Toolkit recommendations for first-timer - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
2008+ KLR650 Wrenching & Mod Questions For repair, maintaining or modifying discussions related to the newly updated 2008 and beyond, Generation 2 KLR650 Motorcycle.

 
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-20-2017, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Question Toolkit recommendations for first-timer

Just got my first bike, a 2011 KLR 650 with about 9200 miles on it. From my perspective, it seems to be in good condition....

I wanted to hit the ground running and get into motorcycle maintenance, so I started stripping the bike down and ordered the Doohickey and ThermoBob upgrades. I soon realized that an old, crappy socket set wasn't going to do the job...

I'd like to get some opinions on building up a great KLR 650 tool kit. I haven't been able to locate the stock toolset actually. I have no maintenance experience at all, I'm just looking to learn as best I can as I plan to take her across the country.

I've noticed a lot of videos online use a torque wrench as most bolts have a recommended torque setting, so I'm assuming a torque wrench is pretty essential. I'm assuming a good socket wrench set is also pretty vital. Should this be metric? What sizes?

Please help this noob with some recommendations on how to get started modding his KLR!!

Thanks folks.
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-20-2017, 04:19 PM
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LOL Learning to work on your bike can be: fun, frustrating and expensive. Often all at the same time . . . and repetitively so!

Step 1: Get the Service Manual for your bike and read it cover to cover. Seriously, this is actually quite important!
Step 2: Make friends with someone who has already gone down the road you wish to travel (no pun intended). Help them, and odds are they can/will help you.
Step 3: Purchase tools based on Steps 1 and 2 above, and only AFTER you have completed Steps 1 and 2.
Step 3: Become acquainted with a local motorcycle repair business. They can be your best friends or your worst nightmare. Tell THEM that you are a NOOB. While you may need their advice and to be bailed out of one or more "errors" you will loyally purchase all your parts from them and will rely on their judgement. (You may also want to open an account with them and deposit say $500 now in anticipation of coming attractions. LOL) Occasionally bringing a dozen donuts a half hour before they open can be useful. They aren't Leo's but they'll appreciate the thought!
Step 4: Start with simply "Maintenance" work. Save the more involved repairs/work for sometime in the future!
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-21-2017, 08:59 AM
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I see you're "new" so I'll let it go without punishment this time but never use the words "hit the ground running" on any motorcycle forum! Not what we want to read!

Now as to your question: I'd buy a a Craftsman tool set if you still have a K-Mart or Sears nearby.

Before buying any tools you should make sure you have all the proper riding gear. Gear comes before tools.

Some guys really like to work on their bikes. I bought mine to ride. If I wanted to work on one, I'd get one of those Chinese off brands or a Harley.

KLR's run about as good as they're ever going to right out of the box. There's always a "mod" that you could do but I found that the effort wasn't worth the result. After hours in the garage I'd really like to feel an improvement, not just a "I think it feels better" result so I didn't feel like the whole afternoon was wasted.

The only "mod" I really "felt" was switching to LED's so I could run heated gear. Throw on a few relays, Oxford heated grips, some wiring and plug in the heated gear. Now that you'll feel.


You also may want to look at "Evaporative Cooling Vests"

Also I like to add some LED lighting to the bike just to be seen. One bulb in the rear and none on the sides seems dark to me. I don't add the color changing stuff that imitates an animal trying to attract a mate. Just amber and reds so I might be seen. My trunk has 2 red markers on the sides and 4 extra brake lights on the rear. It plugs in with a trailer plug so I can remove it.

I'm also a fan of brake light modulators. There's one on Ebay all the time for 2 bucks that I keep in "stock" for bikes we buy. It's a GS-100. Buy the 2 wire version. There's some on there with a blue wire in the picture that I don't know what that blue wire is for. I just use the two reds and ground both blacks. NOTE: You may want to check it they're legal where you ride and add a bypass switch so you can switch it back stock if the cops point their guns at you.

OH! Solder all wiring! Crimp connectors suck. Also use heat shrink tubing. After all it's a brake light. It needs to work.

May the force be with you.

PS: I almost forgot. I will give a thumbs up to the 14 tooth. If freeway is not your thing, the 14 tooth lights the bike up.

ďTake the risk of thinking for yourself , much more happiness , truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.Ē Hitchens

Last edited by Toney; 06-21-2017 at 09:03 AM.
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-21-2017, 09:32 AM
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Tools........buy at least medium quality and better for the tools you'll use more often. Can't tell you how many cheap crap tools I've thrown away over the years. Harbor Freight seems to be getting better quality for the sockets and wrenches. Swap meets and pawn shops can be great places for good tools and save some money.

2016 KLR 650
2017 BMW S1000RR (traded in for
2018 Ducati V4S
1983 GL1100 Goldwing
2017 Yamaha R1
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-21-2017, 11:50 AM
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Spark plugs SELDOM need service/replacement, but . . . the KLR650 spark plug poses distinctive challenges: A thin-wall 18 mm socket is required for removal/replacement.

The factory stock tool kit contains an appropriate socket; otherwise . . . chances are your Craftsman 18 mm deep socket's walls are too thick to enter the spark plug cavity to embrace the part.

So . . . find an OEM spark plug socket, or shop for a thin-walled one, if you think you might ever need to remove/replace your spark plug.
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-21-2017, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan filipi View Post
Tools........buy at least medium quality and better for the tools you'll use more often. Can't tell you how many cheap crap tools I've thrown away over the years. Harbor Freight seems to be getting better quality for the sockets and wrenches. Swap meets and pawn shops can be great places for good tools and save some money.
I've never bought anything at Harbor Freight that didn't break as they were putting it in the bag at checkout. They need a trash can on the way out of the store.


The wife bought a tape measure there once. So proud of it she was! She measured something one time and it went to the landfill. About half way out, it made this noise like a spring winding up. If any part of a Harbor Freight tool moves, put it back on the shelf.

ďTake the risk of thinking for yourself , much more happiness , truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.Ē Hitchens
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-21-2017, 01:23 PM
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Yeah that's why a said SOCKETS and WRENCHES. LOL.
I do have an electric wood trim tool that has held up very well to my abuse though. Not everything is crap there.

2016 KLR 650
2017 BMW S1000RR (traded in for
2018 Ducati V4S
1983 GL1100 Goldwing
2017 Yamaha R1
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