I’ve picked up the KLR from Brisbane, and I’m once again involved in the reality of buying a budget-priced second-hand bike. Thanks to work I spend nearly all my time on brand-spanking-new bikes. I’ve had the Dominator for a few years now, and although I fuss over it a lot, it’s in great shape and doesn’t need much attention…and it doesn’t get ridden much.
So here I am back in the real world.
Fortunately, Ben, the bloke selling the bike, was a bit of a champ, and as our day unravelled between the dealer workshop which was doing the rego check and the Queensland RTA, it took a full day to hand over the cash and get the bike on the trailer. Then, when I tried to start it, it had a flat battery.
I wasn’t too worried about a flat battery on a bike in this price bracket. It had a lot of good things about it: an aftermarket exhaust, a couple of spare tubes and a compressor, the dash lights had been swapped for LEDs, the poxy stock footpegs had been swapped for something more realistic and, best of all, when I started it, the motor sounded good. It wasn’t blowing any smoke, there was plenty of oil in the sight glass, and there was no evidence of leaks which had been hastily repaired to make a sale.
On the other hand, the plastics were all pretty much rooted – scratched up and knocked around.
So it was a typical pig-in-poke internet buy. Some good things, some things not so good.
My first setback was when I whipped in to the battery store for a new battery. The bloke behind the counter was really helpful, but the first thing he said was, “Those batteries are really rare. They’re very hard to get.”
The whole idea behind a KLR was that parts were supposed to be cheap and plentiful!
After a lot of messing about he found me a battery and had it couriered in.
While I was waiting for the battery I went over to the RTA – or whatever it’s called these days. I explained to the girl I wanted to change the rego from Queensland to NSW. She said, “No problem.” But she meant, “No problem, as long as you have an impossible amount of paperwork covered, and you realise Queensland rego doesn’t count here and you have to start all over again.”
I’d done the deal to purchase the bike with rego because I thought it would make things easier here. It doesn’t. The six months rego I paid for in Queensland goes straight in the toilet and I start with nothing here in NSW. And I have to chase down more paperwork.
People wonder why we find the RTA so bloody frustrating! And why we reckon it’s a money gouge.
The girl at the RTA did point out the bike is legally registered, so I’m okay to ride it. My legal obligation is to have the rego transferred to my name and address within – I think – 42 days or something.
So this morning I took it for a ride. That pipe is loud, but it gives the motor a fair lift. The bike really hoots along compared to a stocker. The motor and gearbox feel good, and the suspension has stiffer springs fitted, and I think that’s working okay as well. I’ll need to get it off-road to so what’s really going there, though.
So back in the shed I lubed the chain to find both chain and sprockets look good. I pulled the air filter and it pretty much fell apart in my hands, and I went around tightening and checking things. The left-hand side footpeg was flopping around like a cock in a gumboot, but I cleaned the threads, replaced and Locktighted the bolts and it seems okay. The bike was set up to take a top box, and when I removed the mount the rack underneath is smashed, so I’ll have to look for one of those.
The previous owner/s showed some initiative though. There were a couple of tool tubes and some bits and pieces of home-done customisation. Some of it was good, and some of it didn’t suit me. My favourite were a handful of these washers…
Aussie ingenuity at its best. They’d cost 40 cents each to make because of the labour involved.
Anyway, that’s what’s consuming my time at the moment. I still haven’t sorted the rego, but I hope to get that done this week, and the big test will be when I run the bike along the freeway for an hour so. Is it one of the KLRs that burns huge amounts of oil on freeway runs?
I’ll let you know.