Wandering Front End on '08 KLR - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
KLR & Other Motorcycle Related Discussion Grab a seat and discuss whatever you like about the KLR or other related topics. Within reason.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 26 Old 11-07-2008, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
1st Gear
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Godfrey, IL
Posts: 49
Wandering Front End on '08 KLR

I just bought an '08 KLR. At speed, say 50 and over, it wants to go into wobbles very easily. The first time it happened it was at about 80 mph and almost went into a full tank slapper. I checked it when I got home and found my tire pressures were low. I also took off the top case that came with it and increased the spring preload one click and increased the damping screw about one-half turn. That helped but it still wobbles quite a bit. I never notice it at slower speeds. The front forks seem a bit flimsy. Is this normal on the KLR's?

I should also mention I am now running about 25 front and rear for air pressures. The tires are not stock they are Duro (Trails?). I've never heard of this tire brand. The sidewall load ratings say xxnumber of pounds at 36psi but here on the forums I had seen 21psi recommended so I compromised at 25psi. Any recommendations? Any help appreciated. I'll take anything from "air up you r tires, dummy" to "Get inverted forks". (which leads me to my next thread post)

Thanks in advance.
K_IL_R is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 26 Old 11-07-2008, 04:35 PM
2nd Gear
DonD's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Central AZ
Posts: 177
Try max air pressure.
Check fork pinch bolts for tightness.
Rear wheel alignment.
Are forks at the correct hight in the trees?
Same amount fork oil side to side, same spring pre-load/length side to side?
Front axle tight and not bent?
Fork bent?

Keep us posted on what you find.

Don H
Spring Valley AZ
'03 KLR 650/DS sidecar
DonD is offline  
post #3 of 26 Old 11-07-2008, 04:41 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 10
Somethings not right, I have 2 08's and have run them both wide open, on pavement and in the dirt. Both rock solid in high speed (if you can call it that) handling. I'm running about 30 psi. Check steering head is secure and if you can't find something loose with the front end, get her to the shop. Bike should be very stable at 80.
ManitouMike is offline  
post #4 of 26 Old 11-07-2008, 04:47 PM
5th Gear
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 4,700
Duro tires are a new name for an old brand (and I can't think of the orginal company).. Nothing wrong with them, but they're not expensive..

As far as pressures, if I'm riding mostly roads, I run road pressures... 33 Front and 35 Rear.. If I'm riding off road, I air them down to 18 front and rear, and as soon as I'm back to regular road riding, I air them back up as soon as possible.

One trick that many do with a wandering front end is raise the tubes in the tripleclamps.. In other words, bring the tops of the fork tubes up above the top clamp..

I'd try .300" to start out with.. You'll notice a difference right away, with the front end feeling more planted, but you will also lose a bit of clearance when doing this.

Also, give the bike a good once over as Don mentioned.. If nothing else, you'll learn about the bike.

Remember, take care of the simple and cheap things first, before even considering changing out to aftermarket or non-original forks.. I'll bet you find what you're after for zero cost..
Paper is offline  
post #5 of 26 Old 11-07-2008, 04:51 PM
4th Gear
SLO-KLR's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Paso Robles, CA.
Posts: 1,333
There are several things you can do. You've aleady checked the air pressure and you started into #2. Adjusting the suspension. First check to be sure that the forks are not in the shipping position, meaning they are not sticking way up out of the triple clamp. The top of the fork should be flush or close to it. If they are not in the right position it is a simple matter of loosening the bolts on the clamps then sliding the forks into position then tighten the bolts back down to 19ftlbs. Next you need to adjust the sag of your suspension. http://klrworld.com/forums/index.php/topic,2334.0.html
The 3rd is to adjust the steering stem bearings. http://klrworld.com/forums/index.php/topic,1391.0.html
Happy wrenching.
SLO-KLR is offline  
post #6 of 26 Old 11-07-2008, 04:53 PM
2nd Gear
kent soignier's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: north Ga. USA
Posts: 272
wandering front end on 08 klr

Tire pressures are probably not what is making your front end shake. Mis-alignments in the chassis are far more likely to be the culprit.
After checking my own '08 klr with a GMD Computrack System and finding it quite far out of alignment, I would not be surprised to find your bike similarly crooked.
In my business (Identifying and solving handling problems for motorcycles of all types) poor chassis alignment is responsible for most headshakers.

We measure quite a few bikes that have never been crashed, or even ridden in some cases, that are less than well aligned. My bike had not been crashed prior to my inspection.
Many times we are presented with problem bikes that have wobbles and find mis-alignments, (production tolerances??? or sloppy production??) that cause various problems like headshake. And some bikes are just fine too.
After you go through all the normal check list things, and it still wobbles, you may want to get it checked at a Computrack workshop.
Good luck with it, don't let it hurt you.

'08 KLR650,
'72 BMW R75/5 (Col. Klink),
'02 KTM 400 E/XC,
'05 ktm 125 sx (for sale)

"Hey, are you okay? Can you get up?
I thought you said you could ride"

All the best
Kent Soignier
the str8ner
kent soignier is offline  
post #7 of 26 Old 11-07-2008, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
1st Gear
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Godfrey, IL
Posts: 49
Wow! Thanks guys. Fast response!

The forks are not in the shipping position I know that. The rear wheel is aligned according to the hash marks on the swingarm. I looked up Duro tires and found that I have the 903/904 combo and the recommended tire pressure is 36psi so I went ahead and aired them up to about 34.

I'll have to check all the other suggestions.

First I need to find a way to lift this guy up. I don't have a workstand for it. I think I'll fab something up tonight.

The guy I bought it from said it always ran perfect even at 100mph but you know how that goes.

Thanks for the direction. I'll post what I find.
K_IL_R is offline  
post #8 of 26 Old 11-07-2008, 05:19 PM
5th Gear
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 4,700
A 5 gallon bucket, and some assistance on getting the bike up in the air, should put you in the ballpark..
Paper is offline  
post #9 of 26 Old 11-07-2008, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
1st Gear
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Godfrey, IL
Posts: 49
Thanks. That would have been easier. I ended up throwing it up on a couple car jacks.

I havent gotten to the front end yet but I'm not encouraged so far. I found the chain was bone dry and the front sprocket was pretty corroded and cruddy. There were also a few small water rocks wedged here and there. It looks like the previous owner did some river or creek crossings without doing the proper maintenance afterwards.

None of that bothers me but I also found that the rear sprocket is loose. The sprocket ring is firmly bolted to the carrier but the carrier is loose on the hub. Is the sprocket on the KLR a floating type? I wouldn't think so but I figured I'd ask before I made a big deal out of it.

Guess I'll go tear into the front end while I wait for an answer.
K_IL_R is offline  
post #10 of 26 Old 11-07-2008, 09:56 PM
4th Gear
SLO-KLR's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Paso Robles, CA.
Posts: 1,333
The KLR has a cush drive so there is some play there.
SLO-KLR is offline  
Sponsored Links

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
16t front sprocket for '08. hography 2008+ KLR650 Wrenching & Mod Questions 6 08-09-2011 10:18 PM
Lowering front end Recall 2008+ KLR650 Wrenching & Mod Questions 4 07-29-2008 06:16 PM
Air in front forks?? DXKLR KLR & Other Motorcycle Related Discussion 11 05-21-2007 12:29 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome