2016 KLR Low Speed Off-road Front Tire "Wobble" - Page 5 - 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 #41 of 54 Old 08-28-2019, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Elk Grove, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JdgDReDD View Post
I had the same issue with the Gen 2 suspension.

I found the balance of the bike was off, meaning that too much of the bikes weight was on the front end when riding solo/unloaded.

I built a .75" Lowering kit for the back suspension and that solved all my issues.

Steering bearings were good, and properly adjusted. wheel brgs, spokes, fork bushings all good.

I'm in the process of building fork caps that will allow the forks to be lowered .5-.75 " which will raise the front end that much taking the excess weight off the front end. This will work for those that can't afford to soften the back suspension(heavier riders/touring load).

Again this should solve the weight transfer issue allowing a person to run the stock rear link.

I ride solo and the marginally softer rear suspension works well for my weight, 170 lbs. and could probably accommodate a 225 lbs rider nicely.

Hope this helps. What you're feeling is the forks flexing in the bushing play, yes there is play, there has to be clearance for them to move. The fact that the bike is in a constant nose dive due to Gen 2 suspension geometry is the issue i believe. Lower the back, raise the front. Either will solve your issues.

Nay sayers will doubt this post but ... it is what it is.

here an image of my .75" lowering link.

I had a few extras made up, as it was nearly the same price to make 10 sets as it was to make 1 set. Let me know if you're interested. They are cut from 1/4" stainless with a plasma cutter. I finish the holes by hand with an air grinder. They worked out pretty nice actually and the ride is sweet.

I call it the "Commuter Ride"

Be sure to tighten the front axle pinch bolts to spec after pushing the front end down a few times to center the forks on the axle.
JdgDReDD,

I am guessing you have an 08 to 14.5 Gen 2 with the softer suspension. Your bike sounds like it rides like my friends 09. My 2016 NE has very stiff springs and damping, and the bike rode in "easy rider" mode with the forks at near full extension with the front raked out and forks never getting anywhere close to bottoming off road despite the weight. I ended completely rebuilding the forks, then raising them 15mm and putting 5W in them just to get more weight on the front end and get them to move, which they now do. Now that I have the cause of the oscillation identified and just about resolved, I can now think about suspension tuning. Finally!

I'll keep the links in mind...it is quite a swing to get my 30" inseam leg over the KLR! haha!
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post #42 of 54 Old 08-29-2019, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Elk Grove, CA
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Update:

So I put the EMGO mount and topcase back on. I tested it empty, with no ill effects. I then placed a single 10# kettlebell in it and it oscillated all over the place. I took the kettlebell out, placed it in a padded box to eliminate any movement, and placed the box in the topcase. The bike still oscillated all over the place. I stopped there because a single 10# weight in the topcase was enough...I didn't need to test water jugs.

So, I know that the pannier racks/panniers and crashbars incrementally increase the STATIC oscillations when I put them on the bike one by one, but they don't create a dynamic oscillation when riding. The source of the static oscillation is the inertia of the sidecases......and the racks, and then crashbars, increase the static oscillations by transferring the energy to the rest of the frame. However, there is no dynamic oscillation in this setup and the bike is rideable on or off road.

I am not going to further test why 10# in the topcase (with panniers and crashbars on) creates oscillations that make the bike unrideable. I don't want to use the topcase anyway and am not going to pull off the racks and crashbars again. Based on what I now know, though, I suspect it is one of two reasons: 1. The mounting base of the top case is bolted to the stock rack, which is comprised of a thin metal sheet and plastic sheet with space between them. The thin metal and plastic rack may be flexing and allowing the weighted topcase to move sideways back and forth, thus creating an oscillation. 2. Putting on the crashbars, testing, then putting on the pannier racks/panniers, and testing, sequentially increased the static oscillations of the frame. It is possible that the topcase 10#weight (and/or flexing top rack) increases the static oscillation over some specific threshold level, and the result is the dynamic oscillation that makes the bike unrideable offroad (and onroad if I hit bumps that impart sideways forces into the tires).

At some point I will get an aftermarket rear rack that won't flex, and at that time I will test it again, just for kicks (unless I sell the EMGO. There is nothing wrong with it. I suspect it works for my friend because he puts only clothes in it).

Meanwhile, with the problem eliminated I am hitting NV to do some riding!

Thank you for all the help and input!

Cheers!

James

Last edited by Yeravener; 08-29-2019 at 11:55 PM.
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post #43 of 54 Old 08-29-2019, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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One last note, the crash bars that DONT mount to the upper subframe bolt will likely not contribute to a static oscillation in the same way as those that do. I suspect that my friend doesn't have the problem on his 09 when fully loaded primarily because his HT crashbars do not mount in the middle of the bike or the subframe bolts.

Since my bike is fine with the SW Motechs, which do mount on the subframe, and the Tusk pannier racks/panniers, as long as I have no topcase, I am keeping both.

Keep this in mind when purchasing crashbars, and, of course......YMMV :-)
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post #44 of 54 Old 09-13-2019, 09:00 PM
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I've followed this thread with interest and now have an update to my case, and hopefully someone can suggest something. It seems different people have had different problems and solutions. I have a 2017, bought new, with noticeable static/slow speed wobble, no high speed wobble; and suicidal off road tendencies. I would like to correct the problem, but have begun to shop for another bike.

I have a KLR650 with 10K miles, with a Cogent Moab on the rear and cartridge emulators on the front. I just took a 1600 mile trip, carrying about 60-70 pounds, with about 13 lb in each side bag and the bulk of the rest right behind me in a duffle. Side racks keep the bags off the plastic. They mount from one of the subframe points in front to the rear point where the OEM rack attaches. On top of the OEM rack I have a Nelson Rigg soft tail pack, bolted to the KLR rack. In it I carried a few pounds of miscellaneous stuff. Not heavy. Bike has proper sag. Up front I have a Happy Trails skid plate and nerf bars, which mount to the downtube. I have a steering damper. Bike was perfectly stable on pavement--straights and turns--up to 75 mph, but horribly unstable on dirt. (With 14-43 gearing I got 50 mpg at 60-70 mph.)

I did 100 miles on a road whose surface included hardpack like bumpy pavement, some loose gravel, more loose gravel, and a few inches of small gravel or sand. On everything except the hardpack, the bike was hard to control. The front end constantly steered left and right, causing the rear to move and me to react. Another rider on a similarly laden Suzuki DR650, also with Cogent, had no trouble, managing 40-60 mph where I was white knuckle at 20-30 mph, struggling much of the time to hold a straight line. I fell once when I got an inch off line into a few inches of sand, and survived 4 or 5 tank slapper incidents.

When we returned to pavement, I unloaded most of the weight and drove back along the dirt road several miles to where I crashed, covering all srfaces, and had little trouble at 30-40 mph. Bike was fine except for some squirelliness when I ran into a few inches of sand. Bike was good unladen, but not as good as the Suzuki, which I rode.
Bike is tight, etc. Good bearings, nothing bent, etc.

Any ideas what can cause such handling behavior? Flexible frame? Not enough rake? Obviously too much weight in the back, but what I had shouldn't have been too much.

Removing the weight without readjusting the sag would decrease the rake and put more weigh to the front, but enough to go from a tank slapper to straight line? I know the three letter fix for the issue, but would like to cure the problem if possible and keep the bike. My thoughts are to raise the fork tubes in the triple clamp, remove the crash bars, remove the fork brace, sell the bike. (Another issue is there are no dirt roads around here (La Honda, CA) to test the changes.)

Note: The steering damper may have helped at speed, but my bike had no issues there. It had little to no effect on the slow speed oscillations, and none on off road handling.

[email protected]

Last edited by seldredg; 09-13-2019 at 09:08 PM. Reason: Tried to add image
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post #45 of 54 Old Yesterday, 10:08 AM
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You may have answered your own question. Your set-up maybe riding tail Low with baggage. Is there any chance the your rear suspension is using lowering links?

If so they alter the steering angle and soften the rear suspension. But Cogent will build shocks to support the load, but That Does Not Correct the steering angle.

pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 84,000+ miles & counting
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post #46 of 54 Old Yesterday, 12:25 PM
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Thing is it's not low in the back with luggage. The sag fully loaded is adjusted to be the same as when unloaded (about 2" I think). The steering angle should be correct and remain correct, although changing it slightly may improve the handling for what I want off road.

This morning I started taking things off one at a time to test for the static/low speed oscillation, beginning with the Nelson Rigg tail pack. I found that because of the way itwas bolted on, it may have allowed a small amount of flex in the four bolts that secure the rack. I used longer bolts wit fender washers to pas through the bottom of the tail pack and into the threaded holes. This prevented the bolts heads from seating down hard in the recesses. From what John said above, a small amount of flex and a few pounds in the tail pack may be significant.
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post #47 of 54 Old Yesterday, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seldredg View Post
...When we returned to pavement, I unloaded most of the weight and drove back along the dirt road several miles to where I crashed, covering all srfaces, and had little trouble at 30-40 mph...
Did you reset the rear sag when you unloaded it?

Tom [email protected]

“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


Sting like a butterfly.
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post #48 of 54 Old Yesterday, 05:32 PM
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No. I left it stiff and jacked up, which would decrease the rake a little and transfer some weight to the front.
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post #49 of 54 Old Yesterday, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdwestman View Post
You may have answered your own question...
Pretty much true, dat.

What you might consider is installing a Gen 1 knuckle and links on your '17. That will give you some added lift at the rear. A bit easier to dial the sag in and not sacrifice the front end geometry seems to work for you for for stability.

Tom [email protected]

“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


Sting like a butterfly.

Last edited by Tom Schmitz; Yesterday at 05:54 PM.
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post #50 of 54 Old Yesterday, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seldredg View Post
I've followed this thread with interest and now have an update to my case, and hopefully someone can suggest something. It seems different people have had different problems and solutions. I have a 2017, bought new, with noticeable static/slow speed wobble, no high speed wobble; and suicidal off road tendencies. I would like to correct the problem, but have begun to shop for another bike.

I have a KLR650 with 10K miles, with a Cogent Moab on the rear and cartridge emulators on the front. I just took a 1600 mile trip, carrying about 60-70 pounds, with about 13 lb in each side bag and the bulk of the rest right behind me in a duffle. Side racks keep the bags off the plastic. They mount from one of the subframe points in front to the rear point where the OEM rack attaches. On top of the OEM rack I have a Nelson Rigg soft tail pack, bolted to the KLR rack. In it I carried a few pounds of miscellaneous stuff. Not heavy. Bike has proper sag. Up front I have a Happy Trails skid plate and nerf bars, which mount to the downtube. I have a steering damper. Bike was perfectly stable on pavement--straights and turns--up to 75 mph, but horribly unstable on dirt. (With 14-43 gearing I got 50 mpg at 60-70 mph.).....

seldredg,

My bike was also fine on the road and death in the dirt. My short answer to you is get the CG low, don't bolt the bag to the rack, use bags that sit on the rear seat and rack simultaneously, and strap them tightly with no stacked bags.

The long version:


FWIW, there are a couple things going on on my bike that may be applicable to your:

1. The heavy Tusk panniers (30# each loaded including pannier and lid weight) cause the bike to oscillate. This oscillation is not fatal....it is a pain in tough slow going, but doable. I am culling out my equipment and will drop the weight down to minimize the oscillation.

2. Even 10# in a topcase bolted on my rack (with panniers on...I did not test the rack weight without panniers, as I am a camper) turns my bike offroad into the devil's death drop of wobbly oscillating horror, with cyclic steering inputs to counteract the weight in the topcase on the rack. I know well the white knuckle, broken frame feeling, oscillation you describe offroad.

I took my bike to the local OHV park to more rigorously test it without the topcase, with forks at 15mm raised in clamps, and stock rear suspension at 5. I headed straight to the single track with gnarly rocks and holes and what not. This is what I found:

1. With SW drybag 260 on top of drybag 350 (both full) and at right angles to bike on the rear seat and rack, and full panniers: a bit of an oscillation at slow speeds offroad. Nothing like 10# in the topcase but noticeable enough to require concentration and correction. Not happy times.

2. No drybags on the bike, with full panniers: perfectly rideable with no oscillations except if I did u-turns in the rocks, and then very minor and not really impacting riding. I just noticed it. No drybags would make camping tough.

3. I put all of the 260 items into the 350, so retained all the weight, and rode with the 350 only across the rear seat and rack, with full panniers: This made a substantial difference. My KLR does not like the 260 being up on top of the 350, whether because of higher CG or the instability inherent in the strapping system between the two bags.
In this configuration I was up on the pegs in 2nd gear (it was a tiny area) bouncing off the rocks in the path as I zoomed along. This was previously impossible with the bolted topcase with 10#, as you know.

4. While 15mm raised forks are great for testing slow speed handling in the dirt, they are death on the highway. Don't raise them this much.

5. The kids on the JR50s and CRF50s thought I was crazy beboping around their single tracks on my leviathon.

My opinion, and you know what that is worth, after all the work and tests I have done, is 1. the KLR needs to have weight down low (major). 2. The rack is really only mounted with the two front bolts and the two 6mm bolts on top, and the mounting of the tusk panniers changes the mounting system. 3. The stock rack is flexible (minor) and I will no longer bolt anything to it on the top. 4. The tusk panniers full make the bike frame oscillate from their inertia (60# combined has leverage when it is 8 inches from the side of the MC) but is not fatal. 5. The high up weight bolted on the rack is above the CG and the flexible rack is mounted weakly and it oscillates the bike side to side in the vertical dimension (metronome movement) of the frame whereas the panniers down low oscillate in the horizontal dimension of the frame (fish movement).vertical movement is bad and horizonal...not so bad.

I just installed a precision rack and hucked the stock rack. I also lowered the fork tubes back to stock, put the 10W back in the forks, and put on a top gun spring on the rear solely to get the proper rear sag with camping load (before I drop cogent cash). I am going camping at the end of September with the full panniers, 350 drybag, tank bag, and 8L drybags on the crash bars. I will cull out some of the weight of the camping equipment and put some heavier items in the crash bar bags.

All this assumes you have setup the entire rest of your bike properly, of course. stem tight proper, bearings good, etc., etc., etc.

I'll let you know how it goes on my NV ride, but based on my OHV testing, it should be fine.

James
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