Howdy from Yukon - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-20-2013, 02:35 AM Thread Starter
1st Gear
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Whitehorse, Yukon
Posts: 44
Howdy from Yukon

Chose this KLR forum after carousing the other KLR forums. Seems to be the proper spirit here!

After waffling for a few years I final bought a 650 KLR. I got a 2009 with 14,500km (9000mi) that is in awesome condition. Looks new. Picked it up for $4,000 Canadian Pesos, which in the far north (Yukon) is pretty good - I think. She's a black beauty and came with the following:

-Supertrapp IDS2 Muffler. Sounds good, but is it really better than stock other than the sound? Backfires when I engine brake down steep hills. The stock came with the bike - should I put it back on?

-New KLR soft saddle bags & top case. Nice for around town.

-New Kenda 761 Tires: 130/80-17 & 90/90-21. I gather that these are primarily pavement tires, but still pretty good on dirt / gravel roads. I'm not planning on doing motorcross, but I am planning on exploring some dirt roads this summer. I guess the alternative is the Kenda 760's?

-Progressive Suspension 465 (new in box). Thinking of potentially selling this to buy a Corbin flat seat (Damn thing is expensive!). Or should I install it????? Don't know much about the suspension on this bike, but so far my ride is nice. I'm 6'2" 200lbs and I think this bike was designed for me! No tipping over at stop lights!

-Tallish windscreen. At under 100km I have little wind buffeting and it seems the wind stream is nicely hitting the top of my helmet. On the ratty roads in the Yukon I rarely go over 100km anyways. Had the bike out on the highway yesterday, in very strong gusty conditions, and at 80kph the ride felt good. For longer tours I can see getting a higher windscreen, but for now this will do.

Initial Impressions: I'm not a very experienced rider, but boy I like this bike! On the highway it feels really stable and is easy to maneuver. The bike seems nimble to me and is much more fun to ride than I expected! Been practicing some panic braking and to me this thing stops FAST!! I've been told it won't stop as fast as a 650 Wee-Strom, but whatever... Bike starts instantly, even when it is cold. Shifting is pretty good, although my technique sort of sucks (getting better). Also, the bike is much bigger and taller than anything I have ridden before (my Honda 450 rebel is a joke next to this bike). It feels substantial. What I really like is that it eats potholes, which we have an abundance of up here! On my old bike I would tense up and hang-on whenever I saw a pothole coming. On the KLR it's "whatever".

I'll be picking up my SW-Motech crash bars, skid plate and center stand tomorrow. Then I can start getting comfortable on dirt roads. Over 10 years ago I did a little dirt bike riding, so I guess I'm not starting from scratch. But man, this bike is much taller than what I road back then! A little intimidating -to me anyways - for riding in the dirt. I've already hit a few gavel patches, coming out of corners, on our dirty Spring roads - causing me great mental anguish - but other than the loud "FU^%!! emanating from my helmet, all was good. Need practice in the dirt and gravel...

- Doohickey Mod?? Guy I bought it from was the second owner and had no idea if it was done or not. Is there anyway to tell if it was done without tearing the bike apart?
- Valves?? Probably checked when bike was resold by dealer 2000km ago. But nothing in writing.

Ok, since this bike is used (but appears to be in awesome shape), is there a check list that someone has made that I can work thru to make sure nothing untoward is going to happen on my first long ride??

Our summers are short in the North, but I've been told the Yukon is considered adventuring touring paradise. Even the KLR riders from Alaska come here to ride. So hopefully I have some stories to tell by the end of summer.

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post #2 of 5 Old 05-20-2013, 05:06 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Maine
Posts: 368

My '01 came with some aluminum muffler, but I switched back to stock. The stock one that came with it had been drilled aggressively and was crap, but I found a good one on e-bay. For mine that solved the lean popping when closing the throttle.

I put Kenda 761 tires on mine in the first month and they've been there (with several replacements) ever since. That's for lots of pavement with some ATV trails here in Maine. They are NOT good in mud or deep sand. I have read that Yukon roads can be pretty slick when rain and the dust-supression stuff (calcium chloride??) mix.

People who do suspension upgrades say that that is the best thing you can do to a bike. I just ride whatever is on there and accept it for what it is. I DO turn up the spring preload to get the right sag, but I guess I'm not out racing whoops. Ever.

I have cut and modified the seats on every motorcycle I've owned, including the KLR. If you know the Corbin works for your butt then I'd fix that first.

I got mine at 9,000 miles and the doo was still working. The only test for working doo is sound. Listen to your engine running cold. Then loosen and tighten the adjusting bolt, start the engine, and listen again. (If the engine is horribly loud on restart, shut it off immediately.) If the doo is working the sound should be similar or even a tad quieter and the engine should be similar or smoother. I read more about pre-'08 doos and I think yours may have a marginally better lever and spring.

Like you, I found the KLR to be fun. I still think it's fun. It can take some abuse on mult-brand forums, but it's really a great motorcycle.

Enough of my crap in your intro thread, WELCOME![/QUOTE]
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post #3 of 5 Old 05-20-2013, 06:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: NW MO
Posts: 5,453
Welcome to the forum, YukonPete. Are you by any chance related to Yukon Cornelius?

If I had the suspension in hand as part of the deal, I would go ahead and install it.

I would guess the backfiring on deceleration is more a function of your air/fuel mixture. Perhaps somebody who uses the Supertrapp muffler can guide you in adjusting your mixture screw?

You really can't tell what you've got in the way of doohickey components and their condition unless you open up the left side of the engine and look. I think most would advise you that if you plan on keeping the bike long-term, you should at least open it up and check out the condition of the spring. Most agree the Eagle Mike torsion spring/lever upgrade is the way to go so you never have to worry about it again.

Since you have no way to tell if your valves have been checked/adjusted, I wouldn't worry about it much until it's convenient for you to check them. If you notice the thing is taking longer to start, that's a symptom the valves are becoming tight. Were it me, I would just plan on checking them during the next off-season to see how they look. In the meantime, ride on.

Some KLR's in this age range had some issues with the wiring harness routing and rubbing that you might want to check into, especially if you're looking at longer or more remote rides.

All that being said, I'm more of a KLR Stooge than a KLR Guru and I would refer you to this excellent thread, written with those with more knowledge than myself. It makes for some good reading:

Confidence riding on dirt and gravel is purely a function of hours and experience. Take it easy until your experience/confidence builds. Roads like that are what the KLR is made for.

Again, welcome to the forum and enjoy your new ride!

Last edited by planalp; 05-20-2013 at 06:43 AM.
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post #4 of 5 Old 05-30-2013, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
1st Gear
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Whitehorse, Yukon
Posts: 44
Ha! Wish I was related to "Yukon Cornelius". As I recall from my childhood (watched Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer dozens of times) that dude had the right attitude about life!

Yukon Cornelius: "Oh, well, now I'm off to get my life-sustaining supplies: cornmeal and gun powder and hamhocks and guitar strings. I'll give you a lift. Hop aboard, mateys."

In regards to my KLR I've decided to wait until winter to look into the valves and doohickey. Winter up here will come quick enough. Bike is operating really smooth, just a little backfiring when engine braking down steep hills.

Just installed MS-Motech crashbars, skid plate and centerstand. Getting some bolts threw this wad of gear was challenging!! I'm a little concerned with the leverage on the bolt that goes thru the left foot rest, crash bar and centerstand!! What a wad of gear to be attached by one bolt! Gonna keep my eye on it. Not a great design. Needs a zip-tie or two

Took my first ride of a steep and bumpy and rough gravel road the other day. Was very jarring for the first half hour as I was going too slow. On the way back, as I got comfortable with the bike moving under me in the loose gravel, the ride really smoothed out. Funny thing was that I was followed home by some mountain bikers who picked up my license plate that had rattled off!!

And ya, I think when I get a chance I will install the new suspension shock that came with the bike. It seems to have a good reputation.

Summer has finally arrived in the north so it is time to get some rides in!
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post #5 of 5 Old 05-30-2013, 09:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: NW MO
Posts: 5,453
Yeah, I'd ride it this Summer while you've got the chance and do the work on it this Winter. Enjoy!

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