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Old 11-21-2007, 07:34 PM   #1
scarysharkface OP
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How to make KLR 650 more offroad-worthy?

While awaiting the fate of my possibly-totaled KLR, I figure I might use this time wisely and ask the collective what mods might be done that would make the KLR 650 more of an offroad-ready steed while still maintaining street-legality for commuting and/or travel.

Fork springs
Rear shock
off-road pegs
Fork brace
Mount the instrument cluster to the fairing a la '08?
Ditch the ammocans, obviously, and the HT SU rack?
Cut a bunch of crap off the tail end of the bike?


Just looking to kill some time here mostly, but may be in a sitation where I'm rebuilding Helen KLR from near-scratch and could benefit from your wisdom...

John
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Old 11-21-2007, 08:09 PM   #2
swjohnsey
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Springs fer shure. Cut the inner fender off flush with the outer fender and move the license plate to the outer fender under the tail-light. I don't know that a fork brace helps off road handling. Anything that sticks out on the sides makes the bike harder to handle (you hit your legs) but makes the bike easier to pick up. I'd leave the instrument cluster alone (don't fix it if it ain't broke). My rear shock is adequate but I ain't fat and don't carry that much gear.
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Old 11-21-2007, 09:03 PM   #3
holycaveman
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Best off road mods.

1. Metal pegs
A. If you can't keep your feet on the pegs, noting else matters.
1. Weld them on, don't risk knocking them off.

2. Tires
A. 606's or mt21's for a dual purpose tire
B. Real knobs are the best though

3. Gearing
A. drop to a 13 tooth front, and you can still commute with it.
B. A 12 or 11 tooth front gears the KLR like a dirt bike, but its too slow on highways. Likes to cruize at 45ish.

4. Fork brace on pre 08 models.
A. Definatly a must for off roading!!!

5. Suspension mods.
A. Dampening controll is better than springs.
B. Springs are for rider weight
C. Dampening is for handling and bottoming resistance.

5. Protect your investment.
A. aluminum skid plate
B. metal bark busters.



Don't bother with reducing weight, not worth the effort. The largest weight improvement you can have is to just not run a full tank when off roading.
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Old 11-21-2007, 10:07 PM   #4
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trade it in on a DRZ400
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Old 11-21-2007, 10:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truckin_Thumper
trade it in on a DRZ400
Does a trailer come with those??
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Old 11-21-2007, 11:26 PM   #6
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KLR650 Off-Road

(a) Air Down: Maybe, if you don't already carry one, invest in a bicycle air pump and a tire pressure gauge -- if not already built into said pump. Reducing the PSI in a tire like the Dunlop 606 *should* improve its "grip" in a low-traction environment, e.g., mud or snow. With the pump, you can "air" up and down at your leisure, on-road or off-road. [Apologies if you know, but too little air in the tube off-road might result in a condition in which the rim is inclined to spin within the tire, shearing the tube's valve stem...too little air on-road tends to increase friction, resulting in rapid heating.]

(b) Fuel Down: As mentioned above, carry less fuel. At 6-6.5 pounds/gallon, with a 5-6 gallon tank, you'll carry 10% of your GVW in the tank -- the top of which is ~44" above the ground. Weight is bad; weight carried high is worse.

(c) Get Soft: Textile saddle bags and tank panniers -- less weight than hard luggage, and they behave as "cushions" a fall. Win, win.

(d) As above, again, control lever protection, or a second pair of levers.

(e) A JB or Permatex product capable of patching the metal tank in case it flexes and fails. "Do you smell that?"

The stock, pre-08 KLR650 seems to crash pretty well: the radiator moves in; the control levers break; the foot peg [IMS?] mounts bend; the tank flexes and fails; the clutch lever "safety" switch seems to require readjustment. That's what I've noticed...

If you ride slowly enough, the bike will go anywhere.
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germz screwed with this post 11-21-2007 at 11:51 PM
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Old 11-22-2007, 12:33 AM   #7
holycaveman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by germz
(a) Air Down: Maybe, if you don't already carry one, invest in a bicycle air pump and a tire pressure gauge -- if not already built into said pump. Reducing the PSI in a tire like the Dunlop 606 *should* improve its "grip" in a low-traction environment, e.g., mud or snow. With the pump, you can "air" up and down at your leisure, on-road or off-road. [Apologies if you know, but too little air in the tube off-road might result in a condition in which the rim is inclined to spin within the tire, shearing the tube's valve stem...too little air on-road tends to increase friction, resulting in rapid heating.]

(b) Fuel Down: As mentioned above, carry less fuel. At 6-6.5 pounds/gallon, with a 5-6 gallon tank, you'll carry 10% of your GVW in the tank -- the top of which is ~44" above the ground. Weight is bad; weight carried high is worse.

(c) Get Soft: Textile saddle bags and tank panniers -- less weight than hard luggage, and they behave as "cushions" a fall. Win, win.

(d) As above, again, control lever protection, or a second pair of levers.

(e) A JB or Permatex product capable of patching the metal tank in case it flexes and fails. "Do you smell that?"

The stock, pre-08 KLR650 seems to crash pretty well: the radiator moves in; the control levers break; the foot peg [IMS?] mounts bend; the tank flexes and fails; the clutch lever "safety" switch seems to require readjustment. That's what I've noticed...

If you ride slowly enough, the bike will go anywhere.
How could I have forgotten the air pressure!!!

Low air pressure does wonders, I mean wonders!!!!

For slow going east coast stuff. Try no more than 10psi, unloaded. Helps tremendously. If you have above 15psi, you might as well run a tour elite, about the same traction.(rear tire only).
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Old 11-22-2007, 02:13 AM   #8
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A Cogent Dynamics Moab Shock & Moab Front Springs.

The difference is amazing.

Look for a review in the next few weeks at KLRWorld.com.
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Old 11-22-2007, 03:59 AM   #9
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The KLR is a great bike when used for the intended purpose and with a few mods can be made even better. The bigger question is: How much are you willing to spend to make it more dirt worthly? Would seems to make sense to purchase a more dirt oreinted bike in the first place.

Just my $.02
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Old 11-22-2007, 05:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by germz
... (d) As above, again, control lever protection, or a second pair of levers and fingers. Owie!
feext

Great list, btw!
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Old 11-22-2007, 05:56 AM   #11
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I'm reminded of the 'how to' hot rod a Pontiac engine
"begin by discarding the block, the crank, and the heads"

Jim
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Old 11-22-2007, 06:43 AM   #12
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Talking How to . . . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by on2wheels52
I'm reminded of the 'how to' hot rod a Pontiac engine
"begin by discarding the block, the crank, and the heads"

Jim
I jst love it !
but I did have a 389 tri-power that would burn the tires off.
1960 Catalina 2 dr.

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Old 11-22-2007, 07:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by on2wheels52
I'm reminded of the 'how to' hot rod a Pontiac engine
"begin by discarding the block, the crank, and the heads"

Jim


How about "stop thinking like it's a common 350 chevy..."

FWIW, 462ci pontiac, mid-12's all day long and daily-driver reliable.

Bring it.
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Old 11-22-2007, 09:35 AM   #14
scarysharkface OP
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I guess it would help if I clarify my somewhat muddled thinking here. If Helen is totalled, I might be inclined to buy her back as salvage from the insurance company and rebuild with whatever $$$ is left over.

On the other hand, I might not.

A DRZ400 or KLX 250 would be awesome for the woods and around town, but wouldn't get me to Newfoundland and back in the fashion to which I've grown accustomed (i.e. whole and without the shakes). I can't afford two dedicated bikes... yet..

John
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Old 11-22-2007, 09:41 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scarysharkface
I can't afford two dedicated bikes... yet.. John
Sounds like a KLR is a good all around choice then. Jus sayin'.

Happy T-day!
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