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The Kawasaki KLR 650 has gained a reputation as an reliable dual sport motorcycle that appeals to both, off road enthusiasts and long distance riders. However like any machine it does have its peculiarities and problems in model years. It is crucial to be aware of these years to avoid complications when seeking a KLR 650.

In this blog post we will take an in depth look at the history of the KLR 650 issues that arise and the specific years you should be cautious about. Additionally we will provide a buyers guide. Incorporate insights from the passionate KLR 650 community. To present you with a rounded perspective we will feature opinions alongside firsthand experiences shared by experienced riders like Benna, from Swanky Cat Productions. So whether you are considering purchasing one or already own one and want to expand your knowledge base continue reading for an exploration of this dual sport motorcycle.

The History and Generations of the KLR 650

The Kawasaki KLR 650 has a past originally created as a motorcycle suitable, for both on road and off road adventures. As time went on it became an adaptable machine gaining a following among motorcycle enthusiasts.

Gen 1 vs Gen 2

The KLR 650 has seen two changes; Generation 1 which spanned from 1987 to 2007 and Generation 2 covering the years 2008 to 2018. The first generation is well regarded for its design and straightforward mechanics making it particularly popular for off road excursions. The second generation, introduced in 2008 brought improvements such as upgraded forks and enhanced braking systems. However it’s important to note that some riders have mentioned oil consumption issues with the models, from 2008.

Mechanical Aspects

When it comes to the characteristics every generation has its strengths and weaknesses. The initial models, known as Gen 1 are often preferred for, off road adventures because they are lighter and have engineering. However the subsequent Gen 2 models, despite being heavier offer suspension and braking abilities making them more suitable, for those who enjoy long distance touring.

klr 650 years to avoid and Their Issues

From my interactions, on forum communities and personal experience it is important to have knowledge about years and models of the KLR 650 that might have some issues. This information is particularly valuable for individuals who are seeking a motorcycle for both on road and, off road journeys.

klr 650 years to avoid and Their Issues:

1. 2008-2010 Models

  • Issues: These years are generally advised against due to various problems.
    • Oil Consumption: Particularly in 2008 and 2009, these models had issues with oil consumption due to faulty piston rings.
    • Less Capable Off-Road: These models were not as capable off-road compared to their predecessors.

2. Gen 1 Models (1987-2007)

  • Issues: While these are generally more trail-friendly, they have their own set of problems.
    • Transmission Durability: The earlier models used a 3-dog KLR600 transmission which is not as durable as the 6-dog gears in later models.
    • Clutch Basket: The clutch basket can crack in these models.

3. Gen 2 Models (2008-Present)

  • Issues: These models underwent significant cosmetic changes but came with their own set of problems.
    • Oil Burning: Prominent in 2008-2009 models.
    • Suspension: Stiffer springs but less travel, making them less suitable for off-road use.

4. Additional Notes

  • Doohickey: Regardless of the year, ask if the “doohickey” or the harmonic balancer chain tensioner has been replaced. This is a common issue across various models.

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6 Common Kawasaki KLR 650 Problems

No Off Switch for the ABS

The ABS, on the 2022 KLR 650 models, which lacks a switch to turn it off can pose challenges for off road enthusiasts. The Anti lock Brake System may not perform optimally. Could even present issues on gravel surfaces. While certain ABS systems have been adapted for off road conditions the absence of an ABS off switch on the KLR 650 limits riders options. Some alternatives include removing a fuse or installing an aftermarket kill switch. These actions may void the warranty.

Missing Tachometer

One notable change in the 2022 KLR 650 is the absence of a tachometer a feature that was available in models. The tachometer is essential for monitoring engine RPM and shift points during riding or highway journeys. Many individuals within the KLR community view this omission as a maintenance concern.

Kawasaki KLR650 engine Kawasaki KLR650 engine
KLR 650 engine

Damaged Wiring Harness

Owners of 2008 2009 KLR 650 models should be aware that Kawasaki issued a recall due, to failures caused by damaged wiring harnesses. This could result in power loss and other related issues. It is strongly recommended that owners bring their motorcycles to their Kawasaki dealership for an inspection and necessary upgrades.

Kickstand Issues

The 2008 version of the KLR 650 had a recall due, to kickstand issues that could potentially result in the bike falling while being ridden. If you are considering purchasing a 2008 model it is advisable to check the vehicle identification number (VIN) for this problem.

Shift Lever Breaks Easily

KLR 650 models manufactured before 2010 have been reported to have shift levers that can easily break even during a ride. However this concern was addressed in the redesigned version released in 2010, which included a sturdier and higher quality shift lever.

Balancer Chain Tensioner Prone to Failure

Referred to as the “doohickey problem” within the KLR community various model years of the KLR 650 are known for experiencing failures in their chain tensioners. While some argue that this issue may be linked to maintenance practices it remains a discussed topic, among KLR enthusiasts.

Read more: 6 Most Common Kawasaki KLR 650 Problems

The Debate: The Doohickey and Oil Consumption Controversies

In the section we will explore two debated subjects that often spark discussions among KLR 650 enthusiasts; the notorious “doohickey” concern and the matter of oil consumption. These topics have an impact, on buyers decision making process. I will share my encounters and decisions related to these issues with the goal of presenting a rounded viewpoint. Whether you currently own a KLR 650 or are contemplating acquiring one this insight could prove to be extremely valuable.

The Infamous Doohickey Issue

What is the Doohickey?

The Doohickey, also known as the balancer chain tensioner plays a role, in my KLR 650 motorcycle. Its main job is to maintain tension on the balancer chain, which’s crucial for the engines smooth operation.

The Debate and My Perspective

Among KLR 650 enthusiasts there is a lot of discussion surrounding the Doohickey. Some riders strongly advocate for replacement expressing concerns about failures. On the hand I am personally willing to take my chances and not rush into replacing it. Adding to the intrigue is Kawasakis silence on this matter.

My Personal Decision

For my 2014.5 KLR 650 New Edition I have made the choice to retain the Doohickey. I am genuinely intrigued to observe its performance over time and determine whether or not there are concerns, about its reliability.

Oil Consumption: Myth or Reality?

The Debate

The topic of oil consumption is a point of contention, among owners of KLR 650 motorcycles. Some individuals assert that newer models have addressed this problem whereas others argue that it remains a cause for concern. The opinions, on this matter differ greatly. There is no agreement.

My Personal Experience and Advice

Indeed my KLR 650 does use up some oil. I don’t view it as a concern. The key is to monitor the oil levels before embarking on longer rides. I always make sure to carry a quart of oil in my tail bag in case.

How to Assess Oil Consumption

If you’re thinking about purchasing a owned KLR 650 it’s crucial to inquire about its oil consumption. Some sellers may be forthcoming, about it while others might not be as forthright. It’s always wise to check the oil level and if possible take the bike for a test ride to gain an understanding of its overall condition.

By sharing my experiences and perspectives I aim to offer a rounded viewpoint, on these frequently debated topics.

Your Go-To Guide for Buying a Used KLR 650

What I Always Look For

When I’m, in pursuit of a owned KLR 650 there are a few key factors that I consider. Firstly I conduct an inspection of the bike concentrating on the engine and suspension. Additionally I keep an eye out for any aftermarket modifications. While they can be advantageous it is important to ensure that they are high quality components and have been properly installed.

Why Records and Inspections Are My Best Friends

I cannot emphasize enough the significance of having maintenance records. They serve as an account of how the bike has been taken care of. Furthermore I always make it a point to have the bike inspected by a trusted mechanic, one who possesses knowledge about KLR 650s.

The Years I’d Recommend

After conversing with KLR 650 owners and conducting my research I personally recommend models from the later years of Generation 1 (2000 2007) as well as the 2014.5 New Edition. These particular models appear to be favorites, within the community and are renowned for their reliability.

So, if you’re looking to buy a used KLR 650, take it from me: do your homework, trust but verify, and don’t underestimate the value of community wisdom. You’ll thank yourself later.

Exploring Alternatives and Upgrades

The Other Fish in the Sea

Don’t get me mistaken I have an affinity for my KLR 650. Its not the sole dual sport bike available. If you’re seeking something with a touch power the Suzuki V Strom 650 is a choice. For those who prioritize off road capabilities the Yamaha WR250R is an alternative that packs quite a punch.

KLR 650 years to avoid Alternatives:Suzuki V Strom 650 1 KLR 650 years to avoid Alternatives:Suzuki V Strom 650 1

Upgrades That Make a Difference

If you’re fully dedicated to the KLR 650 like I am there are upgrades that can greatly enhance your riding experience in terms of smoothness and reliability. To begin with consider upgrading your seat for those rides; opting for the Seat Concepts Comfort model can truly be a game changer. Suspension enhancements are also well worth considering particularly if you venture off road frequently. Progressive springs can truly make all the difference in the world. And lets not overlook whats commonly referred to as the “doohickey” (the balancer chain tensioner); opting for an aftermarket replacement can offer you peace of mind.

Therefore whether you’re contemplating switching to another model or fully committing to your KLR 650 rest assured that there are indeed options, to you. Choose wisely!

My Final Thoughts on the KLR 650 Journey

Well we’ve reached the conclusion of this, in depth exploration of the KLR 650. I’ve taken you through its past highlighted some concerns and provided guidance for potential buyers. I’ve also shared perspectives from the community. Offered alternative choices worth considering.

If you’re unsure whether or not to purchase a KLR 650 I highly recommend going with it. Similar, to Bennas experience I have personally found this motorcycle to be dependable and adaptable bringing me satisfaction. It’s important to do your diligence by conducting research but trust your gut feeling; many individuals have had positive experiences with this bike and it might just be the perfect match, for you as well.

Got questions or your own experiences with the KLR 650? I’d love to hear them. Drop your thoughts in the comments below and let’s learn from each other!

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