After extensive research we decided on Kawasaki KLR 650s for our trip through Central and South America. With a 25+ year history of manufacturing this bike we figured they had to have gotten something right. It is a single cylinder, carbureted, inexpensive to maintain and easy to work on workhorse that many people have ridden around the world. We also wanted something dirt capable, and while there are many options, it usually comes down to a balance of off-road capability and street performance. The KLR is supposed to be one of the closest bikes out there for 50/50 performance.

One early piece of advice we got was if we are going on two bikes, make sure to get the same model. We heeded that advice and purchased two KLR650 built in 2007. Both are 49 state bikes. This makes them nearly identical. Shared parts, 1 toolset, and only one bike to learn how to wrench on.

Bike 1:

Purchased entirely stock with 2.6k miles. Almost new! We have performed the following modifications:

  • Crash bars
  • Reinforced hand guards with shortened levers
  • Skid plate
  • Top Box
  • Doohickey (known weak point on KLRS)
  • Themobob

Bike 2:

This bike was ready to go, as far as mods go, so we just needed to do some basic maintenance. However, it has significantly more miles at 21k

  • Crash Bars
  • Reinforced hand guards with shortened levers
  • Skid plate
  • Happy trails Teton Panniers
  • Throttle lock
  • Doohickey done
  • Heated grips
  • Upgraded suspension front and rear shocks
  • headlight guard
  • Top rack to strap down our Pacsafe StuffSafe 80L Waterproof Stuff Sack

4 thoughts on “Bikes

  1. Prudent idea on a pair of pre-2008 KiLRs.

    Pre trip prep: Replace all your wheel bearings, steel sprockets, chain. brake pads, fluids, cables, suspension seals. Adjust valve clearance… Doohickey is must have. Bring extra hoses/hydraulic line, and hose clamps (on each junction) to bypass radiator in emergency. Safety wire and Loctite everything critical. Waterproof. Tape your spare cables parallel to running cables. Install a ScottOiler. Street tires preferred over dirt tires… a S.A. trip is pretty much slab through Pan-American Hwy. Travel light, live off local economy… buy a local shirt=donate a shirt, etc. Set up your contact network for each country and town/city you plan to pass through via H.U.B.B. and ADVrider. Enrichen your journey: Register for those NGOs and Volunteer programs for ‘cover for status’. Contact Ricardo Rocco Paz in Quito, EC if you have issues with CPD. Bring your ‘unlocked’ GSM basic phone (and a spare) so you can swap GSM chips and ‘load’ minutes (buy tarjetas telefonos at local hispanic grocery store). Register with STEP. Have your spare(s) ‘throw away’ AAA Drivers permits and ‘throw away’ wallet(s) and ‘throw away’ passport(s). Set up your logistic support accounts: FEDEX, BikeBandit, PayPal, etc. Get your survival gear built into your daily clothes. Preventive medicine: CDC, Physical/Dental while you still have insurance. Get the Rx for Ciproflaxin 500mg and Azithromycin 250mg (Zpak)… you can always resupply locally.

    Blah-blah-blah. Have a blast! You got my contact info: Call anytime…

    Feel free to come over to practice a tire change… I got the tires and tools. Serafina can do the front, Aren the rear.

    Keep us posted with scheduled ride reports and status on this blog

  2. I’m in PV, Mexico… be safe. Have a great trip! Remember to be off the road way before dark, both for safety and to walk around the small towns… Take pic’s of where you eat, as well as the motel where you overnight.


    • Thanks! We do plan to not ride at night. We will try do our best for taking pics. Have any suggestions on what to “eat” in PV, Mexico? We really want to experience the different cuisines as we pass through regions but we will depend on locals and their suggestions.

  3. Saludos de Panama, I’m writing while we share our experiences with local and foreign cuisine off my smartphone. Safe trekking, and I hope you continue to enjoy delicious platters like the sancocho, mixto de marisco, coconutrice with guandu and rest of the delicious food from mana’s cafe (via espaƱa, Panama) and the rest of latin America.

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