Stability Question 05 KLR650 - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-24-2010, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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Stability Question 05 KLR650

I am fairly new to riding, getting more comfortable with it. I have an 05 KLR650 and noticed that I can ride comfortable up to about 55mph, then after that, it seems to move around a little, more if it's windy and more if the tank is empty. I am 6'2" and weigh 200lbs. Is this common for my bike? I have got it up to 80mph, which was kinda scary. A lot of fun, looking forward to summer riding in the mountains.
Thanks for your imput.
Tom
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-24-2010, 07:38 PM
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Hey Tom. Welcome. We're about the same size and yeah, the KLR is a twitchy bike at speeds. Think of it this way. It is very tall and catches a lot of wind. It has a lot of stuff to catch wind on it (handguards, giant fender). It is a relatively light bike. Especially with the gas tank empty. I think a gallon of gas weighs in the neighborhood of 10 lbs. I try to keep my tank near full most of the time because my commute is windy as crap.

There are some things you could do...a non stock fender makes a big difference or a fender brace. A fork brace would help you. I ride in big wind a lot here by the bay. When we get going faster we tend to tense up. The wind pushes against you and you put involuntary steering inputs into the bike. Cross winds are a great illustration of this. First time I rode a MC across the Golden Gate bridge in REALLY crazy winds was on my 73 Honda. Man, that thing was squirelling. Then I reminded myself to relax my arms, squeeze the tank with my knees and things improved a LOT (no more accidental countersteering).

Now, on the KLR, you probably have knobbies? That doesn't help. But you will get used to it. Stay relaxed. Keep the revs up and remember there are gyroscopic forces keeping you upright. You may get buffeted a bit, but you'll get used to it.




"In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV." R. Pirsig

PPMC #1.
Soon, we ride.

AKA JD Mader or you can call me "Dan" just not early for dinner.

Click my handle for a link to my homepage/blog...which has nothing to do with MCs. Free literature and music! Viva La Revolucion!
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RIP DM - Soon, we ride.

Last edited by Lockjaw; 05-24-2010 at 07:40 PM.
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-24-2010, 07:54 PM
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My initial instinct is to tell you to "just ride the damn thing", but a lick of sense wandered into view of the thought. So. On second thought, I have a few questions. Describe, if ya will, the front tire condition. [cupping, wear, air pressure, manufacture and model, if you can].

Also. Who will be maintaining this bike? You? Shop? The reason I ask is that someone needs to check the steering head adjustment on that bike. There is a phenomenon that happens with the front wheel of motorcycles called a "tank slapper". That is where the handle bars will gyrate left to right, stop to stop faster than a machine gun. In all good faith, I could not tell you or anyone else to go ahead and "git with it" on a bike I am not familiar with, or that has not been checked over.

If all is well, then it is just a matter of getting used to the wind buffeting from the high hung fender, and wind resistance from the fairing. Not to be pessimistic, but that bike you bought ain't exactly gonna have a ride like a Coupe DeVille. It is a lot closer to a paint shaker than it is to a barcalounger.
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-24-2010, 08:10 PM
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That's a good point, man. I assumed too much. If you don't feel like you can check the bike out, get someone to do it. Just walk into a shop and say, "can you just look at the bike for me, wind freaks me out." They'll check it out quick and charge you little if they are a good shop. And ask to watch if you can. I've learned a lot watching more qualified people do their thang. And they usually like to have an audience. Gets boring performing for yourself.




"In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV." R. Pirsig

PPMC #1.
Soon, we ride.

AKA JD Mader or you can call me "Dan" just not early for dinner.

Click my handle for a link to my homepage/blog...which has nothing to do with MCs. Free literature and music! Viva La Revolucion!
-------------------
2008 KLR 650
RIP DM - Soon, we ride.
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-24-2010, 11:03 PM
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Tire pressure.

Fork brace. Eagle Mike!

Progressive Springs.

KTM front fender (Thanks Tim)

Smaller hand guards.


Has worked for me on my '05

Take care, and ride safe!

MB4

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RIP Darin, Ben, Carey


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post #6 of 10 Old 05-24-2010, 11:33 PM
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vatrader mentioned the steering stem bearings and with out a doubt this is the single largest contributer to a bike that feels shakey. The other issue especially for new riders is grip. When the bike starts to get shakey it's our natural instinct to try and control it so we grip a little firmer and do our best to gain control of the osilating handlebars. Here's where things go a little arry where the wind is concerned. Think of your KLR as a sailboat and yourself as the sail. Your body acts like a sail on the KLR and if you maintain a loose grip the wind will bump your body around but will have minimal input to the handlebars like a loose sail in the wind. Now things start to feel a little spooky so you do your best to wrestle the handlebars into submission. This is just like taking up the slack in the sail, now every little puff of air that comes along transfers through the sail to the boat or in this case to the handlebars because that's where you're hands are very firmly attached. So here is your challenge. When ever the wind start to kick up or the front end gets shakey, loosen your grip instead of increasing it. You will notice that the bike will be much less twitchy and won't be doing any unpredicted lane changes. The bike will still pitch some but it will maintain it's line in a much more stable manner. So loosen up that grip.
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-25-2010, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone, I'll try to loosen up a little. I notice it doesn't always happen, yea, I am tall sitting upright on a tall bike. My tires are the stock ones that came with it. The bike only has 1600 miles, so hardly any ware. Air pressure is at 21 in the front and 25 in the back. I probably should have someone who knows what their looking for to check it out though. The guy I bought it from rode it for 800 miles, then sat in his garage for 5 years. Other than that one issue, the bike is great. Thanks again for all the input.
Tom
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-25-2010, 10:14 AM
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I would run higher air pressure on the road. The guidelines in the manual are a compromise. Right now I have a stock tire on the front (30psi) and a Gripster on the rear (34 psi).




"In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV." R. Pirsig

PPMC #1.
Soon, we ride.

AKA JD Mader or you can call me "Dan" just not early for dinner.

Click my handle for a link to my homepage/blog...which has nothing to do with MCs. Free literature and music! Viva La Revolucion!
-------------------
2008 KLR 650
RIP DM - Soon, we ride.

Last edited by Lockjaw; 05-25-2010 at 11:16 AM. Reason: went and checked my air pressure :)
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-25-2010, 11:09 AM
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As Lockjaw mentioned, I'd bump the tire pressure up. The "recommended" pressure in the book is a generic pressure for both on and off road. In actuallity, it's too low for street riding and too high for off road riding.. I actually run 34f/38r on the road, and 18 for both front and rear when I need traction when riding off road. I just top them back up after I'm done at the first gas station.

Try the simple things first, and go from there.. Air's cheap.
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-30-2010, 10:37 PM
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I find the use of a KTM fender interesting. Just which fender model and where would you come across one for a reasonable price? I too own an 05' KLR650 but haven't experienced the buffeting out of the ordinary. I do think the lowered front fender would help in more than one way such as airflow to the radiator also. Links to finding a fender would be great.

Thanks!
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