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Old 10-30-2007, 12:35 PM   #8
Old Swede
SpringOly's Avatar
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: High Country Colorado
Oddometer: 187
My experience...

Originally Posted by IndyTim
Ok, been doing a bunch of work figuring out how to tune this bike to my needs, while simultaneously fending off an irrational urge to trade it for a 950SE.

I'll post pics as I get these mods completed, but here is the list and, more importantly, why the bike needs them.

Necessary Modifications

1) ADV sticker on fairing. This one is self-evident.

1.5) Forgot this.. 15T front countershaft sprocket. Why? Because I want higher revs at slower speeds to reduce stall possibility and save the clutch. We have slow rocky places here, and the bike is just too fast for them. I'm slipping the clutch a lot. I'll deal with the higher revs on the highway. Hopefully it won't be too bad.

I did this - still on the bike 6000 miles later. With a 15 I did not have to change the chain length, simply adjusted the slack. You'll lose a couple of mph on the top end - no biggie.

2) New tires: Dunlop D908 Rally Raids front and rear. Why? The Metzeler Enduro 3 stock tires are fine for the street, but are crap off road in SW Missouri. We've got a lot of hard pack, with a layer of broken rock (sharp gravel) on top. There are hills that I can barely get up for lack of traction, and the bike is scary loose in typical dirt corners.

Stock tires are slick in dirt and especially gravel. I'm currently running (and happy with) a D908 rear and a TKC-80 front. I've got 1000+ miles on the Dunlop and it looks the same as the day I put it on. It does like to follow ruts a bit, especially when underinflated. Not a problem - simply a factor.

3) New lighting: Gonna try for the Euro headlights, plus an HID lightbar from Trailtech. Why? The lighting is the worst feature of this bike. It sucks, badly. Low is too clipped. High is an uneven pattern with a bright spot in the middle, like a cheap adjustable flashlight from Walmart. Illumination into corners is non existent.

Agree that the lighting is not good. My solution? Don't ride at night.

3.1) LED Taillight (still researching). Forgot this on the first pass. Why? This one should be self-evident, but if it's not: speed up activation of the brake light, and make it more intense (i.e. visible). May save my bacon, and with all those ijuts on cell phones out there, we need every advantage we can get.

I'm curious to see what you end up with - keep us updated.

4) New exhaust: still researching. Why? Because.

See your exhaust post for my solution to this same issue.

5) Rejetting. Goes with new exhaust. Even out the running, get a bit more power and responsiveness.


6) New springs: for a 250lb avg rider weight. Why? 'cause the bike is setup for a 165lb rider. I'm planning for an avg weight of 250, which is a compromise between me by myself, both my wife and me, and all of us with luggage on short trips.

I sent my suspension in to Precision Concepts and it makes a HUGE difference - best upgrade I've done. I've since ridden a 950SE that had the suspension redone by SuperPlush - it's even better (and less expensive). Getting the correct springs is good, revalving to your specs makes it fantastic!

7) Canisterectomy: to smooth out the running, lose a tiny bit of weight (it all helps), and most importantly, to free up some space for the Euro toolbox.

This is a no brainer, but I wish the Euro toolbox was bigger. Not much fits in that little space!

8) Euro toolbox: Nice job, KTM, on screwing up a perfectly good motorcycle. Like I really need a charcoal canister more than a toolbox on an Adventure bike.

You'll need more tools than you can fit in in that box anyway.

9) Steering damper: still researching this. Why? Because I live in fear of repeating the 60-mph endo I had on a Yamaha 250 Enduro back when I was 15. Front end started to shake, and I lost it. It was ugly, and it was my friend's Dad's friend's bike. Already had one bout of this on the 640, I brought it under control. Don't want it again.

I went for a Scotts with a Loaded underbar mount.

10) Replace the skid plate with the poly resin version. Why? Because the aluminum one is too noisy. It sounds like it's being hit with a hammer at around 3000-3500 rpm. And, it collects gravel and then THAT sounds like it's in an aluminum washing machine. I give up a little protection in going to the resin, but I think it's worth the risk.

Foam works.

11) Install a mudflap at the bottom of the front fender. Why? Because my radiator is a mess from the mud I hit. Since I hate cleaning stuff, I'd rather it not get that dirty in the first place.

12) Replace center stand with side stand. Why? Because I'm too lazy to drag it up on the center stand every time I have to get off to open a gate. And it's lighter. Besides, dragging the bike up on the stand several times a day is tearing up my right wrist (RMS).

SW Motech sells a sidestand that works with the centerstand so you can have both. Use the kick starter with your left hand to boost it up.

13) Renazco seat. Why? The bike is fine for 1-up, but with 2-up, we both end up sliding forward and it gets old fast. Like to do some grippy suede, make it a little more comfortable. For her.

Me? Grippy suede Renazco!

14) Wolfman Discovery Lite tank bag
15) Touratech headlight protector
16) Touratech rear rack
17) Tail bag -- still researching this. Maybe the Wolfman mini-beta. And I like the Kaoko day bag.
18) Garmin Zumo and GPS mount. Still researching the mount.

Ideas Discarded
- I canceled my KTM aluminum panniers order. Why? Primarily because I don't think this is the right bike to take on extended 2-up journeys. We'll wait for a GS or 990Adv for that. So, we'll get by with tail/tank bags, on short trips.

- I'm looking into modifying the turn signals to put a small bright LED on the end of the stalk, which would be activated by the signal switch and would illuminate corners better. I'll get back to you on this.


Dual Sport Riding Techniques - The DVD!

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