-1 (2007 or earlier) can be a good deal.

Easier to tell with a few pics. Location also drives pricing, might be cheaper in East Bicycle Road, Arkansas compared to San Francisco metro.

Even with a relatively new bike, resetting the maintenance should be standard procedure. You never know what kind of care and feeding the previous owner invested in his/her scooter.

About a weeks time to go through the bike (assuming you have a decent local bike shop for the parts/pieces):
* adjust the valves,
* clean/replace/re-oil air filter,
* change all fluids (oil & filter change, coolant flush and replace, flush & replace brake fluid)
* replace front brake pads
* may need to replace battery
* lube all cables

Also, tires are likely to need replacement. Even with good tread remaining, you'd have to check the date-code and replace if older than 6-7 years.

I'm a big fan of study and preparation. You may be able to get away without any maintenance, but a broken down scooter in BFE can suck the joy out of bombing around and the free and easy lifestyle.

One benefit of the KLR, parts are generally cheap, and internet forums are nothing short of stellar in terms of rich data, and how-tos. And on this forum, people are quality.
 

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The purchase of a bike seems a SMALL segment of a 'round-the-world budget, IMHO. The most reliable bike (preferably repairable in your own hands) you can find deserves a priority position on your wish list.

Unless . . . riding around the world on a 27-28 year old bike fulfills an objective/goal of yours.

DISCLAIMER: Opinion only above; do what you gotta do.
 

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I personally appreciate the cam chain guide slipper in the valve cover of the 87-95 Gen 1 models so much more than the steel bridge used in the 1996-2018 models, everytime I service a KLR650 valve train.

Who of us give a flip if the steel bridge cam chain guide is 1/2 a dba quieter at 50 feet.

I'll vote for the low mile 1993, with Doo Done. Just remember it still needs to be allowed to adjust once every 5 - 7.5k miles. And Valve tappet inspect/adjust every 10k.

Oh, have you read this yet? https://www.klrforum.com/introductions/58921-dpelletiers-common-new-klr-owner-mistakes-avoid.html
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your inputs! I am wrench capable and enjoy working on a bike and making it my own. I was thinking if anything, getting this model would be a good intro into getting to know a KLR. I have been avidly shopping and haven't been able to find one at a better deal. So once I know and learn I could get one better suited? I attached a few pictures (bad) of it stored in the corner of their garage.
 

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There are 3 possibilities to purchase new side panels. Hemisphere Off-Road, Polisport, Maier Plastics.

That is not really the 'Barbie model'. It is way better than the 'Barbie models', imo!
 

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If it seems to run good, I'd buy that. Some period piece plastics and decals are very difficult to come by, but electrics/wiring and mechanicals are easily obtained.

Keep us posted. We always enjoy peeking over your shoulder as you wrench and rider. The crew will be kibbitzing about choices in tires, and brake upgrades and battery and carb/air filter mods and ...
 

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the age and mileage aren't things that would concern me and there is no reason that a well maintained Gen1 can't be considered one of the most reliable, long-lived dual purpose bikes in the world. At that price it would be hard to go wrong.

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I got a KLR today!! Not my original choice but a 2007 with just under 1700 miles on it. It's barely broke in and after selling my Suzuki savage I only have 1000 into it. Had to drive 300 miles and shove it in the back of my Astro but totally worth it could not be happier. If anyone knows of any threads for getting a klr adventure ready with mods and what not I'd love a good read. Thanks!!
26201
26197
 

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That is sick man. I believe in some opinions the best year as well. Congrats!

As far as threads on getting it ready, I mean pretty much all of them :)
 

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Wow, she's a beauty; you did well! I purchased my 2000 KLR in 2016 with 577 miles on it and in similar condition and it's been an absolute joy to work on. I would do a full service, check/replace the tires and ride it for a bit until you decide what mods you want/need for your usage.
The only thing I would consider necessary at some point is the EM doo/torsion spring replacement. Thermobob is always better the earliest possible in a bike's life if you want to do one.

Upgrades are potentially endless, but the biggest functional upgrades to a Gen1 KLR are the front brake (320mm rotor and SV caliper and adaptor from EM) and suspension - lots of possibilities there so I'll leave that for a more detailed discussion later.

Protection:
If you are going to ride single track
- skidplate (JNS or Ricochet), also consider a low profile magnetic drain plug (EM is my choice)
- handguards
- decent pegs (drop pegs or peg of choice with JNS relocation brackets)
- crash bars or IMS 6.6 tank and JNS rad guard combo; I use the latter for less weight

Dave
 

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A similar post I made previously;

I'm probably approaching 100 mods on each of my Gen1 KLR's.... I would suggest that desireablity depends on the individual, their wants, needs, expectation, usage and budget. For ME, my KLR's are toys for exploring and due to my offroad racing background, I enjoy mild to moderate single track riding the most. I don't do multiday trips, nor do I ride on the highway much if I can avoid it.....accordingly my mods are different than people with a different mission.

To go further, I'd say mods can be broken down into a few catagories; 1) reliability 2) protection 3) comfort/ergos and 4) functionality.......not necessarily in that order.

Reliability;
  • the doohickey is a "must do" on a Gen1 IMO.....it is far easier to do before it breaks into little bits than after so there is no better time than the present
  • other than that, there is regular maintenance, checking shim clearance etc.
  • I have removed some known failure points but that's up to each rider and their comfort level....I've removed the sidestand and clutch safety switches, the vacuum petcock and gas cap vent seals (I run an IMS tank).
  • I have swapped to ATO style fuses
  • I have replaced the upper subframe bolts with Eaglemike kits (particularly desireable if you are going to carry heavy panniers or ride 2 up often)
  • T-mod on the carb vent to prevent rain or a creek crossing from halting your ride
  • a Thermobob improves cooling system operation and will enhance longevity.
Protection;
  • replacement of the factory plastic skidplate is fairly important for offroad use; I use the Ricochet but the JNS is also highly recommended
  • decent bars (this is also a comfort/ergo issue) as the stockers are very weak IME
  • hand guards - a necessity in the trails around here
  • crash bars or equivalent - I use an IMS 6.6 gallon tank and a set of JNS rad guards for protection without the weight.
  • I run Eaglemike's choke/mirror relocation kit as it's only a matter of time before a fall brakes the mirror mount on the switchgear
  • I replace the rear brake master bracket with a billet pce from Eaglemike as the stocker is known to be brittle
  • I run low profile magnetic drain plugs so as not to damage the case on a rock.
Comfort/ergos;
  • aftermarket bars - the stockers have way too much pullback. I use Renthal RC-Hi's
  • drop pegs or peg relocation brackets - the stock pegs are too far forward and too high which gets worse when you replace the footpegs with proper offroad worthy footpegs. People often get longer shift levers instead but they stick out farther and increase the risk of case damage
  • proper offroad style footpegs with springs (see above)
  • bar risers - people use them more often than they should IMO. One issue to be aware of is that the bar mounts on a KLR are tilted backwards and so fixed risers bring the bars towards your body which is a bad thing.....adjustable risers such as Rox Risers pivot away to help with this issue.
Functionality;
  • suspension is the biggest weakness of a stock KLR, especially for offroad use. Suspension is a whole other involved topic so all I'll say here is that out of all the mods I've done, suspension upgrades have made the single biggest functional improvement by an entire order of magnitude. I run Cogent Dynamics DDC kits in my forks and one of their three shock choices in the rear. I can expand on the whole topic in greater detail if you wish. Stock Gen1 KLR suspension is old tech damper rod forks and a budget emulsion shock set up for the (largly mythical) 160lb rider.
  • front brake - I find the stock KLR front brake to be dismal at best - I run 320mm rotors and SV calipers/adaptors along with a SS line which vastly improves the bikes braking power
  • visablity/lighting; stock lighting is poor - I run JNS LED headlights and WOW LED taillights which work much better, take less electrical power and are way safer and brighter
  • tires - last, but not least, the stock dunlops are poor - I run Pirelli MT21's on the front and Dunlop D606 rears for what I do.....big improvement

I'm sure I've forgotten some stuff and I've done a ton of other mods to make my bikes better but I wouldn't consider them priorities;
  • KLX jet kits correct the factory lean jetting
  • LiFePo4 batteries save 9 lbs
  • aftermarket silencers, save another 5 lbs (beware that some are way too loud and you need to make sure it still has a USFS spark arrestor)
  • 685 kit; reduces vibes, fixes oil consumption issues and boosts power
  • IMS tanks; improves ergos, range, reduces weight compared to crashbars
Anyhow, I've probably scared you off but that's my 2 cents FWIW.......I will say that other than the Gen1 doohickey replacement, ALL these mods are optional and the desireablity of them will depend on you and what you do. If I had to limit my pics to three; it would probably be a skidplate, bars and footpegs......after that suspension, tires and handguards....and then.....


Cheers,
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Dave. Wow. If I could take a KLR apprenticeship it would definitely be from you. Thanks so much for the info I have started a list and will begin this weekend. First thing on my list is to raise the bike. The previous owner had it lowered and made the suspension soft resulting in destroying my plates already. I appreciate all the information and all the recommendations. I just need to start checking some things off this list now.
 

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Thanks but there are real gurus on this site and I'm not one of them; just an old, washed up, ex-offroad racer that has spent way too much time fixated on KLR's over the past 20 years! LOL

Longer lowering links increase leverage on the stock shock reducing effective springrate and damping.....which are already too weak. Replace the links with stock Gen1 links or even consider Eaglemike's raising links if you are tall enough and depending on load. On the licence plate - common problem; most of us relocate the plate to the outer fender just below the taillight....you may need a licence plate light (like an LED bolt light) to stay legal.

Cheers,
Dave
 

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You have gotten yourself the second-best KLR ever made. First-best would have been the silver and black '07.

Congratulations! We'd love to see a build thread on this as it progresses from a cherry, bone-stock, museum-worthy bike into an RTW-ready bike.

My advice would be to keep it as stock as possible, but look to Dave's list for necessary upgrades and addressing the known weak points.

Were it my project, I would be looking at an IMS 6.6 tank, racks for soft luggage and perhaps a TankVest, mid-range suspension improvements, a decent skidplate, balancer lever upgrade, and a Thermo-Bob.
 
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Discussion Starter #17
My list includes the few things you mentioned that I will be doing first Tom. I forgot to mention but the doohickey was already done when I bought the bike! First big check off the list, hoping to do a few more this weekend. If anyone knows where I could get a cheap side stand it would be appreciated. When the previous owner lowered it they chopped and welded the stand so I am unable to raise at the moment.
 

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Do you have any friends with a welder? Let them re-extend it.
 
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