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post #1 of 8 Old 10-18-2015, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 39
Criticize My KLR Build...

Hey All

I am gearing up for a 3500 KM, 4 Province, Trans Labrador HWY ride next June. With the planned route, I will be doing 1500 KMS of gravel and 2000 KMS of asphalt. My daily ride is a 2015 Ducati Divel Carbon which is shockingly comfortable, (if you haven't ridden one you will be shocked at the comfort when you do), so I want to rig my new KLR's right.

The trick is that I am building 2 KLR's. One 2015 in Slate Grey for me and one 2015 In Green for my Father. So, here are my planned upgrades:

1. Motech Trax EVO Alu-Box Panniers (45L left, 45L right and 37 L top box) with quick rack/mounts.

2. Motech Skid Plates

3. Motech Crash Bars

4. Motech Center Stand

5. Brake Cylinder Guards

6. Moose Headlight Gurds

7. Motech Vibration Dampening GPS crossbar mounts with charging cradles

8. Garmin Zumo 590 LM GPS with Tire Sensors

9. Denali Fender Light Brackets

10. Denali DR1 Lights with Covers

11. Denali Double Switch Plates (2x per bike)

12. Oxford Adventure Heated Grips

13. MRA Vario Touring Windshield

14. Highway Cruising Pegs for Crash Bars (Cheap brand I have on hand)

15. MRA Fuell Cell Holders (2 per bike)

I am thinking I will need to add an upgraded battery and maybe new tires.

What do you all think? Should I modify my part list or am I missing anything? I have been reading this forum at length and the wealth of information here is awesome. Would love your input!
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post #2 of 8 Old 10-18-2015, 07:57 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Spring Grove, IL
Posts: 107
List looks good. Just my opinion/first thoughts on some of the items. Not sure if cost is a consideration or not.

Extra light: If you're adding the extra light for your trip next June, you may find you don't need it. At that time of year, the sun is up from very early in the morning until late into the night. Not sure what your plan is for the ride, but unless you're planning to ride through the night, you may not need the extra light. Could save some $$.

With the size of the panniers and top box, you have the opportunity to really add some extra weight to the bike. My experience is that the side stand is so long that it causes the bike to stand very upright when loaded, which can make it a challenge to find a place to park the bike without it falling over. My bike fell over at least 5 times on my trip to Alaska and back last year because of the tall side stand. You may want to consider shortening the stock side stand. I've put an adjustable side stand on my KLR so that I can shorten it when the bike is loaded.

Not sure what you mean by an upgraded battery. If you mean an upgraded stator to generate more power, that's an option. I don't recall the exact numbers for the excess power for the Gen2, but you can look up the exact numbers on this site. From what I recall, the Gen2 has about 100 extra watts of power with only the low beam on, about 45 watts with the high beam on. Another way of gaining some extra power is to replace some of the lights on the bike with LEDs. I replaced the main lights on my KLR with LEDs from Cyclops Adventure Sports. Saves about 70 watts of power with both low beam and high beam on. Just remember to adjust the aim with the LEDs to get the best useable light pattern. I found on my trip to Alaska that the bike had no trouble powering a heated jacket liner at 50% to 75% power plus a pair of heated gloves.

One additional suggestion, replace the stock hand guards. The stock hand guards break easily when the bike falls over/goes down, and they don't provide any protection for the levers. I have bark busters on my bike, but anything similar would work as well.

Be sure to report back after your ride next year. That's a ride I very much want to take sometime in the next couple of years. Would love to hear about your experience!

Ride safe.

Last edited by tjduexjr; 10-18-2015 at 08:00 PM.
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post #3 of 8 Old 10-19-2015, 02:44 AM
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,204
For seat comfort you might consider one of the aftermarket seats. Or remove the foam and cover from the stock seats. Bolt a 20"x15" nylon cutting board from Walmart to the seat pan. Leave the back half 15" wide and taper the front half to stock width at the tank. Put 1 to 1-1/2 inches of carpet padding on the seat and staple a vinyl cover over it.

Large washboards on some Quebec forest roads combined with a heavy load on the luggage rack can crack the frame on each side where the rear support top loop under the rack is met by the lower tubes coming up from the foot pegs. Some 1"x1/8"x6'' splints welded across inside edges of those joints can prevent that.

I cut my tall windshield in half horizontally and bolted it back together with wing nuts through an overlap joint. A dirty windshield keeps me from seeing the hazards in the dirt right in front of the bike. So, I flip the shield around and drop it down and re-bolt it to allow me a good view of the road.

The stock KLR tires are good for around 3,000 miles. I have used Kenda k270 50/50 knobbies on the TCAT, TAT, GDR, and the Shadow of the Rockies trails as well as the Dempster in Alaska and the Dalton in the Northwest Territories and the Campbell in the Yukon with good luck for up to 6,000 miles.

I Googled MRA Fuell Cell Holders, but found nothing. What are these?
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post #4 of 8 Old 10-19-2015, 03:58 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Maine
Posts: 368
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Those panniers are big and as tjduexjr mentioned that's probably a lot of weight in back. Weight in back encourages tankslappers or just bad handling. The KLR suspension is soft enough that it's not as forgiving of extra weight as many road bikes. I suggest two complementary solutions: tool tube up front and aftermarket spring in back. I use the tool tube but my bike stands upright with the stock spring with preload on the firmest setting. (My '01 has a softer rear spring than your '15 or the bikes mentioned above, but my luggage is smaller and I'm below average weight.) Make sure you test your loaded bike -- at speed on gravel -- before your trip. Mine handles great but I have read several reports of unstable KLRs that all seem to have a lot of weight in the rear.

If you hang the fuel bottles on the rear of your panniers it'll just be worse. Is it possible to put them on the crash bars (not using them as frame sliders you understand).

What is the actual charging voltage of your KLR. Some go fairly high so it's important to check electrolyte level often. An AGM battery works for me although theoretically it's not a good match with the high charging voltage.

I agree with the handguard advice above. I no longer carry spare levers.

I see highway pegs but not main pegs suitable for wet gravel roads. SW Motech works for me. They can be installed at stock height or slightly lowered (I forget, 15mm lower?). They grip MUCH better when wet but the large Xs on the top don't chew up boot soles like some offroad pegs.

You may want to scan some of the reports in the "Travel Log & Trip Report" section of this site. Some of the later posts in my '11 Inuvik report were about what items worked for me and what I'd change next time. I used about 2,000 miles of gravel but much more pavement that your plan.

Last edited by Grinnin; 10-19-2015 at 04:00 AM.
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post #5 of 8 Old 10-19-2015, 06:09 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjduexjr View Post
List looks good. Just my opinion/first thoughts on some of the items. Not sure if cost is a consideration or not.

Extra light: If you're adding the extra light for your trip next June, you may find you don't need it. At that time of year, the sun is up from very early in the morning until late into the night. Not sure what your plan is for the ride, but unless you're planning to ride through the night, you may not need the extra light. Could save some $$.

With the size of the panniers and top box, you have the opportunity to really add some extra weight to the bike. My experience is that the side stand is so long that it causes the bike to stand very upright when loaded, which can make it a challenge to find a place to park the bike without it falling over. My bike fell over at least 5 times on my trip to Alaska and back last year because of the tall side stand. You may want to consider shortening the stock side stand. I've put an adjustable side stand on my KLR so that I can shorten it when the bike is loaded.

Not sure what you mean by an upgraded battery. If you mean an upgraded stator to generate more power, that's an option. I don't recall the exact numbers for the excess power for the Gen2, but you can look up the exact numbers on this site. From what I recall, the Gen2 has about 100 extra watts of power with only the low beam on, about 45 watts with the high beam on. Another way of gaining some extra power is to replace some of the lights on the bike with LEDs. I replaced the main lights on my KLR with LEDs from Cyclops Adventure Sports. Saves about 70 watts of power with both low beam and high beam on. Just remember to adjust the aim with the LEDs to get the best useable light pattern. I found on my trip to Alaska that the bike had no trouble powering a heated jacket liner at 50% to 75% power plus a pair of heated gloves.

One additional suggestion, replace the stock hand guards. The stock hand guards break easily when the bike falls over/goes down, and they don't provide any protection for the levers. I have bark busters on my bike, but anything similar would work as well.

Be sure to report back after your ride next year. That's a ride I very much want to take sometime in the next couple of years. Would love to hear about your experience!

Ride safe.
Cost isn't a real big consideration as I originally budgeted for 2 Ducati Multistrada's. Right now, I am trying to keep the cost of each bike under $10K.

As for the lights, I see your point with regards to the daylight. The real reason for the lights is here in Newfoundland we have an amazing amount of Moose who love to roam the roads at night. Since 1500 kms of the trip will be here on the island, (plus all the other riding the bike will do), I decided to upgrade to a long cast beam setup.

An adjustable side stand is an amazing idea. I never really considered the effects of the extra weight and I can see how it would suck with a weighed down bike. That is an amazing suggestion I wouldn't have thought about otherwise. Thanks!
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post #6 of 8 Old 10-19-2015, 06:10 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grinnin View Post
Those panniers are big and as tjduexjr mentioned that's probably a lot of weight in back. Weight in back encourages tankslappers or just bad handling. The KLR suspension is soft enough that it's not as forgiving of extra weight as many road bikes. I suggest two complementary solutions: tool tube up front and aftermarket spring in back. I use the tool tube but my bike stands upright with the stock spring with preload on the firmest setting. (My '01 has a softer rear spring than your '15 or the bikes mentioned above, but my luggage is smaller and I'm below average weight.) Make sure you test your loaded bike -- at speed on gravel -- before your trip. Mine handles great but I have read several reports of unstable KLRs that all seem to have a lot of weight in the rear.

If you hang the fuel bottles on the rear of your panniers it'll just be worse. Is it possible to put them on the crash bars (not using them as frame sliders you understand).

What is the actual charging voltage of your KLR. Some go fairly high so it's important to check electrolyte level often. An AGM battery works for me although theoretically it's not a good match with the high charging voltage.

I agree with the handguard advice above. I no longer carry spare levers.

I see highway pegs but not main pegs suitable for wet gravel roads. SW Motech works for me. They can be installed at stock height or slightly lowered (I forget, 15mm lower?). They grip MUCH better when wet but the large Xs on the top don't chew up boot soles like some offroad pegs.

You may want to scan some of the reports in the "Travel Log & Trip Report" section of this site. Some of the later posts in my '11 Inuvik report were about what items worked for me and what I'd change next time. I used about 2,000 miles of gravel but much more pavement that your plan.
Thanks for the suggestions. I will definitely be checking out your log!
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post #7 of 8 Old 10-19-2015, 06:12 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoMotor View Post
For seat comfort you might consider one of the aftermarket seats. Or remove the foam and cover from the stock seats. Bolt a 20"x15" nylon cutting board from Walmart to the seat pan. Leave the back half 15" wide and taper the front half to stock width at the tank. Put 1 to 1-1/2 inches of carpet padding on the seat and staple a vinyl cover over it.

Large washboards on some Quebec forest roads combined with a heavy load on the luggage rack can crack the frame on each side where the rear support top loop under the rack is met by the lower tubes coming up from the foot pegs. Some 1"x1/8"x6'' splints welded across inside edges of those joints can prevent that.

I cut my tall windshield in half horizontally and bolted it back together with wing nuts through an overlap joint. A dirty windshield keeps me from seeing the hazards in the dirt right in front of the bike. So, I flip the shield around and drop it down and re-bolt it to allow me a good view of the road.

The stock KLR tires are good for around 3,000 miles. I have used Kenda k270 50/50 knobbies on the TCAT, TAT, GDR, and the Shadow of the Rockies trails as well as the Dempster in Alaska and the Dalton in the Northwest Territories and the Campbell in the Yukon with good luck for up to 6,000 miles.

I Googled MRA Fuell Cell Holders, but found nothing. What are these?
Sorry. They are the Dry Spec tubes. They hold the MSR fuel bottles.
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post #8 of 8 Old 10-20-2015, 10:54 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
Posts: 2,232
There is no end to the modifications you can do to a KLR......$10k budget each?

- real bars and real handguards. I use Renthals and Acerbis/Fastway or Cycra pro-bends. much lighter, 10X stronger and decent vibration dampening....use some grips with decent cushion as well.
- proper footpegs. Knight Designs drop pegs open up the ergos, create more space between the peg and shifter, correct the stock "too low" rear brake pedal and move the pegs to the rear for better positioning. ...and of course they have good traction and a proper spring return.
- Cogent suspension; Call Rick at Cogent Dynamics and get a set of DDC's and a pair of Moab shocks.....he will set them up specifically for you with custom dampening and spring rates.
- batteries; AGM at a minimum but I prefer the LiFePo units; 2.2 lbs compared to 11.2 lbs and no maintenance. Shorai, Antigravity.
- IMS 320mm rotor kit....Eaglemike.com


2 cents,
Dave
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