Fuel For Thought
by Rod Morris
Copyright © 2006 Top Gun Motorcycles. All rights reserved. Distribution or publication of this document (electronic or otherwise)
is prohibited without the express written consent of the author. For more information or to request permission to publish this
document, please see our contact page. For information on our pledge to maintain your privacy click here. To learn more about
your friends at Top Gun Motorcycles, read about us here.
Welcome To Fuel For Thought
Written by: Rod Morris
Glossary of terms and abbreviations:
MSM - Multisurface Motorcycles/Motorcyclist
MMP - Multisurface Motorcycle Products
TGMP - Top Gun Motorcycle Products
MSM Weight Classifications:
Lightweight (LW) - up to 250lbs
Middleweight (MW) - 251lbs - 300lbs
Light-Heavyweight (LHW) - 301lbs - 350lbs
Heavyweight (HW) - 351lbs - 400lbs
Shock Spring Kudos, by Rod Morris
OK, OK, I know I'm bombarding you with comments from customers that install one of our
rear shock springs but it's such an important up-grade on the KLR650 that I can't stop.
I'll get to two after some other comments.
I'm fairly certain that any person that wants to buy or has purchased a KLR650 knows
that the stock rear spring is junk and way too whimpy to hold the back of the bike up
even under minimum load. There are many factors to consider when setting-up your
suspension. The main one being, “what is the average gross vehicle weight?” Then, if
you plan to load your bike down with a passenger, camping gear, and all that necessary
stuff we seem to take on long trips; you need to have enough reserve tension in the
spring so that it can be pre-loaded to carry the extra weight. Unless you have two
springs or two shocks at your disposal you will need to choose the Top Gun spring that
allows for enough extra pre-load to carry the extra weight.
Here are two customers comments after installing a MMP spring:
"I had the MMP rear spring installed last week and tested it out this weekend. Vast
improvement over stock !! Knew it would be better on the dirt, what I didn't realize is how
much better it rides on the street with the new spring. I am very pleased, what an
incredible difference for only 80 bucks. Thanks, Mark"
"Just wanted to let you know I got the spring put on and after tuning the front a little bit
the difference in the ride is incredible. The bike feels like it's in the right position now and
as an added bonus, the headlight appears to be much more centered. I've got it on the
lowest pre-load setting right now, so it should be perfect if I need to load it down for a trip
or add a second rider. Thanks again for the help getting me set-up. Jason in Tenn."
I think many KLR650 owners understand the need for a better spring but don't know how
they can get one installed in their area. Not everyone has a competent shop down the
street that can install a shock spring. It does take a good spring compressor and some
knowledge on how it comes off. Some customers have rented or purchased spring
compressors only to find that they don't work right for the KLR shock. Now what?
We at MMP will install your new rear shock spring at no additional cost when the shock is
shipped to us. The shock is inspected for leaks and other possible damage, the pre-load
adjuster is cleaned and lubed with dust resistant lube and the new spring installed.
Shipping cost is $22.00 with confirmation (insurance is extra) for a round trip by using a
free USPS Flat Rate Box, size 11 7/8 x 3 3/8 x 13 5/8. The entire shock, spring and all
fits corner to corner. One way shipping is 11.00 (with confirmation) and I use the same
for return which accounts for the 22.00 shipping. Even if you have a competent shop
nearby, I doubt labor costs would only be 22.00 for installation. Turn around shipping
time is often the same day depending on when it arrives or no later than the next day,
unless it's a Sunday or Holiday.
16,400 Miles Later, by Rod Morris
A while back Top Gun and MMP assisted a KLR650 rider in prepping his bike for an
extended trip into Mexico, Central and South America. Our traveler, Tim Lewis from
Arkansas, spent several days in Elden's garage going over every inch of his bike to
ensure it would be a fun trip without major breakdowns. Tim will give us a more detailed
report on his trip after getting settled back into life in the U.S.A., but for now he reports
Hi guys, I just wanted to let you know I made it to Buenos Aries.
I had a great trip!!! The bike was awesome, 16.400 miles ------I have over 40,000 on it
now. The only things I had to change were the back tire and back brakes, oh yeah, the
rear tube stem broke in Argentina. Other than that I just changed the oil and adjusted my
doohickey ever 2,000 miles. I couldn't have done it without your help. Thanks for all the
advice and help.
I flew the bike back to Houston from Buenos Aries and rode it back to Arkansas. While I
was at the cargo area in Buenos Aries another KLR pulled up on his way back to
California. He had 82,000 miles on the clock and he said the only thing he had ever
done to the motor was adjust the valves. So KLRs really do rule. Thanks, Tim Lewis
How Re-Bolting, by Rod Morris
I received a forwarded e-mail recently with a snippet on what one KLR owner did to his
bike while at one of the "Tech Days" that are happening around the country.
His main concern was an oil leak that turned out to be one of the balancer cover
gaskets. At the same time he decided to pull the rotor and inspect the doohickey.
Everything appeared fine inside and he put it back together. Here's where I had to cringe
and squirm around a bit. He was actually bragging about re-using the rotor bolt with 125
lbs torque on it. Obviously he hadn't read the service manual which tells you not to re-
use the old rotor bolt. The reason is simple; the heavy torque is designed to put a slight
stretch on the bolt to that it won't come loose. If it is stretched repeatedly it could fracture
Baja Roads: Bad and Getting Worse, by Elden Carl
On Sunday morning 4/19/09, Rod Morris, Mike Henshaw, Jay Bass and I rode out to
Tecate Mexico for breakfast at La Fogata on Revolucion. Some mention had been made
of a possible dirt ride but no serious plan had been developed. The subject came up
again and I reported that I wanted to check out some of the roads in the mountains east
of Tecate. There had been some flash flooding in the mountains during the winter which
I assumed had heavily impacted road conditions.
Jay and Mike, both on their KLR “A” models signed up for the ride but Rod Morris was
nursing a cracked rib and thinking discretion was the better part of valor and decided not
to abuse himself. Did Rod know something we didn't?
After breakfast Rod headed back across the border and Jay, Mike and I proceeded east
on pavement. About 20 miles out, we aired down the tires and continued east on a dirt
road used during the construction of a pipeline. We eventually turned onto an
abandoned road heading into the mountains. It wasn't long before I was glad to be on my
cartridge-forked DR650, but as the steep, washed-out, rocky uphills got worse I realized I
should be on a WR450. I began to worry about Jay and Mike on their heavy KLR model
It turned out that not one road was in good shape and some were worse than I had ever
seen since 1974. About half of the 110 miles of dirt that we travelled had been used in
the infamous Tecate 500 mile Enduro that I rode and trophied in several times.
When we finally hit the pavement and headed back to Tecate, I was relieved for all of us.
We had run the rocky, sandy gauntlet on heavy MSMs without one fall or any major
mechanical or tire problems. By the time I got home the trip clock had recorded 248
It's sad that over the years (thanks to Trophy Trucks and Baja racers combined, with
ever erratic weather patterns apparently caused at least partly by global warming), Baja
roads have gotten more and more difficult to negotiate due to deteriorating surface
conditions. In our Baja travels both north and south, Pauline and I have encountered
fewer and fewer motorcyclists off-road
and most of the ones we see are on real sub-315 lb dirt bikes. The big over-loaded GS
Beemers and over-equipped and over-loaded KLRs are almost always on paved roads
which is of course where they belong.
We will from time to time mention good Baja roads when we find them. Kurt Grife, Pauline
and I are headed south on May 25th. We plan to check out the roads around Mulege
and Loreto and will report back to our readers on conditions as we find them.
Rod Morris decided that each year starting
in 2007 we would take Pauline on a
multisurface birthday ride for as many
years as we were both physically capable
of covering the ground safely and at a
The ride in 2007 was a moto-marathon
starting and ending in our garage and
covering over 1,500 miles of dirt and
pavement in Baja Norte and Sur. Rod lead
the charge and took the photos.
Pauline's 82nd birthday ride was like her
81st; a two dayer in northern Baja with an
overnight in Ensenada. This ride covered
305 miles of dirt and pavement on April
25th and 26th. Our restaurant friends at La
Fogata in Tecate and Mariscos de Bahia
de Ensenada both threw parties for the
guest of honor who loved every minute of
the trip. One of the highlights of our ride
was running into some of the "Los
Ancianos Motorcycle Club" members at a
check in the beautiful Neji valley in the
mountains southeast of Tecate, B.C.
The Los Ancianos Motorcycle Club is the
oldest off-road motorcycle club in the
southwest. The famous Tecate 500 and
250 enduros were run by this club starting
in the early 1970s. Dirt riding ace Al Dietor
and I trophied numerous times in this event
including 2nd place team. With less than
20% of the entries finishing the event it
was a great thrill to have our leader, Alan
Dietor, keep him, Jeff Ziems, David Kramer,
and me on course to a successful 4 man
team finish in 1977.
We visited with Ancianos members Ray
Beck, Philip Peterson, Noll Strong, George
Mesa and Big Ron Kreem. We had been at
the check for a few minutes when Paul
Eddy arrived. Paul, like Al had won a third
place in one of the Baja 1000s in the early
1980s. They had also trophied in other
500s and 1000s.
All in all Pauline's two day, 305 mile
birthday ride was a smashing success with
just enough challenge, veracity and plenty
of springtime beauty to enjoy along with a
complete absences of crashes, flats or
mechanical failures. Gracias Dios.
Even more important than what went on in
Baja for two days was what happened in
Coronado, California. While we were gone,
our Webmaster Todd Vosper and wife
Mindy became proud parents of twins,
Emily and Thomas. Major Vosper is
presently standing 4 hour watches in
rotation with the Colonel. (wife always
out-ranks husband). Hey skipper, how
does it feel to be standing watches like an
*Los Ancians: Ray Beck, Paul Eddy,
Philip Peterson, Noll Strong, George
Mesa, and Big Ron Krum.
|Pauline, Rod, and Elden with Los
Ancians* in Neji Valley
Pauline's 82nd Birthday Ride and More, by Elden Carl
Rod Morris decided that each year starting in 2007 we would take Pauline on a
multisurface birthday ride for as many years as we were both physically capable of
covering the ground safely and at a good pace.
|Pauline relaxes after a challenging
160+ mile multisurface day.
|Traveling east one of the better
parts of the La Mission to
|Pauline loves water, even on her