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I have a 2012 KLR I bought a couple of years ago. It had less than 1,000 miles on it then and still has less than 2,000 miles on it now! The front tire went flat on me a several months ago. I wanted a more dirt oriented tire anyways so I ordered a new one (a Continental Twinduro TKC 80) and had it changed out and balanced at a nearby Cycle Gear location here in Houston.

I took it out the other night. It seemed a little dark and windy and I had not ridden in a while but wanted to put a few miles on it at higher RPMs to charge back up the battery. I felt it seemed wobbly at speeds above 60-MPH. I figured it was windy and cold and I was just nervous from not riding the bike for a while and it having a new tire on it and all. I took it back home to test it again when it was sunny outside, not windy and warmer. Today was the day! I took it out and the thing almost threw me off it it wobbled so bad once I got it up to 65-70-mph. I mean it. I thought I was going to die!

Please tell me some scenarios that may explain this. Could it just be a very dirt oriented tire causing this? Could the wheel be bent? Does the bead have to be perfectly seated all of the way around on both sides? I ask that question because I can see the bead line and it is not even all the way around the tire on one side. I forgot to check the other. Wow! I am still shaking a little as I type this. I have been a rider for over 40 years and never had speed wobbles like this. Talk to me Goose! What do I need to do here?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
A little more info

By the way, on the original tire this bike came with (Dunlop 90/90-21 M/C 54S K750), I have taken this bike up to 85-MPH several times before with no wobble.
 

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Your comment about the bead line concerns me and I would be going back and having that checked out. I would also suggest having the balancing re-done. Did you use beads or weights for balancing. Whatever you do don’t ride the bike if you don’t have to and not at speed.

.
 

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Bead line not concentric? Tire bead not seated correctly all around. Who ever mounted it needs to correct this.

By the way, I never balance my KLR tires. No issues at any speed.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I will take the wheel to a different place this time and have them remount the tire. There is a single wheel weight on one spoke and it was there when I got the bike. Trust me when I say, I will not ride the bike at any speed over 45-MPH until it is fixed right. This is very frustrating and scary.

Thanks all for you replies and suggestions. I love this place!
 

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I would guess if all was fine with the old tire and now it's experiencing death wobbles It was mounted wrong / not seated correctly / defective Tire / Etc.

Maybe once you get the rim off the bike you can stick it between two jack stands or construct a makeshift balancing post and spin that wheel and see what's up. I think you can notice it then.
 

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I'll suggest that the shop that mounted that tire did Not spin-balance it. Otherwise the un-seated bead area would have been seen while spinning. If you push back on the brake caliper a bit, the wheel should turn freely enough to see any wobble caused by an un-seated area.

The dynamic spin balancers can not effectively measure the side to side imbalance on such narrow rims as the 1.60 inch used on the KLR. So these normally just use spoke weights in the center line of the rim only.

I'll also suggest that you run 2 psi Higher on the skinny front tire vs the wider rear tire. My usually suggestion is 32 Front & 30 Rear for highway usage and average rider weight.
 

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It's not that it's a knobbie and though it's a good idea, I don't bother balancing the tires on my dual sports......unless something major is out of whack, that isn't it either.


My "wobble Post"

Way too many people think that addressing the symptoms by dealing with handguards, fenders, fork braces, etc. are the answer rather than dealing with the real issue which is related to suspension setup and loading. I'm not convinced that the KLR is any more susceptible to instability than any other bike with long travel, lightly damped suspension and the Owner's have a propensity for severe and uneven loading.

There are some problems that need to be checked;
- bad/lose head bearings
- condition of wheel bearings and suspension bushings
- wheel and tire condition and appropriate tire pressures.

.....beyond that, It's settings;
- proper sag settings and adequate damping
- proper bike loading
- avoiding inappropriately un-aerodynamic loads

addressing the symptoms rather than the cause can help but IMO shouldn't be done until all the aforementioned items are checked and corrected if necessary. Nonetheless these can help stability;

- fork brace
- smaller fender or lowered fender (I use a polisport as I hate both the supermoto and low mounted fenders)
- consider tank bags instead of putting everything in huge panniers which affects both weight loading and aerodynamics.


My 2001 had some high speed issues that went away as soon as the sag was set properly....and after my Cogent suspension was installed, both my KLR's have been rock steady.....even with full knobbies and low tire pressures (20 - 22PSI). Lastly, as others have mentioned, the rider also plays a part; keep a relaxed light grip on the bars and don't tighten up. Changing your position (move forward/lean forward) can help too.

2 cents,
Dave
 

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re-seat your bead and balance then consider the following:

I have a 2012 that does the same thing since I installed the TKC80's. I found that running higher tire pressure than with the stock tires eliminates most of the wobble. They must be pretty flexible... I have gone from one end of the bike to the other tightening, measuring, etc. I agree with DPelletier and PDWestman that the suspension is the real culprit. Proof of this is as simple as maxing out the rear shock pre-load. It helps but the front really should be stiffened also.

The worst impact on mine is the panniers and tail box. Even empty they add a lot of bulk to the rear of a flexy sub-frame that was not designed for them. If I remove them and air-up the tires mine is acceptable.
 

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Dave and Dallas both make good points and I’d like to expand on Dallas’ last paragraph.
A year ago I went riding with a friend on another Gen 2 KLR and he had a hard time keeping up with my 2011 in the woods. He appeared to be a good rider and I found that odd, so near the end of the afternoon I suggested we swap bikes.

When I got on his, I was shocked. It was as unstable as a Saturday night drunk on rollerskates. The main difference between our two bikes was his rear top case which had some heavy items in it. We removed some of them and the bike felt better.

When he got home, he removed the entire rear top case and told me that the bike then felt like an all new machine.
Moral of the story: watch out for weight up high and in the rear. There’s a little sticker on the rear rack that says something about a maximum load of maybe 15 or 20 pounds, They are not kidding!
 

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First check the tire, but my experience is that softer side wall tires or deeper knobs make the bike wiggle more - especially the rear tire which is carrying most of the weight. On my 2017 KLR650 I've run 4 rear tires, Shinko 244, Shinko 700, Kenda K270, and the factory Dunlop. Bike was rock steady on the highway with all of the tires except the Kenda K270. The Kenda has a much softer side wall, and that tire I could not make the bike comfortably stable at speeds above 65 -at 70. I felt like I was riding on a hard sandy road and the bike was on the edge of trying to wash out. I changed the front tire, changed tire pressure, changed windscreen, raised/lowered handlebars, adjusted suspension, changed hand guards, removed tail case, nothing helped any really. When I gave up and took the Kenda tire off, the bike was rock steady again. What you might check is to stand beside the bike give a good shake to the side. I noticed that when I had the soft tire on it it would kind of wiggle like a jello mold. I replaced it with a Shinko 700, and it would not do that at all. Obviously your case is probably different, but it might be just that the front/rear tire combo and the specific set up for your bike just do not work well together.
 

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First check the tire, but my experience is that softer side wall tires or deeper knobs make the bike wiggle more - especially the rear tire which is carrying most of the weight. On my 2017 KLR650 I've run 4 rear tires, Shinko 244, Shinko 700, Kenda K270, and the factory Dunlop. Bike was rock steady on the highway with all of the tires except the Kenda K270. The Kenda has a much softer side wall, and that tire I could not make the bike comfortably stable at speeds above 65 -at 70. I felt like I was riding on a hard sandy road and the bike was on the edge of trying to wash out. I changed the front tire, changed tire pressure, changed windscreen, raised/lowered handlebars, adjusted suspension, changed hand guards, removed tail case, nothing helped any really. When I gave up and took the Kenda tire off, the bike was rock steady again. What you might check is to stand beside the bike give a good shake to the side. I noticed that when I had the soft tire on it it would kind of wiggle like a jello mold. I replaced it with a Shinko 700, and it would not do that at all. Obviously your case is probably different, but it might be just that the front/rear tire combo and the specific set up for your bike just do not work well together.
I’ve done the handle bar shake also with different configurations on my bike. The panniers, top box and TKC80 combo with stock tire pressures yields the worst results.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Fixed!

Sorry I took so long to reply but I did not get the chance to work on this until today. Before i forget, I don't have any extra weight or equipment mounted to this bike. Just pure stock bike with some Eagle Mike stuff like the carb kit, the taller suspension bone. It had all of that before with the original tire and all was good until I put the new tire on.

I'll try to keep this short. I took the wheel off and took some pictures. I will try to upload them but i think this is my 15th post so I'll try it on my next one because i thought I heard we have to post 15 times before we can upload images. I took the wheel to another shop than the one I took it to the first time. They did not like the bead being off center either. They took it off and tried putting it back on 2 twice and could not get the bead to seat properly. I have to mention that I tried to change the tire and the inner tube the first time. I pinched the inner tube so that was enough of a costly failure to make me take it to a shop and buy a new inner tube and have them do it. The one that came with then bike was popped. I pinched the heavy duty one I got from the place I bought the tire, inner tube and wheel band from. When I took it to the first shop to have them do it, they sold me a heavy duty inner-tube. It felt twice as thick as the heavy duty inner-tube I bought from the reputable online cycle shop we have all heard of. Afraid to say it the name since some forums don't like that.

Today the new shop said they thought it might be the inner-tube being too thick. I bought another one from them and they got the tire on and centered and balanced on the first try. They said it was already balanced when I brought it in and that shocked them since the bead did not seat and was not equal all the way around.

I got it back home. i put the front wheel back on. I took it for a spin on the highway. I took it up to about 80-mph or so with no issues. It felt great! I do this many times as traffic allowed for about 20 minutes and all was perfect. I'm 6 foot and weight right at 250. I tend to mount it and ride it like I'm on a dirt bike. I expected the ride to not be as nice with this dirt tire on it but it feels pretty good.

Thanks again all for your replies. Now I have to get the new Continental Twinduro TKC back tire on. Let me know if I didn't answer everybody's questions etc. I met some KLR folks in Houston a few years back. I'd like to meet them again and a few more if possible. I'm thinking about keeping this bike forever. Thermo Bob and Doohicky thing are next. Should i do one before the other? Mileage is at 1,700 or so.
 

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At 1700 miles, your Doohickey should be good to go another 10,000, but if the thing does break, then you have expensive repairs.
My experience with my ThermoBob has been different than most. For some reason, up here in the relatively cool Northeast, the bike never gets up to temperature. I have now duct taped about 3/4 of the radiator and the temperature finally gets up into the midrange If the air temps are above 60° ambient.
In Houston, that’s probably not a problem for you, however.
 

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My experience with my ThermoBob has been different than most. For some reason, up here in the relatively cool Northeast, the bike never gets up to temperature. I have now duct taped about 3/4 of the radiator and the temperature finally gets up into the midrange If the air temps are above 60° ambient.
THLBill, If you purchased a Thermo-Bob 2, did it not come with 2 thermostats? The thermostats are "Made in China". :(
Have you tried the spare?

The OEM 160F thermostat if used in the Thermo-Bob 2 body should get temp up to about 3/16 - 1/4 of scale and be Stable.
A properly operating 90C / 195F thermostat sold by Watt-man usually brings the temp gauges up to 7/16 - 1/2 scale and be Stable. Maybe 1/16 less of scale at 40-60F ambient temps for either properly operating 'stat.
 

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I bought a KLR with that tire on the front and had speed wobble +65 mph. Installed Shinko 705 & 805 on the front since then and haven't had speed wobble up to 100 mph.
 
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