Why I never would buy a KLR or any Kawasaki product again.


After many years of blind support to Kawasaki (KMSA) I reached the point that I cannot support Kawasaki (KMSA) anymore. Kawasaki (KMSA) finally showed that the dreams and aspirations of an adventurer count for nothing. More important to them is what the manual dictates and how much the wallet contains.


No, I haven't asked KMSA for a sponsorship. I am proud that I never approached KMSA for any sponsorship while riding my KLR across Africa to Russia and back. My motives are therefore not " to pay back KMSA "for whatever reason.


My reasons for withdrawing my support:


1.  If one buys a new Kawasaki KLR you will end up having either a functioning bike or an oil burner. Would YOU take the chance? No, I won't.


Mr Gavin Lightfoot, technical director of KMSA, admitted in front of a witness to me that some of the new KLRs have a problem "and therefore the oil has to be checked every day."


No KMSA, we want to buy new bikes that are doing what new vehicles should do. We don't want oil burners. Have a look at the other one cylinder bikes available. Do they have the same rate of seized-up engines within the first few thousand kmís? No.


A new KLR that used up all of its oil within 4 000 km after moderate use is a defunct bike and should be replaced, not repaired. End of the story.


2.  I was appalled when Mr Lightfoot, again in front of a witness, said that he didn't have confidence in the Kawasaki technicians/mechanics in South Africa.


That explains why so many people are complaining about the service levels at Kawasaki dealers. That is the reason why I donít want any Kawasaki technician to work on my bike. If the technical director of KMSA doesnít trust them why should I?


Who is to take responsibility for this poor state of expertise under Kawasaki technicians? Shouldn't that be Mr Lightfoot himself?


3.  I was even more appalled by the conduct of the CEO of KMSA, Mr Chris Speight, when he insulted one of the most experienced motorcycle riders and most professional, knowledgeable experts in South Africa, Mr Ray Muller of Cytech, by saying he would not even dream of letting Mr Muller touch his lawnmower.


The smallest bit of advice that I got from Mr Muller while preparing for my ride across Africa was more valuable than anything any Kawasaki dealer could put on the table.


It was unfitting, unprofessional behaviour of the CEO.


4.  Mr Lightfoot is riding a KLR. He told me that he fitted a piston from another make of motorcycle in his KLR. Why? Because his KLR was using oil.


Why must we as innocent buyers be subjected to such inconvenience just to have a bike in good running order?


5.  I was appalled when Mr Lightfoot told me that I was lucky that my KLR wasn't really using oil after doing 85 000 km. Lucky! Why should my bike be the exception rather than the rule?


6.  I am appalled by the lack of vision displayed by the top management of KMSA. Mr Lightfoot blamed the advertisement department of KMSA for not making better use of the many adventure riders crossing continents on their KLRs. KMSA receives free advertisement from those riders. Is KMSA in return showing any support to the KLR community? No.


7.  Mr Lightfoot told me a few times that should a rider report high oil usage during the warranty period KMSA would repair the bike.


By whom? By the same mechanics that he does not trust?


Mr Lightfoot, the fact that there are KLRs standing already two months and longer because parts are not available, is that a result of the floods in Thailand or an indication of the high demand of those parts? If a company cannot supply their clients within a reasonable period of time with parts needed, then there is a serious problem, either with the company or with their product.


I donít think it is fair to expect of an owner of a new KLR to wait months to get his (new) bike back.


This year I am doing my last long tour on my KLR and then Iíll switch over to Yamaha. I hope that many people who bought KLRs on my advice and are unhappy with their bikes, will follow my example. The market for dual purpose bikes is big. One doesnít have to be satisfied with a new bike using all of its oil within 4 000 km.


If arguments don't help, let leaving feet do so.


Goodbye Kawasaki, goodbye KMSA.


Lodie de Jager