Keep the Dream Alive - Chris's Bike Fund

Hello Everyone,

My name is Chris and I'm an avid Kawasaki rider that purchased a brand new 2012 Klr650 in May 2012 for the purpose of fulfilling a lifelong dream to ride from Canada to Ushuaia, Argentina this fall. The trip was planned as both an adventure and a part of a school project as I was collecting research data for my master's dissertation on alternative energy applications for border crossings throughout the Americas.

I've have been planning this trip and saving for the last 3 years and recently departed after graduating my undergrad degree and finishing my first year of masters study, subletting my apartment, taking an extensive leave of absence from my job and selling all my things to fund the trip.

I started this journey on October 14th 2013 and 4 days in with almost 3000 km behind me the bike was running strong my never having any issues and was everything that Kawasaki proposed the bike to be. As I was driving from San Francisco to San Diego when I suddenly lost power and at the same time felt heat coming from my rear . I looked down to my right and found my seat and my behind on fire so I quickly pulled off the road, put myself out, gently put down the bike and attempted to put out the fire with sand but the fire spread almost immediately . I grabbed what gear I could off the bike while a passerby used a fire extinguisher to try to suppress the fire but the fire became increasingly unstable and more intense despite our best efforts, so I had to leave my saddle bags , the gear inside them and my GPS unit.

Only a minute later the bike exploded nearly taking my life as it most certainly did that of the bike's but luckily for me I walked away with little more then a slightly burned rear, some of my gear and a steaming hot pile of metal.

Due to the timing of my insurance being renewed just before the trip though I had requested fire and theft for my new policy which was purchased the week before however the current policy which was still in effect until the day after the fire and did not include fire coverage and so as a result my insurance company has declined to cover any of the costs.

As a result I am currently stranded in San Diego California where I was able to get a lift to from a kind passerby and is where I am hoping to be able to continue my dream trip should I be able to acquire another bike and re-outfit it with the necessary gear that I lost in the fire.

Several motorcycle dealers in BC and Ontario whom were following my story online had suggested that I contact Kawasaki directly as even though my one year warranty has expired by a few months they felt that given the circumstances and unusual way in which the fire started then led to an explosion that there was potentially a manufactures defect that may have been responsible and that Kawasaki would perhaps be able to accommodate my situation by providing another KLR650 so that I may continue the trip and demonstrate the excellent customer service and reliability that Kawasaki has built their name on in the motorcycle world.

Unfortunately, the response from Canadian Kawasaki Motors was that they have concluded that without hard evidence that there was specifically a manufactures defect they have declined to provide any support towards my trip or providing a new bike. When I suggested that they go down to the yard where the remainder of the bike is and conduct a formal investigation as to the cause not only for my specific situation but also to protect other Kawasaki riders from a catastrophic and potentially fatal situation they again declined and told me that the only way they would even inspect the bike is if I had the remainder of the bike towed to a Kawasaki dealership which I would be responsible for all towing costs associated running as high as $2000 ($150 per hour for a flatbed which must be hired to take the bike to AND from the nearest dealership ) due to the high cost of tow trucks in California. Even at that point they explained that they are very unlikely to conclude that they are responsible in any way which I found somewhat ironic as they hadn't yet inspected the bike and they admitted this to be an irregular situation but were not concerned enough to send someone to inspect the bike to determine the cause of the fire and subsequent explosion.

They told me that the best they could do was offer me a 200-300 dollars off the purchase of a new one which retails for around $8000 tax and fees included as per the price I paid last year for the bike.

To be honest I am incredibly disappointed with the result and the rigidness of Canadian Kawasaki Motors, I along with many of you thought that a company that has such an established reputation of customer service, quality products and being an overall industry leader in the motor sports would be more supportive.

On a positive note however there has been tremendous support from my local dealerships and motorcycle groups back home in Canada including that of SGPower in Victoria where a purchased my bike originally as they have offered to sell me a replacement at their cost price in addition to helping with the logistics of getting it to me if I can come up with the necessary funds.

So as it stands I find myself in an interesting situation, in light of these recent events; many of you, including my family, have contacted me to start a crowd funding campaign to get me back on the road towards accomplishing my dream. As many of you who know me can attest this is something I would normally not do as I don't ask for or accept charity, however, many of you have since convinced me to consider this unique circumstance as an opportunity to raise funds more as a group sponsorship and as many of you have been very adamant on your willingness and desire to help alleviate some of the financial burden associated with this incident and enable me follow my dream by finishing this adventure I have started.

Thanks for reading!

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Chris Connoly 
Ottawa, ON
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