ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Bikes > Thumpers
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-03-2013, 09:48 AM   #1
Mondo-Hondo OP
Delusional
 
Joined: Jun 2013
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Oddometer: 58
The KLR Baja Transformo

So about a month ago, I bought a 2004 KLR 650 to use primarily for Baja trips. I've got this inflatable, roll-up surfboard thing and a friend in San Diego with ample motorcycle storage, so I figured having a bike for fly-in Baja surf trips would be a very practical thing to have access to in the winter (I live in Montana). I'll be riding the bike down to San Diego at the end of the month, so now is the time to prep it for all things Baja. This thread is just my log of said preparations...So I give you the KLR Baja Transformo:

Standard Beginnings

Here is the bike as I got it. Almost 10,000 miles on the odometer. Front fairing a bit bent but otherwise in good shape. No worries, the fairing and stock headlight will not make the cut.

Breaking It All Down

The bike as it sits now. Most of the parts will be in this coming week. Here's a list of the upcoming mods:
  • Cogent Dynamics Moab Shock
  • Cogent Dynamics dual-rate fork springs and cartridge emulators
  • IMS 6-gallon tank (natural translucent)
  • Baja Designs 8" HID headlight
  • Some kind of front brake upgrade
  • custom-by-me rear rack to hold inflatable surfboard
  • USB power plugs (with some sort of machined-by-me aluminum bracket thingy)

Fork Teardown

The guts of the very underwhelming KLR front forks. Hopefully some stiffer springs and better valving (and new oil) will help here. On my 300-mile shakedown ride last weekend these things bottomed out a lot, and I'm not sure if the springs are just worn or what, but more than half the travel was used up just supporting my weight (6'4" 180lbs.) Felt like I was riding a lowrider for crying out loud. By far I am most excited about the Cogent suspension upgrades.

Stuff already taken care of:
  • Doohickey with torsion spring
  • Valve adjustment
  • IMS footpegs and shifter
  • Giant Loop Great Basin luggage
  • JNS Skidplate

So that's the plan. I realize it's still no dirtbike, but should be good for quick dirt-road blasts down the coast in search of surf. I'll keep this thread updated as the project progresses and offer my thoughts on the effectiveness of all this tinkering.
__________________
Everything is not enough, nothing is too much to bear. Where you've been is good and gone, all you keep's the getting there. ~Townes Van Zandt
Writing stuff -www.wiley-davis.com
Making stuff - www.hondogarage.com
Mondo-Hondo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2013, 10:19 AM   #2
kubiak
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Nov 2007
Location: madera california
Oddometer: 4,809
im watching!
kubiak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2013, 12:16 PM   #3
Mondo-Hondo OP
Delusional
 
Joined: Jun 2013
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Oddometer: 58
The Bike in Action

No tinkering update yet, but I just put up a ride report for the shakedown ride.
__________________
Everything is not enough, nothing is too much to bear. Where you've been is good and gone, all you keep's the getting there. ~Townes Van Zandt
Writing stuff -www.wiley-davis.com
Making stuff - www.hondogarage.com
Mondo-Hondo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2013, 12:21 PM   #4
Beezer
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Oct 2004
Location: Anchorage, formerly Spenard (hub of the universe)
Oddometer: 5,370
KLR forks are never serviced properly from the dealer... they are always low. even the spec setting in the manual is minimal for reducing the dive. more oil makes it better but the Cogents up front will make it much better... a huge difference. I have the Ricor valves & love them. also the Moab on the back... totally different bike in the rough.

needs a good bash plate & radiator protection

consider a fork brace so you can lower the fender... better airflow to the radiator.... the Eagle Mike on is already drilled
Beezer is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2013, 12:30 PM   #5
Mondo-Hondo OP
Delusional
 
Joined: Jun 2013
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Oddometer: 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beezer View Post
KLR forks are never serviced properly from the dealer... they are always low. even the spec setting in the manual is minimal for reducing the dive. more oil makes it better but the Cogents up front will make it much better... a huge difference. I have the Ricor valves & love them. also the Moab on the back... totally different bike in the rough.
That's good to hear. I toyed with the idea of doing a fork swap but in the end it didn't seem worth the trouble given the KLR will always be heavy and people say the fork mods will make a big difference. I actually thought I'd broken a spring on steep downhills...the forks stayed so compressed.

Quote:
needs a good bash plate & radiator protection
I have the JNS skidplate on it now. And I'm hoping the IMS tank will provide enough radiator protection. if not, I'll weld something up.

Quote:
consider a fork brace so you can lower the fender... better airflow to the radiator.... the Eagle Mike on is already drilled
More airflow would be nice but I'm a bit wary of a low fender. Too much sticky mud down south, I worry about wadding it up.
__________________
Everything is not enough, nothing is too much to bear. Where you've been is good and gone, all you keep's the getting there. ~Townes Van Zandt
Writing stuff -www.wiley-davis.com
Making stuff - www.hondogarage.com
Mondo-Hondo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2013, 11:21 AM   #6
Mondo-Hondo OP
Delusional
 
Joined: Jun 2013
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Oddometer: 58
Navigation and Front Brakes

So for the front brakes I've decided to start with just a stainless brake line and some green Galfer pads at the suggestion of a member here. Depending on how that works, might consider the larger rotor.

Have been doing a fair bit of research trying to figure out the navigation puzzle. I have an etrex that's a pain to use on a motorcycle (side buttons and tiny screen). So right now my plan is to use a combination of an iphone and my ipad in the map pocket of a tank bag, with the Gaia GPS app and a bad elf GPS receiver. I'll make some kind of aluminized flip-up cover to keep the ipad from overheating in the sun in the clear greenhouse of the map pocket.

Any recommendations for a tank bag that fits an ipad? I was looking at the Giant Loop Diablo tank bag, but not sure of the map pocket dimensions.
__________________
Everything is not enough, nothing is too much to bear. Where you've been is good and gone, all you keep's the getting there. ~Townes Van Zandt
Writing stuff -www.wiley-davis.com
Making stuff - www.hondogarage.com
Mondo-Hondo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2013, 11:31 AM   #7
LVCJT
Gnarly Adventurer
 
LVCJT's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Sin City Baby
Oddometer: 209
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...php?p=20429464

Ask these guys! They are very helpful.

Good luck!

Sent from the depths of my pockets
LVCJT is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2013, 08:46 AM   #8
DPelletier
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jul 2013
Oddometer: 193
cool thread. I've ridden KLR's in Baja and am currently planning on finishing up my '01 with very similar mods.

I have one observation: you need decent bars. I believe my Renthals are CR High bend or Desert bars.

...and one question; why the Cogent stuff over the Ricor stuff? I'm curious as I'm planning on doing the suspension this winter an I'm leaning towards the Ricor as the intiminator install takes less work than the emulators and the stock straight rate springs stay (I've never been a fan of progressive rate springs). There is very little information out there that compares the two, but anything I've found seems to suggest that the Ricor stuff works at least as good and perhaps better. Any thoughts?

cheers,
Dave
DPelletier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2013, 08:47 AM   #9
DPelletier
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jul 2013
Oddometer: 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mondo-Hondo View Post
So for the front brakes I've decided to start with just a stainless brake line and some green Galfer pads at the suggestion of a member here. Depending on how that works, might consider the larger rotor.

.
My thoughts exactly.

Dave
DPelletier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2013, 09:13 AM   #10
Mondo-Hondo OP
Delusional
 
Joined: Jun 2013
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Oddometer: 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
I have one observation: you need decent bars. I believe my Renthals are CR High bend or Desert bars.
I agree. I am thinking the pro-taper ATV hi bend. But I happen to have a tube bender and might bend up my own. This will be time dependent more than anything. I am trying to avoid bar risers if I can.

Quote:
...and one question; why the Cogent stuff over the Ricor stuff? I'm curious as I'm planning on doing the suspension this winter an I'm leaning towards the Ricor as the intiminator install takes less work than the emulators and the stock straight rate springs stay (I've never been a fan of progressive rate springs). There is very little information out there that compares the two, but anything I've found seems to suggest that the Ricor stuff works at least as good and perhaps better. Any thoughts?
Thoughts? I got plenty of those. :) Keeping in mind I'm no expert, here's what I was thinking. I went with the Cogent stuff for two reasons: one, because I too run a small manufacturing business and I like to support and interact with other folks doing the same. I've heard nothing but good from Cogent customers and when I spoke with Joyce on the phone, they seemed knowledgeable and helpful. Two, I liked the fact that they set up spring rates based on weight and intended use.

For the forks, I went with the Cogent-made Drop-in Damper Cartridges. They don't require any drilling. It all gets here Thursday, so I can't give any sort of evaluation at the moment.

The fork springs I'm getting from Cogent aren't progressively wound, they're dual-rate, which isn't the same. The theory is that progressively-wound springs can have unpredictable crossover points and are affected more by sag adjustments whereas dual-rate springs can be set up to work better because the cross-over point is tune-able (though not by the user in the case of these fork springs). That's the generalized version of what I've read on the subject.
__________________
Everything is not enough, nothing is too much to bear. Where you've been is good and gone, all you keep's the getting there. ~Townes Van Zandt
Writing stuff -www.wiley-davis.com
Making stuff - www.hondogarage.com
Mondo-Hondo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2013, 12:45 PM   #11
DPelletier
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jul 2013
Oddometer: 193
I don't know about bending your own; depends on the material you use, I guess. I do know that the stock steel bars are useless in the sense that they bend very easily in a crash. I spent 30 years racing offroad and the difference between a decent alum bar vs. steel is tremendous...and that difference becomes even more important on a KLR....especially one far from home.

As far as the suspension stuff goes, I am intrigued. I've searched out and read almost every KLR650 suspension related thread on the 'net and I have to say I'm very surprised that there isn't a "shock shootout" or something similar. VERY little info considering the 4.5 billion KLR's on the road. I'm far from a suspension expert, but I know my KLR suspension sucks (far worse than my old 1982 RM250) and my KTM 300XCW suspension rocks. I don't need or expect KTM300 level performance on my dualsport/adventure bike, but it needs help for me to be happy.

Without any real data or unbiased comparisons, I'm leaning to the Ricor stuff for cost vs. performance vs. ease of install. I have heard only good things about CD and especially their customer service and I'd certainly be interested in hearing your thoughts as you move forward.

Cheers,
Dave
DPelletier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2013, 09:06 PM   #12
Mondo-Hondo OP
Delusional
 
Joined: Jun 2013
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Oddometer: 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
I don't know about bending your own; depends on the material you use, I guess. I do know that the stock steel bars are useless in the sense that they bend very easily in a crash. I spent 30 years racing offroad and the difference between a decent alum bar vs. steel is tremendous...and that difference becomes even more important on a KLR....especially one far from home.
If I make some, I'll use steel. Can't bend Aluminum in T-6 and I have not the time for sending off to heat-treat. I agree, aluminum bars resist bending better since they're heat treated and stiffer. However, once bent, you can't really bend them back. I've snapped my share of Renthals in the past. When it comes down to it, I'm not really worried about it either way, but if I have the time I'd enjoy making some, so I'll stick to my "repairable-in-the-field" justification Probably won't have quite as much pullback as the last set of bars I made (nor will they be brazed):


As for the fork valves, there's some more info with replies from Rick at Cogent about his Drop-in Damper Cartridge in a thread over on drriders. In the end, I figure all of them will improve the forks. And I'd be happy with any of them since I'm not going to be trying them all in search of that extra tenth of a second off my KLR lap times :) However, i will say that after speaking with Joyce at Cogent, and reading through the how-it-works on the Ricor and RaceTech sites, I had the most confidence in the Cogent and racetech stuff and less in the Ricor due to the smoke and mirrors explanations they give. I get how they work, but their marketing puts me off. Call it a pet peeve. If anyone near Bozeman, Montana or San Diego, California has a KLR with the Ricor or Racetechs, I'd be game for doing a comparison ride. Of course, spring rates might be different. Still a good excuse for a ride, though.
__________________
Everything is not enough, nothing is too much to bear. Where you've been is good and gone, all you keep's the getting there. ~Townes Van Zandt
Writing stuff -www.wiley-davis.com
Making stuff - www.hondogarage.com

Mondo-Hondo screwed with this post 08-07-2013 at 09:12 AM
Mondo-Hondo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2013, 04:08 AM   #13
Aussie Johnno
Adventurer
 
Aussie Johnno's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Oddometer: 17
I just have to ask, now don't get me wrong I love my KLR's as well, owning a 2008 as well as a 92 Tengai.

But with all the money you have spent on upgrading this bike, could you not have bought a bike better suited to this work

Again don't shoot me, just asking

Aussie Johnno
Aussie Johnno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2013, 07:22 AM   #14
Mondo-Hondo OP
Delusional
 
Joined: Jun 2013
Location: Bozeman, Montana
Oddometer: 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussie Johnno View Post
I just have to ask, now don't get me wrong I love my KLR's as well, owning a 2008 as well as a 92 Tengai.

But with all the money you have spent on upgrading this bike, could you not have bought a bike better suited to this work

Again don't shoot me, just asking

Aussie Johnno
No, that's a really good question...one my inner MX rider struggled with as well. To answer it straight, I'd say no. I've got about $5000 into the bike in total at this point. Doesn't seem like too much for a bike that will be sprung for my weight and intended use, has good amounts of light, more than 6 gallons of fuel, easy to work on, etc. My plan was to buy good condition used and spend up to the amount a new one would have been on upgrades.

That said, I don't mind having a discussion about the bikes that could have been :) I cast a wide net when I decided to stop dreaming about it and actually get a bike. I had the following conundrum: I'm more of an 90% dirt, 10% pavement rider. However, some of those dirt rides I want to do are more than 1000 miles away. For some dumb reason I'm completely in love with the concept of leaving my front door, riding some nutball trail in the middle of nowhere, then returning to my front door, all on the same machine. It's a compromise waiting to happen, I realize. So here's a quick rundown on my reasoning toward a KLR:
  • The BMWs got cut because they're heavy and expensive. Even the thumpers (the ones I'm interested in) start at $6000 in my area and wouldn't have any suspension or lighting upgrades. The cost of parts is also higher.
  • The KTMs got the axe because, as awesome as they are, I can't afford them, and if I could, the 990 is too big for what I want, and the others, like the 690 Enduro, I couldn't find used for less than $8000. I'd love to hear from any 690 owners whether this is a bike that could be ridden RTW if one wanted.
  • I looked hard at the XR650L but read bad things about extended highway use and valves. All that were available near me were very beat. Still heavy. I still look at them and wonder, though.
  • The bike I came closest to getting instead of the KLR was a Yamaha WR250R. Supposedly very reliable, decent suspension, lighter. Yeah it's a 250, but they say it will do the highway. Good fuel mileage. I have a friend in San Diego who just got one, so we'll see how it does. We'll be doing a lot of Baja rides together.

Based on my limited information, the KLR seemed to have the right mix of attributes. In the end I wanted a motorcycle I could take anywhere, and get there at least a bit faster than I could in my old 4x4 truck. It's an experiment, so we'll see :) I'd love for others to chime in...this thread is not a justification for my purchase. Perhaps I made a huge mistake. Worst case it will be lots of fun and dirty smiles figuring that out.
__________________
Everything is not enough, nothing is too much to bear. Where you've been is good and gone, all you keep's the getting there. ~Townes Van Zandt
Writing stuff -www.wiley-davis.com
Making stuff - www.hondogarage.com
Mondo-Hondo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2013, 09:03 AM   #15
DPelletier
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jul 2013
Oddometer: 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mondo-Hondo View Post
No, that's a really good question...one my inner MX rider struggled with as well. To answer it straight, I'd say no. I've got about $5000 into the bike in total at this point. Doesn't seem like too much for a bike that will be sprung for my weight and intended use, has good amounts of light, more than 6 gallons of fuel, easy to work on, etc. My plan was to buy good condition used and spend up to the amount a new one would have been on upgrades.


That said, I don't mind having a discussion about the bikes that could have been :) I cast a wide net when I decided to stop dreaming about it and actually get a bike. I had the following conundrum: I'm more of an 90% dirt, 10% pavement rider. However, some of those dirt rides I want to do are more than 1000 miles away. For some dumb reason I'm completely in love with the concept of leaving my front door, riding some nutball trail in the middle of nowhere, then returning to my front door, all on the same machine. It's a compromise waiting to happen, I realize. So here's a quick rundown on my reasoning toward a KLR:
  • The BMWs got cut because they're heavy and expensive. Even the thumpers (the ones I'm interested in) start at $6000 in my area and wouldn't have any suspension or lighting upgrades. The cost of parts is also higher.
  • The KTMs got the axe because, as awesome as they are, I can't afford them, and if I could, the 990 is too big for what I want, and the others, like the 690 Enduro, I couldn't find used for less than $8000. I'd love to hear from any 690 owners whether this is a bike that could be ridden RTW if one wanted.
  • I looked hard at the XR650L but read bad things about extended highway use and valves. All that were available near me were very beat. Still heavy. I still look at them and wonder, though.
  • The bike I came closest to getting instead of the KLR was a Yamaha WR250R. Supposedly very reliable, decent suspension, lighter. Yeah it's a 250, but they say it will do the highway. Good fuel mileage. I have a friend in San Diego who just got one, so we'll see how it does. We'll be doing a lot of Baja rides together.
Based on my limited information, the KLR seemed to have the right mix of attributes. In the end I wanted a motorcycle I could take anywhere, and get there at least a bit faster than I could in my old 4x4 truck. It's an experiment, so we'll see :) I'd love for others to chime in...this thread is not a justification for my purchase. Perhaps I made a huge mistake. Worst case it will be lots of fun and dirty smiles figuring that out.

Good post. I could afford any bike I want and recently sold my KTM. I kept the KLR because I believe that it is the most reliable and longest lived dual sport out there REGARDLESS of price. Sure it needs some upgrades and yes, there is a danger in runaway "farkling" trying to make it into something it's not, but really a nice 1st gen KLR and $1500 gets you to my ideal dualsport/adventure bike; a bike with decent on and offroad manners and unmatched reliability and simplicity.

Dave
DPelletier is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 09:44 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014