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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,
I have a 2009 KLR with 23,000+ miles on it. I bought it a couple years ago with 17,000 from a dealer. All I've done to it since I've had it is change the oil twice, I just did it the second time a 150 miles ago with synthetic. New tires installed at a shop and it had to have a wire repaired in the main harness that was causing fuses to blow which was done at shop also.
I don't know what the previous may have done, but they did install crash bars, center stand (I don't think it comes with one stock) heated grips, adjustable handlebars, possibly jetted the carb (I say this because there was a jetting kit that came with the bike in its rear bag, and I think that's all I am aware of.
The reason for my post is I am going to be starting a job that is a little over 60 miles away, and I will probably use the KLR vs my F150 to commute for fuel cost reasons. For those familiar with the area, I'm going to be going from OC area to Camp Pendleton and back using the freeways, so traffic allowing, my top cruising speed is to be 70mph +/- 3mph. I know it burns oil at those speeds so I must keep an eye on that, I've done a poor job of that so far and both times I've changed the oil, I was way low, very irresponsible of me, now I will keep oil with the bike at all times.
I am curious as to should I be concerned about doing any other things preventatively before I start making the commute? This is my first bike, and while I'm not a mechanic, I don't mind trying to do things myself, especially with youtube and forums such as this that are full of knowledgeable people willing to give advice.

Thanks for any advice and suggestions.

Grady
 

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60 mile commute Will not hurt KLR as long as you keep track of oil. There not the most comfortable bikes though. I would think about adding seat concepts saddle, parebelem windscreen and some 50/50 tires if needed. Also stay clear of big trucks.

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Normal maintenance items are:

Oil: Should be kept near the top and changed every 3,000 miles or so. Some will say every 2,000. I have one with 100K miles changed every 5,000. Oil changes are a good marker/reminder for other maintenance items.

Oil filter: can be changed every other oil change.

Air filter: It is simple to check it every oil change until you learn how long it last on the highway. You will learn from use how often you need to clean the air filter.

Chain and sprockets: Wear rate seems to increase as they get older. I would start checking once a week. A good x-ring chain should be good for around 15,000miles. Check it for wear by pulling it back at the center of the rear sprocket. If you can see light between the chain and the sprocket, it is time to order a new chain. Adjust the chain so that you can push the bottom up to barely touch the end of the rubber slider on the swingarm. When the sprocket teeth start to look sharp pointed and hooked like sharks teeth, they should be replaced.

Valve clearances: At your mileage every 25,000 miles should be a good check interval. Now would be a good time for the first check if you have not done one.

Balancer chain adjustment. If the adjuster lever (doohickey) and spring have not been replaced, I would do so. Then adjust every other oil change.

Bearings: Check for roughness and add grease if necessary at each tire change. I get about 50,000 miles.

Tires: you will be changing tires every couple of months and can experiment with brands and models. With you high road mileage street tires would seem best. Keep the air pressure around 30 rear and 32 front.
oolant level: Look through the slot in front of the radiator reservoir to check the level with each oil change.

Brakes: Pad wear is a function of the number of stops rather than miles. I would start by checking each oil change.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you guys for the responses so far, much appreciated. I will look into the suggestions. I just replaced the tires with a 60/40 I believe. I do hope to use the bike to go camping or to go to hiking trails on weekends here and there, but that hasn't happened lol.
For the doohickey, is there a simple way to know if it's been upgraded or not? I assume if it's got this many miles on it, it most likely is not the original based on how bad it seems they are.
Also, with all the tutorials online and YouTube, is there still a need to buy a clymer or similar manual, and if so, what's your go to one? For the air filter, when I did my most recent oil change, I also replaced the foam filter with a K&N one. Not sure on protocol on maintenance for that, other than I believe to rinse it out, let dry, and reinstall with the sealant.
Bearings, sorry for the question, but what bearings are being referred to, the wheel bearing?

Thanks again, appreciate the help.

Grady
 

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K & N air filter Must Be Re-Oiled after Cleaning, and flows less air than a properly oiled OEM foam filter or any other oiled foam KLR air filter, because of the flat metal end cap on the K&N.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So, is the OEM air filter better? I will definitely go back to it after I get a few miles with current if that is recommended. My goal as I assume is most people's is durability and longevity.
 

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Yeah, I was referring to wheel bearings and the one in the sprocket carrier. If you do your own tire changes, it is easy to stick a finger in the bearing and rotate it a bit. If it feels like it is catching catching on a grain of sand, and especially if you can wobble it some, it is time to put in your spare bearings.

I sometimes pull the dust seal off with a pick to get a better look at the grease. If it doesn't seem full, I press in some waterproof grease.

I can't speak from experience because I have 100K miles on the original foam filter, but there are many here who think the K&N lets too much dirt through if you are riding dusty roads.

Thinking of tires, you will be changing a tire every month and a half or so. You might want to look into a motorcycle tire changer.
 

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For that much highway riding I would swap out to street tires when your D/S tires wear out. The street tires will last a lot longer on the road.
 

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Ok after seeing all then suggested maintenance I have a new suggestion. Ride it enjoy it keep an eye on oil. Forget what we all say. If you are having a problem with the bike check the site. If not do not over think maintenance. It's a KLR you cant kill it. If you pay to much attention to the web you will be to scared to ride the bike.

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1.) Replace the Doohicky! If you don't know if it has been done . . . It hasn't. If you need the "Special Tools" to do this job, shoot me a PM. I'm up in Huntington Beach and already have a set.

2.) Get a Service Manual of some sort. The Clymer one will probaby suffice fot the sort of tasks you'll feel comfortable taking on.

3.) Go to a 16 tooth front sproket. For the amount of Freeway miles you'll be doing, it'll be well worth it. Do this at the same time you do the Doohicky.

Good luck! The traffic north of San Onofre can be a bugger and the HOV lanes are only good through Dana Point! Not everyone likes them, but if you're going to be splitting lanes (and I'd assume you will be) I'd recommend a Headlight Modulator! Many years of commuting on the 405 and from personal experience, they work!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks again for the continued advice. I understand overthinking it and don't feel I am going to panic with all the suggestions and get in a "I must do this" frenzy. So far, my main concern appears to be maintaining oil level which is a no brainer, I should check the valves at some time, which when I do, I might as well change the plug I feel, keep chain tight and oiled, and keep good tires on. Sprocket changes and such I feel are personal preference more than nessecary for the health of the bike. The doohickey if breaks, what happens? Is it I cannot tighten chain or will something catastrophic happen as I'm riding?
Thanks for the tip on headlight modulator, I'll look into it. If I do split lanes, i try to be as sand as I can about it, though as I've got more comfortable with it, I've noticed I've picked up my pace compared to the cars around me which I try to be aware of and not do. I'm still slower than most all other land splitters so if I choose that route, then I have to be aware of bikes approaching behind be, not a added element I care for, so it will depend on commute times. Ideally, I hope the job starts no later than 8, coming home no matter what time is not going to be enjoyable.
My other thing is I may find I cannot commute regularly on the bike because I do outdoor work doing habitat restoration, and I may be too fatigued to be on the bike coming home, something I am aware of and won't push the isuue, or so I hope.
Anyways, sorry for my long posts, but thanks again, either way, I'm excited to get more use out of my bike, either comutting or going up to mountains and exploring the back roads.
 

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In your last post you mentioned the doo and keeping the chain tight. The doo and its spring on a gen2 are not likely to break, but will usually run out of spring tension (adjustment) range causing the balancer chain to slowly get looser causing the chain and the rubber on the sprockets to wear faster. It is not an emergency, but since you need the bike to last for a lot of miles, you should look into it at your convenience.

A too tight drive chain is worse than a too loose one.
 

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Ditch the K&N; it's a very bad choice for a KLR. yes, stock is better.
Keep the oil at the VERY top of the sight glass and hope that you haven't already damaged the cam bores
swap in a 16 tooth CS sprocket to help with rpm's

Aside from regular service and maintenance; set your sag properly, run adequate tire pressure and avoid large heavy panniers

Dave
 

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Somebody needs to talk about gear, before anything else, I'd look at my gear and make sure I had proper gear. A bright yellow reflective riding jacket, gloves, boots, etc..... Then I'd worry about the bike. One of my first mods would be to add flashing LED brake lights. Then some street tires. If you fight with a car, you lose.

Freeways suck!!!! I'd just jump in the F150, set the cruise, pop in a CD and not care if it rained. I'm not doing 120 miles of interstate a day on a KLR, trust me. It would suck on a Goldwing! If gas prices were 25 bucks a gallon, then I'd reconsider the KLR as a option. Note that anything you spend making the KLR "freeway worthy", could be used for F150 fuel.

Riding is supposed to be fun. You're going to hate the interstate.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Good point on the gear. I ride with a vest on, glossy helmet and the klr itself is fairly visible with its glossy paint. I always ride with a leather jacket or riding jacket, gloves, and hiking or work boots, exceptions to footwear has been I've done my tee is shoes just a handful of times to go up to the market, but even then I tell myself I shouldn't.
As for the commute, I will find out if it sucks or not, I mean, that commute in traffic sucks not matter what you're driving, that's just it.
Fuel difference is a big factor, 45mpg vs 12-15 is roughly 3 gallons vs 8-10 per day. I'm aware that if it's strictly hwy speeds, then the f-150 will be 18mpg, maybe more, but that's still a 3 gallon difference. $9 per day more or less minimum. Of course the added cost of tires more often, and possible oil burn will shrink the difference.
It's not all about the money, it's a part of the equation, but like you said, riding is suppose to be fun, and I think this may be. Everyday? Maybe not, and I have no problem being "lazy" and hopping in the truck, I enjoy driving that very much as well.
I find the concept of the commute the same as if I was planning on riding up to Big Bear or Joshua Tree or another destination, all are about 100 miles one way, and something I would like to do more often than I have. Actually, I've yet to ride to Big Bear.
But, thanks for your advice about the gear, glad you thought of that. My next purchase is to upgrade my helmet, a Bell Quailfier to something Snell approved and a little better with wind noise, suggestions welcome for that also. And then something to protect my legs, I don't want to just have jeans on.
 

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I would LOVE to commute on my KLR daily, but my work has me stuck driving my Grumman 14' box everyday.

I don't think the KLR is uncomfortable at all. I often have to force myself out of LaLa Land when riding. So comfy I start drifting off.... If you haven't tried at already, pop in a pair of earplugs before hitting the highway. It makes things so much more peaceful.

Good luck and be careful out there.
 

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+1 on the ear plugs while riding any bike, with any helmet.

I use the 'HEAROS' Rock'n Roll series. I pull the little hard stiffener pin and shorten the insertion/removal stem.

I "lick em & stick em" in, whole lot quicker than rolling up foamie style plugs. But not quite as quiet.
Use an old tooth brush and hand soap to clean them once a week.
 

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Commuting would be fun for awhile but I'm afraid it would make riding for enjoyment on the weekends for me not enjoyable any more which is very valuable free time for me to "get away" from the noise, traffic, and insane cagers.

Just my opinion.
 
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