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Carl's KLR stuff

This blog page will be devoted to describing various modifications & experiences with my 96 Kawasaki KLR650 motorcycle. Maybe someday I'll set up a "true" website, but until then this will have to suffice. I'm not going to write EVERYTHING down, so feel free to email with questions. After all, I'm writing this to help other KLR owners/lo-buck adventure riders.

Friday, June 6, 2008

>So you wanna change yer tire.
Since you own a KLR, you probably wanna do it yourself. Not that you can't afford to have it done, oh no! It's not that KLR owners are cheap bastards, of course not. You just want the experience of doing it yourself so you can later do it "in the dirt" if need be. This strong inclination to seek out the hardest way to do something & thereby enjoy all the attendant misery is an essential part of KLR-ing, I have found. Changing your tire should satisfy this need, at least for a while.

I'm not going to re-print directions for tire-changing. You can Google a half-dozen, like I did. Here are the two instructions I printed out & used:
Best tire-changing site

Best tire-changing-in-the-dirt site

We also watched Jay's Tire Changing & KLR Valve-Adjustment Video first:
Jay's Famous KLR DVD at Technical Video Rentals
This site has lots of cool videos 4 rent cheap.

The most notable thing about the three methods is that they all disagreed on various things. I forget about what--but recall feeling vaguely disgusted. Oh well, on to the madness!

F'in tire!So, uh, what now?Ghetto bead-breaker works like a charm.Uh oh, how do you protect the rotor from scratches while "in the dirt"?
Aha! There's the leak.New tube must have a little air in it. We used a HD tube.

Now for the "fun" partF 'in tire! We used a lot of soap.
The "New" tire is already 60% roached, I just wanted to check the process. I left the wheel weights on where they were & haven't had any problems yet.

Good list of stuff 2 bring:

I'm sure these pictures make the process perfectly clear! Seriously, if you have questions, feel free to email.

Tunes on the Road

MP3 players were made for motorcycling...with a few modifications. I looked around & decided on this Insignia 4gig thing for $60. It's small & appears reasonably water-resistant. I use $12 Koss squishy ear-bud speakers, which are the best I've ever used in my life to cut road noise & amp the tunes. Make sure to get their old, blue type, not the new white ones, as the white ones' stick out too far to be comfortable in a helmet. Aerostich sells them(for too much, of course--$17, whereas ebay is $10)

To prep the MP3 player, I first opened it up & applied black RTV to the back cover. Helps keep the rain outta the guts.

Then I bought a little $5 plastic cell-phone clip from Radio Shack. I took it apart to get just the plastic/metal jaw part & epoxied it onto the back of the MP3 player. It eventually popped off so I better prepped the surface with a file & it's stuck good since then. Note that the unit is upside-down, so that it can be read while riding.

After a ride or two, I put nice thick globs of RTV on the circular dial on the front & also on the bottom volume buttons. This really works well with gloves or thru a rain jacket.

Other thing I learned is to put a little piece of duct tape over the USB port, in case of rain. Don't ask me how I learned this. Also note that I jam the rest of the cord back in a pocket--works well.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

>How do you prep for a decent-length trip out of the country?
I did it by reading The Adventure Motorcyclist's Handbook, Riding South, some other books, and talking to people on the KLR/Adventure-Rider sites. The following is just meant to supplement those sources. Here's some other-than obvious stuff we did & took

B4 GOING: clean out wallets, renew library bks, check H insurance coverage, authorize credit cards & cell phones to work in Mex, find best rate 4 pesos, write important dates & phone numbers, print this sheet w/ Mapquest addresses. Any friends on the way? (AdvRider & Horizon's Unlimited R invaluable). Print useful Spanish phrases. Go over what to do Worst Case Scenario.

TAKE: 2x copies of papers(insurance, registration, title & copy, copies of passports, books, rainpants/gloves/booties, spare bulbs, bungies, fannie pack, Sandles, freezer bags/gbg bags, extra batts, sewing kit, 1st aid, pack food, water bottles. 2nd set of papers/keys hidden on opposite bike. Lots of Trail Mix.

Motorcycle Camping Checklist
Created: 23-Aug-2006 Motorcycle stuff backpack Oil Rain gloves Bike cover Raingear Boots & socks Spare bulbs Bungee cords Spare fuses Cargo net Spare key(s) Earplugs Tankbag Gloves & spares Tire patch kit Helmets Toolkit Jackets Windshield cleaner Leatherman tool Lock/security stuff Personal Stuff Antihistamines Medications Brush Reading glasses Casual clothes (non-riding) Safe sex stuff Chapstick Shampoo Comb Shaving kit Contact lenses & stuff Soap Dental floss Sunglasses Deodorant Toothbrush & toothpaste Towel(s) Fanny pack or backpack Washcloth Hygiene kit Kotex/Tampons Clothing Cycling shorts Sweater(s) Hat/sunvisor Swim suit Jeans T-shirts Shirts Tennies/sandals Shorts Underwear Small backpack? Socks Information Book(s) Paper & pencil/pen CDs? Passport/ID Camera & accessories Phone List / Rosters Cellphone Registration papers Diary Spanish phrasebks Driver's License Tape/CD/MP3 player Insurance (proof of) Tickets/passes Maps Travel guide(s) Membership cards (AAA, etc.) Misc. Freezer bags (for packing) Bug repellent Ibuprophen/Tylenol Cable ties Rubber bands Cash and/or traveler's checks Sewing kit Credit card(s) Snake bite kit Duct tape Space blanket Extra batteries Sunscreen Extra bolts, tools, parts Superglue First aid kit Flashlight Camping stuff Air mattress Lantern Camp saw Matches/lighter Candles Sacks and/or bags Collapsible chair Sleeping bag Compass Sleeping pad Cord Stakes/rope Groundcloth Tent, poles, rainfly Hatchet Toilet paper Hunting knife Cooking stuff Camp stove & fuel Dishtowel Can opener Drinks Coffee making stuff Food Condiments Garbage/trash bags Cooking pots/pans Knife/fork/spoons Corkscrew Paper towels Cup(s) Water bottle(s) Dishsoap & pad Foodstuffs Coffee Sugar & creamer Salt & pepper
The tool that created this list can be found at: http://www.micapeak.com/checklists/

TOOLS: Wrenches, sockets & ratchets, extensions, spk plug socket, cresc wr, jump cables, Duct tape, zip ties, wd40, voltmeter, air press g, tire irons/spare tube/patch kits, tire inflator, mech wire, screwdr & phil#3 hds, lighters, Spare 14-tooth sprocket & tools to change, Loctite! Vice-Grips, JB Weld, Goop, fuses, bulbs. Spray all with WD40 to keep rust off.
Parts: Sp plug & socket, clutch & 1 throttle cable, misc bolts! Elec wire/bulbs/fuses, 2 qts oil(KLR's burn a LOT after 12 hrs on hwy)

Here's the list Greg Frazier put together to ride his KLR around the World:
Repair manual(s), air pump, Tire pres gauge, mixed cable ties, Misc nuts/bolts/washers for bike, safety wire, 6' electr wire, Duct tape, electr tape, JB Quick Weld, Goop household glue, Super glue, Misc hose clamps, Heat patch kit(for tubes), tire repair kit for tubleless tires, spare tubes(use 21 in back), Several extra pieces of inner tube(largest 6" diam), lightweight batt jumper cables(dumb to carry--just use the HD electr wire), master link for chain. Fuses, circuit tester, oil filter, clutch cable, any parts known to fail on this bike, many latex gloves(they also come in handy in the cold), small tube hand cleaner.

KLR-specific parts:
Carried coil, ign black box, charging syst components(Didn't need any of it)

Tools he carries:
3/8 dr socket set, 2-3 screwdrvrs, allen wr as needed, 2x extra-long irons/spoons, short-handled hammer, Vicegrips, large adj wr, set of box & open-ended wrs, hacksaw blade, misc necessary tools from orig toolkit, multi-tool, spare keys-not locked away but not easily found(We put the 2nd-set of keys & paperwork on the other guy's bike & ended up desperately needing them twice! Good call.)

Some resources:

Since I wrote up this blog psting a year or so ago, some friends have pointed out that I did not go over how exactly we prepped our KLR's for such a long trip.

Sorry about that! & it WAS a year ago, so I probably won't write this up now, either. One thing we woulda definitely done differently is installing a Scottoiler or something similar, as both of our chainers were fried by the long ride down & back, tho we oiled them every night.

We tried to keep our rear trunks empty, so we could throw at least our helmets & gloves in them to walk around. A great suggestion I heard was to have grommets put into your leather boots(do it cheaply while in Mexico, por supuesta), so you can cable-lock them to the bike & wear flip-flops thru town.

Help! my friend is hurt. Where is the nearest hospital? Ayuda! mi amigo está lastimado. ¿Dónde está el hospital más cercano?

Can you replace or repair the alternator, front brake, rear brake, bearings, steering, bent forks, seat, lights, headlight, horn, broken frame, bent frame, non-functioning electrical system, flat tire, bent wheel, broken motor, broken transmission? Where can I buy motor oil or spare parts?

¿Puede usted substituir o reparar el alternador, freno delantero, freno posterior, cojinetes, manejo, bifurcaciones dobladas, asiento, luces, linterna, cuerno, marco roto, marco doblado, sistema eléctrico de no-funcionamiento, neumático plano, rueda doblada, motor roto, transmisión rota? ¿Dónde puedo comprar aceite del motor o piezas de repuesto?

Just writing down key words will save you a lot of time. My buddy didn't know oil was "aceite" & pantomimed pouring into his motor. For his trouble, he got a frosty cerveca, so it wasn't all bad.

Friday, January 5, 2007

>A list of the various mods I've done to the bike
Stuff in parenthesis I got for free or at a used price. "M" after the price denotes it was regular maintenance, not an upgrade. A * after means I do NOT recommend the product. DS=Dual Star, AR=Arrowhead, SC=Schuck's Auto Supply, JCW=JC Whitney

27 Bar snake
70? Low vibration Honda mirrors
10 SC Compass/thermo
(20) Indiglo watch
45 Stebel horn
15 Gel grips
50? Moose Racing handguards *They don't fit right & broke easily.
10 DS remote mirror mount
60 left switch housing
total: $287 + (20)

100M tire
(60)M brake pads
(250) EBC oversize rotor
70 EBC steel-braded front brake
130 Fork brace *Too much $ for too little change. Added a lot of weig
25 Gators
10 SC tire press indicators
5 DS speed bleeders
125M MEFO 70/30 tire(Mar09, 29,065)
25M EBC brake pads(Mar09)
45M bearings + install
Fat tube
TOTAL: $240 + 295m + (340)

15M water/oil seals
7 SC Automotive fuel filter
(5) magnetic drain plug
- Y-mod
70 Dynojet kit
- Removed airbox screen
16 extra foam-airbox door
30?M valve adjust
10M Spark plug
100?M Oil changes
60? DS metal oil filter
- Cleaned oil screen
- Weld exhaust shield
90 Doohickey + spring & bolt
50?M clutch
30 Heavy-duty clutch springs
TOTAL: $277 + 205M + (5)

160M Avon 80/20 tire & tube
(75?)M chain + sprockets
15 DS brk mas cyl gd
25M rr brk lvr weld
5 DS Speedlbleeder
20 AR 14-tooth sprocket
20 AR 16-tooth sprocket
25? DS axel & adjuster locknuts
125 MEFO tire(Mar09)
25 EBC brakes
TOTAL: $85 + 335m + (75)

260 Packrat Adv Gear rack & 2 mermites
15 recovered seat
- Moved license plate
30 JCW LED taillight *Cool, but not bright enuf
30 AR 80/130 hdlt
15? Upgraded hdlt plug
260 IMS tank
15 DS plastic hdlt guard
20 JCW metal car hdlt guard
45 SC truck bedliner
30 JCW tank bag *Too floppy
70 Tank saddlebags
50? Trunk
65 DS high windshield *Crap if yer tall. Sold it.
115 DS gel seat. *crap. Buy Corbin or Airhawk
20 Packrat tool/ammo box Not installed yet
10 SC locktite
- kickstand sw
20 Bigfoot/weld
30? Saddlebags
20 UFO lowered fender
(150=85) Airhawk Seat cushion
20 PVC pipe highway bars
10 Face shield "windshield"
85 Brake! LED Tailight
35 DS 12v socket
90 KLR650.net progressive springs
15 AR LED battery condition monitor
350+ TPX radar detector
TOTAL: 1875

GRAND TOTAL: $2700 + $835M + ($475)

LESSONS LEARNED: I can't believe I've spent four-freakin-grand on this thing & it's STILL not a GS!!!