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Discussion Starter #1
I've just bought a new 2014 KLR650 in Cape Town. I am planning to ride the bike from there back to the UK on a mix of paved and dirt roads. I am about 95kgs and will have luggage in addition (quite a bit since camping and spending 3 months on the road.

The dealer has proposed fitting MPC progressive springs to the forks and a stiffer MPC spring to the rear shock. I can't find this brand on the net. I'm being quoted:

MPC Progressive Fork Springs - R1350.00 ($115)
MPC Progressive Rear Shock Spring - R1550.00 ($132)

Anyone heard of MPC?
Is this a sensible approach?
 

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Temporaryescapee,
You might go to the 'Africa' section of this forum, 'click' on "Dualthing"s name.
And send him a personal message, asking if he or his KLR mechanic are familiar with that brand of suspension springs in South Africa.

Being as most of us are in N. America, I/we are not familiar with that brand.
 

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I can tell you my personal experience. I have a 2008 KLR 650. I weigh about 111 Kg and carry about 43 Kg in saddle bags and a large tail box. I like to ride multiple transcontinental dirt road routes in the US and Canada.

With the stock suspension I rode about 160,000 Km before finally having to replace the rear shock in 2013. I have been very happy with the ride and durability of the stock KLR. The deep washboards on some of the forest roads on the Trans-Canada Adventure Trail did manage to loosen a few bolts, so I carry some blue Loctite.

Enjoy your KLR and your ride.
 

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I referred you to, "Wotnext," a South African KLR650 rider who's ridden both in Africa and in the Americas (45,000 miles in the latter venue), who modified his bike extensively for the camping equipment load.

He might respond to your Adventure Rider "conversation," or, if not . . . perhaps I can develop his e-mail address for you; PM me if you want to exploit that possibility.

The stronger springs you suggest (Progressive front and whatever alphabet soup rear suggested) sound like an improvement for your own weight and extra gear you propose carrying; however . . . the finesse of, for example, a Cogent Suspensions Moab rear shock, stiffer front springs and cartridge dampers remains wanting with such modifications only. The DAMPING/REBOUND of the stronger springs you propose does not keep pace with their greater spring rate.

Big deal? Maybe not. A lot depends upon your riding style and environment.

That said, I think your South African dealer offers sound (and economical) suspension upgrade for your mission; perhaps adequate in front-and-rear spring rate, but damping/rebound? Not so much.

Best wishes, whatever you decide, and . . . if your new KLR650 is a 2014-1/2 (or later) New Edition (with stronger suspension than previous models factory stock, and wider saddle), you can probably complete your journey with the bike as-built, stock, "out-of-the-box." I think Peter ("Wotnext," Riding Through the Americas, http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/riding-through-the-americas.970477/ ) could have completed his odyssey with a stock bike, also.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Damocles - I actually had these springs fitted before the bike was delivered. but never got to the bottom of who MPC were. I came across them recently on a South African forum so thought I'd share on the off chance that someone else is asking the same question in future.



Having not ridden the KLR I won't have anything to directly compare to, but I will report back on how they fare. I am planning a pretty steady ride so if it just tweaks things a bit to broadly allow for my weight and luggage that'll do me. (Not sure if they have the NE in South Africa - they definitely didn't when I was ordering).
 

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Just some general comments on your odyssey:

Be confident you know how to check the oil level (bike upright, leave time for oil to drain into sump before measuring), how to change the oil and filter (do NOT throw away the oil tube with the old filter), how to clean and oil the engine air filter.

Understand what correct chain slack is, and how to adjust it. Likewise, know how to adjust balancer chain tension (approaching the dreaded and feared doohickey).

Keep an eye on coolant levels in the radiator and reservoir.

A stock battery's serviceable enough, but may require some maintenance. A sealed replacement battery requires no maintenance (no checking/filling electrolyte chambers), and won't spill acid about when the bike falls down.

Develop some knowledge and competence in de-mounting, repairing, and re-mounting tires. Videos are available, and the chaps at the shop might offer tutorials if you need 'em.

I'd recommend carrying a WIRING DIAGRAM (available on-line) and a small digital multimeter; spare headlight and taillight bulbs; plenty of spare fuses, electrical tape, baling wire and zip ties; a pocketful of typical nuts and bolts.

You might look at a video or two showing how to pick up, properly, a downed motorcycle (just in case!).

Then again, you may not listen to or follow any of this advice and do just fine; I hope so!
 

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..................
You might look at a video or two showing how to pick up, properly, a downed motorcycle (just in case!)................
A caution on those videos about picking up a motorcycle on its side. Many of those videos show a small woman easily picking a motorcycle. It seems to me that all of those videos use a bike with cylinders out the side (BMW) and crash bars over the cylinders. Bikes like that don't really fall down. They just lean over on the cylinder/crash bar and only go over about half way.

IT IS THE FIRST HALF THAT IS HARD not the second half.
 

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A caution on those videos about picking up a motorcycle on its side. Many of those videos show a small woman easily picking a motorcycle. It seems to me that all of those videos use a bike with cylinders out the side (BMW) and crash bars over the cylinders. Bikes like that don't really fall down. They just lean over on the cylinder/crash bar and only go over about half way.

IT IS THE FIRST HALF THAT IS HARD not the second half.
Us guys with bad backs say amen to that. :)
 

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From necessity, I've picked up my KLR650 more than once, using the, back up, squat, do a dead lift and baby-steps to right the machine. It can be done, although much easier with a little help from a compliant bystanders; kind and generous ladies have assisted me a couple of times.

One helpful accessory to lifting a fallen bike sometimes would be an inner tube strap, or bungee cord, wrapped around the front brake lever to hold the front wheel steady while the lift is completed. Otherwise, the front end may try to run away from the lifter as the lift is commenced.

And, to complicate the lift, sometimes soft slick mud, less-than-optimum oriented slopes, etc., play a role.

A South African company manufactures a tripod-and-ratchet-strap device for lifting napping motorcycles; several have been imported to the US. Looks rather slick and effective, in the company videos; haven't seen one in the flesh.

Best bet: Don't fall! Or, if you do, . . . fall before a bunch of friendly local natives willing to lend you a hand.
 

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From necessity, I've picked up my KLR650 more than once, using the, back up, squat, do a dead lift and baby-steps to right the machine. It can be done, although much easier with a little help from a compliant bystanders; kind and generous ladies have assisted me a couple of times.

One helpful accessory to lifting a fallen bike sometimes would be an inner tube strap, or bungee cord, wrapped around the front brake lever to hold the front wheel steady while the lift is completed. Otherwise, the front end may try to run away from the lifter as the lift is commenced.

And, to complicate the lift, sometimes soft slick mud, less-than-optimum oriented slopes, etc., play a role.

A South African company manufactures a tripod-and-ratchet-strap device for lifting napping motorcycles; several have been imported to the US. Looks rather slick and effective, in the company videos; haven't seen one in the flesh.

Best bet: Don't fall! Or, if you do, . . . fall before a bunch of friendly local natives willing to lend you a hand.
Damocles mentioned "And, to complicate the lift, sometimes soft slick mud, less-than-optimum oriented slopes, etc., play a role."

I like to ride remote transcontinental type dirt trails where there may not be any friendly local natives willing to lend you a hand. Last summer I was on a dim deep grass cover two track through some trees in Saskatchewan on the Trans-Canada Adventure Trail and hit a hole covered by the grass and dropped the bike. It landed on my right leg and pinned the leg under the bike. I couldn't move the bike or my leg and I knew the trail hadn't been used for at least six months due to the deep grass.

Fortunately I had attached my little jack to the back of my top box with two nylon wing nuts and I just jacked the bike off my leg. I made the jack by cutting down a load minder bar meant for use in 18 wheeler cargo box trailers.

For the first one I made I use a light duty $9 cargo bar from Walmart meant for the back of your SUV. I dropped the bike and pinned my leg while crossing the Kings River on the TAT in Nevada and that one barely lifted the bike before the teeth stripped even though I had tested it before I left home.
 

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