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Old 08-07-2013, 09:12 AM   #16
DPelletier
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mondo-Hondo View Post
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 them 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.

On the bars; you have a valid point and I have snapped a set of Renthals too...but I've been racing for 30 years and bending a high quality bar like a Renthal is rare. Back when all we had were steel bars, we bent them all the time. Even my kids bikes get decent bars and the stockers go in the trailer for spares. With a heavy bike like a KLR, I just wouldn't use steel bars off road. Just my opinion.


I hear you on the suspension stuff; Ricor's attitude and marketing is a little off-putting and though I've never spoken with Rick or Joyce, they are great people by all accounts. I'm going to use the intiminators over the emulators just because they are way easier to install and seem to get as good of reviews. Not sure about the shock yet. I've never considered the cartridge monotubes before (think that's what they're called). They also look simple to install albeit at twice the cost. Cogents website absolutely sucks BTW. Anyhow, I'll be interested to hear what you think of them.

Cheers,
Dave
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Old 08-07-2013, 11:27 AM   #17
Mala Suerte
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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'm anxious to follow your build.

I've wrestled w/ some of the exact things you did. I'm still not sure the KLR is perfect for my needs. I'm balancing the cost of upgrading w/ the possibility of another bike filling my needs and at what expense. I looked hard at the WR250, but don't know that it'd travel well over long distances, especially w/ a load.

The one constant the KLR has going for it is that it is simple to work on and extremely reliable. Trail side, that means a lot.
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Old 08-07-2013, 01:13 PM   #18
twisted-hog
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I'll be keeping an eye on this thread, I'm taking my modestly farkled 2009 KLR down the Baja all the way to Cabo next April.
Stock suspension, stock handle bars.
Biggest mod I have is a rejet with a Vance and Hines slip-on.
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Old 08-07-2013, 02:04 PM   #19
Aussie Johnno
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Thanks for the answer Mondo, i to will be following this thread.

I also have a soft spot for the KLR's

All the best

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Old 08-07-2013, 02:26 PM   #20
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More on KLR Fork Valves

So after more reading and speaking with Rick at Cogent for quite awhile, I have some more information about the various fork valve options for the KLR. Again, please keep in mind that most of this is all just research, not first-hand experience. The general breakdown of the three common options are:
  • Racetech - A speed sensitive blow-off valve of sorts (fork shaft speed, not vehicle speed) that uses a coil spring to control the valve. Needs drilling to bypass the existing valving.
  • Ricor - Unusual in the world of forks, it uses in inertial valve (basically just a weighted valve that opens via the inertia of the moving weight) to open or close different damping circuits based on whether the wheel moves or the bike moves. Also uses a shim, I think, for additional speed-sensitive damping. No need to drill since it uses 5wt oil.
  • - Cogent DDC - Similar to the Racetech but uses a shim (or a shim stack in some cases) rather than a coil spring. No need for drilling as these also use 5wt oil, which flows readily enough through the existing damper ports.

From what I can gather without having ridden anything, is the following:

Racetech:
These will improve the fork for off-road use, adding in speed-sensitive damping. The downside, apparently, is that the coil spring system has more mass and is therefore less responsive to high-frequency changes. Basically, that means that your suspension can be moving and reacting faster than the valve can, so you might not be getting the appropriate damping characteristics for a series of fast bumps.

Ricor:
The inertial valving is supposedly great at preventing brake dive with soft springs. It's said to be good on the street because it works well during braking and also for individual bumps, such as potholes. Off-road, however, where high-frequency bumps are happening and both the bike and the wheel are all moving, the inertial valving can get confused or overwhelmed by the frequency of bumps and you get inconsistent or inappropriate damping. It has also been mentioned that the brake-dive resistance can be bad sometimes. For instance, when cornering on dirt, it can help to load the front tire going into the turn by front-braking into the corner. Apparently the Ricors can keep the front end high under braking, so much so that the front tire doesn't load up enough to get good traction. This is less of a problem on pavement where the traction is less dependent on loading than on dirt where tire loading is very important for traction.

Cogent:
The shims used in this valve have less mass and react faster to high-frequency bumps (a shim is just a washer thin enough to deflect, see pic below). Because multiple shims can be used, the damping curve is more tune-able than the coil-spring-based Racetechs. In fact, Rick is sending me two different shim sets to try. Rick has ridden and tested all three on the shock dyno and began by modifying the Racetechs to use shims before deciding to just make his own product instead of improving someone else'.



So that's the simplified gist. Feel free to correct any errors or ad more detail. I am by no means an expert on this stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by twisted-hog View Post
I'll be keeping an eye on this thread, I'm taking my modestly farkled 2009 KLR down the Baja all the way to Cabo next April.
Stock suspension, stock handle bars.
Biggest mod I have is a rejet with a Vance and Hines slip-on.
How are you going? If you're taking the road, probably not much need for any mods. Unless you ride at night, then you need more light so as not to hit cows
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:39 PM   #21
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Major Progress - Many Pics

Exciting day. A convergence of Fedex and UPS vans and a bunch of boxes. First off, to set the scene, here's a shot of the secret lair where the KLR Baja Transformo is taking place:



First to arrive was the Baja Designs 8" HID race light. Fedex usually arrives later in the day, so no suspension yet, but I can at least get the wiring installed.



The wiring harness connects directly to the battery and has its own 15-amp fuse and handlebar switch. No drama with the install.



The front end has a bunch of wires and a little bracket that organizes all the plugs. A little too OCD for my tastes and besides, it gets in the way of the light. I thought I might have to remove the little bracket, but with the wires unplugged, the light fits fine...barely. (this pic is from later in the day after the forks ar back on)



Not long after the wires go in, the Fedex man arrives and I sign for the package. For some reason, the package was sent with the requirement that a person 21-years of age or older sign for it. Everyone at the shop was waiting expectantly as I opened the package. We thought that maybe the folks at Cogent had sent us a beer to aid the install. Alas, no beer, no sex toys, nothing that warrants mature adulthood.*** Pity. However, the box did contain plenty to aid in immature behavior:



And the Drop-In Damper Cartridges:



So I've never touched the inside of a fork in my life until this project. And at least as far as damper-rod forks are concerned, there's not much to them mechanically. Easy to take apart, easy to put back together. I did have to make a special tool. Basically just a piece of steel tube welded into a T-handle shape, about 3 feet long. At the non-handle end I welded a socket to hold half the depth of the rear axle nut, which happens to be the right size to fit the damper rod. I had to grind the outside of the socket since it was a bit too large to fit inside the inner fork tube. I forgot to take a picture but trust me, it's ugly.

Cutting the preload spacers. I cut them to 127mm, but I'm not sure if that will be relevant to anyone else.



All the fork parts go back together, loc-tite the damper rod bolts, fill the fork with oil, burp the air out of them, fill to within 130mm of the top using this awesome little gadget (or something less cool if you don't happen to have one of these sitting around that you forgot about until just today.)



Drop in the DDC valves. put in the springs. Put in the spacers. Install the caps.

I spent about 30 minutes putting the first fork tube back together. The second one went much faster. Maybe 5 minutes. Slam-bam, fill her up with oil, burp the air...wait, what is this? Apparently I got a little too cocky and forgot to put in the drain screw:



Drain screw in, forks back on. Install the light (more pics at the end).

Install rear shock. I read somewhere about removing the subframe yadayada. Screw that. Just jack up the bike and remove the links, then the shock bolts and it will come right out the bottom. I also read something about removing the rear wheel. No need. It comes right out. A lift or a crudely-made special floor-jack-to-bike-lift converter bar is especially useful here:



Install the IMS 6.6-gallon tank. I used an air gun and blew the tank out. Nothing came out that I could see. I took advice from someone on another thread and filed the petcock install-point flatter with a file. Don't know if it was necessary but I happened to have a file within arm's reach so I went for it. I installed the petcock with the supplied gasket and I didn't use sealant...no leaks so far. I did not follow the IMS instructions and use the little T-junction thingy. They want me to connect hoses my bike doesn't even have, so I just looped the vent hose and ran it back toward the rear tire, intending to cut it and zip-tie to the handlebars sometime before riding it too far. I did not connect the tank to the radiator...seemed like radiator damage waiting to happen.

So this is what the bike looks like now. Still have to mount the turn signals and wire up the USB ports. I also haven't set the rear sag yet as I forgot to pack the Giant loop bag with all my camping gear. Here's what the KLR Baja Transformo has wrought thus far:









So how does it all work? Freaking amazing, I tell you. Washbaord that previously made the bike skitter around like an old farm truck might as well not even have existed. I just took it for a quick test loop around the shop, but it's very much improved. Poised rather than wallowy is how I would describe it. The bike takes direction much better now. It at least tries to do what you tell it to do now.

I have not ridden in the dark yet, but I can tell you that the light turns on and off. And I got an unexpected surprise...with the non-moving front fairing and headlight removed, the bike feels like its lighter and more nimble (even though I've added 4 pounds to the steering). It's a mental thing, but not seeing the fairing ot front makes the bike easier to control. I think a lot of that is because I can now see where the front tire is pointed in my lower peripheral vision. I wasn't aware until tonight just how much of an improvement that could make.

Going for a two-day ride somewhere in Montana this weekend, so I'll have more to report on Monday.
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Old 08-09-2013, 05:29 AM   #22
sandalscout
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Very cool build, and similar to the direction I'm going currently, except I'm using a CB400 headlight.

What did you do with the electrical connectors that used to reside inside the metal bracket under the gauges? I had to cut the bottom off of the plastic cover to get my light to fit, but have been thinking about cutting that bracket off entirely to get a little bit more adjustment. Just not sure what to do with the wiring/connectors that will be hanging afterward.
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Old 08-09-2013, 05:40 AM   #23
burque magoo
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nicely farkled Baja-ready KLR!
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:08 AM   #24
NC Rick
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"Not long after the wires go in, the Fedex man arrives and I sign for the package. For some reason, the package was sent with the requirement that a person 21-years of age or older sign for it. Everyone at the shop was waiting expectantly as I opened the package. We thought that maybe the folks at Cogent had sent us a beer to aid the install. Alas, no beer, no sex toys, nothing that warrants mature adulthood.*** Pity. However, the box did contain plenty to aid in immature behavior"

Ha! Perhaps Joyce forgot to pack the Lifesavers? Only your imagination limits their uses!

Thank you so much for your business!
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:33 AM   #25
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I think the KLR is the only bike that a 6 gallon tank doesn't look obnoxiously big on
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:51 AM   #26
Mondo-Hondo OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandalscout View Post
What did you do with the electrical connectors that used to reside inside the metal bracket under the gauges? I had to cut the bottom off of the plastic cover to get my light to fit, but have been thinking about cutting that bracket off entirely to get a little bit more adjustment. Just not sure what to do with the wiring/connectors that will be hanging afterward.
I removed the plastic cover entirely but kept the metal bracket. The wires are just zip-ted in a bundle behind the BD light. I still have some more wiring to do so I'll probably do some clean up there as well. I worry a bit about water with the plastic cover removed so I'll have to come up with something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NC Rick View Post
"Ha! Perhaps Joyce forgot to pack the Lifesavers? Only your imagination limits their uses!

Thank you so much for your business!
Sadly, no lifesavers. We decided that maybe the 21-years-old requirement was to keep extra sensitive youths from the All Balls seals packaging. :)
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:31 AM   #27
DPelletier
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Thanks for the report. I've been researching KLR suspension options for a while now and had never heard of the CD "drop in damper cartridges". I just spent an hour reading DR650 threads and see that these are a relatively new development. With no damper rod drilling and the promise of better off road performance over the Intiminators, the only potential downside appears to be the added cost of the new fork springs. Looks like I may have to reconsider my options...

Dave
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:51 PM   #28
twisted-hog
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Quote:
[How are you going? If you're taking the road, probably not much need for any mods. Unless you ride at night, then you need more light so as not to hit cows
Going with a buddy that is flying over and going to buy a bike up here in Canada. We will trailer down to San Diego and ride to meet up with my wife and daughter who will fly down for a week with us in Cabo. Then we do it all back.
Would like to avoid the slab as much as possible but have to be realistic.

I think we will be doing at least 50% dirt. Still have to get a big map and find some GPS tracks to map out our route.

Time is the only thing working against us. I only have about 3 weeks to make the trek there and back from Vancouver BC.

The biggest mods I will have to do is with my riding gear. My attire is basicly road based so I will have to upgrade every thing to keep safe for the off road portion. I don't have much experience off road so am expecting a get off sooner or later. I want to be protected so it's not a vacation killer, just something I can laugh about and say, holy shit did you see that
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Old 08-12-2013, 01:14 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Mondo-Hondo View Post
I worry a bit about water with the plastic cover removed so I'll have to come up with something.


Pretty hard to see in the pic but I slid portions of bicycle inner tube over the connections and zip-tied the ends shut, so far it's proven waterproof.






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Old 08-12-2013, 02:33 PM   #30
CA Stu
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Originally Posted by Mondo-Hondo View Post
I did not connect the tank to the radiator...seemed like radiator damage waiting to happen.
This seems like a mistake to me.

How did you anchor the front of the tank to the bike then?

If you are going to take your bike down to Baja, seems to me you wouldn't want a 50 pound gas tank bouncing around off road...bad things may happen.

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