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Greetings,

I bought a used '05 KLR in December. I've put 3 or 4 thousand miles on it, and find it to be, in some respects, one of the worst bike I've ever ridden. On the freeway with cross winds in excess of 20-25 mph, it is very nearly impossible to keep in a single lane. On the freeway at speeds over 65 mph, the wake from other vehicles induces extremely unsettling head shakes. After some suspension adjustments, it is better, but still handles like a shopping cart on the freeway. However, it is much more managable at speed on open two lane roads. It is a freaking blast on tight roads with bad pavement. I think some of my handling problems may relate to that sail that Kawasaki calls a front fender.

Any advice?
 

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Wind and the KLR don't get along very well. The front fender has had several things done to it in hopes of improvement by several people. )it has been lowered, cut down, holes drilled in it,and some have even changed it. Everyone has said their mods did help, but mine is still stock and I just battle the wind on the big roads. I do try to avoid the big roads as much as possible.
 

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KLR+Big Roads = no no
If you have too, just be careful. I got enough weight to hold the front end down, but I still get the pucker factor with semi's in front, back or beside with the wind wash.
 

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Carson City is the windiest place in the country. Since I bought my '08 klr a month ago I've had to face winds and gusts up to 50 mph. So far, although it gets old, I don't think I've been pushed more than a couple feet of my line of travel. It could be a hefty ticket here, but, if you could try a stretch of road in the wind without the fender you would know if it is the cause.
 

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Yep, the KLR was never designed or intended for interstates.

It's not just one feature causing the overall problem. Handguards have to go, windshield isn't appropriate, fairing is hardly aerodynamic for high speed, and the fender is way to flimsy.

There are lots of posts about how to make the KLR an interstate bike, especially on that other net site. It would serve you well to do some research because you won't get all the solutions in one post.
 

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An awful lot of it comes down to the skill of the rider, too. If you are in a crosswind and you tighten up your grip and tense your forearms, the bike will react more severely.

I make sure my grip is loose and my upper body is loose, and let the bars turn naturally. It automagically countersteers itself to compensate for the wind. The same technique worked really well on my Honda XR650L, another tall (even taller and a little lighter than the KLR) DP bike.

If you fight it, you'll only make it worse.
 

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If you fight it, you'll only make it worse.
Yep, well said.

Another thing that new riders need to keep in mind is that a motorcycle wants to go straight if you just let it do it's thing. The most basic physics of a motorcycle is it's gyroscopic force that keeps the bike upright. New riders tend to feel it's their duty to keep the bike up, but a rider is just a nuisance to the bike and really shouldn't be doing much to assist it in staying upright.

Offroad is a different matter of course!
 

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The most basic physics of a motorcycle is it's gyroscopic force that keeps the bike upright. New riders tend to feel it's their duty to keep the bike up, but a rider is just a nuisance to the bike and really shouldn't be doing much to assist it in staying upright.
I recall reading much about this matter in Keith Code's Twist of The Wrist II book, which is a great read for any rider to me.

the more you try to fight the headshake, the more problems you get. but from what I can see of the KLR, it is really not built for anything beyond general in town and trail riding. highway is possible I think, but you'd have to get some major stuff done to improve it before going there.
 

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but from what I can see of the KLR, it is really not built for anything beyond general in town and trail riding. highway is possible I think, but you'd have to get some major stuff done to improve it before going there.
:confused:

I've done a bunch of 300-500 mile days on mine, and the only improvements for this I've made were adding highway pegs.. (and getting rid of the stock seat)

I've got a 1000 V Strom and a 95' Goldwing in the garage, and still take the KLR for solo touring all the time..
 

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highway is possible I think, but you'd have to get some major stuff done to improve it before going there.
Highways and Interstates are definately doable on a stock bike, no question. It's just a matter of how long any particular person can put up with it both mentally and physically. Some people don't seem to have any problem busting ass for 4-5 hours at 80+ on a stocker..... NOT ME!!

There isn't much the KLR can't do and that's it's appeal, but most of everthing it can do is based on rider ability and their willingness to do so. Like the highspeed interstate runs for hours and hours, or extreme offroad hills, or extreme curvy roads at faster speeds. It's not a full blown sport bike, cruiser, tourer, or dirtbike, but it does have a little bit of all of these abilities in it.

Goldwings and big tourers aren't exactly curve dwellers at speed and definately won't be hitting any dirt trails. Although I've seen video proof of the new goldwing being flicked around like it's 600cc sport bike on deals gap, this is simply not the case for your average rider.

Sport bikes don't care for interstates much and they won't be hitting any dirt. I did a 200 mile interstate run on a sport bike back when I was 20ish and would never do that again, just had no appeal and not a comfortable riding position for extended periods of straight line runs.

Cruisers aren't the best interstate bikes in stock form either. They won't be seeing any dirt and don't exactly like twisty roads at faster paces either.

But the KLR.... even beginners can enjoy spirited runs in the twisties, it will do interstates for some random period of time, it loves 2-lane 50/60mph highways and will go just about anywhere off-road, especially if you are riding in a group where some assistance could be helpfull here and there. It will do it all on demand even though it may not do it all perfectly.

Where I live, it's a tough battle for me to want to keep the KLR. One day I'm ready to sell it, the next day I realize it's an amazing all around bike. Plus, the bike I want (Concours 14) is $13,000. I found some places to ride around here, but the few other KLR riders I know in town never ride. So I'm always way to cautious to have much fun on these trails. Plus, they aren't exactly LBL quality or length. Like I said.. it's a battle!
 

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This is what I did to mine, it has worked great.
I added an Eagle Mike fork brace, an Acerbis fender brace and drilled holes in the fender. I now get almost no wash from other vehicles and cross wind is not that big of a deal any more.

 

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what kind of tires are those? they look pretty cool. and that fender brace looks like something one could make themselves fairly easily if need be.

I was actually thinking about adapting a fender from a sportbike to fit, but then comes the issue of mounting and actual size of the wheel and fender, plus fork spacing, etc.
 

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The tire is a Kenda.
With what I have done to the fender, I am able to ride behind a semi without the bike wanting to fly.
 

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thanks. considering the amount of sugar sand we've got here in my area, I'm not positive the stock tires would be too good in it. but then again, I am the kind of guy that likes to make things more aggressive any way I can.
 

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I'm with Paper on this one.

My longest day was 11-12 hrs and 604 miles. I've got highway pegs and a Corbin (my butt would have fallen off if I had the stock seat).

Other then my neck getting sore I didn't have any problems. I just slowed down when it started to rain.

Is it the prefect highway bike? No. But its a sweet bike to take on a road trip and head off on a dirt track if you see something interesting. I wouldn't have any problem doing a couple 500 mile days, but a bunch in a row might be difficult to handle.

That being said.
you might want to check the level of your fork oil. Seems that a lot of the KLR's around here have had a lot less then they needed and filling it to the proper level helped out with the highway wander.

Brian
 

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Most people I've encountered who said they have turbulance issues on the freeway, myself included, find a fork brace does add a lot of stability. However, the KLR is tall and is effected far more than a shorter bike by cross winds, turbulance off trucks, and high speed buffeting. I am happy to say that since adding a fork brace, mines a K-9, the bike does I-70 for 60 miles at 70+mph just fine and handles off road better too.
 

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Cross winds

I to have had issues with freeway riding relating to cross winds and wash from trucks. I really like the Acerbis fender brace, but have also read about the Acerbis fender made for KTM's (not available in red, however). Any readers have the Acerbis fender? While on the subject for freeway (higher engine speeds), does anyone use handle bars weights to reduce vibration?

thanks,
Cris
 

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I have the genuine KTM version of the Acerbis KTM fender on my KLR. ;-) I changed it for looks, not because I felt the stock fender was a problem, it was just ugly.

I don't have crosswind problems, but then I didn't really have them with the stock fender either. It's all in how you react to the gusty sidewinds.



I have ProTaper SE ATV high bend handlebars and ProGrip gel grips, and at least changing the handlebars seems to have reduced vibrations. But again, keeping a very light grip on the bars does more than any equipment change.
 

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I recall reading much about this matter in Keith Code's Twist of The Wrist II book, which is a great read for any rider to me.

the more you try to fight the headshake, the more problems you get. but from what I can see of the KLR, it is really not built for anything beyond general in town and trail riding. highway is possible I think, but you'd have to get some major stuff done to improve it before going there.
Bob
My KLR hasn't had anything major done to it...I just got back from a 4000 + mile trip with most days at least 400 miles and the longest 665 miles...with no problems. You are right when you say highway is possible...it's VERY possible and proven daily.
Just ride it-
Joe
 

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I don't think a few people doing these high mileage rides proves anything other then their personal endurance. For every person doing these extended trips, there are 1000 who won't even consider it.
 
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