2016 KLR Low Speed Off-road Front Tire "Wobble" - Page 6 - 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 #51 of 64 Old 09-14-2019, 08:25 PM
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I'll consider that. Someone else suggested that perhaps the Cogent shock was not the correct length. I may remove it and compare it to the stock shock.
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post #52 of 64 Old 09-14-2019, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Possible. However, based on the facts that you have proper rider sag at least with the cogent, I had a bone stock rear with too much sag, we both had similar problems, and removing the top case and its mount virtually eliminated the worst oscillation, it is my opinion that this is not a suspension issue. As usual, your mileage may vary. Regardless it would be good to have the right length shock if you don't have one now
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post #53 of 64 Old 09-15-2019, 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Yeravener View Post
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
I replied to this post at length earlier this evening, and instead is what I see on the next page. Strange. So here goes again.

Thanks for taking the time to answer in detail. With the information I have now I may be able to fix the issue and keep the bike which is a relief, although cashing out some insurance to buy a KTM 790 is now rattling around in my head and won't go away...

I've removed my tail pack and tigtened up the stock rack and removed the soft side bags. Tomorrow I'll try it with a full tank of gas and see what happens. Then I'll add weight and proceed. I can find some sand on the shoulder on Highway 1. No dirt roads around here. If successful I may pack up fully and head to Metcalf or Hollister for a real test before taking it to the outback again.

What happened to the handling on the highway when you rode with 15 mm fork change? I'm tempted to raise my forks a little, but don't want to compromise road stability, which is good.

My recent trip was to have been on sections 4 and 5 of the Nevada Backcountry Discovery Route, which would have been a disaster--350 miles of off road. I couldn't find anyone to go with me so I took a trip with some other riders which was highway, but included a 50 mile dirt road section north of Burning Man. No fun, but at least it ended at some natural hot springs. NVBDR will have to wait until next year.

Where are you headed at the end of the month?

Thanks again for your help, and to the others who have responded.

Scott
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post #54 of 64 Old 09-15-2019, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seldredg View Post
I replied to this post at length earlier this evening, and instead is what I see on the next page. Strange. So here goes again.

Thanks for taking the time to answer in detail. With the information I have now I may be able to fix the issue and keep the bike which is a relief, although cashing out some insurance to buy a KTM 790 is now rattling around in my head and won't go away...
Scott,

I like the 790 too, except for the fact that it has a gas tank near the skid plate. The old offroader in me has a hard time thinking this is a good idea. There is a skidplate in that region for a reason! :-)

Yes, stripping the bike down and adding back your racks, bags, etc. one at a time and testing in between is a great way to see where the problem is and thus eliminate it

Aren't you in SoCal? I would think Ocotillo Wells, Jawbone Canyon, Dove Springs, or some areas near San Diego would be closer than Metcalf, etc, for testing?

With the 15mm raised forks, I rode to the OHV area (Prairie City) for testing with loaded panniers and full 260 and 350 on the freeway. When a car would pass me (it is a KLR, after all. I used to pass the cars on GSXRs, now they pass me on the KLR ;-) ) the passing draft would make the front end start a speed wobble that would only stop if I slowed down to about 50 mph. It happened like clockwork. Even just a sidewind with no cars would make the front feel very unstable. Other folks on this forum have raised their forks 5mm. However, if you have the proper sag front and rear, which you should because you went cogent, you should not have to raise the forks at all.

Note I also had the 5W in the forks at the time..I was testing the 5W because the stiff damping from the 10W was not helping me resolve the oscillation. So I had the forks raised and underdamped at the same time. As noted above, after my testing session I put the 10W back in, lowered the forks to stock, and put the Top Gun spring in to get the right sag in the rear, which would have helped with getting the proper front end geometry and fork action.

You were smart not to do the BDR with an unsorted bike. I did the two NV rides with the bike handling poorly and it ruined the ride for my riding partner and for me. Thus my feverish mods and testing at Prairie City.

You are welcome to do some rides with us if the timing works out.

I know Black Rock Hot Springs area well. We have been doing offroad and ADV camping there for years, and in fact that is where we are going at the end of September for a four day camping trip.

Let us know how your test goes today. If your bike is like mine, even a simple trashed asphalt road with potholes would work for testing the oscillation. Those curved street curbs also work well when you go up and down them at a sharp angle. That was my initial testing method on my street and it worked well and was quick. The idea is to get sideways forces into the frame...that will reveal whether it oscillates or not immediately.
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post #55 of 64 Old 09-15-2019, 01:40 PM
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Thanks for the invitation. I'll take you up on it sometime. I've just returned from two back to back trips and need to keep some things going here at home again. Home is La Honda, CA, 10 miles south of Half Moon Bay and 9 miles inland on Highway 84. It's a motorcycle mecca route that is heavily traveled on weekends; hence I won't gas up until tomorrow. Weekends is one siren after another as young men on new sport bikes are picked up and carted off.

The oscillation I can test, as you know, without even riding. I'll just shake the bars. So far that looks good, but I need to do it with a full tank. The real test is on a surface like below, from the road you may be headed to. You can see the long S track that was my bike trying to take a nap. Let me know how it goes for you with your fix bike. Scott
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post #56 of 64 Old 09-16-2019, 06:51 PM
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I wonder what happened to the posting I thought I had 'posted' earlier today?

Not many bikes get along with that depth of sand & pea gravel on top of a hard road base. Much less an over-weight / over-loaded dual sport on compromise tires.

pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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post #57 of 64 Old 09-17-2019, 06:41 PM
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I lost a post too. The Internet is a toll road.

UPDATE: I had discovered that the way my tail pack was bolted down allowed some slight flexibility in the KLR OEM rack. I removed the tail pack and reinstalled the four rack bolts securely, and with a half tank of gas, I experienced no static or slow speed oscillation. I filled the tank and still experienced no static or slow speed oscillation. I put 50 pounds in a stuff sack and mounted it behind me on the seat. Still no static or slow speed wobble. At this point before I would have looked like a duck waddling up to a gas pump.

I took a ride and found some loose rocky shoulders which produced no unusual behavior, like falling down. And at the coast I tried some sand on the shoulder where it had blown over the road. This was also ok until the sand was deep enough that there was nothing firm underneath. Then the front end became a bit unstable, but I could slow down and catch it before eating sand.

So in my case it appears instability off road was due to flexibility and weight on the OEM rack. The rack apparently provides the torsional stiffness for the rear subframe.
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post #58 of 64 Old 09-17-2019, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seldredg View Post
Thanks for the invitation. I'll take you up on it sometime. I've just returned from two back to back trips and need to keep some things going here at home again. Home is La Honda, CA, 10 miles south of Half Moon Bay and 9 miles inland on Highway 84. It's a motorcycle mecca route that is heavily traveled on weekends; hence I won't gas up until tomorrow. Weekends is one siren after another as young men on new sport bikes are picked up and carted off.

The oscillation I can test, as you know, without even riding. I'll just shake the bars. So far that looks good, but I need to do it with a full tank. The real test is on a surface like below, from the road you may be headed to. You can see the long S track that was my bike trying to take a nap. Let me know how it goes for you with your fix bike. Scott
seldredg,

Sheesh, I should have known. I grew up in the Bay Area and worked for a time at the intersection of Alameda de las Pulgas and 84. I know the Highway 1 route and 84 in between 1 and 101 well from my GSXR days. Luckily, I never met the friendly paramedics, but that is from the fact that I don't ride like an idiot, even on a GSXR :-) Back in 87 I had the second year GSXR 1100 and all my friends on Ninja 600s could blow me away, because I just wouldn't go 120 mph on the way to Watsonville. Not surprisingly, many of them met unfortunate ends, while I never did.

"La Honda" sounded like a suburb of "La Crescenta" to my uncultured ears...thus my reference to SoCal. You are definitely close...we'll definitely have to do some NV (or anywhere else) rides!.

It sounds like you have it sorted out and that the cause was similar to mine. Our two KLRs do not like anything hard mounted to the woosie rack, or up high, or both. I probably have more horizontal oscillation that you did because I have hard racks and hard luggage, but the major problem was weight up high on the rack and mounted to the rack. The high up weight hard mounted to the rack provided just the amount of necessary "starter fluid" to get my heavy racks and rear subframe oscillating badly offroad. Without the topcase, the panniers don't really oscillate in a problematic way, as I described above.

I had hardmounted mounted my EMGO top case such that I could still access the tool kit (i.e. to the rear of the rack) and that put the CG of the topcase up high and smack in line with the weakest part of the rack. See the pics. The red are the mounting holes for the EMGO base on which the topcase was centered; the green is the approximate CG of the 10# in the top case based on hole location, and the blue denotes the incredibly strong (not) rack location on a horizontal axis in line with the topcase CG. Had I do do it again, I would have mounted the top case mount as far forward as possible to take advantage of the solid 8mm front rack mounting bolts. However, I mentioned above I don't like the topcase because it forces my bags forward, thus it is gone anyway.

Thanks to information from @Tom Schmitz, when I get truly serious about a rack, I will get a Cycle Racks rack that mounts to the rear passenger peg bolts and the exiting 8mm rack bolts and nowhere else, and will huck the stock rack side handles into the ocean to form a nice reef for fish to live on. I will have to get another pannier solution, but it will be worth it. (https://www.klrforum.com/2008-klr650...installed.html)

Sand is a entirely different ballgame, as @pdwestman noted. In 50 years of riding offroad, I have never found a motorcycle that did well in an alternating soft dirt-hardpack-sand environment or on hardpacked dirt roads with loose gravel. Yes, pure sand is ok, but that a special case at Pismo or Glamis. Slowing down is the solution of my choice. ADV is a marathon anyway, not a race. :-)
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post #59 of 64 Old 09-21-2019, 08:15 PM
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Well, I finally had time to change my front suspension to the cogent DDC. My front end wandering issue is gone and the bike is much more pleasant to ride. I have put about 800 miles on it in 3 days. 99% paved roads and some interstate. I would highly recommend Cogent DDC. The bike is now sure-footed, I have the Shinko 804 and 805 that are balanced.

I did find the stock shocks had very different oil levels which may have caused some of the issues. I had a few loose spokes but the rim run-out was good. Spokes were retorqued. If you have the coin you will not be disappointed with this upgrade.

Moto
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post #60 of 64 Old 09-21-2019, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I finally had time to change my front suspension to the cogent DDC.
Sounds great! Thanks for the eval, Moto! Would you please let us know how it handles off road if or when you go off-road? Appreciate the info! Once I have desert proof that my bike is sorted out, I will be going cogent.
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