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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
At first, no. Turns out my intenet provider was sending them to spam BEFORE I ever got a chance to dowload the emails to my computer. I had to login to my Comcast account, turn off Comcast spam entirely, and then I was able to receive the emails on my computer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #64 ·
Update:

I have been on two additional Nevada trips. The first was with the Tusk medium panniers and rack, and 326# of weight including rider (214#) and gear (112# including pannier weight). The second was with Nelson Rigg drybags and Precision side racks, and 295# of weight including rider (same 214#) and gear (81# including pannier weight). Note that the change from Tusk hard mediums plus rack to the Nelson Rigg soft bags plus PM rack alone saved 20-22#. That is a substantial decrease.

On the first trip I went over the Sierras on Foote's Crossing road, an old dirt, rocky, snotty, cliff-side mining road that led into Alleghany and the Sixteen to One mine. The bike handled just fine at anything over 3mph, but below that speed, in a rock garden and when trying to squeeze between a tree and an RV leaving camp in the Sierras, it oscillated. The difference between previous trips and this one was that at anything over 3mph I could push the KLR limits with no problem.

On the second trip, with the Nelson Rigg soft bags and Precision racks, I went over the Sierras to Moon Rocks OHV area to meet some camping friends, and then we rode Winnemuca Ranch Road 30 miles to the Dead Cow airstrip on a dry lake bed near Herlong for a fly-in and air drag racing. This dirt road included 2' deep water crossings, 45 degree off and on camber turns, and boatloads of rocks and sand. The KLR handled it all with aplomb except for the sand. My two friends on 250s blew past me and frequently had to wait for me, of course,....so the bike pairing was not so hot, but at the end of they day they were barn sour and ached badly, while I could have kept riding. I pointed that out to them, of course, just to ensure they understood the benefits of the KLR ;-) With the NR bags and Precision racks, there was absolutely no oscillation of any kind at any speed. I was also pulling out every dirt bike riding technique I have learned and really pushed the KLR too hard....and it still worked just fine, except for the suspension damping and sand performance.

Note that I had a 7.4 rear spring on both these trips, and the sag was still too much (~70-95mm) depending on whether the shock was hot or cold and whether I bounced too much on the seat before measuring....which I did once. Newbie mistake.

So, 31# less weight and changing to soft bags fully eliminated the problem, even with too much sag.

I am now able to ride the bike hard enough to see that the damping is a limiting factor. it hydraulically locks on high speed fork movement and the rear packs down at speed over bulldozer track ridges even on the softest damping setting. Time for Cogent!

The biggest difference between this bike when loaded and all the dirtbikes I have ridden is that you cannot enter a sandy area at high speed that is more than 1" deep without having serious trouble. Less than that is fine, but more than that results in instant push and discombobulation. Cogent is a partial solution but Seldridge still had problems with sand instability even with Cogent. I also found that I cannot hold the painted tank with my knees, as they just slip to the rear, so getting some friction stickers for the sides of the tank is a must for sand. I can't loosen my grip on the handlebars unless I can hold the tank with my knees.

Obviously my 34/36 F/R tire pressure doesn't help, but on this heavy bike I am not lowering the pressure.

Given the problem entering the sand at speed, I tend to ride slower (30 mph or less) at all times on roads which would tend to have sand. (Ironically, I can haul a$$ on rocky snotty roads). So, I get more time to enjoy the scenery around me and arrive at my destination refreshed and still raring to go! And laugh at my 250 buddies who are beat and exhausted from a measly 70 mile offroad ride!

I'll do the Cogent soon and see how that helps the sand performance...I know it will make all aspects of the offroad handling of the bike better.
 

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Greetings, folks!

I purchased a 16 KLR last year used with 850 miles on it. Spent some time kitting it out for long distance ADV in NV (and anywhere else I want to go:). The front felt a bit flexy when hitting the brake stopping at a fuel pump but I chalked it up to gallons of gas sloshing back and forth in the tank. I put an EM fork brace on it just in case, even though I don't like fork braces because they force a certain distance between the tubes along the entire travel (good or bad, that's a different topic:). My bud and I did a 732 mile circle route Sacramento to Lovelock to Middlegate to Markleeville back to Sac. (Now have 1900 miles on it) When offroad in the soft stuff, I had a wicked "wobble" in the handlebars at slow speed...if felt like the wheel was turning left or right when the handlebars were not and I ended up turning the handlebars back and forth cyclically in order to keep the front wheel moving in a straight line. Downhill in soft dirt with no brake was ok, but the minute I hit the front brake going downhill (been riding dirt bikes for 45 years...a properly used front brake is useful offroad:) the wheel and handlebars started the oscillation. I tried the downhill with 21 # in the front and it was bad, then tried it with 18 # in the front and it was seriously "white-knuckle" with higher magnitude oscillations. It felt like the forks were flexing 30 degrees back and forth and I had to cyclically turn the wheels the opposite way to compensate. They weren't, it just felt that way (all this with the EM fork brace installed, even). I felt this same "wobble" when doing a sharp u-turn at 3 miles an hour on pavement and, if I was on an aggregate cement, the type with little rocks on the surface, the u-turn wobble was so bad that it was difficult to keep the bike upright.

Steering stem bearings were fine, swingarm bearings were fine, rear tire was aligned properly, and the bike did it with or without load: higher load did make it worse, likely due to more weight on front end. On pavement in normal turn or straight line it didn't wobble at all. Zero wobble on road and smooth (i.e. KLR's version of smooth) all the way up to top speed with no wobble.

Turns out the original owner, in 850 miles, had worn the stock front tire such that alternating knobbies were different in height by 3 mm!

I put new TKCs on the wheels yesterday. The front was toast, as mentioned before, and the rear was already worn out at 1900 miles. I suspect the egregious differential in front tire block wear caused the problem, but will find out from a test ride.

I'll report back on the results.

Anyone else have a similar experience with the type of handling anomaly I described?

Cheers!
James
So yes, I recently purchased the klr also. A 2007. I set it up with tusk soft panniers and a dry bag on the top rack. My first camping trip road fine. If t was an overnight with not much gear. This week I loaded up for a five day 1300 mile trip. 35lb on top and 25 in each pannier. The top bag was cross ways on the back rack. The front wheel felt so light, it seemed any bump would kick it out. I tried turning the bag length wise on the seat and pusing it up against me with 3" overhanging the back. Thats when it developed the deathly wobbles at 5mph and under with the front still light over 5mph. If I jerked the wheel at a stop like you mentioned, it looked like the whole bike was flexing from front to back. The bike is 100% stock and will stay that way. i took the top bag off and it handled fine with panniers. Replaced the top bag with my 130lb teenager slid up to me in the passenger seat and still it handled perfect. Save your money and load it according to the manufacturer suggestions. The top rack is only rated for like 20lb and its for stability. Anything over and its like a tail heavy trailer behind a tiny car. Im going to build myself yet another rack that will transfer the weight into the middle of the bike and try it again. In the mean time Im back on the gold wing for my upcoming trip. The pics are my test run with my son, the deathly wobble configuration, and my first trip that was probably in accordance with the recommended weight limit for the top rack.
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Your steering bearings may need to be serviced. Dry, loose, notchy steering bearings could cause your issues.
 

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Not sure about anyone else, but my bearings feel verry smooth. With cargo in the proper spot for the amount of weight, I have no problems and no reason to spend hundreds of dollars on suspension upgrades, subframe kits, and fork braces to get it to do what it wasnt made to do. Could i spend the money just so I can put my weight farther back, definitely. But I think I'll just strap my baggage farther forward. Not to say other bikes don't have some of these problems, but mine was taken care
of by the previous owner and through trial and error, I believe I have singled out my problem. I also wonder if not all KLR's are built the same and would act differently with the same loads.
 
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