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Old 03-10-2012, 02:08 PM   #101
tricepilot
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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Originally Posted by Red Brown View Post
You probably have one the best modded KLR on the forum. I think the difference between a stock KLR and your finely tuned machine is dramatic in terms of rideability in rough terrain. You have addressed most of it's shortcomings.
Would like to see this list
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Old 03-10-2012, 03:24 PM   #102
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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Originally Posted by Gravel Guy View Post
Yea, well my KLR's uglier than yours, Bob!!

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Originally Posted by tricepilot View Post


Even to this day, the cheapest and best mod I've done is paint it with truck bed liner. Dirty, ugly. The way dirt bikes are supposed to be
I don't know what to think about these guys comparing uglies...

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Old 03-10-2012, 03:38 PM   #103
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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I don't know what to think about these guys comparing uglies...

I've got 5 bucks you're sippin' that same hootch this rainy afternoon that you were hitting on when I found you at the El Dorado Wednesday night.

Ah? Right?

Pay up!
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Old 03-10-2012, 03:59 PM   #104
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

Speaking of KLRs, I'm doing free Doohickie job #20-something at my Casa on Monday at 9 am.

The Doo as a mod has little to do with off-road capability, but the demand for this service has not let up.
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Old 03-10-2012, 04:21 PM   #105
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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Originally Posted by JT View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gravel Guy View Post
Yea, well my KLR's uglier than yours, Bob!!



I don't know what to think about these guys comparing uglies...

Well, I've seen Trice's KLR and it didn't look ugly to me. And his riding ain't too shabby either. I followed him on River Road and Black Gap and I never saw any legs flailing or any other wild gyrations.
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Old 03-10-2012, 04:22 PM   #106
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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Originally Posted by tricepilot View Post
I've got 5 bucks you're sippin' that same hootch this rainy afternoon that you were hitting on when I found you at the El Dorado Wednesday night.

Ah? Right?

Pay up!
Almost, but no cigar!

today's hootch,

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Old 03-10-2012, 04:35 PM   #107
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

Outstanding!
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Old 03-10-2012, 04:53 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by tricepilot View Post
The Texas Adventure Company Off-Road Riding Academy

One Weekend a year staffed by twtexan instructors who will teach you to take the bike you have and optimize it and your skills for the sport we love and enjoy.

Only $85 per day including lunch but free for Tricepilot who thought up this great marketing idea.
I'd be interested in that only of its all expenses included at that 85 a day price. Lol. 100 for the weekend though and I would be definitely interested

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Old 03-10-2012, 05:11 PM   #109
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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Originally Posted by tricepilot View Post
The Texas Adventure Company Off-Road Riding Academy

One Weekend a year staffed by twtexan instructors who will teach you to take the bike you have and optimize it and your skills for the sport we love and enjoy.

Only $85 per day including lunch but free for Tricepilot who thought up this great marketing idea.
Bob,

Funny that you should bring this idea up. Last year I brought this idea up to a unnamed rider who I thought possessed the skill and innate teaching ability to do an excellent job of teaching such a class. But I was unsuccessful in convincing him he was the man for the job.
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Old 03-10-2012, 05:18 PM   #110
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Quote:
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Bob,

Funny that you should bring this idea up. Last year I brought this idea up to a unnamed rider who I thought possessed the skill and innate teaching ability to do an excellent job of teaching such a class. But I was unsuccessful in convincing him he was the man for the job.
Hire Ned Suesse?

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Old 03-10-2012, 05:28 PM   #111
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

We have mentors aplenty. And its really not about instructors as it is friends mentoring friends to find out that they (hopefully) have it in them to become more confident in the challenging off-road segments of areas we frequent each year. Instructors? Why, they're guys from our own family. You, JT, Milton, Robert K, Chad (he's a bit far away though), Arnold, Sam, Izz, Norbert, Bill, ah heck the list is endless. Guys we know and respect and enjoy riding with.

It can be as simple as finding a stretch of deep sugar sand and riding it back and forth for half a day. I'd like to see it video taped to have something to work with and compare (that works for Peyton Manning, I hear).

But really, why not our (meaning your) own home-grown twtexan Texas Adventure Company School where the seasoned heads guide the seekers to a better skill level? Followed, of course, at the end of the day with the traditional fete of cervezas and a nice steak. Hey, we gotta eat.

Go ahead and post that pic of me on River Road with my outriggers out. Then re-post the pic of Arnold and Milton on that same section looking like the Power Rangers. Milton is actually SMILING. So is Arnold, but he has his full face helmet visor blocking his grin. I'm not grinning under my helmet. I need to fix that.

This is exactly what I'm talking about and exactly what I think our family here would appreciate.

I happen to love baby head rock formations and rock shelves, maybe like Arnold loves sand, but perhaps others don't. So it doesn't have to be all about sand.

And maybe not everybody understands tire selection and tire pressures and posture.

But we have a nice family here and I think with a little opportunity, perhaps riders will appreciate more the bike in their garage, and realize it ain't always about buying a new ride, but learning to ride the ride they have.
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Old 03-10-2012, 05:37 PM   #112
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

And if nothing else,

The Texas Adventure Company Off-Road Riding Academy


Would look great on a t-shirt. Especially if Salma was wearing it.

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Old 03-10-2012, 08:08 PM   #113
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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Originally Posted by Red Brown View Post
Rich,

You probably have one the best modded KLR on the forum. I think the difference between a stock KLR and your finely tuned machine is dramatic in terms of rideability in rough terrain. You have addressed most of it's shortcomings.

Yea, if you have a stock KLR you gonna have to spend some wrenching time and money to make it decent.

RB
Would you mind sharing what you've done? I'm really leaning this way, even though you end up with a KLR with more $ in than you could ever recoup it's still much cheaper than other options.
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Old 03-10-2012, 10:22 PM   #114
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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Originally Posted by philipbarrett View Post
Would you mind sharing what you've done? I'm really leaning this way, even though you end up with a KLR with more $ in than you could ever recoup it's still much cheaper than other options.
I don't think I can remember everything to be honest with you and a lot of of what I did does nothing to make the bike ride/handle better on blacktop or dirt. Keep in mind these changes have been made over the last 6 years and 35K miles of use.

1. The biggest change for ride quality both on road and off was to improve the suspension and have it dialed in for my weight. I tried a few cheaper things and for the front, wound up with straight rate Sonic springs, Race Tech Gold Valves, and an Eagle Mike fork brace. Rear was easy, a Progressive Rear shock. There are better shocks available but the Progressive works good for me.

2. Tires. I use Shinko 705's and Kenda 761's for street use. Define street use as commuting and easy dirt road dual sporting. I have a second set of wheels with knobbies mounted for rides that typically have more dirt and less blacktop. These wheels typically go on if the bike winds up on the trailer to go a long ways from home or when I know in advance the ride will contain terrain that requires more off road traction. Favorite knobbies would be 606 rear and MT21 front. I am currently have a set of T63's mounted based on price and that I was looking for a little more friendly blacktop ride for a long trip. I also have a an 18" front wheel that I run a rear knobby on. People will tell you the 18" front wheel sucks, but KLR's are heavy on the front wheel and the bigger tire floats very well on sand and mud and the taller profile tire all but eliminates pinch flats in rocky areas. It is also about an inch short than the 21" so it quickens up steering on twisty blacktop.

3. Brakes. braided steel lines and EBC pads. I have considered the big front rotor for better stopping power on blacktop but continue to use the stock rotor. I am perfectly happy with the front brake on dirt.

3. Gearing is a compromise on a KLR. I have used 14, 15 and 16 tooth front sprockets. If trailering or not having to ride a huge amount of high speed blacktop I use a 14 tooth front. If I know I am going to need lower gearing on the ride, I leave home with the 14 and just ride a little slower. For general all around use I have found the stock 15 tooth front to work the best. Didn't like the 16 at all. Dropped the RPM on the highway but I used more gas as I had to turn the throttle farther to maintain higher speeds.

4. Keep the bike light and narrow. This rules out big hard bags for me. They are big and bulky and allow you to carry too much stuff/weight with you on small to mid sized dual sports. Currently using Wolfman soft saddle bags, top dry bag, and small enduro tank bag when I have to carry a bunch on a long dual sport ride. I also chose these because they are absolutely water proof and can also be used on my WR250R. For Street use and easy dual sporting I do use an old GIVI top case. Narrow is still good on the street for Metro traffic and there are no side bags for catching wind on breezy days. If what I plan to take won't fit with these options I have packed too much. For a day dirt ride that doesn't require a lot of provisions I have been know to use my old Tractor Supply tank panniers and the Wolfman Enduro tank bag.

5. Radiator protection and range. On the old style KLR you can't beat one of the 7 gallon IMS tanks. It gives you the side protection you need with out having the weight and bulkiness of the metal side guards. If riding more technical off road where range isn't important I start the day with a half of tank of gas. For local commuting and easy dirt roads you can't beat 300 miles to Reserve.

6. Comfort. I use a Corbin Flat seat with beads. The Corbin was on the bike when I bought it used many moons ago. Beads drain water when you are riding in the pouring ran and let air get to your but on hot days. You either love them or hate them. Symtec Grip/Heaters with BMW tappered grips. My KLR also does duty as my cold/crappy weather commuter, so I wanted a little more wind protection. I am using a Turbo City wind screen and bracket. I pull off the wind screen in the hot months of the summer.

7. Electrics and lighting. Th stock headlight isn't real bright at night. Fixed with a cheap HID conversion also saves 20 watts of power. LED tail light bulb is brighter and saves watts as well. Cheap 280 watt aftermarket stator and switch that turns off the headlight. Gives me all the power necessary for running heated gear on cold wet days.

8. Engine. Doohickey change. The spring was broken on mine when it was changed out at 6K miles. That is about all that really should be done to the engine. I am a BIG boy and wanted a little more power at highway speeds riding in to the wind. About 15K miles ago I installed a 685 piston and Stage II head. The biggest benefit is the amount the vibration that is reduced compared to stock. Makes bike much more pleasant for long blacktop rides. I also got the slight extra power for highway speeds I was looking for. Also installed a thermo-bob shortly after the 685 was installed. I have used a couple different mufflers including a Staintune, and I like the stock muffler the best. The 685 is also known to be cure for oil burning KLR's. My original top end burned no oil at 20K miles. My particular 685 uses a little oil.

There are a few things I tried and didn't like over the years. That is the one beauty of KLR's there are lots of them out there and lots of used parts out there. It makes it real easy to pick up used parts at good a price. If you like the the changes you made great if you don't you can pull the parts and easily resell them. Some of these have been posted before.

KLR as purchased with 1300 miles



Fall Color Tour Arkansas




East Texas Dual Sport Ride




Arkansas Spring Ride




Capitan Gap New Mexico with 34K miles

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Old 03-11-2012, 07:23 AM   #115
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

Suspension & Tires are the big two that gain you the most distance forward towards the goal of improved off-road handling. Then add the subjective possibility of rider skill set improvement and one has the potential for the biggest gains in off-road performance in hand.

When I swapped out factory suspension for a Cogent Dynamics Moab rear shock and front fork emulators & springs, I felt I found the most dramatic change in bike handling since changing tires.

Many other mods do enhance off-road survivability and reliability and comfort, and some seem almost "required" (like replacing the stock plastic bash plate for a robust metal version), but for the biggest immediate bang and to gain the best improvements to riding a KLR off road, it's tires, suspension, capped off by improving your own skill set.

The good news is, you can buy two of the latter three.
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:20 AM   #116
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

I must agree with Bob and Rich here. Suspension is worth spending money for upgrades. The level of improvement and the associated cost varies based on your goals for the bike and rides planned. Front spring selection is very subjective. Progressive springs are either a magic fix all, or a complete waste of money depending on whose opinion is being shared. If your main goal is a plush comfortable street compliant ride and you don't mind or don't even really notice front end dive on braking then progressives will work. If you want a better rough terrain performance and a substantial reduction of brake dive a stiffer straight rate spring is the ticket. Bottom line is both types of springs are good for something, they are both better than the stock springs. They are tuning tools for your front suspension.

Out back the fix is a matter of choosing one of the good aftermarket shocks. From the Progressive at the affordable end of the scale up through the Moab and beyond on price points I have yet to meet a KLR rider that regrets the brand of shock they chose.

For riding tips check out the thread that Red Brown started where he shared a PDF book about off pavement riding techniques. I don't know what your off pavement history is. I do know that going from a pavement background to dirt riding has a steeper re-learning curve than starting on dirt and going to pavement. Key point is that on dirt your tires will slip and the bike will wallow sometimes. Staying loose and flowing with the imprecise nature of following the dirt is crucial. If you tighten up and try to respond to every little wiggle you will get behind and zig or zag your way into trouble. You will tire out and fatigue will factor into mistakes too.

Sand and river gravel are areas where a rider needs to practice practice practice until riding through those obstacles becomes far less intimidating. You will hear a lot of folks telling you to stand up, lean back, and pin the throttle. While it feels like that is what you are doing it is a somewhat exaggerated description of good technique. Duck walking will get a bike through, but will wear you out on roads with long stretches of sand or gravel such as Old Marathon of River Road. Done right sand is crossed with both feet on the pegs and your rear end just off the seat and back a bit. You want the front tire light to keep it from auguring into the loose road bed. Steering the bike in sand is akin to skiing. That is you control where the bike goes by shifting your weight left or right on the pegs. The handlebar only serves to keep the front wheel lined up with the direction of travel. Forget about countersteering in sand. That will toss you in the pit in short order. this is one of those areas where good street riders have to change mental gears on the fly. Modulate the throttle so you always have some forward drive. This helps keep the front end light. If there is a curve slow on the straight before the curve and drive the bike through the curve with the modulated throttle. None of this is at race pace. 20-25 MPH will keep a bike floating enough so you are not wrestling the sand monster. 40-45 MPH is a comfort zone for riders that have mastered the technique. At that pace the bike floats completely on the sand and all controls remain light. Not a starting pace though. When something goes sideways in the loose stuff do not chop the throttle. I can't say that enough. I have made that mistake enough that even after years of riding I still have to make a mental effort to fight that reflex.

Tires are important and matching the selection to the ride makes the ride easier and more enjoyable. Given a choice I would rather have more aggressive tires than needed instead of the other way around.
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:11 PM   #117
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I know this isn't off road related but it shows the importance of the right set up. Just installed a superbrace and adjusted the rear pre load by almost an inch. The bike handles totally different now. Much more responsive and smoother through the turns. Braking is also more steady with the bike falling naturally in line while coming to a stop.

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Old 03-11-2012, 09:01 PM   #118
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

Cogent shock and progressive springs did the trick for me too, and I don't have to worry about throwing the bike off a cliff. Easy to work on and easy to find parts. Easy to ride to Bigbend, ride dirt and ride it back to Houston.
If you destroy it, no worries just get another!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tricepilot View Post
Suspension & Tires are the big two that gain you the most distance forward towards the goal of improved off-road handling. Then add the subjective possibility of rider skill set improvement and one has the potential for the biggest gains in off-road performance in hand.

When I swapped out factory suspension for a Cogent Dynamics Moab rear shock and front fork emulators & springs, I felt I found the most dramatic change in bike handling since changing tires.

Many other mods do enhance off-road survivability and reliability and comfort, and some seem almost "required" (like replacing the stock plastic bash plate for a robust metal version), but for the biggest immediate bang and to gain the best improvements to riding a KLR off road, it's tires, suspension, capped off by improving your own skill set.

The good news is, you can buy two of the latter three.
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:16 AM   #119
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

Odd how KLR plastic fades. When I got mine from Drumboy, it was faded green. He called it "booger" and it seemed appropriate because the color was that of a booger. Semi decent camo, though. I am going to get a camo rattle can paint kit sometime and decorate the hand guards I ebayed that are that reddish brown and the ammo cans will be camo. Low priority project, but eventually I'll get around to it.
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:56 PM   #120
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Re: What To Do? A KLR Quandary.

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Odd how KLR plastic fades. When I got mine from Drumboy, it was faded green.
Mine is slowly changing from Red to Pink.
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