TransLabrador tour advice? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 03-19-2018, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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TransLabrador tour advice?

Planning on doing the TransLabrador this summer, starting in SW Ontario, going though Northern Quebec, looping down to Baie Comeau, then up into Labrador, 3 or 4 days in NFLD, ferry to the Cabot Trail, then along the Southern St. Lawrence to home. Approximately 9,500Kms round trip, with about 600Kms of soft gravel en route.

Presently my rear is a Mefo Explorer with about 700Kms on it, and it'll probably have about 3,000Kms on it before I start the trip.

The front tire is still stock and I'll need to replace it before I go. I'm leaning to the Shinko 244

My question is should I replace both front and back with Shinko 244's just before I go, or just carry on with the rear Mefo and just change the front?

Do you think the Mefo rear is good for about 13,000Kms?

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post #2 of 15 Old 03-19-2018, 09:25 PM
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Sounds like fun. Are you camping?

Give some consideration to the Shinko 700 tire. It’s on my short list of tires to try.

On the Mefo I’ve heard guys getting around 8000 miles on a KLR rear so that’s your 13,000 km. Tire wear is so subjective. It will depend on your load. I believe I read somewhere Twisted Throttle recommending pressures as much as 40psi.
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post #3 of 15 Old 03-20-2018, 08:25 AM
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Sounds like a great trip! Let us know how it goes. I'd like to do something similar in the future.

I had Mefo Explorers, front and rear, on my bike when I did my Alaska trip. My experience on my Alaska trip, which was 75% asphalt, albeit rough asphalt, was just under 9,800 miles round trip. I had 500 miles on the tires prior to leaving. The rear was pretty squared off by the time I returned home, and I admit that I would have changed it out 800 or so miles earlier if I hadn't been on the trip. I would do the trip with the Mefo.

Best of luck on your trip!
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post #4 of 15 Old 03-20-2018, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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No camping, I'll be sure to pre books some rooms along the route, which is something I do not normally do, as I don't like being held to a schedule. Once I'm out of the remote areas, when I get tired I start to look for a room.

I've read about the Shinko 244 not being very stable at highway speeds. I might purchase a matching front Mefo, then replace both when home for something more aggressive for off road riding, until the next long distance trip with this bike.

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post #5 of 15 Old 03-20-2018, 09:45 PM
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Hey Brian, I didn't know about these Mefo tires (??) until now. I was all set to buy some Shinko 705's, and I believe I mentioned in another post that I took a second look at the spare Michelin Anakee's that came with my bike, and said, "Hey, these are fine." Although not the freshest rubber.

Hmm. A Shinko 244 would not be my first choice for a "mostly paved road" tour.

RE the not so stable at speed, and it's probably been mentioned here somewhere, but keep in mind, that high front fender acts as a bit of a wind grabber at higher speeds. Hence, I'm going with a low UFO fender as soon as the weather breaks and I can install it cleanly.

Even the Michelin the other day, heading into the wind,
I could feel the front end not really planted at 80km/h +.

One other thing, I think you'd be better off with a matched set of tires in terms of tread pattern and wear, same as you would do on the big H-D. I know F and B don't wear at the same rate on any bike . . . but still.
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post #6 of 15 Old 03-21-2018, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Some good points Dave, especially matching tires on big bikes, although I get the general consensus on the forums that it doesn't carry the same regard on the KLRs.

Haven't experience the front fender affect with several attempts of keeping the throttled pinned in various Bruce County side, rear, and frontal winds. Mind you this was on a naked bike with a 20" Madstad Windshield, perhaps with the added weight of luggage or a top box enhances the problem. I've seen photos of large holes drilled into the stock fender as an alternative.

Mefo's were the Cabbage Patch Kids at the time. Mitas have become more in vogue, Shinkos and Kendas are good tires costing much less. A new front Mefo is $144.00 vs $57.00 for a Shinko 244; both are rated as a 50-50 tire and although the tread pattern is different, I don't think there is enough difference to matter.

The TLH is notorious for soft deep gravel that you sink into, especially after the grader has gone through. A more street orientated tire would do the route, but I like the added grip I may gain (minimal) with a 50-50 tire. I know any tire will far exceed my gravel ability, but anything that may help me is a plus.

Anyone interested in doing this, do it this year as the last section of 510 is being paved starting this spring, that only leaves about 130Kms around Manic 5, I haven't been able to confirm if Quebec will be paving that last section as well.

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post #7 of 15 Old 03-22-2018, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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I called a shop that specializes in Dual Sports, they steered me away from the Shinko due to the extensive mileage of this trip, otherwise the Shinko was a good match up.

Their recommendation was a Heidenau K60 Scout; which was listed for $111.00 plus a 15% discount off the price with free shipping, priced about 1/2 way between the Shinko and Mefo.

Should be here tomorrow, but I'm going to hold off mounting until the trip as there is still lots of mileage left on the stock Dunlop

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post #8 of 15 Old 03-23-2018, 09:23 AM
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@Candubrain. Are you doing this trip solo.

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post #9 of 15 Old 03-23-2018, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klr4evr View Post
@Candubrain. Are you doing this trip solo.
No, running with a buddy on another KLR. We both purchased them last fall so we had the same bike, to minimize the spares we may need to carry.

Heidenau came in today. Very surprised how thin the carcass wall is between the lugs, it's no wonder flats are common when off roading.

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post #10 of 15 Old 03-24-2018, 06:03 PM
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I have settled on 50/50 tires for all my ridding because I never know what surface I will be ridding on next. Kenda 270, Shinko 244 and IRC GP1 all have a very similar 50/50 tread pattern. I have been through about 13 sets of Kenda 270 with good results and up to 9,000 miles. I had good luck with one IRC but they are more expensive. I got three Shinko 244 rears because I was traveling and couldn't find Kendas. All three Shinkos lost many of the center lugs in less than 600 miles on the highway. I am now sticking with the Kenda 270 tires.

I ride lots of long trips and have found that finding the tire I want at the time I need it on a trip can be very difficult, time wasting and frustrating. If new tires will make the whole trip and my tires only have 3/4 left, I will change them out for new ones to avoid the hassle of searching for tires on the road.

There is not much gravel left on the Trans-Lab and what there is is well maintained. The Trans-Canada Adventure Trail connector in Quebec is gravel and had some bad washboarding from mining and logging trucks. Low tire pressures will help a lot there.
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