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Old 09-28-2012, 11:16 PM   #1
mcpenner OP
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Alberta
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The Chronicles of Betty

I wanted to give her a better name, something that would roll of the tongue or lift the heart with mystery, but I can't get away from it. Her name is Betty. She's not pretty, but she gets the job done. She's not fast but she can go more places then I know how. She is not a show off but she'll still be there in the morning.

This thread will be the place where I chronicle my experiences, modifications, and impressions of my entry into the world of dual sport with the KLR 650 named Betty. It may not be interesting to anyone but me. That's okay. It will likely be a slow thread as I don't expect to be buying all the hot stuff to add to her or go on any long world traveling adventures. But for whatever it is worth this thread will chronicle the relationship between a mostly ordinary man and his motorcycle.

Pictures on the way home on the day I got her:





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Old 09-28-2012, 11:26 PM   #2
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1999 KLR 650 (her name is KLaRissa) DOOHICKEY DONE!
2013 BMW F800GS (her name is FranGelicaS)
Please. Ride careful, ride safe, ride defensively! This thread should be mandatory reading!
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Old 09-29-2012, 04:55 AM   #3
GAS GUY
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Cool, I look forward to following your thread.
I'm sure it will be interesting, cause it is what we all love.
The mods are secondary to the experiences.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:41 PM   #4
mcpenner OP
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How I got her

I suppose the place to start is by describing Betty as I got her. She is a 2005 KLR 650 (duu, obviously). Mostly stock I think, but here is what I know:

- had a Jardin pipe on but it was replaced with a stock 2008 pipe before I got her. The dealer said the carb was put back to stock and I generally trust this dealer so I'll go with that for now.
- KNN air filter
- Aluminum skid plate. If anyone knows what make I'll add it in here.
- fork brace. Again, tell me what make this is;

-Kenda 761 tires. Front is cupped so I got the dealer to throw in a new one for free after we made the deal

-Been down at least once with minor damage to left side plastic and handle bars slightly bent.
-rear brake master cylinder guard. I think it's after market or did they come with it?

Other then that I think everything is stock and in good shape. Everything works. No need to do anything (I know I'll be told to do the do-hickey). It's a good place to start.

mcpenner screwed with this post 09-29-2012 at 07:02 PM
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Old 09-29-2012, 07:16 PM   #5
mcpenner OP
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first impressions

Wow, this is really hard to describe. I come from cruisers and have no dirt background so the best word is "different"! To tell you the truth Betty rides almost exactly as I expected, maybe even as good or better then I had hoped. So some random first impressions are:

- seating position is great. I was getting tired of the feet forward, curved back bone cruiser position. Betty just feels natural and right. Everything falls to hand.

- Power is enough for how I ride, and for me that is a good thing. Enough to be fun but not so much as to get in trouble.

- I can't describe it, but I love the power delivery of a big single.

- I don't know what all the complaints about vibration are all about. Yes I can feel the engine, but that's why I ride, to feel things that are real rather then be isolated or insulated from the world.

- I'm undecided about the wind protection. It is actually better then my cruiser up to my shoulders. I have no problem riding a few hours on the highway but I might like something better more to reduce wind noise then anything else. I'll be experimenting here.

- Tried two up with my daughter. Not bad, but I would not want to be so confined for too long. I don't think I'll ever bother taking my lovely wife on it. If she is coming we will take the cruiser.

- Suddenly a whole nother world opens up! It's like the wardrobe in the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

I did a comparison between the KLR and the Honda Shadow here:

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=824964
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Old 09-29-2012, 07:58 PM   #6
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Great looking bike! I'll check in on this thread as you go along.
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:15 PM   #7
GAS GUY
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The fork brace looks to be a studabaker.
The K&N air filter is ok for the street but if you plan on being in dusty conditions you should get a Uni or Twin air filter.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GAS GUY View Post
The fork brace looks to be a studabaker.
The K&N air filter is ok for the street but if you plan on being in dusty conditions you should get a Uni or Twin air filter.
exactly. i prefer no toil or uni. No toil is great if your in a rush, just clean the airbox, wrap the filter on the cage, greese the lip and your set. they come pre oiled.

Cycle gear is having a sale on there trackside hanguards, i picked mine up 40% off and they fit well.
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:30 AM   #9
mcpenner OP
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first farkle

It's not much, but I needed storage space now. So I mounted an actionpacker box. I do not expect this to be permanent. On a normal day this time of year I can see frost in the morning and T-shirts in the afternoon. So I need someplace to pack the layers. Action packer works great, but in the long run I don't think I want a top box at all.









I simply put two bolts through a piece of plywood and into threaded holes in the rack.
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GAS GUY View Post
The fork brace looks to be a studabaker.
I like the looks of the lower fenders mounted to the fork brace. Does anyone know if this works on this one?
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:54 AM   #11
GAS GUY
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Originally Posted by mcpenner View Post
I like the looks of the lower fenders mounted to the fork brace. Does anyone know if this works on this one?
I am not sure on that one,but Eagle Mike has tapped holes in his for this.
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:49 PM   #12
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A new way

I've been riding motorcycles now for about 7 years. I work across the street from my house so I do not commute but I do have to travel around a little from time to time. Now, with Betty, I can take routs I never even noticed before.

The old rail bed that goes right by my house. I have to open and close quite a few gates but there is a lot of nice country side out there.

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Old 10-03-2012, 10:54 AM   #13
mcpenner OP
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I wonder?

Every time I go out for a ride I wonder how long the "new toy" joy will last? I mean I have taken the shadow a few times when it is more appropriate (cold; heated grips and vest or with a passenger), but I still want to take the KLR every time. I wonder if this will change? I wonder if a day will come when I only take the KLR if I'm planning to take some rougher roads? I wonder if after a year or so I will sell the shadow cause it never gets used (could I ever farkle up the KLR if I sold the shadow!)? No one can answer these questions...but I wonder?
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:06 AM   #14
mcpenner OP
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playing with springs

I've been playing around with the suspension settings. It felt OK when I started riding Betty, but with a little reading online I soon realized that it might be better. So I looked. The rear had no preload at all. It was sagging about five or six inches under my weight! So I cranked it up. I immediately noticed much better handling. The front end was more planted and the whole bike was less influenced by wind, road irregularities and just all around better. I also found that one stroke of my bicycle pump in each fork leg reduced the brake induced fork dive quite a bit. But, with pre-load on 5 and air in the front the ride was starting to feel harsh. So I let the air out and turned the shock down to 4. All the small pavement bumps and stuff are gone now and it still easily handles the biggest hits I'm willing to face (not very big yet). I will definitely add air and go to #5 if I plan to ride aggressively on or off road and it's nice to know I can load up at least a little with one pre-load left for the ride I like.

For now that's all I need. But I remember thinking my suspension on my mountain bike was broken after riding a year. Then I realized that I was taking drop offs at speed that I used to get off and walk over so who knows? I might be looking for upgrades one day, but not now.
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Old 10-03-2012, 11:11 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by mcpenner View Post
I've been playing around with the suspension settings. It felt OK when I started riding Betty, but with a little reading online I soon realized that it might be better. So I looked. The rear had no preload at all. It was sagging about five or six inches under my weight! So I cranked it up. I immediately noticed much better handling. The front end was more planted and the whole bike was less influenced by wind, road irregularities and just all around better. I also found that one stroke of my bicycle pump in each fork leg reduced the brake induced fork dive quite a bit. But, with pre-load on 5 and air in the front the ride was starting to feel harsh. So I let the air out and turned the shock down to 4. All the small pavement bumps and stuff are gone now and it still easily handles the biggest hits I'm willing to face (not very big yet). I will definitely add air and go to #5 if I plan to ride aggressively on or off road and it's nice to know I can load up at least a little with one pre-load left for the ride I like.

For now that's all I need. But I remember thinking my suspension on my mountain bike was broken after riding a year. Then I realized that I was taking drop offs at speed that I used to get off and walk over so who knows? I might be looking for upgrades one day, but not now.
I haven't ventured into the rebound dampening (right terms?) on the rear shock yet. I guess if I notice the back end loading up or feel like it's trying to buck me off I'll get into that. For now it feels compliant at whatever setting it is on. If any of you care to enlighten me on this issue I am a willing student.
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