Multiple Gear Reviews
OK, so I've had my 2011 KLR for just over a year now. When I got it the PO had installed Givi crash guards front and rear, a Zero Gravity tall windscreen, and an aluminum sump guard (SW- Motech I think), and a Progressive Suspension. It had around 8k on the clock and seemed to ride pretty good. It had some engine work done to it, never got a clear answer as to what happened but regardless, the bike runs and rides well. I've put over 3k on it since with no problems. I haven't gotten down to count sprocket teeth yet but she runs right around 70 at 4k on the tach. I'm pretty happy with that. It doesn't appear to be much of a load on the engine and I'm a pretty big guy weighing in at 260. So, here's my take on all the stuff it came with and the stuff I've added. Hope it helps some of you out there who might be considering some of this stuff.
Givi Crash Guards: Thankfully, they've not been needed. They seem fairly robust and I would imagine they would do a good job of protecting the engine and most of the bike in a fall. However, I'd like to see them come up a bit higher to give a better degree of radiator protection. From photos, the Tusk crash bars look like they might do that. All in all, I think that they're at least adequate if not a little bit more than that.
Sump Protector: Regrettably, this has been tested. I ended up running over a pretty good size tree limb that fell off of some brush truck. It was heavy traffic and nowhere to go. It sounded REALLY bad when it bounced and hit the engine. The good news, no damage! not even a mark on the sump protector. There are several makes of these things, they're not terrible expensive and worth every penny. Highly recommend.
Zero Gravity Tall Windscreen: Absolutely love it. It also came with a small adjustable extension which is excellent. Easy to adjust a little more air flow towards you on a hot day or adjust it back up some if you feel you're being buffeted by the wind too much. While I really like the extension, it is a bit pricey for what it is (around $150 at RMATV). Having said that, it does work though and pretty good at that. The windscreen itself works well. I wish it was a bit wider though. It looks to me it wouldn't be too difficult to extend it out beyond the mounting points. An inch or two would make a world of difference when you get caught in rain. Other than that, it's still a good choice.
Progressive Suspension: Jury is still out on this item. No owners/operators manual with it. The bike seems to be ok with it. I would like to soften it a little bit though. The adjustment wheel doesn't really go in or out when you turn it. I can't really tell any difference. It does have a small detent that you can barely feel when you turn it but I don't notice any difference. Called Progressive and talked with them, this is supposedly normal. They do have an on-line manual but like I said, it doesn't seem to do much. I have no idea what the bike was like before it was added. It is a bit stiffer compared to other KLRs I've ridden if that helps anyone.
Now for the junk I've added. I've put quite a bit into it. My idea is that I need to carry stuff for work (briefcase), trips to the grocery store etc., and maybe take some weekend trips with it. I don't get to ride as much as I'd like so being able to use it for work is bonus time. So here goes.
Tusk Aluminum Panniers: I love them. You can haul a ton in them. Not terrible hard to install. I had to remove the rear crash guards but it's not a big deal. Pay close attention when you actually drill the panniers themselves. I intentionally gave mine a little forward tilt. My thinking was these things are going to grab a lot of air for one, and I thought it might make mounting/dismounting a little easier. I've got short legs. I had to lower the left side just over an inch from the right side just to be able to get on the thing. I got the large ones. My briefcase (soft case) barely fits in but, it fits. Can usually haul about 4 bags of groceries in each. Good buy.
LED Lights: NO BRAINER!! I can't remember the brand. The first one's I got wouldn't fit right. Once I got the others, I can light up the road like I never imagined. Saved my bacon more than once. I live in an area with lots of deer. I can see those critters long before they become a surprise, if you will. Can't say enough good. No one flashes me on low so they evidently don't blind oncoming traffic. Very affordable upgrade especially for those who do some night riding not to mention the better safety for increased visibility to other drivers (day or night). Also changed the brake/tail and blinkers. Much brighter all the way around. In fact, I started the bike yesterday and had to go back in the house for a minute. When I came out I thought my brake light was stuck on. It wasn't. They're just that much brighter even in the daytime.
Rigid LED Driving/Fog Lights: For me this was a must. Not only are the deer prevalent, but it can get very foggy here in the Blue Ridge Mtns. The Rigids do double duty. I got the flood pattern to light up the side of the road more (to spot deer primarily). However, you can get clip on amber lens for fog. Work great! I leave the amber covers on almost all the time. I like to think they improve daytime visibility, plus they're easy to remove and throw in the bags if needed. Again, never been flashed by oncoming drivers with or without the lens covers. There's lots out brands out there, but I'm super happy with the Rigids, cost a couple hundred bucks though.
KLR Lower Dash Kit: I'm pretty happy with it. The power meter gives some indication of your charging system. Having 2 power ports is a real bonus. Only downside is if someone is ogling at your bike and turns on the power switch, it could drain your battery. But I've never had that happen.
Thermo-Bob: It seems to regulate temps much better than without it. There's a bit here to digest though. On really hot days, if you're moving slow in traffic or sitting at lights, it doesn't help cool the engine like I hoped it would. That's not necessarily a fault of the unit though, the bike is designed to be ridden to cool it. In fact, when sitting at lights or in slow traffic, my temp gauge runs up to almost overheating. Much warmer than I'd like. However, it will cool pretty quickly once you get moving some (usually above 30mph). I have noticed that it is much more affected by ambient temperature though. Examples: When its 90 or above, it runs just above half of scale going down the highway at 60 or so. (really anything above 50). If it's around 70, then it only runs up about 1/4 of scale at the same speeds. That's not much warmer than the factory setup. However, what I have noticed that I didn't expect is that the engine doesn't lug nearly as much a low rpm, (like around 2500 or less). It is a much smoother acceleration and you don't get the THUMP that you normally would from that big single cylinder. I also seem to get a couple miles per gallon better too. Not going to complain about that. I attribute the smoother acceleration to probably getting better combustion with the engine warmer, not sure but that's what I'm thinking. If anyone knows different then please share. All in all, I think it is still a good thing to do to your bike. Might need to look at adding a better fan for hot days and town traffic. There's one thing I don't like and that is the heat that it puts out when it is hot. But honestly, the stock version will do the same thing. The good news is once you get moving it cools down quickly and you don't notice all that extra engine heat even if it is 90 degrees plus outside.
Kaoko Cruise Control: Hands down the best cruise control I've ever had. Quick an easy to install and works fantastic. Also added some foam type grips that slide over the existing grips. Softer and take a little bit of the vibration out.
Saddlemens Adventure Track Seat: I just put this on recently. I'm pretty happy with it. The guys at Saddlemens have really demonstrated their commitment to customers over the years to me. The seat really relieves the pressure on the tail bone. It does take a little time to break in, mine's getting better every time I ride. I've got just over 500 miles on it since installing it. Good support, reasonably comfortable considering I came from a cruiser before my KLR. I highly recommend them. Actually, I'd recommend a concrete block over the factory seat, but I think most people will be happy with the seat.
That's it for now. I might do a shorter version on some of the rider gear I've gotten in the coming days. Until then ride on and ride safe.