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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I'm trying to help out a friend from work with an 08 KLR. He bought it used last summer and the tires were shot on it, so he had a set of Kenda K761's installed. Weirdest thing, it feels like a gyroscope off centre, when you start to lean into a turn, it feels like it wants to flop on it's side. He had the wheels balanced when the Kenda's were installed and he's done lots of measuring to make sure that nothing is tweaked. It all appears straight. He's spun the wheels with the bike lifted to check for bent rims/wobbles and found nothing.

It's a really disconcerting feeling, so much so that we swapped bikes once so he could see what my 08 was like... I was more than happy to get off of his! He had a Barbie prior to this one and it handled fine so he was wondering if the 08's were just different, but the test ride on mine showed none of the traits his exhibits.

I originally thought of tread separation on the front tire, but when he spun it with the bike lifted the tire spun straight and true, tread didn't wobble. It's a really nice bike, it's been dropped a few times but nothing major, and its got the 685 kit :D. He's going to try a different tire hoping it's the Kenda's (or maybe a bad one?) that's causing the handling. Unfortunately he never rode it before putting on the new tires, so he has no baseline before the Kenda's were installed. Any ideas guys? Steering head bearings maybe, would they make it want to flop over? Thanks in advance.

Cheers,
Stew
 

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650Stew -

That's not unusual for K761s, at least in my experience.

When I first put the K761s on the very first thing I noticed was that they didn't not want to turn. I mean, really, they didn't want to turn. They were squirrelly as all get out on rain grooves, too.

That all went away after a couple of hundred miles of break in, but it was very disconcerting, to say the least.

A question for you - which way, rotation-wise, are they mounted? Mine were originally on with the rotation arrow pointing in the actual direction of the tire's rotation. They cupped, quickly and rather badly. I reversed the tire on the rim and the cupping stopped.

T
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey Tom, we were kind of wondering if it might just be a trait of the tires, I'm not sure how many Km's he has on them as he lives pretty close to work. He had the tires installed and balanced by a shop, but he removed and installed the wheels by himself. The tires were installed with the arrows facing forward. He's talking about putting a set of Kenda K270's on and seeing how it handles with those. Hope it is just tires, that's the easiest thing to fix :).

Cheers,
Stew
 

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No don't put Kenda 270's on in, they are quirkier than the 761's. I put a 270 on the rear of my KLR after the stock Dunlop wore out. I thought I had forgotten how to ride or something it was so bad. I finallly figured out that I had take curves like I was riding off road, weighting the outside peg heavily. This of course was after leaving the road in an unplanned fashon when the tire wouldn't turn. When I replaced that tire the handling returned to normal.
I did try a 761 on the rear sometime later but don't recall any handling issues with it.
 

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Hey Tom, we were kind of wondering if it might just be a trait of the tires, I'm not sure how many Km's he has on them as he lives pretty close to work. He had the tires installed and balanced by a shop, but he removed and installed the wheels by himself. The tires were installed with the arrows facing forward. He's talking about putting a set of Kenda K270's on and seeing how it handles with those. Hope it is just tires, that's the easiest thing to fix :).

Cheers,
Stew

What pressure are the tires? I run 32 in front and 36 in back on my 761s.
How are the steering stem bearings? If they are loose it will flop into turns.

The front 761 has somewhat of a V profile and which encourages it to drop into a turn. It feels abrupt at first if your not used to it but then it's fun!

Kenda K270s squirm quite a bit on the road. They aren't dangerous but some never get used to the feeling.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
So, it sounds like it might be either the tires or the stem bearings... Or maybe a combination of both? I've never even looked at the stem bearings on a KLR yet, but we both have service manuals so it shouldn't be too hard to figure out? I'm not sure if he bought the new tires or not yet, I hope that solves the problem. If not, I guess he'll be delving into the bearings. Not sure what pressure he's running in them, I'll have to check with him when I run into him at work. Still kicking my butt I didn't buy his Barbie when he had it for sale, on hindsight I should have snapped it up!
 

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I am kind of butting in here... but I am getting front tire cupping as well... running the same tires... Kenda 761's... I saw that someone said to remount the tire with the tread facing backwards... Does this help stop the cupping? Is this safe? Should I just go with a different tire? Ok sorry to hijack the post. but any help would be great! Thanks guys and ride safe!
 

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I had a Metzler Tourance put on a few moths ago that causes an ocelation at certain speeds when I take my hands off the bars. It get worse and worse till you grab the bars again. They are balanced and I figure it must be a product of the tread pattern but I also need to tighten up my head set so this might hav a little bit to do with it.

I demonstrated it to Cabrito one day and he was like "What the hell was that?"
 

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Never used the tires, but that's probably it.
Why don't you guys just swap tires/rims real quick and see? Try the front 1st.
 

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I have an 08 and have not noticed any unusual handeling (either with the stock tires or the Mefos I'm running now). It would suprise me if the steering bearings were worn out unless this bike has a ton of miles on it (unless they were improperly installed). When I went through MC Tech School (in 1981) we learned to first suspect the last repair as the problem with any issue. Since tires were the last add, they're probably the problem. New tires might highlight other issues, but it does not seem likely in this case.
Regards
Mark
 
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