Highway Riding - Mods? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 02-24-2011, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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Question Highway Riding - Mods?

I have a 2008 KLR650.. Once this winter is all over with... I plan on doing some longer highway rides (140 miles or so). I will be doing the Doohickey this Spring. I was wondering is there is anything else that I should do?

I was considering a 16T sprocket, but in a debate about having to change it for more off-road riding.
Also, for a 140 mile ride, what is the highest consistent RPM you would run? Is 5100 RPM too much for that long?

Any advice (on the cheaper side) would be great!
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post #2 of 24 Old 02-24-2011, 11:55 AM
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vinson1213-

Most people would suggest a better seat and highway pegs. I found the stock seat to be good for less than an hour before butt ache set in.

140 miles is not that far, only a couple of hours, so what you need depends a lot on you. If you're one of those fortunate souls that is thin and wiry, then you may be fine on the stock seat. If you're a bit on the heavier side the stock seat will not be much fun. Many people have found the ATV seat pad sold at WalMart to be a really good solution, and it's around $20, if I'm not mistaken.

On the 16 tooth, that depends on your terrain. I found that the 16 tooth sprocket required me to down shift on any appreciable grade. If you live in a flat area you might be fine with it.

As to RPM - I think it's more a function of how fast you want to ride. I will ride the KLR at 75mph and feel comfortable. Occasionally I will run it up to 85 or 90 for short periods, but I don't feel comfortable cruising at those speeds. The RPM will be a function of your gearing. The only concern I have with riding over 5000rpm is the oil consumption, which increases somewhat dramatically on my bike at over 5Krpm.

T

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Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 02-24-2011 at 12:00 PM.
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post #3 of 24 Old 02-24-2011, 02:39 PM
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post #4 of 24 Old 02-25-2011, 01:52 AM
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post #5 of 24 Old 02-25-2011, 08:14 AM
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Anything you can do to improve the stock seat will be appreciated by the comfort monitor, your butt. The stock seat is OK for a few miles, after that, I get "hot spots" at the pressure points my butt has with the seat. You can't wish those away. Ignoring that burning, biting pain is like ignoring putting your fingers in a meat grinder. Getting off the bike is the only solution. A firmer seat that spreads the load off of my hip joints and onto the backs of my thighs has worked well for me. I've had some custom seats that looked good, but were in function little more than a pleather covered oak 2 x 6. The end result was the same.....a seat I couldn't do 50 miles on without developing a deep hatred for motorcycle riding. There are a number of improvements you can do to the stock seat....sheep skin covers, beads, air hawk, ATV seat covers, sweet cheeks, a bucket seat out of a Ford Pinto....I have a friend that took a large garden kneeling pad of very dense foam he found at a store, adhered some tie down straps to the corners, tied it down to his seat and it does an amazing job. Non-intrusive and comfortable.

This has been been one of the few bikes that I have not suffered from wind buffeting on. No windshield, low, high, I don't experience turbulence from passing wind. I have spent enough to buy a medium village on windshields in my life. If the wind is beating me while on this bike, the wind is also tossing the bike around like a row boat on rough waters. Windshield can't change that.

As Tom pointed out, for under 150 mile trips, the stock gearing does a pretty good job. You still have plenty of capability on or off hard surface roads, RPM's aren't fatal to the bike trying to keep up with traffic. Truthfully, a 150 mile trip with a stock equipped bike would not create any concerns for me. I could tell you before I left I would be stopping at least twice to get off and stretch the legs. Let the circulation in my lower region catch up with my upper region. And to just combat fatigue. A constant fight with wind for an hour is enough.

A few minute break that will give my butt a time out, allow me to relax, divert my attention off the road, is not only making the trip enjoyable, it is a safety measure. These sound like planned trips, not a fuel propelled exodus the day of the Apocalypse. Leave 20 minutes earlier, so you can ride 5 MPH slower, and not burn up your bike engine, avoid a dramatic incident where your butts says "far enough", and you maintain enough road awareness you can react to situations rather than succumb to them. And none of that has anything to do with tweaking the bike. A few long distance road trips will reveal to you what you need, rather than throw a fist full of cash at the bike and hope all it makes something better. Your body will tell you what will make things better for you. Let's just hope your body doesn't say "Buick".

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post #6 of 24 Old 02-25-2011, 11:44 PM
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On any bike I've owned,the seat is the 1st to be changed.My butt learned over many years that no matter how much $$$$$ you spend on a bike (read BMW) the seat is awful.Seat,windscreen,barbacks in that order for me for the most part.Even though I live in Baja,my offroad is limited due to my advanced years and inability to pick a bike up on occasion,so the sprocket was changed to lower rpm/increase mileage since most of my rising isn't in sand.
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post #7 of 24 Old 02-26-2011, 02:10 AM
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-The last 5,000+ miles have been with a TCI windshield. I highly recommend it for highway travel if it is cold weather and especially if it is cold wet weather.
-I am lucky to live near Corbin-Hollister and they have made my Corbin seat fit me very well. I just returned from a 1,700+ miles trip and the Corbin seat was not a problem. The last day was 650+ miles, 12 hours, cold and wet. Make sure you wear seamless underwear. Bicycling shorts work very well.
-Handguards also block wind.
-A tankbag helps keep cold air off your mid section.
-I have been experimenting with luggage. A Pelican 1550 bolted to the rear rack. A loaded Tour Master Deluxe Tail Bag on the rear of the seat. This acts as a good back support and less luggage wind drag.
-Lowered footpegs, if you have long legs.
-As Tom said, highway pegs.
-If needed handlebars can be raised and moved back for comfort.
-Handlebar grips that fit you.
Whatever works for you is the best solution.

Tim

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2015 Yamaha Super Tenere ES, 5/23/2015
2012 Yamaha Super Tenere; Purchased 7/30/2011; Sold 5/23/2015
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post #8 of 24 Old 02-26-2011, 02:54 AM
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Forgot to mention another obvious point re:barbacks.The original owner of my '09 installed them and did not reroute the throttle and brake cables.Be sure to check if you do this mod.It was obvious to me but not him.
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post #9 of 24 Old 02-26-2011, 03:12 AM
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Please do not look at maps while in motion, i ran off asphalt 2 times before I realized how stupid of me. Now I simply write Route numbers/direction,exit #'s with a large "sharpie" on a file card in LARGE font and put that in my tankbag's map pocket. I also developed a "butt" routine that is Golden. Every 15 min. I shift about 2" to the right-then "center" then left and so on. It made all the difference while putting 700-900miles/day on the V-Strom, and yes it works on the KLR. Geeze.. I'M a doctor I should know!

~Things work out best for those that make the best of the way things work out~
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post #10 of 24 Old 02-26-2011, 04:01 AM
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Highway pegs and a clear head.

This is my son, with whom I am well pleased." ----God
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