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On a scale of 1-10, I started out as a one, now I'm a solid two! No kidding, in one month I have laid my brand new bike down at least 20 times (I live off-road). I remember riding a little bit as a kid (52 now) so I just went out thinking I could throw this thing around, instead, I was being thrown.
In my first week, I was cursing my bike, saying that it was in no way an off-road bike. I'd hit sand and feel like I was on ice, I'd slide all over the place going down hill....In reality, it wasn't the bike that sucked, I did/do. I read a few articles, watched some videos and practiced specific problem areas esp going downhill with loose gravel on rutted hardpack. Over and over, the same situation. I'm getting better but the most important thing is that I'm having a great time learning to ride this fat pig.

So I have a little bit of advice for new KLR riders:

(Best advice, install crash bars!) I had to purchase a new radiator in my first five days, OEM $855+tax.

Reduce your air pressure for an off-road = big difference in control, esp in sand.

Know this bike's limitations
 

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New to riding??

I learned to ride bike in a local sand pit. (An old Honda XR185). I was 40 then.
Since then I've ridden all kinds of roads, and trails, from interstate, to forest one track, and some places that "No-One-Has-Gone-Before". ( sorry Star Trek! )

I've had street bikes, and dual purpose/adventure type of bikes. In all those years, I might have dropped my bikes, less than a half dozen times. Fast forward to 2012, when I got my Kawasaki KLR650. I must have dropped it at least a half dozen times since then. I even lowered it, and I can flat-foot while sitting on it.

I only say this to illustrate that it's not only the rider that makes the bike "sleep" sometimes, it's both the rider, and the type of bike. I admit my previous bikes have been street bikes. My only off road bikes have all been small. ( 250 cc and low seat height.)
The KLR is the, heaviest and highest seat, bikes I've owned. It did take a bit of getting used to, and I limit my real rough stuff riding to my little NX250. I keep the KLR on road, gravel, and easier trail riding. No soft sand, or mud for my KLR. That's for the "Young-and-strong". I'm now 79 years old, and (hope) wiser.

If you want to play rough, in the dirt, get a smaller bike.

See my post "My ride Thursday" in "Show off your bike" section.
http://www.klrforum.com/show-off-your-bike/62522-my-ride-thursday.html
First comment/pix. That down hill was a challenge on a KLR
 

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I never dropped a bike as much as my KLR either.
Sometimes I thought it's the fairing messing me up since I can't see the front fender while sitting.
One thing that helped me is Don't Look Down when you come to a stop.

Last time I dropped it was on my leg which is now broke so I'm taking a few months off.
Semi considering selling the KLR for something lighter that I can pick up if dropped.
I'm not so young anymore.
 

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I never dropped a bike as much as my KLR either.
Sometimes I thought it's the fairing messing me up since I can't see the front fender while sitting.
One thing that helped me is Don't Look Down when you come to a stop.

Last time I dropped it was on my leg which is now broke so I'm taking a few months off.
Semi considering selling the KLR for something lighter that I can pick up if dropped.
I'm not so young anymore.
I'm 58 years young, 160lbs dripping wet and started riding on a 1966 Yamaha YL-1 'Twin-Jet 100' in 1970.
I've had riding partners 30% larger than I comment about how fast the White Elephant comes from prone to side stand position.

Adrenalin must be a wonderful thing. I want more, more often. :)
 

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I tried several ways unsuccessfully picking mine back up on the front lawn for practice today since I needed help from my riding partner every time the last time off road. I've watched lots of videos of girls doing it that made it look easy. Noting a big difference though...mine lays down pretty flat with a near full tank of gas. I concluded that I have to crash so the bike is mostly upright lol.
Seriously though, I'll have to bring along some rope to tie onto something for assist, and maybe a scissor jack like one video I saw if I'm going to get out into the sticks alone. Around town most people are happy to help.
 

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Dropped mine in the exit of the local McDonalds one rainy night. (rain wetted oil drool) I picked it up sooo quick no one even noticed. ;) Best as I could tell, anyways. No one was pointing or clapping their hands or honking.
 

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Not sure if I found this video on this site but I've been collecting parts to build
one of these.
I think they want $300. if you buy it from them.

I plan to carry the extra piece of strapping to pull the bike up with a tree or whatever.
I saw those videos with women lifting BMW's with big saddle bags and wondered if
those ugly boxes would help in a drop but some people say they're worse.
I'm recovering from cancer and lost a bit of weight and muscle due to chemo but riding
was getting me back into shape plus it felt great to be out just riding again.

I pulled out going downhill on a banked corner of a mountain road but didnt
turn hard enough and fell off the road into a ditch with big rocks.
Not sure if a rock stopped the bike or if I looked down and ended up on the road.
There was less than a foot between the white line on the road and the guide rail with a all but a foot deep ditch between the two.
It happened fast.
 

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On a scale of 1-10, I started out as a one, now I'm a solid two! No kidding, in one month I have laid my brand new bike down at least 20 times (I live off-road). I remember riding a little bit as a kid (52 now) so I just went out thinking I could throw this thing around, instead, I was being thrown.
In my first week, I was cursing my bike, saying that it was in no way an off-road bike. I'd hit sand and feel like I was on ice, I'd slide all over the place going down hill....In reality, it wasn't the bike that sucked, I did/do. I read a few articles, watched some videos and practiced specific problem areas esp going downhill with loose gravel on rutted hardpack. Over and over, the same situation. I'm getting better but the most important thing is that I'm having a great time learning to ride this fat pig.

So I have a little bit of advice for new KLR riders:

(Best advice, install crash bars!) I had to purchase a new radiator in my first five days, OEM $855+tax.

Reduce your air pressure for an off-road = big difference in control, esp in sand.

Know this bike's limitations
That is awesome (except for the new radiator part lol). Sounds you are out having a good time and that's all that counts! Our abilities go rusty very quickly. Even staying off the bike for just a week or two will sometimes feel like you have forgotten how to ride. Good idea to gear up the bike for crashes, just think about gearing yourself up as well. I refuse to ride without very protective boots. Everything below the knee is in the danger zone when offroad.

Have fun and ride safe!
 

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Quick pickup

Dropped mine in the exit of the local McDonalds one rainy night. (rain wetted oil drool) I picked it up sooo quick no one even noticed. ;) Best as I could tell, anyways. No one was pointing or clapping their hands or honking.
I can identify with you. I was pulling into a local tool store, and while making a "U"ee into my parking spot, it went down. As I had just ridden by a couple of guys a few spaces away, I didn't want to look like a doofus! I got that KLR back up real quick.
( They never noticed ! )

However, I paid for it, for a complete month of therapy, and a doctors visit for strained leg muscles.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the advice. I do wear protection while riding. I turned into motorcycle guy overnight. I bought two helmets, a padded jacket, padded pants, gloves, I'm a cowboy so I always wear boots.
However, It is friken hot right now 100*+ Still though, I wear all of this protection. That's dedication!

Speaking of safety, I'm not going to make the mistake of riding in a group (Street). I'm sure that I will want to later, but for now and because I pretty much suck, it's just not a smart thing for me to do. I don't want to be influenced or pushed to ride outside of my abilities. I'll go off-road with someone because then I'd have time to walk through a specific situation, watch, listen, practice.... Later on, I'll do the group thing.
 

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Good idea about watching someone else take a line, then deciding what to do from there. I used to always do that, but lately I'm getting volunteered to be the guinea pig. lol
 

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I'm going the other way: I used to be a pretty decent offroad rider/racer but I haven't raced for almost 6 years now and I know I've slipped a notch or two.....more in conditioning than ability but still....

I have a saying: "the older I get, the faster I was!" ;-)

Dave
 

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I'm 58 years young, 160lbs dripping wet and started riding on a 1966 Yamaha YL-1 'Twin-Jet 100' in 1970.
I've had riding partners 30% larger than I comment about how fast the White Elephant comes from prone to side stand position.

Adrenalin must be a wonderful thing. I want more, more often. :)
You got me beat; 50 years old this year and I started riding in 1973 on a Honda Z50.....44 years, 39 bikes, 100 races and about 1000 crashes later and here I am! :grin2:

Dave
 
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