Rake and Trail: You Better Get It Right!

Rake and Trail: You Better Get It Right!

A few weeks ago while riding on a remote Cleveland National Forest road, I came upon a guy standing next to a beat up and scratched KLR 650-E Kawasaki. During the conversation that ensued, the owner of the KLR told me that he had been crashing often on loose sandy surfaces. He decided to go […]

Motorcycle Engine Break-In

Motorcycle Engine Break-In

I have no idea how many motorcycle engines I have broken in since I bought my first, a Triumph in 1955. I do know, however, that I always followed factory recommendations with good results, I assumed. In 2011 I purchased two Suzuki DR650SE’s, one for the dirt and one for the street. Prior to beginning […]

Beware Internet Information

Beware Internet Information

The other day I was motorcycling on a gnarly forestry road in the Laguna Mountains east of San Diego when I encountered a guy standing near a parked 2013 KLR650. The bike was one of the most poorly set-up KLR’s I have seen, and it showed a lot of crash damage. The owner/rider of the […]

Tire and Rim Fitment: It’s Important!

Tire and Rim Fitment: It’s Important!

Rod Morris, proprietor of MMP on this website, is sometimes asked about tire and rim fitment guidelines. The subject is complex so I’ll confine my remarks to the KLR650 and the DR650. The DR650 comes with 1.85 x 21” front and 2.50 x 17” rear rims. The stock tires are Bridgestone 90/90 x 21” TW41F […]

Lowering Links: Be Careful!

Lowering Links: Be Careful!

Rod Morris, proprietor of Multisurface Motorcycle Products on this website, recently told me about a customer who had lowered his KLR650 with three inch lowering links, and could not understand why the rear tire was hitting the inner fender. Maybe it’s because there is far less than three inches of clearance built into the rear wheel/fender well juncture at […]

Tale of Two Books

Tale of Two Books

  In 1965 I was working for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department as Rangemaster for Sheriff Joseph O’Conner. On January 27, I was in the basement pistol range preparing for a qualification shoot when in walked a well-dressed older gentleman who introduced himself as Louis Beck. During our conversation he described his experiences as […]

LED Tail Light Failure

LED Tail Light Failure

I ride my motorcycle down to Mexico almost once a week. Besides being an enjoyable ride, it gives me an opportunity to eat some tasty seafood at my favorite restaurant, Mariscos Bahia de Ensenada, and spend the night at Hostel Sauzal, a small, homey alternative to a motel. Located in quiet little El Sauzal, just […]

More on Knobby Shod Sports-Tourers

More on Knobby Shod Sports-Tourers

In November 2015 Mike Henshaw and I took a ride to Baja with an overnight stay at Maria Navarro’s Hostel Sauzal, six miles north of Ensenada. Mike was riding his 475 pound Triumph Tiger 800XC and I was on my 350 pound Top Gun DR644. In our opinion here at Top Gun any motorcycle that […]

Elden Meets Thell Reed and Ray Chapman

Elden Meets Thell Reed and Ray Chapman

There were two towns in southern California that played quite an important role in my early adult life: Corona and the small community at the northern edge of town called Norco. Immediately after graduating from the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps School with Honor Company 20 of 1953, I was transported by train 100 miles north […]

“Slime” Failure

“Slime” Failure

Over the past 60 years and over a million miles of motorcycle riding, I can only remember suffering a couple of front flats, but I’ve had to repair at least 30 or 40 rear tire punctures. In my experience the item that causes the puncture (usually a nail) is kicked up by the front tire […]

Old Folks Off-Road Technique

Old Folks Off-Road Technique

  (Editor’s Note – I haven’t ridden a motorcycle for over a year now due to personal reasons, but my last ride with Elden and Pauline was less than two years ago (probably when they were younger… like 79 and 87…) on Highway 94 east of San Diego. Riding one-up, as fast as I could […]

Two Rides to Mike’s Sky Ranch

Two Rides to Mike’s Sky Ranch

Back in the last decade of the 20th century I took Bob Kornafel on what was to be a Baja pavement ride to San Felipe by way of Tecate and Ensenada. Bob was riding his very clean, vintage 1970’s BMW R100S, complete with street tires and those stock, short handlebars pretty well hidden behind the […]

Rake and Trail Numbers Do Matter

Rake and Trail Numbers Do Matter

  I get kidded a lot because of my obsession with rake and trail settings on modern motorcycles: most of them steer too damn fast! Other things affect steering like front to rear weight bias, center of gravity, wheel base, wheel size, etc. But the guy who first uttered the expression, “More trail, less flail” knew what he […]

Jay and Emily on the Move Again

Jay and Emily on the Move Again

The other day Pauline and I had a nice surprise when Jay and Emily Wilgus and Jay’s mom Linda dropped by to say hello before returning to Bolivia to retrieve their 2 garaged DR650SE’s. The Wilguses as you may know are on their journey from Michigan to the southern tip of South America, but needed to return home […]

Big Bear Leatherslap – The Peak Years

Big Bear Leatherslap – The Peak Years

Photo: LtCol (then Capt) William McMillan, Elden, Ray Chapman circa 1966 Jeff Cooper’s Big Bear Leatherslap is arguably modern combat pistol shooting’s most famous event. It certainly was the most sought after championship of its time. Unfortunately the historical details concerning the early years of the Leatherslap are sometimes hazy. Take, for example, the impression that once Jack Weaver won […]

What? Another Chain Master

What? Another Chain Master

Back in the last century I purchased my first KLR650 in the spring of 1990 with the intention of developing it for serious multisurface riding. Before major work began I installed a set of knobbies on the stock unit and headed into Baja with Bob Kornafel who was riding his XT600 Yamaha. Our two day […]

The Picture … The Men … The Story

The Picture … The Men … The Story

There were five pistoleros who are credited with developing the modern technique of the combat pistol. Jeff Cooper, practical pistol shooting’s founder and driving force, arrived first in the mid 1950’s followed closely by Jack Weaver. I arrived on the scene in 1960, with Thell Reed and Ray Chapman joining the fray the following year. By the end […]

The DR650SE: Reliability Is Its Middle Name

The DR650SE: Reliability Is Its Middle Name

We recently heard from Emily and Jay Wilgus, who are continuing on their ride from Ann Arbor, Michigan all the way to the southern tip of South America. They have already logged about 7500 miles as they ride into Colombia. As mentioned in a previous article, they are riding twin DR650SE’s set-up and prepped by Jay with technical […]

Terms Do Matter

Terms Do Matter

I’ve coined two phrases relating to motorcycles, neither of which I expected to catch on. The first term “multisurface motorcycling” was too technical for the casual motorcycle rider, but it defined the capability of any given two-wheeler intended to be used on paved surfaces and beyond. The more savvy and experienced “go anywhere” riders seemed […]

DR650SE Improvements for Reliability

DR650SE Improvements for Reliability

As I’ve said before a properly set up air-cooled DR is the most reliable multisurface motorcycle you can buy. I have ridden more than 145,000 on/off road miles since 2002 on DR650SE’s and these are the changes I’ve made and why. Approximately six months after purchasing my new 2002 DR650SE I was southbound on Highway […]

The KISS Principle – You’d Better Believe It!!

The KISS Principle – You’d Better Believe It!!

The person who came up with the slogan “Keep it simple, stupid” knew what he was talking about. In fact, the more complex our lives become, the more these words ring true. It seems we are constantly being led to believe that we must embrace the latest technology because it will make our lives better. Not necessarily! Motorcycles […]

DR650SE: Failures and Fixes

DR650SE: Failures and Fixes

I’ve logged nearly a quarter of a million miles on DR’s since 1990, but it wasn’t until 2002 that I owned a DR650SE. Since that time I’ve studied the big DR’s engineering screw ups and came up with appropriate fixes for some of them. Models from 1996 through 2002 The chronic leaky base gasket from hell often […]

Light Is Right, Even If You’re Not a Kiwi

Light Is Right, Even If You’re Not a Kiwi

When Kawasaki added another 25 or so pounds to the front of the already heavy KLR 650 in 2008, it ostensibly became an ADV bike (a sports-tourer equipped with semi-knobbies). Many who understood the negative effects caused by excessive unsprung and overall weight looked for a more dirt friendly big single. Some have turned to […]

Stock Air Filters Suck!

Stock Air Filters Suck!

Come to think of it, all air filters suck air. The problem is that some of them suck more than air. Not good! If you are an off-road rider you should service your air filter in a timely fashion or you may start sucking dirt at some point. Even if your multisurface motorcycle is kept […]

Mexiphobia

Mexiphobia

My two favorite hangouts happen to be south of the international border, which is located 20 miles from my home. About once a week I make a 200-mile round trip on my motorcycle to and from El Sauzal and Ensenada, using a variety of paved and dirt roads along the way. One of my favorite […]

What’s an ADV

What’s an ADV

I coined the term “multisurface” motorcycle back in the last century because there was no other term that described the type of motorcycle I built and rode or the kind of riding I did. I never expected the term “multisurface motorcycling” to catch on in an age of ever increasing silliness where two-wheelers are concerned. […]

It’s a Small World

It’s a Small World

It Is Indeed a Small World. The other day I took off on one of my short mountain loops of about 50 miles. About half way through the ride as I headed uphill on Honey Springs Road I noticed a motorcycle following me. Not knowing if the rider was familiar with the many curves ahead […]

Speedo Cable Service

Speedo Cable Service

Japanese speedos are very reliable as long as you don’t abuse them or store them upside down. However, like other things on a motorcycle, speedometer cables do need periodic maintenance. If your speedo needle bounces a little when you’re underway, it could bethat the inner cable is dry. Speedo cable service is easy: Simply disconnect […]