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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, I bought a pretty trashed 2011 about a year ago and have since rebuilt most of it. I installed a used 2007 motor as the original had major head damage. Anyway, I have recently gotten it road worthy, or so I thought.

On the first ride I felt a slight wiggle in the rear at 60, no change till 80, then I let off and it scared the crap out of me. After wiping, I looked over the rear of the bike and found a small amount of play in the swing arm. I then bought and installed new bushings and seals and had the tire balanced. The swing arm feels tighter but I still have a very slight wiggle at highway speed. I checked the wheel bearings, sprocket bolts, tire pressures, swing arm play, chain slack etc. And found nothing obvious. I did however find that the "cush drive" seems to hold the hub from seating? There seems to be a small 1/32" ? gap between the sprocket mount and the central hub? Is this normal? And if so can anyone think of what may be causing this issue?

I am itching to ride this bike but scared shitless to do so at this point. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Take a look at several other threads on this issue. In my own case, air pressure was the most important factor. If you’re gonna ride highway speeds, air up the tires to 32 rear and 34 front. Then test it (c arefully!). Next is tires. Street-oriented tires squirm less than knobbies.
 

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rockymountainhi, Scroll to the bottom of this page and read the "Recommended Reading".

Your body weight, torso length, leg length, arm length, loose fitting jackets, too much gear on the rear, too limp of suspension, too little air pressure, wrong choice of tires for roadway all come into play here.

Like PeteK suggested, 34-32 Front tire pressure & 32-30 Rear tire pressure is a good place to start.
Always 2 psi higher in the skinny front tire.

And yes that gap between sprocket hub & wheel is normal. When people Lose the center spacer between sprocket bearing & LH wheel bearing is when NO Gap becomes a problem!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Take a look at several other threads on this issue. In my own case, air pressure was the most important factor. If you’re gonna ride highway speeds, air up the tires to 32 rear and 34 front. Then test it (c arefully!). Next is tires. Street-oriented tires squirm less than knobbies.
Thanks for the reply. The bike had brand new continental tkc-80's front and rear when I bought it. I was running 20psi in both and have since increased to 35 front and rear but only marginally better results. After posting this, I did another search and found more threads with many varied solutions. At this point I am going to try changing pressures to your recommendations and try a ride this afternoon. I am also rechecking rear wheel alignment. I am guessing the tkc-80's are going to cause some wobble.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
rockymountainhi, Scroll to the bottom of this page and read the "Recommended Reading".

Your body weight, torso length, leg length, arm length, loose fitting jackets, too much gear on the rear, too limp of suspension, too little air pressure, wrong choice of tires for roadway all come into play here.

Like PeteK suggested, 34-32 Front tire pressure & 32-30 Rear tire pressure is a good place to start.
Always 2 psi higher in the skinny front tire.

And yes that gap between sprocket hub & wheel is normal. When people Lose the center spacer between sprocket bearing & LH wheel bearing is when NO Gap becomes a problem!
Thanks for the help. I am going to try making one change at a time over the next few days till I get it as good as I can with the knobby's that are on it now. Hopefully I can get at least 70 safely... I will post results if I get any. Again, I appreciate all the help, you also have me some good advice earlier in the build that helped me get this project bike on the road. Fast or not, it's nice to be riding again.
 

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My 09 has never had a wobble with any tire or air pressure.

Make sure steering head bearings are good, properly lubed and set to proper preload. Next, swing arm pivot points have no side to side play. Check alignment and finally, make sure your sag is correctly set.
 

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Providing there are no mechanical issues, the goofy beak of the OEM fender likes to grab the wind and feed back through the bars, you know if you have this problem if the wobble gets worse following another vehicle . get something like this acerbis super motard fender.
27019

This is 100 % the most likely cause of your issue
 

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Fender, schmender. There is some other reason for his issue.

I recon that he can remove it with a mere 4 bolts and take it for a test ride, to check for 'improvement'.

Are there ANY balance weights on either wheel? Are the tire beads 100% seated? Are the wheel rims 'reasonably' true?
 

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Fender, schmender. There is some other reason for his issue.

I recon that he can remove it with a mere 4 bolts and take it for a test ride, to check for 'improvement'.

Are there ANY balance weights on either wheel? Are the tire beads 100% seated? Are the wheel rims 'reasonably' true?
4 bolts and the speedo cable to remove
 

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Ditto paul’s skepticism about the fender. When I was troubleshooting my high speed weave 2 months ago, I tried it with and without the front fender. No difference.

Following a big truck will tend to push the bike side to side as the Karman vortexes build and shed off the blunt rear of the truck. That occurs with or without a weave. You shouldn’t follow trucks closely anyway.

Of course, you should check the steering head and swing arm bearings, but I can say again from my experience with the KLR and other bikes that either an overly loose, or slightly too tight, or correctly adjusted steering head bearing does not affect a high speed weave. Steering head bearings will affect your low speed steering.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My 09 has never had a wobble with any tire or air pressure.

Make sure steering head bearings are good, properly lubed and set to proper preload. Next, swing arm pivot points have no side to side play. Check alignment and finally, make sure your sag is correctly set.
When I first noticed this I checked the swing arm and found some excessive play so I ordered a new pivot kit and lubed all other rear suspension pivots and although it all feels tighter now the wobble is unchanged. As for no play though, the bushings are .020-.030/ inch longer than the seal lips so it seems there would be a small amount of play?
The steering head has now play but isn't exactly tight. I will tighten up a bit and check sag as well. Thanks for the help.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Providing there are no mechanical issues, the goofy beak of the OEM fender likes to grab the wind and feed back through the bars, you know if you have this problem if the wobble gets worse following another vehicle . get something like this acerbis super motard fender.
View attachment 27019
This is 100 % the most likely cause of your issue
It's definitely not the stock fender, the plastics just got replaced including the front fender. It was a polisport kit and looks similar to the one you posted. Thanks though.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Fender, schmender. There is some other reason for his issue.

I recon that he can remove it with a mere 4 bolts and take it for a test ride, to check for 'improvement'.

Are there ANY balance weights on either wheel? Are the tire beads 100% seated? Are the wheel rims 'reasonably' true?
I had the rear tire balanced, the front may not be. The tires are seated, they are tubeless and the beads don't look like they have shifted. I tried tire pressures this am but no change. When I checked alignment everything looked ok by the tick marks on the swing arm but the sprocket looked a little askew. I adjusted it by eye and will check in a bit if that solves/helps. Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ditto paul’s skepticism about the fender. When I was troubleshooting my high speed weave 2 months ago, I tried it with and without the front fender. No difference.

Following a big truck will tend to push the bike side to side as the Karman vortexes build and shed off the blunt rear of the truck. That occurs with or without a weave. You shouldn’t follow trucks closely anyway.

Of course, you should check the steering head and swing arm bearings, but I can say again from my experience with the KLR and other bikes that either an overly loose, or slightly too tight, or correctly adjusted steering head bearing does not affect a high speed weave. Steering head bearings will affect your low speed steering.
It's not the fender, it's not a stock one. As for following trucks too close, the speed limit is 75 here so I may not be able to catch up to them anyway. Did you fix you issue, if so what did it?
 

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What quelled the weave for me was a combination of changing the tires to more street-oriented Shinko 705s and higher air pressures. Secondarily, moving weight from the top box to the panniers helped a little. If I intentionally wag the handlebars at 70MPH, it takes about 3 cycles to damp out now. The KLR never will be as stable as a sport bike with a truss frame or other street only bikes. The tall flexible suspension and cradle frame on KLRs works against you. As a comparison, my HD Electraglide has ZERO tendency to weave, even if really try to induce it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
What quelled the weave for me was a combination of changing the tires to more street-oriented Shinko 705s and higher air pressures. Secondarily, moving weight from the top box to the panniers helped a little. If I intentionally wag the handlebars at 70MPH, it takes about 3 cycles to damp out now. The KLR never will be as stable as a sport bike with a truss frame or other street only bikes. The tall flexible suspension and cradle frame on KLRs works against you. As a comparison, my HD Electraglide has ZERO tendency to weave, even if really try to induce it.
Eventually I may change to more street oriented tires but it might be a while. The tires on it have 50ish miles on them. I don't need it to ride like a Harley on the freeway, I'd just like to hit 70-75 when needed and cruise "comfortably" at 60-65. I took a ride after adjusting the alignment by eye and it is quite a bit better, I but 70ish before it started this time. I did it twice in low winds. Does everyone eyeball alignment, or go by the tick marks?
 

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I'll chime in here and say that changing to the Shinko 705s greatly improved the road feel of my KLR too. I was running the stock tires and it was the second-biggest thing I did to improve the handling. Biggest was going from Kawa's recommended air pressure to Paul's. I run 29/31 these days and the bike runs very nicely at 65-70. Frankly I don't like the way the KLR feels over 75 though, so that's about as fast as I take it.

For an alignment routine, I found that using string to align the sides of the tires worked well, but only after changing the tires. The stock rear tire wasn't symmetrical or consistent in its profile all the way around (which was probably part of why the handling sucked).

 

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It must be "wobble week" .....anyhow, my standard post on the subject:

Way too many people think that addressing the symptoms by dealing with handguards, fenders, fork braces, etc. are the answer rather than dealing with the real issue which is related to suspension setup and loading. I'm not convinced that the KLR is any more susceptible to instability than any other bike with long travel, lightly damped suspension and the Owner's have a propensity for severe and uneven loading.



There are some problems that need to be checked;

- bad/lose head bearings

- condition of wheel bearings and suspension bushings

- wheel and tire condition and appropriate tire pressures.



.....beyond that, It's settings;

- proper sag settings and adequate damping

- proper bike loading

- avoiding inappropriately un-aerodynamic loads



addressing the symptoms rather than the cause can help but IMO shouldn't be done until all the aforementioned items are checked and corrected if necessary. Nonetheless these can help stability;



- fork brace

- smaller fender or lowered fender (I use a polisport as I hate both the supermoto and low mounted fenders)

- consider tank bags instead of putting everything in huge panniers which affects both weight loading and aerodynamics.





My 2001 had some high speed issues that went away as soon as the sag was set properly....and after my Cogent suspension was installed, both my KLR's have been rock steady.....even with full knobbies and low tire pressures (20 - 22PSI). Lastly, as others have mentioned, the rider also plays a part; keep a relaxed light grip on the bars and don't tighten up. Changing your position (move forward/lean forward) can help too.



2 cents,

Dave
 

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Interesting about the tank bags as well as the Cogent. So with the stock setup the only adjustment you adjust the damping at the bottom of the shock with a flathead screwdriver, and with adjust the preload with the bolt adjuster at the top of the shock, right? The damping is how quickly the shock rebounds, and the preload is how much it will sag when weight is just placed on it. The drawback for more preload is that you're essentially using up some of the spring's ability to absorb shock because you're compressing the spring. Do I have that right?
 

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In simple terms yes. ......suspension set up is/can be a bit of a black art. All pre-2014.5 KLR's have spring rates and damping that is insufficient for 95% of riders but your "NE" unit has 80% more damping and 60% (approx.) stiffer springrates which are much closer for most of us. The proof in the pudding is if you can get the sag set properly; I go for around 30 - 33%. Preload/sag is important, not only for compression but also for rebound (movement of the shock as it moves past the loaded sag point - if there isn't enough movement you will "top out" the suspension causing instability. Depending on your loaded weight, you can probably set the sag where you need it to be - unlike us poor pre-2014.5 owners.......though the stock suspension is still very "budget based" regardless of springrates and damping.

Dave
 
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