Showing posts from 2016

License Plate Illuminate

I bought this KLR with the plate relocated from the sub-fender to beneath the tail light, but there wasn't a plate light. I picked up a pair of LED license plate bolts and wired them into the existing circuit for the stock lamp using the harness off of the sub-fender with the factory connector.

Blue Sea ST Fuse Box

I added a Blue Sea ST four-circuit blade fuse block along with a five-gang common bus to handle the 12V/5V outlet, the Trail Tech Equinox Lamps and the additional 12V outlet I'll install before winter.

The Blue Sea box is small enough to tuck under what little room is beneath the seat, but, like the battery and stock fuse block, it's still be at the highest point possible on the bike.

The box has a clear plastic cover protecting all the circuits. It's powered directly from the positive battery terminal.  The common bus is pulled from the NEG post. I like a separate common to bring all the accessory leads to. Makes trouble shooting easier. I've done a similar set-up on my H3 with a 100A breaker in between the  Blue Sea box and the battery.

Progressive 465 Series Monotube Shock

The original plan was to swap out the stock spring and go with a Top Gun 8kg spring upgrade to handle the load. That all changed when a) thinking all along that the adjustable stock spring was at its highest setting, but was in fact bottomed out with a broken pre-load adjuster, and b) when I tried to compress the Top Gun shock with a set of Tusk spring compressors for the install.

This is what FUBAR looks like.

I figured if the pre-load was busted at its highest setting - 5 - I could live with that being a fixed value, as long as the Top Gun spring compensated that stock spring's shortcomings. But, the Tusk compressors slipped because I didn't tape the spring where they mounted, and because there was no way in bloody hell they were going to compress that spring far enough because they weren't long enough to grab enough spring for the compression in the first place.

I was leaving the following afternoon for a 900-mile weekend ride. I ordered a Progressive 465 Series Monotub…

Other Farkles

The rear brake master cylinder is now protected with an SW-Motech guard, the stocks pegs were swapped for a pair of IMS Pro-Series foot pegs, and a new adjustable center stand from Happy Trails will make chain maintenance more of a Zen thing. There's a lift handle added to the other side.

Tusk 30mm handlebar risers were added resulting in a surprising difference for me, not only for control off-road when standing but also for long rides, relieving much of the numbing I experienced with the bars in the stock position.

 A Wolfman bottle holster has been added to the right Pelican pannier holding an MSR fuel bottle, making oil maintenance easier and freeing up some room in the top case.

Trail Tech Equinox Lights

These lamps added a whopping 1052 lumens to the KLR's illumination, with 10 degree spot angles and adjustable output for each fixture. They burn at 6000 kelvin, making my stock head and high beam look like they belong on an old French scooter.

Wanting to avoid any extra holes or hardware, I eliminated the stock turn signals and replaced them with SW-Motech indicators on the hand guards, freeing up the space to mount these lamps. I wanted to maintain the break-away engineering of the stock signal posts but couldn't come up with anything that would be rigid enough to keep the housings from bouncing around, so I put together some hardware that fit perfectly into the turn signal post recess on the fairing.

The hardware used includes two stainless 1" fender washers with 3/8" centers, a smaller diameter stainless washer that works as a spacer in between, and a rubber 1" washer to allow adjustment while maintaining tightness.

I installed the Trail Tech wire harness a…


The most vulnerable bits on the KLR are the radiator and engine case. There's no factory protection for the cooling system and the plastic skid plate that ships with the bike is more cosmetic than anything armored. 
And while the factory hand guards do well to deflect air, there's little more protection offered since they're open at the bar ends. 
There are a number of aftermarket alternatives out there to remedy these issues and after considerable research I decided to go with SW-Motech products. 
Much was said about their fit and finish, and the installations required no last-minute alterations or engineering to get everything to match up. And they were right. 
The crash bars are powder coated 26.9 mm mild steel tubing engineered to mount at the top frame/subframe junction, the front engine mount aft of the skid plate and then on the bottom of the main frame forward the foot pegs. The accompanying hardware insulates the cage very well at the buzziest point of the engine…

Progressive Springs

The KLR's first long ride made it painfully evident that the suspension would need some work. After researching tested alternatives I decided to go with Progressive springs on the front. 
The installation is straight forward, just take care to not strip the aluminum threads on the caps. I'll spare the process details - you can find ample YouTube help, some good, some questionable. 
Diving is minimized dramatically, sudden stops no longer induce more panic, return is solid. Great improvement. 
Installation of a Top Gun 8kg spring is next for the rear axle. 

Packing Details

Transitioning on and off the bike is enough to make any rider stay on a little bit longer or ride past that vista without taking a shot. Jacket, earplugs or phones, brain bucket, glasses, gloves - then stow it away anytime you step away from your ride.

I thought I'd add a couple of details to make transitions a bit easier and handy.

I added a strap system on the RH Pelican pannier to secure my camera bag and yet keep my device at the ready for a stop and shoot. Four black nylon Footmans loops were added to the top of the case through which are two one-inch straps sized to the circumference of the camera bag. The straps have quick release buckles and a couple of web dominators to mind the slack when they're not in use.
The camera bag (seen here inside a dry bag) lashes to the top of the case for a quick and secure mount, while having the camera easily accessible without having to dismount.
One more simple detail is the relocation of the helmet lock. Putting it on the Pelican t…

Rider Interface

This post begins a list of small upgrades - farkles as they're known to the moto-world - stuff that makes the going a little easier, the bike a little, um, sexier, and the rider a bit more satisfied in having spent whatever discretionary income to make his ride that much more unique while all the other riders on whatever forum they're subscribing to are doing the same thing. Tribal behavior at its best.

To start, a KLR handle bar bag was added providing a great spot for glasses and gloves and anything else you find yourself constantly putting on and taking off.  Great design, though not quite waterproof.
To the left of the bag is an SW Motech waterproof and shock-protected iPhone case and mount that I borrowed from my mountain bike. The case is a clam shell that seals with an o-ring with waterproof ports for power and headphones. The screen retains its touch sensitivity, even with my gloved hand. The device rotates 90 degrees and has a stout quick release feature. In my haste…


Update: I decided to go flat black and khaki, keeping the with classic tail of the KLR and the more tech nature of the front fairing.

Bleeding red (as in Honda), it was a switch to ride something green. That's not to say that Kawasaki is inferior to Honda, but we all know how we are when it comes to brand loyalties, and that's whack. And that's not the only reason I decided to change the paint scheme on the KLR. I saw one featured on the KLR650 forum page painted khaki and I really liked it.

I also like the factory paint on the new KLRs, not so much the digi camo, but the blacked-out bikes with simplified graphics, not to mention the few older camo-rattle-canned KLRs I've seen on the interweb.

I played around a bit on Photoshop to see what a khaki scheme might look like on the KLR's lines.

I decided to make some changes, going simplest form first. I didn't want to change the tank color so I reversed the black and gray motif, going black on the headlight cowl f…


Forrest Gump would have something to say about buying a used motorcycle, much like a box of chocolates. Unless you're kicking tires with an 8mm socket in your pocket and the the owner's permission to disrobe the bike, you never know what you've got until you've got it home and have it unclad.

I posted earlier about an initial teardown, leaving the headlight/instrument cluster faring still in tact along with the LH radiator shroud. It all came off this past weekend to prep and paint all the plastics.

A couple of notes: Large wood screws are no substitute for proper, specified and engineered hardware. There's one instance of these beasts force-threaded into the embedded nuts on the rear frame crossmember to which the rack is attached. This kind of quick and dirty fixing gives me the shivers. And it pisses me off. A trip to the hardware store would have taken care of the problem, even if it were a roadside repair (which, I can't imagine it was).
Always a good ide…