The Contact Patch
by Todd Vosper
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Top Gun Motorcycles
Contact Patch
12/18/2007

2008 KLR Electrical Problem

Paul D. contacted us all the way from Panama. Seems the wiring harness on his 2008
KLR650 has shorted out twice already. The wiring appears to be rubbing against
something sharp where the harness passes by the horn. 2008 owners take a look!

We always recommend covering wiring with split or spiral wrap anytime the wiring may
come in contact with a frame member or other hard surface to avoid such problems. It's
inexpensive insurance for keeping your electrical system up and running.

Track Day

I have mentioned my friend Jim “Jimbo” Moore on a couple of occasions. Jim is a retired
Marine now living in Jacksonville, FL. Jim is an accomplished rider, with over 250,000
miles under his belt, mostly on BMWs, and now passes on that knowledge to fellow
riders as a certified MSF Instructor. Jim is also an accomplished aviator with a carrer
that includes: a combat tour off an amphibious carrier in the first Gulf War, serving as
an instructor at the Marine equivalent of “Top Gun”, and also completing a tour as an
Aggressor Pilot flying enemy tactics against other US fighters.
What's NEW!
Jim Moore trades in his AV-8B for
a two-wheeled Honda fighter.
surprised at how well it handled around the track, especially since I felt like I had
climbed into an M-1 tank when I first wheeled out of Jim’s garage. The big boxer twin
certainly has more power than a thumper, and while I thought I was accelerating pretty
quickly, it was easy to see why Jim rides the CBR – it was tough to pass a four-cylinder
sport bike on the straights if they were determined to stay on the throttle (especially
given our stringent passing rules). However, the upright seating, higher ground
clearance, and wider handlebars gave the GS the advantage in the tight section of the
track. I often found myself backed up behind an FZ-1 or similar motorcycle (no passing
in the turns) through the tighter sections of the track. Especially welcome was the
highway comfort of the GS, because after a long day at the track, I still had the ride
home to Jacksonville to contend with!

Being used to a DR650, I wouldn’t want to take the big beast off-road, but it was very
comfortable and capable on the street.
Jimbo could twist and turn with the best of
them on San Diego’s mountain roads, and
I know he misses the riding now that he’s
in flatter terrain. A few years back, he
turned to track days to keep his skills
sharp and satisfy his lean angle cravings.
He’s also active in his local BMW club
(
BMW Owners of Northeast Florida). So it
was no surprise when he told me he was
going to be the organizer for their 2007
“sport touring day” at the local track.
Months ago, he started hounding me to
come out for the track day. Long story
short, I never thought I would make it out
there until my beautiful bride surprised me
with a set of plane tickets to Jacksonville as a birthday present.

I had never attended a track day but Jim assured me it would be a great learning
experience as well as a big kick in the pants. I can happily report that he was right on
both counts!

We attended the track day at
Jennings GP, approx 120 miles west of Jacksonville FL.
With only one track day in my experience bag, I certainly can’t compare it to any others,
but I found that it had a fun and challenging mix of straight-aways, fast sweepers, and a
tight section of switchbacks.

Although he tried to stay true to BMW, Jimbo currently rides a Honda CBR600RR as his
track day weapon of choice. He was generous (or foolish) to offer up his 1150GS for
me to ride. Since the club day was touted as a Sport Touring School with emphasis on
becoming a better rider on your street mount, you could find a little of everything
around the track –all flavors of BMW's, Ducatis and Triumphs, VStroms and Ninjas,
Councours and Goldwings… and two KLR650s!
Bill Wilder on his trusty Kawasaki
steed.
The day was divided into four sessions,
with 30 minutes of classroom instruction,
30 minutes on the track, and a 30 minute
break. That schedule was cycled between
the occasional instructor session and the
three rider groups broken down by
experience level. Experienced riders from
the BMW club acted as designated
instructors. Of course, the track was
staffed by track personnel, mandatory
safety briefs were given, and strict rules
on passing were enforced. All in all, it was
a great day, with a bunch of great folks.

One unexpected highlight was the
attendance of Nate Kern, factory BMW
rider. Jim had run into Nate at a track day
in Jan 07 and invited him, not really
expecting that he’d be able to show up.
To the contrary, Nate said “I told you I’d
be here” and actually skipped another
event to attend. Nate turned out to be
extremely personable, obviously
knowledgeable, and took the time to
speak and ride with each group. It wasn’t
uncommon to hear stories of how Nate
would pull in front of a rider, tap his tail
(“follow me”) and proceed to use his bike,
body language, and hands, to point out
the proper lines, apexes, and turn points.

How did the 1150GS do? I was pleasantly
Nate Kern slices through another
corner.
I would highly encourage anyone to
attend a track day or class. As Elden
had mentioned to me before, there’s
nothing like being able to take the bike
to the edge of traction (or at least to
the edge of your personal traction
limit) – with no distractions, cars, dogs,
debris, etc. to increase your
confidence. Not that you would want to
ride to that limit on the street, but you
gain another tool for your skill bag
when you realize that you have much
more available lean angle than you
think if you need to avoid trouble. It
also becomes apparent that the place
to ride for speed and maximum thrills is
on the track – not on a public highway.
Pierre Olivier, a South African now
living in St. Augustine, proved that
red is a very fast color indeed.

I would like to thank the BMWNEF Club for their friendship and hospitality.
Everyone was very nice and welcomed me into the fold like I lived down the street.
A special thanks to Jim's wonderful wife Heather for taking me into her home and
for letting me steal her husband for another weekend (I'm sure she thought she
was through with that after moving to FL...) Finally, but most importantly, thanks to
Jimbo, since I would never had gone without his incessant hounding. He set up a
great track day and his instructors did a fine job keeping everyone focused and
safe. I think everyone rode away with a better appreciation of their bike's
capabilities, not to mention their own.