Having used a KLR to commute 120 miles a day, in heavy traffic with about 60 miles of interstate, to where I now live and commute 60 miles a day, (20 of which are my personal mountain race-track), here are my recommendations for the bike. (Good, protective, water-proof gear is a given)
Headlamp modulator - the one time I got hit, I did not have the high beams on because it was over-cast and raining and I thought the high beam would be obnoxious to other traffic. Naturally the guy who ran the red-light making a turn into me said "I did not see you!" Hind-sight is 20/20. Screw them, burn the high beams and a modulating beam is better, IMO. Over 100K miles on a Gold Wing with a modulator and plenty of experience to KNOW that it makes a difference.
Flashing brake light upgrade - I also have a modulator that flashes the rear turn signals when braking and not signalling a turn.
Good low vibration mirrors.
Good brakes. I run an over-sized front rotor with Galfer Greens, Golds on the rear, braided steel lines front and rear.
Experiment with different weight fork oils until you find what works best for you. My preference is for heavier weight oils - I prefer to limit fork dive under braking, and my commuting bike isn't my off-road bike, so I run a stiff front suspension, with 30w fork oil and progressive springs. I also run this bike over-loaded, so what works for me may not work for others, blah blah blah.
Stebel Nautilus Horn. 139db of "put the cell phone away and wake the f**k up!"
And a habit of covering the horn button any time I predict other traffic may encroach on my line of travel.
The above would be what I consider "Must Haves" for my commutes.
Road tires really comes down to what kind of coin you want to spend. I absolutely love Continental TKCs, and they have awesome grip in all weather and road conditions but are expensive and last about 5000 miles +/- before they get too choppy and all the snuggy is worn off of them. I liked Shinko 705's for the price, and the paved road grip was very good. Kenda 761s are growing on me, good wear, pretty inexpensive, and the damp road squirreliness has actually become amusing - they slip enough to get your attention but haven't completely let go and the weird part is that in torrential rain they actually grip pretty good.
I have a good deal more farkles and "steroid mod" upgrades (planalp would hate me) that I enjoy and they make my motor MINE, but don't necessarily fall into a requirement catagory for all-weather commuting.
I don't subscribe to the 'loud pipes save lives' mind-set as much as I do believe that my loud pipe sounds cool to me, and it provides a certain amusement to be able to rattle the windows of the cage that has annoyed me with their "la-de-dah doop-de-doo 15mph speed variences while never quite achieving the actual speed limit" zombiness once I can safely blow past them.
"If you simply take up the attitude of defending a mistake, there will be no hope of improvement."
(not my site)
Oh, and I ran two quarts of hot oil through before filling her up cause I'm anal.
Last edited by Some Mook; 05-27-2011 at 07:07 PM.