KLR Pick-Up/Flatbed Mod - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods For maintaining, repair or modifications of Generation 1 KLR's. 2007 and earlier.

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post #1 of 32 Old 11-13-2006, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 595
KLR Pick-Up/Flatbed Mod


OK, I've been thinking about this mod for quite sometime and I think I'm nearly ready to start the project. Usually I don't share my spiffy ideas before hand, but for this I thought, "What the Hay!"

Some Background:

In my mind Motorcycles can be practical for even us discriminating American driving snobs. How often do you see a housewife driving alone in a Giganticus SUV? That cargo space never gets used, pick-up trucks are more of status symbols than work machines. Yet, we see those funny (to us) pictures of families crammed on the back of MoPeds in Southeast Asia, or them overloaded to the point of comical. But that's the norm to them... no one can afford a real car or pick-up so they make due with what they've got. The more I think about it, the more I appreciate their humble attitudes, and willingness to get things done by any means necessary.

Now back to America... the current trend for motorcycling is that it's basically a hobby. Not a main source of transportation. Or at least accepted as a main source of transportation. The rising popularity of Choppers, thanks to the Discovery Channel, and the sleek new lines coming off factory showroom floors. Bikes are faster, slicker and just plain eye candy. Eye Candy = Not Practical.

I think that with the right amount of practicality, motorcycles could become more of a mainstream mode of transportation. With rising fuel costs, it just makes sense to cut back somewhere. Thing is, most people that own motorcycles drive SUVs or Pick-Ups during the week and ride on the weekend. That's not helping curb any of our consumption. Sad part is, you'll almost never see any cargo in the back of either of those vehicles during the week either. My idea is to create a Pick-Up or Sport Utility Motorcycle of sorts. The KLR in it's current incarnation kinda fills that role, but only superficially. It still tries to be a dirt bike, adventurer tourer, 2-Up riding machine. With some minor modifications, I feel that we can change the generic do-it-all role of the bike to be more utilitarian and obvious as to what the bike's real capabilities are. It's basically a two-wheeled pick-up truck. Back when pick-up trucks actually meant something. OK, it's more of a flatbed, but even that's more practical. And lets face it, not many of us will ride with a passenger on this bike anyway. I know my wife will never get on.

I've been acquiring some special machines over the last few months and I think I'm almost ready to start the fabrication portion of this project. But before I begin, so I don't have any down time on my bike with commuting, I just might pick up an older KLR to use as my Jig/Template. I'll keep everyone abreast with updates from time to time.
Biker Scout is offline  
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post #2 of 32 Old 11-13-2006, 07:35 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 57
I've thought about a similar setup, the ultimate would actually be a scaled down pickup truck bed, with a tailgate, tiedown plugs,etc and maybe even a small topper and pickup style trailer hitch bumper, someting out of the late 70's or a small version of a mid 80's f150 bed would be sweet.

Looks like a good idea though!
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post #3 of 32 Old 11-13-2006, 07:36 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 42
I think it's a great idea. Keep us posted. Don't forget the pics. The only thing I'd like that's different from your design is some sort of quick disconnect system. It'd be nice to flip a couple of latches and put whatever rear end on the bike I wish. Maybe a flat bed, a regular seat, or maybe some sort of rocket launcher for SoCal lane splitting. Just an idea.
RedKLR is offline  
post #4 of 32 Old 11-13-2006, 07:39 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 251
That looks like a good idea Mr. Bill er uh Biker. I think something like that just might sell for a KLR. There are so many people who never ride two up anyway. Better get yourself a patent though. It just might make ya rich.
Deerhntr is offline  
post #5 of 32 Old 11-13-2006, 07:43 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
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That would sell huge!!!....in India.
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post #6 of 32 Old 11-13-2006, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 595
There are lots of ideas swimming around with this mod. This is only a quickie skectch of the direction I'm leaning. Maybe they'd sell, maybe they wouldn't. All I know is, there will be at least two made. I've made stuff in the past and unless you are depending on sales revenue to pay the bills it's a labor of love. I'm almost happy with selling the idea to someone who is more jazzed about mass production than I am. I'm just an "Idea Guy" with the ability to make prototypes, and I want to keep it that way for now.

I'm not sure how a patent would protect my idea/concept. As far as I know, the patent would have to be something really specific, rather than a vague description. ie, Motorcycle with a Flatbed and Upgraded Subframe. Anybody could do that. I dunno... maybe sold as a "Kit" something could be patented. I wonder how many KLR specific products are out there right now that have a patent on them? And how many of those products have been "Borrowed" to make reproductions in some foreign land? U.S. Patent protection laws don't mean squat to certain countries.


I possibly didn't do a good job of showing a certain aspect of my concept, but that flatbed cargo area will be significantly lower than the current subframe top rails. This design was to keep the center of gravity low as possible without bottoming out the rear suspension on the two components. There will also be some rear hoops welded in that go over the tire to allow people to have lower box mount supports. I didn't show that in the drawing either. But my goal is to allow people to still use their favorite side cases, but tucked in even further.
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post #7 of 32 Old 11-13-2006, 08:14 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
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Yea I'd be like you Biker as far as making them to sell. I think if that was put into kit form though, it would sell like bacon samiches at Papers house. Maybe a guy like EagleMike would be interested? Who knows, but it is a good idea. Good luck with your fab work.
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post #8 of 32 Old 11-13-2006, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 595
Isn't he a Machinist? Bends like what I've got planned need dedicated machinery for repeatability. Does he have a Rotary Draw Tubing Bender? I'm hoping to go with a Mandrel Bends on the Sub Frame, but will see how far along this project gets before I start being anal about types of bends.
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post #9 of 32 Old 11-13-2006, 11:41 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 251
I'm not sure if he's set up for that or not. I just threw his name out there as an idea. Someone like Mike in the biz with the equipment may be interested. You never know. Good luck with it.
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post #10 of 32 Old 11-14-2006, 09:39 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Mt. Gilead, OH
Posts: 114
Looks good, I'm watching and waiting to see how this goes!
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