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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Curious as to how much of a difference switching from the factory widow-makers to better tires made in how the bike handled.

Currently, bike scares me on anything over 45 mph on pavement, and at any speed on dirt. Unpredictable, sketchy, and horrible traction. Tried different tire pressures and little change.

I have a new set of Shinko 244 tires in the garage and just waiting for an opening at the local shop.

Wondering if going to a better tire will make the bike feel much more stable and planted on road and off.
 

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After many years on the KLR, my opinion was that I would rather put up with a DOT knobbie on blacktop than a bad dual sport tire on gravel or trails. Especially when the off road stuff is even a bit wet, or there are puddles. The OEM Dunlop (I think) scared me when a tractor trail with high grass was damp and had ruts. Was a bad deal. Pirelli MT21 up front was light night and day off road, and I could put up with it on blacktop. Hell the KLR is not a sportbike. YRMV

These days the Kenda Dual Sport tires have worked well for me, K270, Trackmaster II, Line6
 

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I've had good luck with the (2022) factory Dunlops, but with hard riding on the street (every knobbie gets used), no slackers, the tires are getting pretty worn. I'm going to Shinko 705s in the hopes of better street life.
 

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The Shinko 705 is a great tire, and very planted on pavement. The 244 is an awesome tire off-road and on pavement….just wish it lasted longer.
The OEM Dunlop is absolutely awful no matter what anyone says.
 

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If your scared to go over 45 then yes, tires make a difference. I'm currently running a Tusk DS rear and Dunlop 605 front. Going 55-60 no issues, tire wise. I tried the Tusk DS front but it wore pretty quickly and wasn't as road friendly, especially as it wore down. The Tusk rear will go 3000 miles, great off-road and good on road. The Dunlop 605 very good on road, works off road, not so good in sand. I'm 2000 miles in and about 50-60% left on tread.
 

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^^^Didn’t read that portion. The OEM dunlops are more than capable at going 70+ on the highway. They are actually fairly smooth, but that’s their only “pro”. If your not feeling comfortable above 45mph, something else is up.

Based on your previous concerns you’ve had with your new klr, I’m not too sure it’s the right bike for you.
Perhaps something a bit lighter & less top-heavy might be in order for you….like a dr650. I thought you had put it up for sale??
 

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I agree with KLR-Mule. Sell the bike. It's supposed to be fun, not intimidating, or scary. I honestly don't think it's a tire issue for you.

I put about 2k miles on my OEM Dunlop K750's. Lots of high speed pavement riding on twisty roads. Some light gravel roads and light sand. I had these tires inflated to 22/28 psi F/R. Off road I had them at 20/20. I honestly never had an issue with them, it's great fun to ride. Off road I didn't lean the bike too far. It never felt scary. Obviously it's better with the Dunlop Trailmax Mission Tires off road.

Having said all that, it really depends a lot on your expectations. All bikes on ANY tire will move around underneath you when you go off road. You can have Dunlop D606 tires and it will still slide, slip, squirm, depending on terrain. Also, the KLR has a 21" front tire, with long travel suspension and a rearward weight bias. It's DNA is a Dual Sport and not a Scrambler, so it will easily outperform lesser bikes off road. However, it will NEVER feel as planted on pavement as a Scrambler or any bike with a 19" front tire and 5" or less suspension travel with a street bike weight distribution. The KLR is meant for long distance travel AND off road. If I were to compare it to a Triumph Street Scrambler, the Triumph will feel like its on rails on pavement, but the KLR will absolutely kill it off road as the KLR will glide over rough terrain that the Triumph will throw you off on!

I love this bike! I'd love to own one someday. The Triumph Street Scrambler looks so cool!


But this is a real adventure bike meant to do a lot of off road riding. Doesn't look as cool but very rugged and capable. Note the long travel suspension, big front wheel, and rearward weight bias.


You can also see some similarities of this off road bias in the Yamaha Tenera 700. Same long travel suspension, big front wheel, rearward weight bias.
 

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I'll second (or third) the sufficiency of the stock tires for moderate use. I have 600 miles on the stock tires and have no stability issues doing 70+ on pavement; though I did add a fork brace after experiencing a little front end wobble once at about 65. But I confess I don't have any time on a street bike to compare to.
 

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I had zero issues with the stock tires and ran them until they were worn out. I thought they handled well in most conditions. When it came time to replace them I put on Avon Gripsters as most of my riding was street oriented. Got excellent mileage out of the Gripsters and liked them so much I levered on another set when the first ones wore out. They don't make the Gripsters anymore, but they handled pretty much like the stockers did.

My neighbor bought a Suzuki C50 Boulevard to try getting into biking. He said it scared the hell out of him and was "wobbly" on the highway, I took it for a spin to check it out and there was nothing wrong with it. It was the rider, not the bike.
 

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There are definite suspension and tire changes that will affect stability, however there are also subjective factors related to rider behavior and input on the controls, which change from rider to rider, and ultimately bias any assessment of tire performance. It is important to account for rider behavior when attempting to assess problems with stability of a motorcycle.

The OP says anything over 45mph is scary, as well as anything off-pavement, it is likely that the felt experience of that fear contributes to overcorrection via input on the controls, often times seen in to tight of a grip, to much steering input, or detrimental posture changes that translate through the bike into decreased experience of stability. We see this repeated in almost all road biased training academies and given significant class time in racing schools.

In my own experience over the past decade while learning to ride at too fast of speeds on pavement I came to learn that when I am feeling less than confident about a turn at speed I had a tendency to bias weight distribution slightly to the rear of the bike (in tucked or 3/4 position), thus lightening the front and "feeling" as if the bike was not as planted ie wobbly, leading to fear for cornering at speed. I gradually worked on systematic desensitization to correct my posture when entering corners and gradually experienced more and more "feel" of control of the bike as a result. With this progress I was able to lean deeper into corners and corner at higher speed, on and on until beginning to drag things on pavement through the corner. The point is I changed nothing on the bike, not the tires, suspension, or even tire pressure, only how I was delivering input to the bike. What's more, I did this process with multiple bikes.

As I have recently started riding off road with my new KLR, a brand new type of riding for me, I have found that I have had to relearn this experience of overcorrection when tensing up. I have noticed it on the KLR primarily in the form of over tightening on the bars which then contributes to blocky response from the bike and ultimately shaky commitment from me the rider. I am currently working on intentionally loosening up my muscles and keeping my feet on the pegs when riding into obstacles off-road, so far have improved control through deep ruts, loose sandy dirt patches, and some bull-rock sections. I am still riding on the OEM tires, have 650 miles (two weeks of ownership) on the bike with currently approximately 60-40 on-off road. The OEM tires are not great, but I have found them to be sufficient on pavement for what they are, certainly not anything to be concerned about at 45mph or 65mph for that matter.

This sh*t takes time, slow your breathing, relax your muscles, pay attention to the way the bike responds to you, and you can learn quite a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
There are definite suspension and tire changes that will affect stability, however there are also subjective factors related to rider behavior and input on the controls, which change from rider to rider, and ultimately bias any assessment of tire performance. It is important to account for rider behavior when attempting to assess problems with stability of a motorcycle.

The OP says anything over 45mph is scary, as well as anything off-pavement, it is likely that the felt experience of that fear contributes to overcorrection via input on the controls, often times seen in to tight of a grip, to much steering input, or detrimental posture changes that translate through the bike into decreased experience of stability. We see this repeated in almost all road biased training academies and given significant class time in racing schools.

In my own experience over the past decade while learning to ride at too fast of speeds on pavement I came to learn that when I am feeling less than confident about a turn at speed I had a tendency to bias weight distribution slightly to the rear of the bike (in tucked or 3/4 position), thus lightening the front and "feeling" as if the bike was not as planted ie wobbly, leading to fear for cornering at speed. I gradually worked on systematic desensitization to correct my posture when entering corners and gradually experienced more and more "feel" of control of the bike as a result. With this progress I was able to lean deeper into corners and corner at higher speed, on and on until beginning to drag things on pavement through the corner. The point is I changed nothing on the bike, not the tires, suspension, or even tire pressure, only how I was delivering input to the bike. What's more, I did this process with multiple bikes.

As I have recently started riding off road with my new KLR, a brand new type of riding for me, I have found that I have had to relearn this experience of overcorrection when tensing up. I have noticed it on the KLR primarily in the form of over tightening on the bars which then contributes to blocky response from the bike and ultimately shaky commitment from me the rider. I am currently working on intentionally loosening up my muscles and keeping my feet on the pegs when riding into obstacles off-road, so far have improved control through deep ruts, loose sandy dirt patches, and some bull-rock sections. I am still riding on the OEM tires, have 650 miles (two weeks of ownership) on the bike with currently approximately 60-40 on-off road. The OEM tires are not great, but I have found them to be sufficient on pavement for what they are, certainly not anything to be concerned about at 45mph or 65mph for that matter.

This sh*t takes time, slow your breathing, relax your muscles, pay attention to the way the bike responds to you, and you can learn quite a bit.
I think this sums up things quite nicely. I was going back and forth between a Harley Road King and the KLR, without too much experience on either one.

I remember when I was a teen and riding dirt bikes in these same mountains, I couldn't really ride fast until I found out where the limits were and crashed. Once that was over, then I was able to relax and have fun tossing the bike around. Plus, those were 200 lb 125s.

The problem with the KLR is my one dumping of it occurred on pavement and barely moving. It shook me up since it was so unexpected.

I think I am just too tense when I ride. I also am too fat and slight changes in seating position really change the dynamics of how the bike handles.

Last time I rode it, I took it on a nice windy rural highway with a 50 mph speed limit. I took most corners at 15 to 20 mph over the stated recommended speeds. I leaned forward and put more weight on the front and the bike felt planted and was even fun to corner.

Then I hit the main highway with a speed limit of 60 mph. I had a more upright and comfortable seating position and I was amazed at how squirrely the bike was at anything over 45 mph. I was cruising along at 65 mph and watching how much the handlebars shook and the front tire seemed to wobble side to side. It was just very unstable. But, if I leaned forward and ducked down below the windscreen, it felt fine and going 75-80 mph was not a problem.

Maybe a bigger windscreen would help? I am 6'2" with a 54" chest, so I am a giant sail when sitting upright.

I have the bike listed on Facebook Marketplace for $8999. No takers so far in a couple of days, so if it doesn't sell in a couple of weeks or so, then I'll double-down on it and throw more money at mods to see what helps.

Oh, and during that last ride, I had a wasp end up inside my full-face helmet at 65 mph, very angry, and buzzing around inches from my eyeballs until I could find a safe place to pull over and very slowly lift my face shield and let the wasp out.
 

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PNWexplorer, Sounds like you are beginning to feel out the bike. It takes a while to build confidence with a new bike and learn all of the quirks. I have found that the more bikes I own the easier that has become, but it is a slow gradual process. If you do end up keeping it - I highly recommend taking a riding season and setting a goal of just getting good old seat time on the bike. I wouldn't expect to feel confident about anything on a new bike until having at least 1000 miles on her. Gotta have time to get to know each other right?

What you said about the experience of dumping it shaking you up makes sense, sounds like it violated your expectations of what should of happened so now you are second guessing everything. I have found that when I experience that on a bike that recreating the situation in a controlled way is invaluable for building confidence on the bike. Take a look at what was going on when you dumped it and try to recreate the situation, whether the cause of dumping it was the environment, you, or something happening with the bike. Put yourself in a similar situation but with more controlled variables so you can experience moving through those circumstances with greater control of the bike, then repeat that process five or ten times. When I was first learning to race I had that experience on a slow, first gear, switch back corner that I low sided near the apex (leaned over in the corner and the bike just laid on down with me hitting the pavement), so I purposefully went back and rode that corner ten or twenty times at more controlled speed gradually increasing lean angle and focusing on getting a feel for the bike in that particular corner - went from tensing up on approach to that corner to being able to sail right through it, just took a little repetition.

Oh and the wasp thing - that is a right of passage in the motorcycle world, its a sure sign that you are moving the right direction in regards to getting seat time! scary as hell though... the last time that happened to me I had sun glasses on in my helmet and I was just riding along minding my own dam business when all of a sudden a wasp slowly crawled up the outside of the lens of the sunglasses right in front of my left eye, we stared at each other for a few seconds contemplating the reality of our situation, then I opened my visor at speed lol.
 
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Hi - let me jump in. I wonder if there isn't something up that we've not considered... Has anyone checked to make sure that the forks are properly aligned?
I remember a thread (cannot find it yet) about someone's '22 being really squirrely, both on and off pavement, and it turned out that he (she?) needed to undo the pinch bolts and jump up and down on the front suspension a few times to align the fork tubes. Then the bike was much more manageable (and fun).

PNWexplorer - if you've not checked the fork alignment, you might want to give that a try; it's in the Clymer's manual and only takes a few minutes. Good luck!
 

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Maybe a bigger windscreen would help? I am 6'2" with a 54" chest, so I am a giant sail when sitting upright.

I have the bike listed on Facebook Marketplace for $8999. No takers so far in a couple of days, so if it doesn't sell in a couple of weeks or so, then I'll double-down on it and throw more money at mods to see what helps.
I would advise against tossing more $ at it. Based on your review, I don’t think any amount is mods will make much of a difference on how you view the bike.
KLR’s are for most, but not for all.
 

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The problem with the KLR is my one dumping of it occurred on pavement and barely moving. It shook me up since it was so unexpected.
I'm here to tell you, no matter what you ride, some drops or crashes may happen VERY quickly without any easy explanation. The only way to explain those would require a camera and extreme slow motion. On my first low side off road on my KLR, I had a camera on. But this event happened "slowly" enough for me to actually recognize I was going down. From watching the video and putting it in slow motion, I timed the event of the crash. 1 full second from the slide to the actual hitting the ground! That goes by in an instant. Most of these events can't be saved even if you recognize it happening in the moment. But you CAN avoid them. I have now ridden over that crash site 6x now and realized that the day I crashed there, I was riding in the middle of the trail where the dirt was very soft and it was on a corner so I had the bike leaned, and I was not to either the right or left side of the tracks, where the trail was harder packed dirt.

There's a recent video of the famous Itchy Boots where she crashed in Nevada. She was climbing a steep hill in the middle of the desert. The terrain was rocky and filled with loose rocks. She had two cameras pointed up front and behind. Her crash occurred in less than 1 second! Later footage revealed she ran over a baseball sized rock with her front tire while she was leaning the bike to go left. Itchy Boots is a super experienced rider yet there was no way she could have saved herself from crashing at that moment. However, she could have avoided it by NOT climbing such a steep, rocky hill, or at least walked up the steep part first to get eyes on a better line....and maybe kicked that loose rock off the trail....maybe.
 

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You know the old saying... there's only two type of bikes, the one that has gone down and the one that will go down.

I agree with OCL's comments, crashes happen, specially off-road. Going back and re-riding the situation can be a huge benefit to building confidence after a drop. Learning what happened as much as possible, even if what to avoid.

Also, KLR Kool-aid is on to something! Rule out mechanical causes as much as possible, what is an easy way to do this? Have a more experienced rider (preferably one familiar with the model) take a spin on the bike and see if they can replicate the wobbliness you experience, if so it's a good indication that it is something to do with the bike, if not - good indication that it is rider input - as 650Stew mentioned doing with his neighbors bike above.
 
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I have 5k on my stock 22' tires. The rear has about 25% left and the front has like 65% left. I have had zero traction problems with these tires in any condition or surface. I did buy a more aggressive rear tire that I will be putting on soon, but I will get my moneys worth out of the front before I change it out. My dad used to say If it works "Dont Fix It"
 
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