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Old 10-31-2014, 07:47 PM   #1
wild0 OP
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Joined: Jul 2011
Location: fort mcmurray, alberta
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KLR650 alberta winter build

Gday guys and girls. Me and my girl Vera have found ourselves stranded in Ft. McMurray, sunny Alberta for the winter. Now we've down right had enough of these Canucks telling us "oh you ain't riding that wence winter rolls in"... so I've decided to build Vera into the ultimate northern ice bike...

I'm a bit technologically stranded up here, only having access to my ringading and no computer - searching for information is proving tricky, so I'd love to hear any advice if yall got some.

Right now my plans / modifications are going down this route:

Kenda track master tyres - studded
Heated grips + those sock hand guard things to keep ya mitts warm
Lighter weight engine oil. Any advice what weight? lowest riding temps will probably be around -30 -40.. maybe
Lighter weight fork oil? Have to do seals and springs any who
A re-jet - I haven't jetted a bike before
new battery - any suggestions on what type?

Right now its about -5c, bikes still starting and running OK but I don't know for how much longer. I guess I'll be storing her in the shed - and probably rigging up a heater in there.

Cheers for the help!
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Old 10-31-2014, 07:52 PM   #2
wild0 OP
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Here's my baby out Mojave... in the middle of summer heat a few months ago. Bit of a climate change eh?
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:56 AM   #3
BushX
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First off, I live in Alberta, I've been to Fort Mac in the winter. You're nuts.
That out of the way;

What's your intended use? Playing around on frozen river, lake, packed trails? or.... Commuting?

Tires: visit one of the local or international ice racing associations to find out what they're using for tires. I run the Track Masters for local trails, but I'm thinking the knobs are too skinny, tall, and spaced to be great as a studded tire. Intended use will dictate the type of tire and stud you can run.

Heat: Grips alone won't cut it. I'm still commuting in Calgary, it was -5C on Thursday, and with heated grips, hand guards, and insulated gloves, my fingers were still frozen. Think heated gloves if you're going to be going very far in the cold. Heated jacket liner will go a long way to adding comfort too. I also couldn't keep ice from forming on the outside of my visor (it was ice/foggy) and the inside was a problem too. Heated snowmobile visor maybe?

Oil: look for a 0w30 synthetic if they make it. You can also buy a glue on block heater pad, stick it to the bottom of the engine and plug it in to keep the engine and oil somewhat warm when it's really cold.

Lighter fork oil a good idea. Keep a standard battery, the LI type don't perform well in the cold, or so I'm told, also, a battery tender would be a good idea, use the same plug you're using for the vest so it's easy to plug in when you park it. You'll probably want to jet it a little richer, maybe one larger main, and raise the needle a touch. That's going to take some experimenting however.

Be careful out there, if you're planning on spending any time on the street, think hi vis gear. It's going to be easy to get lost in a fog of HD pickup diesel exhaust condensing in the cold. lol.
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Old 11-01-2014, 12:56 PM   #4
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Thanks for your help.

Main plan is going to be commuting - max ride length of 15 minutes. Then of course there will be play time on the lakes and trails.. though i would love to ride to fort chip on the ice road. Brought up the track masters because it's what another guy on a klr in Alaska is running. Thinking car studs with 1 stud in each knob - still needs to handle on the cleared roads.

I bought some great klim snowmobile gloves the other week and they've proved good.



I think with these hand guards and heated grips I should be able to do away with heated gloves - I want to avoid heated gear as much as possible, though I think a jacket and pants might be necessary but we'll see.

I think the block heater will also be the go as you say.. along with maybe a battery heater?

Thanks for your advice mate.
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Old 11-01-2014, 08:08 PM   #5
GreatWhiteNorth
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Synthetic oil

At Canadian Tire you can get Mobil 1 0W40 fully synthetic. Have you ever experienced -30 to -40 celsius temperatures before!? If you really intend to do this, might I suggest a snowmobile helmet to help prevent visor fogging: http://store.ski-doo.com/product/313.../_/Casque_BV2S

You may have to block the front of your rad off completely (with cardboard or something) in order that the engine can warm up towards the middle of it's normal operating range. We have one fellow living here south of Winnipeg that modded his KLR and rode it a lot last winter - it can be done.
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:21 PM   #6
Beezer
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I ran Kendas... they were ok. I also ran TKCs & might be a little better... both studded with 12mm automotive studs. koldkutters are fantastic on ice but suck on pavement & wear quick. same with screws

my friend's klr got carb ice once at about -20C & quit... at least we think thats what it was. he shut it off & it woldn't start again... mine was ok though running a bit rougher it seemed. if I was going to run in temps like that on a regular basis I would build a carb heat shroud to pull heat from the exhaust pipe and feed it into the airbox. I ran about 5 years & no problems at warmer temps other than my aftermarket speedo quit at exactly 19F.
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Old 11-08-2014, 04:44 PM   #7
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Was out today on the bike (-15c) for a play. Wasnt half bad! Thanks heaps for all your advice I really appreciate it.

Ive ordered my knobbies, hand guard mitts, carbide ice screws, grip warmers and some other bitsas.



Did some shopping down town too. I think we're almost ready for full arctic KLR :):)

Will be looking into heated gear and a new stack hat once she starts cooling down a bit more. I'll be updating the thread in my sig with my winter shenanigans.

Thanks!
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Old 11-08-2014, 05:04 PM   #8
GAS GUY
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What do you do about your helmet visor fogging all the time ? Heated visor ?
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Old 11-08-2014, 05:18 PM   #9
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I might go the heated sled visor route. Or maybe just a ordinary mx style sled helmet with dual layer goggles which stop most of the fogging. Today I just opened my visor when I was stopped or going slow. I'll chat to a few more sledders for their opinions
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:25 PM   #10
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you plan to commute in ft mac? Land of the shitty roads, bumper to bumper work trucks, where everyone drives like shit and is try to rush to or home from site off a 10-14 hour shift? You're crazy.
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:31 PM   #11
Adanac rider
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Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Hello Wild0, I've spent a few winters up in Ft.Mac.It gets bloody cold up there for a couple months. Save your ride for the warmer months and spend your time working overtime and have more time and the money to travel in the warmer months. It can also be very dangerous to get more than a couple of miles away from civilization.I enjoyed my time up there but the cold made it more of a survival quest not recreational riding.I think there is an organized ride on the winter road to Ft. Chypewan.That might be a safe way to take on the north. oh yea things to consider.Cover the front of your radiator almost completely, gas line antifreeze and and a way to keep your carb warm.good luck.

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Old 11-08-2014, 06:42 PM   #12
wild0 OP
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I'll take my chances with frostbite over sitting in my room drinking myself stupid over winter.
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Old 11-08-2014, 09:24 PM   #13
Beezer
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heated visor.... yes! for sure. also add a neck gaiter. you will hate carbide screws on pavement
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