Fuel For Thought
by Elden Carl
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Welcome To Fuel For Thought
Note: Due to time constraints, Webmaster Mark at www.multisurfacemotorcycling.com will
no longer be adding a monthly "Fuel For Thought" article. He will however, continue to
maintain the website with its treasure trove of informative articles, procedures, and all of
the past Fuels. MMP will still operate its storefront from the site as well. We want to take a
moment to thank Mark for all of his hard work. If you have ever worked on a website, you'll
know how much time and effort it takes to compile a site like MSM, especially one that is
well-organized, attractive, and functional. Thanks again, Mark!
Written by: Elden Carl and Rod Morris (Guest Editor)
Glossary of terms and abbreviations:
MSM - multisurface motorcycle
ST - suspension triad (seat, shock aborber/forks, tires)
MMP - Multisurface Motorcycle Products
TGMP - Top Gun Motorcycle Products
MSM Weight Classifications (w/3 gals of gas):
Lightweight (LW) - up to 250lbs
Middleweight (MW) - 251lbs - 300lbs
Light-Heavyweight (LHW) - 301lbs - 350lbs
Heavyweight (HW) - 351lbs - 400lbs
KLR Iron Butt Rider Gets Promotion
Awhile back we took a used and abused KLR650 and turned it into a comfy and efficient
sports-tourer capable of finishing an Iron Butt event (1000 miles in less than 24 hours).
The rider, Dave Waters claims to have been less fatigued than his big bike partners.
The key was a custom seat (flat and wide) and improved suspension. The 19" front
wheel and proper steering set-up was also a big help (no fork brace).
At the time, Dave was an L.A. Sheriff's Captain assigned to the Mira Loma Jail facility at
Lancaster. We just heard that Dave, after less than four years as a Captain, has
received a promotion to Commander. Congrats Dave. As soon as we can find and fix
the noise in Dave’s KLR650 engine, he is planning to do the "3 Flags" run from Mexico
Mexico to Canada the Hard Way
On May 6, 2007 Wes Mudge left Tecate at our southern border on his way to Fallon
Nevada. The ride took 5 days and included enough sandy and rocky terrain to make
Wes wish for something lighter than his topgunmotorcycles.com prepped 2001 Suzuki
DR650SE. The course followed dirt trails and roads for 85% of the distance and was
very challenging at times.
Wes was very pleased with the overall performance of his DR650 and was happy that he
had settled for a gearing change instead of extensive tuning. Not only did the bike run
perfectly at all altitudes but it also got great mileage. On one section Wes traversed 100
miles of desert dirt plus another 78 on the pavement. His 3.9 gallon Acerbis tank held
enough fuel to get him to the end of the 178 mile section with some left over. Try that on
your 38 MPG hyper-tuned DR650.
Top Gun's standard tuning for the DR650SE includes a slightly opened pilot screw, a
"Twin-Air" primary air filter and a Top Gun secondary air filter. Despite the five day
mostly off-road ride, Wes' air filters were still functioning properly even though they had
not been cleaned. Top Gun's secondary air filter was dirtier than the Twin-Air primary
unit which proves its importance to carburetor cleanliness and function.
Kenny "M" (KBM MotoWorks) re-prepped Wes' DR including installing clean air filters
(the dirty filters will be cleaned and oiled for the next change).
Wes starts his second leg from Fallon Nevada on August 17th 2007 hoping to make it all
the way to Bonner's Ferry on the Canadian border. Great show for a guy that’s riding a
heavyweight MSM in difficult conditions with only three years dirt riding experience.
Tackling difficult challenges is not new however to Wes Mudge. In 1998 Wes, a long
time bicyclist along with co-riders Jim Hyatt and Ted Feris, dipped his rear tire in the
Pacific Ocean and rode until he reached Jacksonville, Florida where he dipped his rear
tire in the Atlantic Ocean.
We'll report later on Mr. Mudge August run from Nevada to Canada the hard way. Good
luck Wes; we hope the new higher and wider Renthal handlebars and Emgo brush
guards help make the job a little easier.
2008 KLR650 WARNING:
A reminder for new owners of 2008 KLR650s. If you adjust your drive chain to
Kawasaki’s minimum suggested setting it will be too tight. Opt for the loosest setting
recommended by the factory (we go even more). Top Gun's "Chain Master" upper
chain control unit is still valid for the 2008 due to the same low hanging air box and the
deep upward reach of the rear wheel at full bump (available at MMP).
DR650 Top Gun Tach and License Plate Bracket
I was a little cool when Todd Vosper, C.O. at Top Gun first told me about his tach for the
DR650. That has changed, I love it! Due to my 50+ year habit of often making gearing
changes to match riding conditions I find it helpful to always know what fourth and fifth
gears are doing. I also like the re-settable trip meter which I use all the time to measure
elapsed running time on both short and long trips. The DR650 license plate bracket is
selling like hot cakes which are no surprise when you consider how much junk it replaces.
Fork Braces Won't Go Away
market for the 2008 KLR650. I think if the forks were 50mm in diameter the aftermarket
would still tell you that you need a fork brace. The heavy aluminum bashplate is also
offered for this already heavier KLR650 which will probably stay mostly on the street and
I've been gifted to ride with some terrific KL and DR650 riders and none of the best
has ever had a fork brace on his bike. Former pro-motocrosser Garry Wright fell in love
with my special cartridge forked DR650 after a day in Baja. He loved the near stock
engine tuning, suspension settings and handling characteristics sans bracing. A few
years ago Team Honda's Johnny Campbell tested and rejected a fork brace for his
XR650R concluding that a certain amount of fork flex is beneficial; especially in rocky
conditions. How many of us can ride to the limits of even the 38mm pre-2008 forks on
the KLR650? If you want to work on front end stability, start by installing a 2.15
Takasago XL front rim and heavy duty spokes. It sure made a difference in our 2008 test
Handling - Old and New KLR650s
The best handling KLR650s I know of are the 19" front wheeled ones owned by Dave
Waters and me. Both bikes have better lean angle clearance than the new one due to
better ground clearance. Remember - All KLR650s since 1987 have the same frames
and geometry, so wheel, tire, and suspension set-ups are the keys to good handling.