I'm gonna throw this on here in hopes that this whole experience I've been going through over the past year or so might help or inspire my fellow KLR owners to improve on what is already a fairly solid machine. I've owned my KLR, affectionately known as "Janis", for several years now. She's surprised me more than once on what this pig of a dirtbike can do, where she can ride, and just how much of a beating she can take while thanking me and asking for another serving. However, I reached a point in my travels when she just couldn't take it any more. "Enough is enough" she told me. I didn't listen. And so she sent a message that I hard a hard time ignoring.
So, yeah. Kinda hard to coax the old steed back to life when you're thrown clean off into the thorny desert landscape. The backbone had broken in half just in front of the upper engine mount, and the downtube sheared off between the two radiator mounts.
I still can't figure out what led to this, or how I hadn't noticed anything up until the moment of self destruction. I had heard of a few frame issues here and there through the forums. Cracks forming along various factory joints, a cracked backbone here and there. Well, I've now dealt with them all, plus a few. The only thing I can figure is, simply enough, she's lived a hard life. I flipped 'er end over end a few summers ago, destroying everything from the seat up, amongst many other unnecessary get-offs, not to mention I simply keep this bike loaded down. Fully loaded and with me in the saddle, we rang in at damn near 760lbs. This weight doesn't seem to slow me down, however. I find myself crossing boulder strewn creek crossings, flying up and down embankments, and getting airborn much more often than I really should be.
So I guess it's no real surprise that, after nearly a hundred thousand miles, Janis would throw her hypothetical hands in the air, scream at the heavens as I pound on the bars before dropping to her knees and throwing me into the desert, some 14 miles from camp. Alright, Janis, I get the message.
And with that, I began formulating a plan. One that wouldn't come to pass for nearly another year. I hitchhiked back into town and found a man with a truck. Several days later, I would pay him to cart me back out into the desert to pick up the pieces that a local farmer was nice enough to store for me in a shed out behind the goat pasture. We grabbed every bit of Janis, tucked her away neatly in a four foot truck bed and meandered through the mountains and back into town. By the next afternoon, she would be suspended from a steel I-beam by chain and stitched back together with sliced chunks of scrap sewage line. I really wanted to be there for the reassembly, and insisted that the mechanic wait for me, but he did what he wanted to. In the end, I got a rideable machine, but the frame was far from straight and the engine never went back in quite the same way again.
I even managed to find a man to weld my radiator back together, which I thought was absolutely amazing. The crash had shredded the bottom of the radiator clean off, leaving a two inch hole. The man was able to fill it in, spending entirely too much time and effort making sure that it was water tight. I truly appreciate the effort put into this, seeing as I had few alternatives.