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.

 
 
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!
 
Jim Moore trades in his AV-8B for a two-wheeled Honda fighter.

Jim Moore trades in his AV-8B for
a two-wheeled Honda fighter.

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!

 
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.
 
Bill Wilder on his trusty Kawasaki steed.

Bill Wilder on his trusty Kawasaki
steed.

 
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.
 
Nate Kern slices through another corner.

Nate Kern slices through another
corner.

 
How did the 1150GS do? I was pleasantly 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.
 
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.

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.