Seeking advice on how to look for a KLR

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by sbaugz, Aug 26, 2021.

  1. sbaugz

    sbaugz Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    57
    Location:
    Milwaukee
    My brother and I are going to ride the TWAT this fall. I’ve got a Himalayan. My brother needs a bike. He’s big- 6 foot and all of 260 pounds. He’s also on a budget so we thought a KLR would fit the bill. They are abundant around here.

    I see them range from $2300-$6000.
    There are a few low mile mid- 1980’s bikes for $2000-ish. There are several bikes around $3500 in the 2004-2008 years with 6-10K miles on them. Then we jump up to around $4200 for the 2012-2015 bikes.

    so I’d like your opinions. Which years should we avoid? What should we look for on a used bike? What miles should we shoot for (ie, how long do these last)? Any obvious signs to look for when a bike is neglected or misused? Any funky sounds to listen for? Etc,etc,etc

    thanks
    #1
  2. rustynut2

    rustynut2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    834
    Location:
    illinois
    2008 was the first year of the second generation klr, they messed up the cylinder taper and burn oil. Without knowing the history stay away from those. Any bike older than 2008 the doohickey breaks and can fall apart in the engine, simple fix just make sure that its been done. Any bike newer than 2008 the doohickey was changed but not a 100% fix, have it done. Subframe bolts break, thermo bobs can fix temperature swings, klx needle kits fix the carb. 16 tooth sprocket up front gets better highway ride and lower oil consumption. Some where around 2015 they changed the springs up front and the seat, same bike really.

    history of the old klr https://watt-man.com/klr-information/


    edit, this should be posted in the thumper section for more responses
    #2
  3. DSquared

    DSquared Dilly Dilly! Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2015
    Oddometer:
    2,650
    Location:
    Burlington WI
    The newer the less time the it has to be neglected. Having the Doohickey done saves you work but my 2012 went 25k ish miles without any Doo related issues. On the other hand, I live in Burlington, WI and any decent riding is at least 3hrs away. The Super Tenere I replaced my KLR with is a much better suit to the Highway>trail riding that I do.

    I say that to say, buy the cheapest one with a skid plate and crash bars. Fill it full of Rotella and ride the piss out of it. If your brother really likes it, send $1k to Cogent and get the suspension sorted for his weight. If he doesn't you can pretty much get you money back reselling the bike.
    #3
  4. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    39,036
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    Buy him a clean gen 1 bike. They are out there. That will work well for his budget. Ideally it has been modded up and had the dohickey and subframe bolts upgraded too.
    #4
  5. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Oddometer:
    10,860
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    Anchorage, formerly Spenard (hub of the universe)
    another vote for a Gen I. the pre '96 engines have spring dampers in the counter weights on the balancer that wear out. I would avoid a high mile 95 or older unless they have been changed to the newer solid weights (they are a direct replacement). as mentioned, the doo is a piece of crap but the Eagle mike lever and TORSION spring are the best fix. if you get the heavier and more plastic to break Gen II, the lever is better but the OEM spring runs out of adjustment in about 5000 miles.

    re-jet the carb with the KLX needle (Eagle Mike kit). the 22 cent mod works better than nothing but don't drill the slide, all that does is make the throttle twitchy, especially on the trails.

    the Gen 1 forks are soft and need to be set up right. book says pull the springs, collapse the fork, add oil until 190mm from the top. that is MINIMUM... any less oil is dangerous. and don't do it any other way.... do not simply pour oil in the hole. I used to run KLR tech days and never found one bike that had 190 unless the owner did the work. start at 170mm level and add oil to increase the stiffness. you can pull the air valves to add. due to the fork geometry 1cc is 1mm change. more oil = less bounce. standard tech day setting was 170mm oil level with 10 psi air on top. I used to run the oil up to 140mm on mine, no air (sticker on the fork leg says up to 25 psi). the MUCH better fix is valves, like Ricor. totally transforms the front end and way worth the money (even if you keep the stock springs). that setup wants 5 wt oil. stock system uses 10wt. a lot of us use ATF for 10 wt. Marvel and ATF mixed 50/50 makes a cheap 5 wt. the rear shock... you can re-spring it. a better fix is Cogent. suspension up grades are the best money spent. personally I liked the fork brace too. and lowering the fender and replacing the OEM with something solid (no air slots).

    subframe bolts... the only OEM bolts I saw shear were loose. replace the bolts with 10.9 from a local source & Locktite them.

    get steel braid brake lines

    good hand guards and an aluminum skid pan
    #5
    SwampyDeadHead and Bitingdog like this.
  6. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    and... one of the problems KLRs (and other big thumpers) have is oil consumption when run at highway speed for long periods. engines change case volume as the piston(s) move. on a single cylinder its the full displacement.... on this bike its 650cc worth, so at hiway speed it has a tendency to pump oil out the breather tube (which goes to the airbox). that can result in unexpectedly running out of oil, and on the KLR when that happens it craters the cylinder head. the right side exhaust cam journal is the last place to get oil, and the first to die when the pressure gets low. EX cam gets score up, then galls, then the galled shaft eats the journals. the moral to the story is.... watch the oil level. check it at every fill up until you know what it does. there is a mod to put a PCV valve in the breather line but thats pretty worthless. I used to stuff about half of a copper Choreboy scrub pad in the tube. that strains out the big drops & condenses some out of the vapor
    #6
  7. sbaugz

    sbaugz Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    57
    Location:
    Milwaukee
    CEA8D462-F168-43C0-8612-6D56A065CBE1.png I was going to check out a 2008 KLR with 34,000 miles. Looking for opinions. Comes with a bunch of extras including two spare sets of tires with different tread. What do you all think of this? Anything specific I should look for? I’m a little concerned about the high miles although he said it’s got new pistons and a bore three years ago with only about 3000 miles on it since then. The following is cut and paste from the ad.

    KLR650

    Bored to 685 Eagle Mike piston, klx needle nes clutch plates and heavier springs, clutch cable and the do has been done.

    Progressive front springs EM fork brace lowered fender. Rear up graded spring. Fork mounted aux lights. Led headlights and signals, I put four way flasher on too. Led tail/brake with extra brake and tail lights. Top box (with brake lights)

    Engine guards aluminum skid. Hard boxes.

    Extra tires/tubes.

    Riser dash and tall screen (short screen too)

    Front and rear cameras. Start recording when bike is started.

    And more.

    Just don’t ride it much had my fun, time for someone else to.

    Price might seem a little higher but you’ll get a ton of stuff. Read Less
    #7
  8. sbaugz

    sbaugz Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    57
    Location:
    Milwaukee
    Crap, sorry. Can one of the moderators move this to the thumper thread please?
    #8
  9. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Oddometer:
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    the 685 makes the engine a bit smoother and burn less oil. not much power gain though

    oh yeah.... be sure to grease the swing arm. take it all apart & clean it
    #9