Fork Compression When Hauling - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 06-19-2011, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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Fork Compression When Hauling

I noted on another thread folks talking about fork seals and fork compression when securing a bike for hauling.

While the general consensus from that brief discussion seems to be that ratcheting/cinching down the front forks does no harm to the seals, I'm getting ready to haul my KLR for the first time in the back of my Tacoma.

I've hauled other similar bikes in the past and have always cut a piece of 2x4 and wrapped it with duct tape then placed it between the top of the front tire and the fender so I only had about an inch or so of space, then ratcheted down the front to solidify it.

Anybody thinks that makes sense or is it pointless? I figure it's better to compress the forks an inch than to not use the piece of wood and have to cinch it down even farther to get it solid enough that it won't bounce.



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post #2 of 9 Old 06-19-2011, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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Would also note that if anybody just wants to discuss hauling in general, I'd be interested in hearing opinions on this.

I doubt too many people haul their KLR's, but I've hauled an old Suzuki SP600 and a Honda XR650. Sometimes you just have to do it. Mine were usually hauled when I was moving or travelling thousands of miles and just wanted to take the bike along to ride when I got to my destination. I used one of those original "Moto-X Caddies" that slide into the receiver hitch and hold the bike sideways across the back of the vehicle.

I'm fortunate mine fits in the back of my bare-bones '03 short bed Tacoma because I never liked that hitch carrier. I had mine reinforced with some extra brackets to keep it from wobbling/tipping so much, but it always bounced around all over the place, obscured my tail lights and threw off my headlights enough that I had to get some extra leaf springs put in my vehicle to handle the load and that was with a '95 1/2-ton Dodge Ram pickup. I guess adjustable rear suspension air bags would have made more sense, but cost a lot more.

It was kind of a necessary evil. It worked, but always made me nervous with the load exerted on the Dodge factory hitch unit to the point where I even wrapped a log chain around the bike, the hitch hauler and the frame of the Dodge so if it did rip loose, it would drag along behind me and not strike another vehicle and hurt or kill somebody. I would note that I logged thousands of miles with this setup with no incidents, but it wasn't exactly relaxed, carefree driving while doing so. I had a camper shell thing on the pickup at the time so putting the KLR in the bed wasn't an option.

I now use two ramps to load/unload into the back of the Tacoma. At first I had one ramp and a 2' square platform that slid into my receiver hitch to use as a step-up. They came as a set. I found I was way too uncoordinated and clumsy to use the platform thing, even though it was large and I put some non-skid tape on it. I'm sure it would work fine for a younger, more agile and coordinated person.

It's much easier to use two ramps and just walk up and down one while taking the bike up and down the other. I got them for my upcoming trip, or if I break down somewhere and my wife has to bring the pickup to rescue me and get me home. I just start the KLR, put it in first and walk up while using the clutch/brakes to drive/control the KLR up the ramp. Ride the thing up the ramp? Not me.

If I hauled regularly, I'd go with a dedicated trailer. Fortunately, this is a scenario that doesn't exist for me but might for some folks. If you haul, how do you do it?




Last edited by planalp; 06-19-2011 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Noted Had Camper Shell On Pickup At The Time
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post #3 of 9 Old 06-19-2011, 04:17 PM
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Compressing the forks won't hurt the fork seals, there's not much pressure being generated by cranking down on tie downs.

The reason people put blocks on forks when hauling is keep the tie downs tight. When you hit a bump that compresses the suspension the tie down loosens up some and the bike can shift. I've heard of tie downs coming off bikes but I would think that is more to blame on bad rigging.

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post #4 of 9 Old 06-19-2011, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spec View Post
Compressing the forks won't hurt the fork seals, there's not much pressure being generated by cranking down on tie downs.

The reason people put blocks on forks when hauling is keep the tie downs tight. When you hit a bump that compresses the suspension the tie down loosens up some and the bike can shift. I've heard of tie downs coming off bikes but I would think that is more to blame on bad rigging.
Makes sense. I'll use the block because it definitely solidifies the front end. I tend to over-rig and use way more straps than are probably needed.



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post #5 of 9 Old 06-20-2011, 08:49 AM
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I like the idea about the 2x4. I use to use a store bought ForkBrace on my XR but it ended up being too long for the KLR. What I liked was that you could clamp the bike down nice and tight on the brace and it would keep the front tire from acting like a pogo-stick and getting all sideways in the back while going over bumpy roads.
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post #6 of 9 Old 06-21-2011, 09:30 PM
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I use a piece of 4x4 fence post. I notched the part that hits the fender so it hits the bolts instead. The end that sits against the tire has a 8 inch piece of 2x4 so it doesn't compress one 4 inch section of the tire. We have a toy hauler so it has four points to tie it down. It sits pretty firm in there with little ability to move.
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-22-2011, 11:30 AM
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I do pretty much the same as Edzed, with a section of 4X4 (notched the part that hits the fender so it hits the bolts instead). However, on the other end I cut a shallow V in the butt end of the 4X4. That V wraps across just the tread section of the tire.
I haul in a Tundra. There are 4 tie-down points. I use 8 straps; 2 on ech corner (insurance in case one of the strap cams fail).
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-22-2011, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spec View Post
Compressing the forks won't hurt the fork seals, there's not much pressure being generated by cranking down on tie downs.

The reason people put blocks on forks when hauling is keep the tie downs tight. When you hit a bump that compresses the suspension the tie down loosens up some and the bike can shift. I've heard of tie downs coming off bikes but I would think that is more to blame on bad rigging.
SPEC, Is Exactly correct with this……

The fact is: if your shock seals are working correctly you never have oil leaking out …..
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-23-2011, 10:50 AM
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Never hauled the KLR much but have hauled lotsa dirt-bikes and road-race bikes.. I just crank the straps down tight to compress the forks and go... if seals are good they won't leak. IF your hauling long distance I'd also recommend lashing down the rear too.

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