Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Murfreesboro, TN
Summary Stats and Closing Comments
If you have specific questions that you'd like to ask please do a reply to this thread and I'll try my best to get you an answer.
Saturday - 69 miles - East Wareham, MA to Westborough, MA for the night
Sunday - 153 miles - To Lenox, MA, see a show
Monday - 35 miles - Early morning ride, visit with LiberiaDaughter
Tuesday - 436 miles - To Winchester, VA for the night
Wednesday - 256 miles - Skyline Drive and part of Blue Ridge Parkway
Thursday - 199 miles - Blue Ridge Parkway to Boone, NC for the night
Friday - 356 miles - Home to Mufreesboro, TN
Total mileage for the trip 1,504
It would have been hard to pick a better week to make this trip. The week before was upper 90's along the entire route but we seldom
experienced more than the mid 80's until the final day when it got warm from around Knoxville until we arrived home where it was 95 degrees.
The real problem was being cold on numerous occassions as our clothing was selected for hot weather not cool.
We put our rain suits on twice for about 30 minutes each time and avoided small sprinkles each time. So we enjoyed a practially rainfree week.
We were amazed by the beauty of Western Massachusetts. I can't say enough about the town of Lenox, MA. It's truly an amazing small town and worth spending time in. Jacob's Pillow Dance Theater is high quality and we understand there are other nearby towns which have other performing arts
The Taconic Parkway is a really nice way to move south in New York without being on an interstate or busy thoroughfare. We enjoyed it a lot.
Interstates are not enjoyable but are sometimes necessary to make time. The speed and trucks make it more stressful. The buffeting from the trucks tires you out more than you would think.
Skyline Drive is breathtaking and challenging. Take the time to stop often (we didn't) at the numerous overlooks. The speed limit is 35mph and 40mph is about all I was comfortable with. You'll do a lot slower on most of the plentiful curves.
Blue Ridge Parkway is more relaxed and faster. More like driving through a forest with occassional stunning vistas. Much more to stop and see
along the way. Mabry Mill is an especially interesting place. Mid-week seems to be a low traffic time. I'm sure that you can't stir the RV's
with a stick when the colors are changing. I'm also sure it would be quite chilly then as well. The BRP is easier to get on and off as you go
along. There are several towns that are close by for food and gas as well as the occassional fuel/food stop on the BRP itself.
US-321 is a fun drive with lots of hills and curves. Not as good as Skyline or BRP but still a good drive.
The bike was clean and in good condition when I picked it up. There were some scuffs/scratches to the handguards, front right tank plastic/decal and rear plastic from the prior owner's tipovers. No dents or significant damage.
The numerous enhancements and accessories were a real plus. It would have been nice if there had been front crash bars with footpegs. Having footpegs would have allowed Mrs. Liberia to use my pegs for a changeup in position. Although the 2008 and up models have the one piece "doohicky," the spring is still a weak point. So it would have been nice if the cam chain tensioner (doohickey) had been done. The bash plate is a plus but not necessary for this trip as we never left the pavement.
The included mount allowed me to put a cheap Tom Tom One gps on the bike. It's not a motorcycle specific gps but still proved quite helpful. I would want one on any bike used for longer trips. It washes out in the sunshine but still was readable most of the time.
I love the Happy Trails panniers. They are simple, top loading and hold a ton of stuff. Much of the left pannier contained stuff provided by the
prior owner such as 2 quarts of Havoline 20w50 motorcycle oil, 2 partial cans of chain lube, the stock front/rear sprockets, manual, tire changing
stuff (small tire irons/electric air pump/etc.) plus a slip on KLR650.com muffler and jet kit (Prior owner said it was louder than he liked). We
used a Whole Foods grocery bag to act as the liner for the right pannier which held all our clothes. This left enough room at one end for the
toiletries bag plus a couple of other items. The one thing that was a pain is that the panniers have an internal lip. So when you put any soft sided
bag inside them the contents would expand the bag to the size of the pannier and make it very hard to get the bag back out past the inside lip.
The Pelican case is hard mounted (removable only with a wrench) but a great item never-the-less. It is a 1520 (I think) which held the Hippo Hands the owner included plus my backpack with laptop, paperwork, paperbacks, etc. I like some of the Givi top cases better as you can put a full helmet inside plus have a built in back rest. But the Pelican is tough, waterproof and allows a standard lock to be used. The prior owner threw in 4 Master locks keyed to a single key for the panniers and 1 Master lock on a separate key for the Pelican. I put 2 of the locks inside one pannier and used 3 of the similarly keyed locks, 1 for each bag. Built in locks would be nice but being able to use padlocks made things simpler.
We also used a separate, motorcycle specific bag which we mounted on top of the Pelican case using 3 bungee cords (I can hear some of you groaning now but they worked just fine and this served as a backrest for Mrs. Liberia. It was very simple to put on and remove.
Due to lack of space we mounted Mrs. Liberia's camera case on top of the right pannier using a cargo net plus the bag's shoulder strap as a safety strap. It turned out that we used the little Nikon point and shoot camera for most pictures due to ease of use and her nice Nikon w/lens only on occassions when we were going to be somewhere for a while. If you look back through the previous posts you will find pictures of everything mentioned above including the Whole Foods liner bag.
Miles Per Gallon by tank-
Sun - Tank avg = 52.84, Cumm avg = 52.84, Average speed = 45mph
Tue - Tank avg = 53.57, Cumm avg = 53.23, Average speed = 55mph
Tue - Tank avg = 49.45, Cumm avg = 52.27, Average speed = 65mph
Wed -Tank avg = 56.92, Cumm avg = 53.52, Average speed = 40mph
Thu - Tank avg = 55.34, Cumm avg = 54.13, Average speed = 45mph
Fri - Tank avg = 57.51, Cumm avg = 54.54, Average speed = 60mph
As you can see, the cummulative fuel mileage for the entire trip was over 54mpg. Given that we were riding 2 up with a ton of luggage, I thought this was outstanding. The only time we dipped below 50mpg was the stretch of Interstate driving when we were running 65 to 70mph. This is also the only time the KLR used any oil. I added almost a pint after that run. No oil used during the entire rest of the trip! So I would say that there is a point at which it will use oil if extended, highspeed travel is performed. Being loaded down likely adds to this problem. Still, 1,500 miles and 1 pint of oil used is not bad.
Note that these mpg figures could be a little high as, at 60 mph on the speedometer the gps shows 57 (a 5.3% overstatement). However, I did one quick mileage test of the odometer which showed only a 1.6% difference. I'm not sure whether the speedometer and odometer can have different error rates or not but my simple test seems to indicate that it's possible.
The stock seat is uncomfortable for both the rider and passenger. I can definitely see why people move to aftermarket seats like the Sargent. I toyed with the idea of picking up a used Sargent (all good reviews) or Corbin (mixed reviews) for the trip but that would have meant shipping home the original seat. Hindsight says I should have done it. For any of the days where I rode over 100 miles it was uncomfortable. With 2 up you just don't have the room to shift around very much.
The Butty Buddy is all that saved the day for Mrs. Liberia. Without that I would likely have had to find another way home for her. The stock seat just isn't up to extended 200 - 400 mile travel days. If you do anything more than day trips get an aftermarket seat.
The bike had been lowered which helped. The peg placement was good for me. They are wide and will catch the bottom of your pants legs when manuevering if you're not careful. The panniers restrict your legs when in parking lots but it was not a problem for me. Because the bike had been lowered, the kickstand was too long. On a level surface I was always scared the bike would fall over with the slightest bump. So we always looked for a sloped area when stopping and put the kickstand on the down hill side. I will likely cut off the kickstand to correct this.
The bike had good power and was set up for highway travel as the prior owner used it to make a 120 mile roundtrip commute each day. That's how he got 7,000 miles on a 2009 so quickly. The setup was 1 tooth up on the front and 3 teeth down on the back (I think this is right). This results in very high gearing. So starting out from a standing stop, especially fully loaded and 2 up, was quite a strain. Lightly loaded with only one person and it would be fine. But I would change it back to original if I were doing 2 up travel with it.
With the panniers and top case, getting on and off the bike was somewhat of a challenge and required a modified "step over" type action. Having the camera bag on the right pannier and the large add-on bag over the Pelican case didn't help the situation. But I think this would be true of any bike. The KLR is a tall bike to begin with which adds to the effort.
Camping vs Hotels:
I've yet to do motorcycle camping but would like to in the future. That said, if Mrs. Liberia and I were camping I would limit the miles per day to no more than 200. The added time to setup/tear down, cook, etc. would likely result in less time to travel each day. I think, with the proper camping equipment, that we could camp 2 up on the KLR. Almost the entire left pannier was filled with things we would not normally take. I was surprised by how much room the 2 rainsuits take up as well.
Hotels are expensive even if you're staying in the lower end of the chains. I shopped pretty hard and we still averaged about $75 per night or more. Given the way the trip turned out, it was worth every penny. We ended up eating every meal in a resturant which is also expensive. Again, this trip made eating out a necessity.
Summary Summary :-)
You can definitely travel 2 up on a KLR650. But you need to make as little of it on interstates as possible. I would also limit my daily mileage to 250 except on the odd day when you had to do more. It's a good bike that I enjoyed very much, very fuel efficent and enough power to do what you need it to.
Liberia screwed with this post 07-31-2010 at 08:08 AM