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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, after months of internal debate I pulled the trigger on a 2006 KLR this week. I have never done any dirt riding and the closest bike to the KLR in geometry I've ridden is a Ducati Hypermotard. Until now my riding has all been on the road, first consisting of a string of Honda Magnas ranging from 1982 to 2000. I sold my last Magna several years ago for a 2000 Honda VFR800Fi, which I still own and love.

The most recent addition to our increasingly crowded 2-car stable (now including my VFR800 "Vickie", 2006 XTerra Off Road "Alexis", fiancé's 2008 Ford Taurus AWD "Dante", and her Suzuki SV650S "Olivia") is a yet-to-be-christened 2006 KLR650 I just picked up from my local classifieds for $2,400. I will be the third owner. Supposedly the first owner just used it for commuting and the bike was left baking in the torturous Utah sun, which faded the red paint to a nice pink color. The bike was sold to the second owner, a retiree up in Midway, UT who wanted to do some dirt riding. He used a paint restorer to try to get the original color back, which worked fairly well except for some nooks and crannies. He was an aircraft mechanic so he did a lot of work on the bike, replacing the doohickey, changing all the fluids, tires, brakes, tune up, carb cleaning, and putting on an aftermarket exhaust can. Unfortunately for him, after one ride on a dirt road he decided he was too old to learn dirt riding and put the bike up for sale.

There are a couple of small cracks on the front fairing, but I think I can fix it with a plastic welder.

I think I want to respray the bike. My summer touring suit is yellow and I don't want to look like a rolling McDonald's (and my cold-weather suit is red, so yellow is out too). I was thinking about white.

My other vehicle is a 2006 Nissan XTerra Off Road with a 2.5" lift, rock sliders, and I have a set of skid plates on order. I've done off road driving in SUVs since I was 15, so I'm looking forward to learning how to ride dirt. Eventually we want to get a DRZ for my fiancé so we can do a ride to Alaska and back.

Anyway, I'm glad to find a community around my new bike and I look forward getting out there. I pick it up on Friday when I can get a trailer.

Oh, and test-riding a bike in 9°F isn't just cold, it's painful.
 

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welcome and before some one else says it:

 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, I pick the bike up tomorrow and I need to have a post count of 10 before I can post any photos according to the stuff I read when I registered. So I will get going on that and snap some shots of the KLR coming home tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So, I think this cheap bike might bankrupt me. I'm already thinking about repainting it, installing crash bars, a skid plate, touring screen, and a center stand. That doesn't even get into lighting, electrical mods, or luggage.

Right now I'm debating between a WWII military style paint scheme, or patterning it after the famous Flying Tigers' P-40s.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Double posting to pad my post count.

I've been doing some reading and I think my priorities will be: center stand so I can fit it, the VFR and my car in the garage, then as follows;

1 & 2: new seat and upgrade the suspension to handle my not insignificant weight.

3 & 4: crash bars and skid plate

4 & 5: paint and luggage.

6: off road lighting

The doohickey was already done.
 

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Double posting to pad my post count.

I've been doing some reading and I think my priorities will be: center stand so I can fit it, the VFR and my car in the garage, then as follows;

1 & 2: new seat and upgrade the suspension to handle my not insignificant weight.

3 & 4: crash bars and skid plate

4 & 5: paint and luggage.

6: off road lighting

The doohickey was already done.
All the above are a good idea but you really dont need the off road lights, the lights on the KLR are really good. They are better than the lights on all my sportbikes.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I did notice that the headlight was quite good, but the goal is to eventually ride this to Alaska and back, so I think I want auxiliary lighting for that.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Nice to see them mounted. I was planning on using LED to reduce the electrical load. Right now I need a new side radiator cover prior to paint and to re-do the suspension. I didn't realize that the back alone would be so much though.
 

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plenty of us rolling on a stock rear shock with heavier spring (I've got a Top Gun, bout $100). Works just fine for those on a budget. PVC spacers up front add preload to the fork springs and makes the ride decent.

I'm not saying that the suspension is great, but it's certainly acceptable. Especially for someone new to dirt and won't have the ability to out ride the bike offroad for a while.

The best part of the KLR is that most accessories are cheap if you're willing to turn a wrench. There's days worth of reading on here detailing homebrew modifications that require little investment other than time and a willingness to get a little dirty.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
How hard was it to get that spring in? Do you recommend a retailer for those?

After buying the bike I'm feeling a bit poor, but I just can't leave it alone! I'm already looking at getting some better boots and a dual sport lid from Cycle Gear.

I think the biggest investment will be luggage racks and crash bars if the heavier spring and spacers do the trick. How much weight do you carry on your bike? I'm a big guy at 6'4" and 260 lb. And I want to put gear on the back.
 

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I think the biggest investment will be luggage racks and crash bars if the heavier spring and spacers do the trick. How much weight do you carry on your bike? I'm a big guy at 6'4" and 260 lb. And I want to put gear on the back.
If you're really going to load down the bike or ride on rough roads, I'd seriously consider upgrading your subframe bolts. There are several kits out there, or there's several write ups on the procedure..
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Right now I'm anticipating fire roads and maybe a bit worse. I don't have a single yard of dirt riding so I will start out slowly. I think one of the racks I was looking at came with upgraded bolts, but I might be thinking of crash bars. I've been trying to soak up a ton of info recently.
 

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The bolts I'm talking about are the 3 bolts that hold the subframe on to the main frame. The center, upper center bolt is usually changed to oversize, requiring drilling out the current holes.. The lower 2 bolts near the footpegs are just changed out to grade 8.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ok, I will look into that. This should also be my 10th post; now that the sun is out I will roll the bikes outside and snap some shots to post.
 

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Ok, I will look into that. This should also be my 10th post; now that the sun is out I will roll the bikes outside and snap some shots to post.
Excellent, but don't be shocked if it doesn't let you post photos.. We originally made it 15 posts to combat spammers, but we changed it to 10 posts a year ago, but I've heard of some who still have issues and can't post photos until 15 posts..
 

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search top gun spring on your favorite engine and it'll pull up the mfr's website to buy direct. I'm 6'3 220 w/o gear and the 7.4kg (white) spring works well for me. preload at 3 normal riding, 5 for loaded/2 up.

Spring is a 1-2 hr job if you're at all mechanically inclined. I don't have a how-to posted but can answer questions if you get to that point.

AFX FX-39 is a real good lid for the price. I've got 10k on mine with no complaints.

My suggestion is get the suspension close with spring/spacers, get some decent tires on, then just ride it for a bit. A few hundred miles in the dirt and you'll have a much better idea of what you like/don't like. A lot of the common mods/accessories I wouldn't want on my bike, and many of my mods others wouldn't care for.
 

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A lot of the common mods/accessories I wouldn't want on my bike, and many of my mods others wouldn't care for.
That's for sure!! I know several guys with KLR's that don't do anything to their bikes, and never plan to change anything. And then there's other's who make enormous changes.. That's the great thing about the KLR model, since it can be changed into whatever you want it to do..

:)
 

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That's for sure!! I know several guys with KLR's that don't do anything to their bikes, and never plan to change anything. And then there's other's who make enormous changes.. That's the great thing about the KLR model, since it can be changed into whatever you want it to do..

:)
All depends on personal preference. I run stock handguards and cut down shorty levers ( common for sportbikes) since that's what i've become accustomed to over the years. 1/8" plate steel homebrew skid plate since I'm cheap and my version of singletrack involves bouncing this pig off hard objects until I reach my destination. Steel industrial electrical enclosure as a top box since it's tough and the price was right (free).

I'd invest in an IMS tank instead of nerf bars and wouldn't bother with a lot of the common mods other than doohickey (why hasn't mama Kaw adressed this yet?). As you can see, personal preference becomes a significant factor in KLR mods. They've been around (mostly unchanged) for 25 years so the modification options are endless.
 
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