Tires - 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 30 Old 01-07-2019, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Tires

Hey guys does anyone have advice on a brand of tubes they rely on.
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post #2 of 30 Old 01-08-2019, 10:45 AM
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IRC tubes seem to be a quality tube at a fair price. BikeMaster tubes seem to be slightly heavier at similar price.

pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #3 of 30 Old 01-08-2019, 11:17 AM
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I like real rubber tubes (synthetics tend to rip or tear) and use Bridgestone HD.

Dave
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post #4 of 30 Old 01-09-2019, 01:00 AM
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I recently bought some Kenda tires, tubes, and tube strips and everything has been working out great. My bike is primary used in dirt and sand, its really dirty right now. But the more dirt / mud kendas I picked have worked out great.
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post #5 of 30 Old 01-10-2019, 08:30 AM
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I have used bike master for a long time, never use HD, I have only had one problem, and have never had to balance my tires (Shinko 705s).
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post #6 of 30 Old 01-11-2019, 05:19 PM
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Since this thread is entitled "Tires," I'm going to hijack it a bit and ask a question that I know has been addressed a million times already but I'd like to hear some current opinions.

I'm riding the stock tires still and I don't like them. The front feels like it wanders quite a bit, especially at 20-40 mph. At these speeds, if I do that screwy back-and-forth steering thing, the bike doesn't like to straighten out afterward. I mean, it kind of wants to continue going back and forth for a few "pulses" until it settles back in. It kind of seems like the tire has two two "sides" and it's an effort (I mean, relatively it's not to an unsafe level) to find my way back to center after I go to one or the other. Nothing new there, right?

Anyway, being a new rider, this leaves me without the confident feels I crave, and I'm wondering what might be the best tires as replacements if I'm aiming for:

High feeling of surety on the road
An (atmost) low feeling of unsurety in the gravel or on hard dirt
Good puncture resistance
Good acoustics for longer trips (no screaming at highway speeds)

I know there are some options, some of which are kind of the "el cheapo" route and others that trend more rico. My feeling is that I'm willing to spend more on tires right now *if I have to in order to minimize the stress I already feel as I try to get comfortable on the bike. My guess is that as I gain experience, all the little things I feel through the handlebars won't freak me out like they do today, and I'll be able to re-arrange the order of consideration in the above list. Anyway, I'd like to hear what you all have to say about it is there a particularly stable tire that handles well on both road and gravel, will resist punctures and won't deaden my ears within a particular frequency range?
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post #7 of 30 Old 01-11-2019, 06:11 PM
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Samuel,

The first two are almost mutually exclusive.
The third is really not a consideration because any tire in the first 70% of it's life is going to have good puncture resistance.
The fourth pretty much means no knobbies or even aggressive tires and is counter to #2.

All of the above is why I have two sets of wheels and tires.

That said, I ride almost exclusively on K761s. I hate sounding like a fanboy for the things but they last a long time, handle well as long as the front is put on backward, work well in the wet and are just fine off-road on anything you can take a good Jeep on. They are fine on deep stream crossings so long as you have a good entry with just enough speed and stay as vertical as possible. They are not good in mud, sand, loose hill climbs, and deep gravel. Sand and gravel require a light front end, as much speed as you can muster, and faith that the bike's geometry will carry it in a mostly-forward direction. Mud and loose hill climbs require an aggressive tire, technique and, to some extent, balls. Size 12 polished brass are handy.

Don't worry that you don't like the OEM tires. They won't last long enough to be a problem.

I think you should be looking at tires like the IRC GP110, Shinko 705, Kenda K761, Heidenau K60, etc. These are tires that will be touted as an 80%/20% or 70%/30% tire ([rant] Which is the stupidest designation imaginable. There has to be a better way to designate a tire's purpose other than percentage of time doing something. Really, when you're doing something you're doing something and you need something that will do the something as if you were always doing that something, right? The Piste system would be better. A Pirelli Scorpion Trail II is a green circle. A Mitas C-20 is a double black diamond. The Shinko 705 would be a blue square. Seems to make more sense. [/rant])

Tom [email protected]

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post #8 of 30 Old 01-11-2019, 06:41 PM
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Good post by Tom as always....though my tire choice is quite different because my usage is quite different. For me the K761 and those like it are far too road biased for where I ride and what I do.....it doesn't mean Tom is wrong it just means we have different priorites when it comes to KLR tires. ....well, that and I'm a tire snob so I prefer Michelin's, Dunlops, etc. ....except the stock Dunlops; I hate 'em I run Dunlop D606 rears and Pirelli MT21 fronts; excellent traction offroad, good enough grip on road for spirited riding and I don't much care how long they last or about a bit of noise. If I was doing more pavement riding, I'd consider trying Mitas E07's or Heidenau K60's.

Another thought; the symptoms you describe could easily be incorrect steering head bearing preload.....just a though and something to check.

Dave
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post #9 of 30 Old 01-11-2019, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Schmitz View Post
These are tires that will be touted as an 80%/20% or 70%/30% tire ([rant] Which is the stupidest designation imaginable. There has to be a better way to designate a tire's purpose other than percentage of time doing something. Really, when you're doing something you're doing something and you need something that will do the something as if you were always doing that something, right? The Piste system would be better. A Pirelli Scorpion Trail II is a green circle. A Mitas C-20 is a double black diamond. The Shinko 705 would be a blue square. Seems to make more sense. [/rant])
I agree 1000%. ....the fact is that I probably ride 50-60 percent of the time on pavement just to get to the dirt that I wanna ride, but "50/50" tires are the last thing I want as I seldom get stuck on pavement! LOL

My philosophy is to use tires that work well in the WORST conditions you expect to encounter

Dave
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post #10 of 30 Old 01-11-2019, 06:46 PM
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Head Bearing Adjustment Procedure
The Patman
KLRWORLD.COM

The upper t-clamp sits on top of the spanner nut that adjusts the bearings.

To do this right, the front wheel should be off the ground, so you can adjust it properly. The spec is: the bars, when pushed with your back of your pinky finger should not flop over to one side or the other, if they do, the bearing is too loose. If you can't push the bars from one side to the other with your eyelid, the bearing is too tight. Now thats a narrow range.
It's also the difference between headshake, and the ditch. Too loose and you'll ruin the bearings, and be prone to headshake and a crash, and too tight and you'll be prone to the bearings getting hot, swelling up, and not turning...generally this happens exactly when you need too.
So. Ready?
Let's go.
Everyone take a deep breath, and with feet shoulder width...oh...no...wait a minute, that's another training session...


Loosen two right and two left upper t-clamp fork tube pinch bolts.
( the t-clamp wont move down if the fork pinch bolts are tight, it needs to slide down on top of the spanner nut after you adjust it, in order to KEEP it tight ...the steering stem nut is what will pull it down...provided that you loosened the pinch bolts on the fork tubes uppers only of course. The dealer often misses this stem and the bearing adjustment comes loose again in about 450 miles )

Mark the bars down at the clamps so you can put them back to a position that will never feel exactly like they were yesterday.

You may have to loosen or remove the bar clamps and lay the bars down on the tank ( use a big fluffy towel to prevent scratches, and to keep the bars from flopping around )

loosen the top nut a turn or two ( steering stem nut )

Use a brass drift...er...I mean a flat blade screwdriver, and a small mallet, to turn the spanner nut ( under the t-clamp ) to tighten it.

Go a little at a time until a slight resistance is felt when moving the front wheel side to side ( don't screw around and knock the handlebars off the tank ! )

I use one clamp and stick the bars back on for a second to check the bearing tightness.

You should have to push the bars from one side to the other with the bearing at the proper tightness.

But just barely.

In other words, the bars shouldn't FALL from one side to the other when you give them a slight push. If they do, tighten it some more and try again. When it gets to where you have to use the pressure of your pinky finger to push the bars from one side to the other ( I use my eyebrow to push with ) but it wont FLOP over, you've got it.

Note: one side will have enough "cable drag" to make it a little harder to push than the other. I set mine so that NEITHER side ( that is going left or right ) will flop over on it's own. WARNING: If ya get it too tight you WILL crash. Remember JUST TIGHT ENOUGH TO NOT FALL OVER TO THE SIDE BY ITSELF.

At this point use the steering stem nut, to pull the upper t-clamp down on top of the spanner nut and washer assy. ( the washer has two little "teeth" that when squeezed by the upper t-clamp, will hold the bearing adjustment ( spanner nut ) where you put it.)

As you tighten the steering stem nut, tap the two pinch clamps on each side of the t-clamp to help it slide down the fork tubes, and on top of the spanner nut.

Check it again for "not too tight but wont flopedness".

Check it again for "not too tight but wont flopedness".

Check it again for "not too tight but wont flopedness".




If you find it's too tight. loosen the upper steering stem nut a half a turn, use the screwdriver and mallet to knock the spanner nut loose by about one half of one quater of one millionth of an inch... ( an eigth of a turn...or less ) then retighten the steering stem nut to specs and try it again for the "not too tight, but wont flop over" test.

It should WANT TO flop over, but it's just a bit to tight to fall over on it's own.

Tighten the pinch bolts on the fork tubes.

Adjust the bars back to where you think you had them before.

Tighten the bar clamps.

That is all.
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