Suspension mods good but bike squirrely now?! - 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 12 Old 08-12-2010, 08:46 AM Thread Starter
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Question Suspension mods good but bike squirrely now?!

Hi, Earlier this summer I did some mods to my 04 KLR to accomodate my size and weight. I am 6'5" and weigh in at about 260 lbs so the changes feel much better and allow me to fit better on my ride. The issue is now that the bike feels loose or squirrely on hard dirt corners or when hitting small ruts or grooves in gravel or dried dirt roads.

Here's what I did. I installed Eagle Mike's RAISING links, swapped out the rear suspension spring to a Top Gun 8.0 kg rear spring, and also replaced the rear tire with a Kenda K270 (50/50). I also installed Eagle Mike's 38 mm handlebar risers but I don't think these affect the handling feel that I am experiencing.

As I enter corners it feels like a wobble of the rear wheel, like the rear is about to slip out. If I hit grooves in the trail or road it also feels like the rear wheel is soft and squirrely. Prior to my mods the rear of the bike always felt glued to the ground and I could confidently power thru anything. Now it takes a few timid turns to get used to the squirrely feel of the rear end. I can and do power thru the turns and the wobble but I after 2 full months of riding, I still am nervous with the feel of the bike.

Any suggestions on why this is happening or tips on how to correct it would be appreciated.

Last edited by Lizardrider; 06-01-2011 at 09:40 PM.
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-12-2010, 10:06 AM
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Take some time to look into some of the feedback regarding the Kenda 270's. I think you will find many of the complaints echo what you are reporting. I have used up two K270's on the rear. For fire trails and most gravel, it was fine. On hard surfaces, I found I needed to have my seat recovered after approaching any corners the might require any effort to negotiate. I never went down, nor has anyone else I know that used them. A couple of years ago, I located a large inventory of K270's in 120/90-17. I bought about 20 of them for something like $20.00 a piece. Everyone I knew that had 17" rears was running them. The comments were pretty much the same...squirrelly as hell, but not bad enough that anyone was willing to pay retail for a replacement tire. They run 'em until they were slick. I haven't bought another K270 for the simple reasons that I have found other tires that out perform and out last the 270's for less money.

I think your problem may be in your tire. That particular tire is extremely air sensitive. Try adding a few more pounds and see if that does not help stabilize things a bit. That skirm could be caused by the tall, narrow knobs leaning over, especially on the outer perimeter. I suggest you experiment with your air pressures.

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post #3 of 12 Old 08-12-2010, 10:14 AM
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Oh, yeah.

I love K270s off road, but on one trip that had a lot of twisty pavement they scared the crap out of me.

They are now relegated to rides that have no twisty pavement, but lots of off road here in the SoCal desert.

Tom

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post #4 of 12 Old 08-12-2010, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Schmitz View Post
Oh, yeah.

I love K270s off road, but on one trip that had a lot of twisty pavement they scared the crap out of me.

They are now relegated to rides that have no twisty pavement, but lots of off road here in the SoCal desert.

Tom

Yea the 270's squirm around on the street but they aren't dangerous. I got used to it after awhile but when I went to 761s it was like being on rails in comparison!

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Cor 2:9
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post #5 of 12 Old 08-12-2010, 01:13 PM
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Yea the 270's squirm around on the street but they aren't dangerous. I got used to it after awhile but when I went to 761s it was like being on rails in comparison!
Absolutely! Although one thing I noticed whent he 761s were new was that they didn't "turn in" like the stock Dunlops did - it took a conscious effort to make them turn. Did you notice that, too?

The 761s were also very susceptible to rain grooves.

The lack of turn in went away pretty quickly, or I got used to it.

The rain groove thing went away, too. Must have been the intial wear radiusing the sharp corners int he tread.

Tom

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post #6 of 12 Old 08-12-2010, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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I read about the 270 wobble prior to buying the 270s but most of the complaints are about the 270 wobble on pavement and that most people love the 270 off pavement. As I only ride pavement to get to gravel and dirt I was not concerned. I haven't noticed the wobble on pavement at all rather it has always been on dirt/gravel.

I have been riding it at about 25 lbs pressure.

I just find it hard to believe that the knobbie swaying can cause such a dramatic effect to the handling of the ride.

Comments?
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post #7 of 12 Old 08-12-2010, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Schmitz View Post
Absolutely! Although one thing I noticed whent he 761s were new was that they didn't "turn in" like the stock Dunlops did - it took a conscious effort to make them turn. Did you notice that, too?

The 761s were also very susceptible to rain grooves.

The lack of turn in went away pretty quickly, or I got used to it.

The rain groove thing went away, too. Must have been the intial wear radiusing the sharp corners int he tread.

Tom

Rain grooves? I wouldn't know...



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post #8 of 12 Old 08-12-2010, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizardrider View Post
I read about the 270 wobble prior to buying the 270s but most of the complaints are about the 270 wobble on pavement and that most people love the 270 off pavement. As I only ride pavement to get to gravel and dirt I was not concerned. I haven't noticed the wobble on pavement at all rather it has always been on dirt/gravel.

I have been riding it at about 25 lbs pressure.

I just find it hard to believe that the knobbie swaying can cause such a dramatic effect to the handling of the ride.

Comments?
Go up or down five pounds with your air pressure and see if it changes anything.

My K270's felt like they were coming off the rim. They didn't. Once I got OK with the idea they weren't coming off the rim, or that I was about to crash, I tolerated the ride. That is about as good of a description as I can give regarding adjusting to that tire. I experienced no wobble. I frequently felt like I had just hit an black ice patch. I ride year 'round. I know what it feels like to hit a black ice patch in a corner / curve on a motorcycle.

Kenda lists a maximum tire pressure of 40 lbs. for the K270 rear in 5.10-17. You state that you are running 25 lbs.
You have handling problems.

Load Capacity/Inflation Pressure: 760 LBS/40 PSI
Load Range: C


By your description, you are running about 670 lbs [bike + rider] on your tires. Load capacity of 760 lbs listed is with 40 lbs of air in the tires. Riding a lower volume of air may assist in handling on loose surfaces, but may negativity affect hard surface handling. As you claimed in the original post:

Quote:
The issue is now that the bike feels loose or squirrely on hard dirt corners or when hitting small ruts or grooves in gravel or dried dirt roads.
Running the air pressures that you are may be putting the tire beyond it's load bearing capacity, creating some handling issues.

I'm holding that some improvement will be made by adjusting the air pressure in the rear tire.

******
“many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased”- Steinbeck, [I]"Travels with Charlie"
[/I]
[IMG]http://i718.photobucket.com/albums/ww187/vatrader01/KLR%20mechanical/04e28c5e.jpg[/IMG]

[FONT="Century Gothic"][I]Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith[/I] [/FONT]
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post #9 of 12 Old 08-12-2010, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Spec View Post
Rain grooves? I wouldn't know...


Hayabusa country, looks to me.

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“Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead.” -Philip Marlowe

“'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte


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post #10 of 12 Old 08-12-2010, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Schmitz View Post
Hayabusa country, looks to me.

Yea and me with a KLR...

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