Is the KLR more prone to a front wheel tuck? - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 06-18-2018, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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Is the KLR more prone to a front wheel tuck?

After being thrown off a couple times and watching YouTube vids, I am wondering if the design of the KLR makes it more prone to tucking the front wheel causing a crash.

I have very little dirt experience, but I just finished a one day ADV course where I was riding a 250cc Yamaha enduro, I'm not sure of the model #. Obviously it was much more nimble in the dirt or on single track than what my KLR could ever be; but I did find the front end was much more stable or planted for lack of a better description.

The Yamaha had full knobbies, not sure of the brand. I'm running the K60's on the KLR and I'm not carrying any rear weight such as top box or panniers to make it rear bias.

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post #2 of 9 Old 06-18-2018, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Candubrain View Post
After being thrown off a couple times and watching YouTube vids, I am wondering if the design of the KLR makes it more prone to tucking the front wheel causing a crash.

I have very little dirt experience, but I just finished a one day ADV course where I was riding a 250cc Yamaha enduro, I'm not sure of the model #. Obviously it was much more nimble in the dirt or on single track than what my KLR could ever be; but I did find the front end was much more stable or planted for lack of a better description.

The Yamaha had full knobbies, not sure of the brand. I'm running the K60's on the KLR and I'm not carrying any rear weight such as top box or panniers to make it rear bias.
Short answer; no. .....the KLR shares similar geometry as a number of offroad bikes as that is where it's DNA was derived. Your experience with the KLR on dirt likely has to do with the tires and even more importantly, the suspension. I could go on and on regarding KLR suspension woes but basically, the KLR has very basic, outdated suspension components that are also set up very undersprung and underdamped for the vast majority of riders. There are a ton of fixes/mods you can do to the suspension ranging from a few $$'s to address the worst of the shortcomings to a full blown upgrade (more $$$'s) that gets you modern, decent suspension.

Cheers,
Dave
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post #3 of 9 Old 06-18-2018, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
Short answer; no. .....the KLR shares similar geometry as a number of offroad bikes as that is where it's DNA was derived. Your experience with the KLR on dirt likely has to do with the tires and even more importantly, the suspension. I could go on and on regarding KLR suspension woes but basically, the KLR has very basic, outdated suspension components that are also set up very undersprung and underdamped for the vast majority of riders. There are a ton of fixes/mods you can do to the suspension ranging from a few $$'s to address the worst of the shortcomings to a full blown upgrade (more $$$'s) that gets you modern, decent suspension.

Cheers,
Dave
thanks, good info I didn't know
brian

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post #4 of 9 Old 06-18-2018, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Candubrain View Post
thanks, good info I didn't know
brian
No problem. You didn't mention what year your bike was; there are some differences. Not to bore you to death but here's my standard KLR suspension post;

OK, here's my 2 cents.
Stock KLR suspension is 1980's tech with a damper rod fork and emulsion shock with weak damping and springrates which MAY be marginally acceptable if you weigh 160lb or less and stay on graded gravel roads at worst. 2014.5 NE and up have better spring and damping rates but are the same crappy old design.
The bandaid (cheapy) fixes are;
- many use progressive springs for the forks and heavier oil. This will help with bottoming, wallowing and brake dive but the suspension will be overly harsh and not compliant. Better than stock though. Rather than using heavier oil, I’d recommend trying an increased oil level first which reduces the “air spring” and can stiffen it up a bit without all the harshness of heavier oil…..especially on high speed damping.
- Eaglemike's raising links; these change the geometry and reduce leverage on the shock which raises the effective spring and damping rates. Hopefully you aren't short! Easy and cheap but it's a "one size fits all" deal and it doesn’t deal with the inherent quality issues with the stock shock body and emulsion design.
or
- a stiffer shock spring. While you likely need a stiffer spring to properly set sag, adding a stiffer spring exacerbates the damping issues and creates an unbalanced (oversprung and underdamped) suspension, particularly as the oil becomes contaminated.

Proper suspension fixes;
- forks: cartridge emulators from Racetech, DDC's from Cogent or Ricor Intiminators all with the proper wt springs. The DDC's are my choice because they work at least as good as the RT emulators AND have the simple install of the Ricor Valves.
- shock; a proper aftermarket decarbon shock. Available from Progressive, Cogent, Ricor, Elka, etc. Again, I think the Cogent shocks offer the best value and use top quality, made in the USA components.
While usage, budget and expectations are different for everyone, spending money on the stock shock is false economy IMO and the more you do, the less sense it makes.....better to spend the money on a decent shock. Many people have done the shock rebuild and spring only to replace it later anyway. I've yet to hear a single regret from anyone upgrading to a good shock.
2 cents,
Dave


Cheers,
Dave
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-20-2018, 05:51 PM
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@DPelletier... I wish I had access to a KLR similar to mine with the suspension upgrades you keep mentioning to see what the difference really was in terms of my comfort, control, and abilities on the bike. I really dig my KLR, but most of the off road riding I try to do is pretty challenging. I'm going out in the desert where I used to take my WR250F and I struggle a lot with the KLR. I am running TKC80's and feel reasonably good about those. I picked up a low profile Sargent seat which has helped tremendously. But, I still have a very hard time and not a particularly fun time taking the KLR in to deep soft sand or challenging single track climbs.

I've considered going to the D606's the next time I need tires, but that's a ways out. My theory on the low profile seat is that it both gets my feet closer to the ground when needed (I'm only 5'10" with a 30" inseam) and puts my weight a little lower in the bike when seated (I tend to spend a fair amount of my time offroad on my ass unlike most people). I haven't noticed my shocks really bottoming out or trying to throw me, but the front does feel sort of soft to me and I don't like that I don't have the same adjustments available to me as a dirt bike. So, I feel like I have a great road bike that likes gravel and dirt roads, but isn't fun on trails.

I'm an experienced street rider with a variety of types of bikes, but only picked up dirt bikes and off road riding a year or two ago. So, I've always just chalked up my struggles on the KLR to my not being a particularly skilled off road rider. Of course, I question that again anytime I get on a true dirt bike and your posts about suspension on the KLR's keep making me wish I could try your suggestions before paying for and performing those upgrades. I've already sunk a lot of money in to my KLR, most of which has been worth it, and it's tough to consider major significant suspension upgrades without knowing what the result will be.

Your logic on doing as little as possible to the stock suspension or going all-in with big suspension upgrades makes a ton of sense to me though...
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post #6 of 9 Old 06-21-2018, 09:59 AM
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Consipio,

Everyone has different wants, needs, expectations, experience and budget......for ME my background is that I've been riding and racing motorcycles since the mid 1970's and I spent many years doing hare scrambles and cross country racing on a variety of bikes; my last race bike was a 2010 KTM300XCW.

Many people are perfectly happy with the stock KLR suspension; either because the type of riding they do doesn't overly tax the bike's capabilities or because they don't know how much better decent suspension is.

The KLR will never be the best choice for deep sand or challenging single track, but it can be vastly superior to the way it comes equipped with stock. When I sold my real offroad bikes, the KLR needed to pick up the slack and I still wanted to ride moderately challenging single track - my modifications (primarily my Cogent suspension) allow me to do that. Without my suspension mods, I'd be riding a different bike for sure - probably a KTM 690R. While the $1,000 hit for good aftermarket KLR suspension goodies isn't chump change, it pales beside the cost of a new KTM! I didn't know what to expect when I ponied up for the suspension upgrade on my first KLR but the transformation was amazing; the bike felt like it lost 100 lbs and I could carry a reasonable speed in rough terrain, unlike the stock bike which wallowed, bottomed, weaved and was generally miserable in most offroad conditions.

You didn't say what year KLR you have but the KLR will never be as good offroad as your WR; it's just too heavy, too wide, etc. etc. ....but you can certainly close the gap with suspension upgrades. The TKC80's are OK, I run the D606 rear with an MT21 front on both bikes after some experimentation.

I wish you were closer as I'm happy to let a fellow KLR owner try my bikes and I'm proud of what I've done with them and how they perform. There are a ton of KLR riders in Arizona; perhaps you can find someone with an upgraded KLR that would let you try it out.

Cheers,
Dave
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-21-2018, 10:11 AM
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@DPelletier... I know you've covered this at length elsewhere a couple of times, but it's always part of a broader discussion with all of the options and I feel like I sort of get lost in the wealth of information you provide. So, would you mind giving me a quick list of just what you think is the best suspension setup for the KLR for those of us willing to put the money in to make it as close to a true dirt bike as possible? Just a quick bullet list of the parts and pieces with any single sentence installation notes you might have would be awesome.

My KLR is a 2012 (details in my profile) and upgrading the suspension is certainly a better value proposition than a KTM considering I already own it.
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-21-2018, 11:20 AM
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Dave will most certainly recommend the Cogent Dynamics brand suspension components. https://www.motocd.com/

Up front will be this package, https://www.motocd.com/product/ddc-c...asaki-klr-650/

On the rear end you will have 3 choices, most riders can afford the Adventure Shock, I think is runs about $450 and Dave has one bike so equipped.
This is their mid-level shock, https://www.motocd.com/product/the-moab-shock-klr650/

Every set is custom for your weight, add-ons & riding style. I am not affiliated with them in any way. But people in the know speak highly of them.
Send them an e-mail or call them.
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-21-2018, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by consipio View Post
@DPelletier... I know you've covered this at length elsewhere a couple of times, but it's always part of a broader discussion with all of the options and I feel like I sort of get lost in the wealth of information you provide. So, would you mind giving me a quick list of just what you think is the best suspension setup for the KLR for those of us willing to put the money in to make it as close to a true dirt bike as possible? Just a quick bullet list of the parts and pieces with any single sentence installation notes you might have would be awesome.

My KLR is a 2012 (details in my profile) and upgrading the suspension is certainly a better value proposition than a KTM considering I already own it.
Sure, without discussing other options or pros and cons;

- forks are a "no brainer" the best setup is a set of Cogent DDC's and the appropriate springs; you can get the kit that comes with the DDC's, springs, oil and precut preload spacers. Install instructions are in the kit but they are really easy; take the forks off and drain out the oil oil, refill with the 5W, drop in the DDC's then the new springs, spacers and re-assemble. https://www.motocd.com/product/ddc-complete-package/

- On the shock Cogent has three main choices and several optional add-ons. The Adventure is the best "bang for the buck" as long as your weight and use is somewhat standard. The Adventure is "off the shelf" though I believe there are two spring rates available. The Moab is their next unit up and is custom tailored for your use - it has a better warranty and a damping adjuster and costs $639.00.....their premier shock is the Moab Pro-Series Ultimate which has a remote reservoir, additional damping adjustment, remote adjustable preload and a low friction shaft coating - it is the best KLR shock money can buy but it's also $ 1,375.00. Options on the Moab are a needle bearing preload collar and the RAP assy.
I've tried all three shocks and honestly you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference as long as your a "typical" rider that falls in the range of the standard Adventure settings. The Moab offers you additional customizing and the damping adjuster for not that much more so it's a contender as well. The Ultimate is an awesome shock but the extra fade resistance and adjustability isn't something most KLR owners need......but it's not always about need, I suppose.

Installation of the shock couldn't be easier, remove the dog bones and upper and lower shock mounting bolts, swap shocks and reverse the procedure.


Soooo;

- 1) Cogent DDC kit

- 2) Cogent Adventure or Moab depending on how important the extra $150.00 is to you. Both work great



Cheers,
Dave
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