Alignment and handling - 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 15 Old 01-22-2019, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Alignment and handling

Yesterday I noticed that when I'm heading in a straight line my handlebars are just ever so slightly off-center and that, you know, bugs me.

Since I basically know zero about the steering system, I was wondering what you guys think.

I believe this may imply that I need to look at tire alignment, so I've looked at the "string" method for aligning rear and front tire, and that seems simple enough. However, I am curious if there is somewhere I should be starting "before" that i.e., making sure the handlebars are lined up with the front tire, etc.

You'll probably remember that I talked in a "tires" thread about handling issues, and I received some good advice for checking out the movement of the handlebars (i.e., making sure they can sit still at center, and testing the resistance when moving them back and forth). I haven't done any of that yet, but I will check that out before getting into aligning stuff.

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post #2 of 15 Old 01-22-2019, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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By "slightly," I'm talking (hopefully) minor in terms of real distance. There's a physical feature on the steering assembly that lines up with a similar feature on the other assembly in front of it. It's by looking at the relative positions of these two features that I'm drawing my conclusion. Here's a photo sourced from the interwebs (and scrawled upon by yours truly) that shows the parts I'm referencing:



(This is not my dash), but the two features circled in red don't line up exactly when I'm tracking straight. On mine, the part attached to the handlebars is about 1/4 of the way to the right. In other words, they're about like this:


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post #3 of 15 Old 01-22-2019, 02:02 PM
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top two most likely issues;

- your handlebars are bent; the stock steel bars combined with them being extra wide and the KLR's ample girth = bent bars in even a minor get off.

- forks tweeked in the triples; follow the proceedure in the manual to re-align....basically have to loosen off the triples, cycle the suspension and retorque

....as long as your rear axle is mostly straight and the frame isn't bent then these two things should fix your problem. Worse issues like bent forks or triples are rare but certainly possible.

Dave
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post #4 of 15 Old 01-22-2019, 03:20 PM
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samuel, The fairing Mount of the KLR650's is NOT welded (perfectly straight) to the Center of the steering neck! If you attempt to align your triple clamp / ignition switch with That Bracket you will truely have a Gross Mis-Alignment Issue!

You better have a better look at things.

(My brothers 09 in shop, has reverse mis-alignment of yours.)

ps, My '87 bracket is not perfectly straight either.
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pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 84,000+ miles & counting

Last edited by pdwestman; 01-22-2019 at 03:34 PM. Reason: Correction made
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-22-2019, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdwestman View Post
samuel, The fairing Mount of the KLR650's is NOT welded (perfectly straight) to the Center of the steering neck! If you attempt to align your triple clamp / ignition switch with That Bracket you will truely have a Gross Mis-Alignment Issue!

You better have a better look at things.

(My brothers 09 in shop, has reverse mis-alignment of yours.)

ps, My '87 bracket is not perfectly straight either.

That's exactly the kind of thing I need to know, thanks!

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post #6 of 15 Old 01-23-2019, 09:41 AM
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What Paul said; these things aren't swiss watches. Hold your handlebars straight and see if the wheel is straight.....if not, check the things I mentioned.

Dave
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post #7 of 15 Old 01-28-2019, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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I did the "string method" wheel alignment yesterday, with good results. The front tire was off from center when aligning it front-to-back to a benchmark point on the rear wheel, and the rear wheel was out of wack. Interestingly, the out-of-wackness coincided with its deviation from the marks on the swingarm. Bringing it back into alignment brought it much closer within 1/16" to the same setting on both sides. And, it made the bike ride nicer.

Here's the link to the page where I got the instructions for the string deal.

It's interesting to see these subtle changes play out. For example, while the handling now feels better, some of the stuff that has been bothering me is still there. When i replace the tires I'm looking forward to seeing the specific effect.

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post #8 of 15 Old 01-28-2019, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
What Paul said; these things aren't swiss watches. Hold your handlebars straight and see if the wheel is straight.....if not, check the things I mentioned.

Dave
More like a Swiss Army knife.
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post #9 of 15 Old 01-29-2019, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
More like a Swiss Army knife.
If I were a Swiss Army Knife, might I be offended?
Probably not. I've cussed mine many times and it said nothing. Accepting little things they are.

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post #10 of 15 Old 01-31-2019, 10:12 AM
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My 14.5 is the same. Been that way since new. Not real noticeable but if you look closely the bars are slightly left. Been that way for 38,000+ miles.
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