Wind sheer with the '09 at high speeds... - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 04-16-2010, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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Wind sheer with the '09 at high speeds...

Greetings all. I've been trolling this forum for about a month now, and finally decided to jump in .

I recently purchased an '09 KLR 650, and this has been my first experience with an on-road motorcycle. I've been dirt-biking on a little 150cc for quite some time on mountain land, but that experience almost seems useless when attempting to handle the size and weight of the KLR.
Within the first 2 days, I dropped (well, more like gently laid down while trying to fight against gravity) the bike while getting use to the weight on my leg when stopping.

I'm 5'10'' and 150 lbs .. and have since shaved an inch off the foam seat so that my feet can both touch the ground without being on toes.

I love the feel of this bike at speeds under 40 mph, but anything over seems to make me uneasy with all the wind sheer. Is it normal to have the sensation that you're being battered around like a feather on a string? Or is this just something you get use to?

Any advice shall be appreciated (except that I should get a smaller bike).
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post #2 of 10 Old 04-16-2010, 10:14 PM
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I too have an 09. I have found the bike to be fairly stable in the wind, I was worried as I am coming from a much heavier bike. I am also a fair bit heavier then you so maybe that played a part. How windy was it when you rode?

You start with a full bag of luck and an empty bag of experience. Hopefully you fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck.
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-16-2010, 10:33 PM
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First check to be sure the forks are not in the shipping position. The caps should be within a few mm of being flush with the top of the triple clamp. At your weight you shouldn't need to do much in the way of suspension adjustments. Also try to relax your grip some while riding at speed. We have a natural tendency to try to hang on tight and control the bike when we get hit by cross winds. This actually is counterproductive to controlling the bike because our bodies act like a sail on a ship. If your grip is tight and rigid every puff of wind that passes your way pushes on your body then imparts unwanted steering input sending the bike darting all over the place. If you loosen you grip and relax your arms you will fee the wind push your body but your arms are relaxed and soaking up the buffeting and the unwanted steering input will be greatly reduced. Gently pressing your knee to the tank on the opposite side of the wind will keep you on course.
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post #4 of 10 Old 04-17-2010, 02:32 AM
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At 6 feet tall I and skinny I get blown all over the lane on windy days or at high speeds. Just relax and go with it. Never been in a tank-slapper, but wobble alot a warp speeds. I just back off a little or push through it to a higher speed.
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post #5 of 10 Old 04-17-2010, 07:32 AM
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I too have an '09 and I'm 6' 220 pounts. The wind actually caused me to break my knee on the KLR 2 weeks ago. However, the winds that day in Colorado were 40 gusting to 50, I was on a single track in a field and a cross wind came along so strong it felt as if I hit something. It blew the front tire off track and into a rut. The bike got crossed up from this little episode and started to go over. I stuck my left leg out to attempt to keep it up and my knee took the entire impact of the 400 pound bike and my 220 pound ass at 25mph.

BUT! I do not blame the bike or it's design on this little fiasco. This was an abnormally strong crosswind, and one that would have reaked havoc on any bike. Earlier that day I was riding at highway speeds in this wind and was getting tossed around a little but nothiing that caused concern. Being on soft sand/dirt with the OEM tires didn't allow the front tire to bite and stop the lateral sliding.

I ride my ST in wind like this at times (across Kansas) and it gets moved around a bit as well, but it's a more aerodynamic bike and weighs 300 pounds more.

Your bike is a good one. Just go with the wind as safely as possible and don't try fighting it too much. I've owned and ridden multiple bikes and all of them have their own wind-handling characteristics. None of them have ever been blown into opposing traffic or even come close to being dangerous.

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post #6 of 10 Old 04-17-2010, 04:00 PM
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I rode strictly dirt and the '09 KLR was the first bike I had ridden on the pavement. For the first few months, I avoided the highway due to the unstable feel. The bike drifted and followed grooves- scared the hell out of me.
Like the others said, changing your ride style a bit and getting used to it will take you a long way for free.
That said, I cannot tell you how happy you will be if you install a fork brace. I added a fork brace and Motowizard preload ajusters and the bike is 100% different. The other change that I will be making is replacing the front fender. I have not spoken to anyone that said it did not make a major difference. Sounds like most people opt for Acerbis Supermoto or the KTM fenders.

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post #7 of 10 Old 04-17-2010, 04:13 PM
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I'm bored waiting for the little one to wake up so we can go fishin', so...

Zin is right. Fork brace helps. I think the fender swap made a bigger difference wind wise. Fork brace makes it feel real solid though. SLO's advice is spot on and hard to do. RELAX. Make your arms limp, knees tight against the tank. I ride over the GG bridge in high wind every day (Sometimes ridiculous wind) and you would be surprised how much those involuntary steering inputs SLO is talking about make a huge difference.

Also, if you're wearing riding gear that catches wind, that will hurt ya. Not suggesting racing leathers, but tight fitting gear is good.




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post #8 of 10 Old 04-17-2010, 04:17 PM
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I have only had mine for about 2 weeks and it feels pretty stable compared to the heavy bike I am used to. But the last few days here have been exceptionally windy and I've been buffeted around quite a bit. Probably no worse than I would have been on the other bike, though.
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post #9 of 10 Old 04-17-2010, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thank You all for the advice.
As suggested here, I think my major problem is the tensing up and death-grip on the handle-bars. I can sit all relaxed, but as soon as I pass 40+ mph I naturally lean forward, become very rigid, and have the constant sensation that the bike is going to fly off the road.

I'm not sure if I would feel like this on any smaller on-road motorcycle at high speeds, or if it's just the height of this KLR that's intimidating me.
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post #10 of 10 Old 04-17-2010, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KLR-zin View Post
I rode strictly dirt and the '09 KLR was the first bike I had ridden on the pavement. For the first few months, I avoided the highway due to the unstable feel. The bike drifted and followed grooves- scared the hell out of me.
Like the others said, changing your ride style a bit and getting used to it will take you a long way for free.
That said, I cannot tell you how happy you will be if you install a fork brace. I added a fork brace and Motowizard preload ajusters and the bike is 100% different.
Haha.. so You know how I feel!
However, do tell me more about this "fork-brace" of which You speak.
Name? Cost? Where from? How to?
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