Tough Tanks From IMS

Tough Tanks From IMS

In late July of this year (2018) I was riding in the eastern San Diego County mountains when I encountered an unexpected problem on a sharp left hand blind curve. As I approached the curve I observed what appeared to be loose decomposed granite on the road surface. I attempted to “thread the needle” by […]

Multi-Surface Motorcycling Reaffirmed

Multi-Surface Motorcycling Reaffirmed

When I coined the phrase Multi-Surface Motorcycles years ago, I didn’t expect it to catch on like “dual purpose” or “dual sport.” I created the term for expert all-around riders like Rod Morris, Garry Wright, Ron Jensen, Joe Carpenter, Bruce “88”, Sam Jones and others who understood the limits imposed on motorcycles intended for use […]

A Story about Elden Carl and Pauline Read

A Story about Elden Carl and Pauline Read

From the editor: Here is another article I found in Elden’s archives. It’s from Scott Wexman, a mechanical engineer and inventor who is also an accomplished motorcycle mechanic specializing in European motorcycles, principally BMW’s. Like Elden, Scott is a long time multisurface motorcyclist with lots of additional hours competing in trials events. Scott’s story was […]

DR650 and KLR650: Stock Air Filters Are No Good

DR650 and KLR650: Stock Air Filters Are No Good

In the spring of 1990 I purchased my first KL650A, a 1989 model with less than 500 miles on the speedometer. The first thing I did was execute a complete set-up and service which exposed so many defects that I almost sold the bike. What I did about the problems I encountered have been documented […]

How Not to Celebrate Your 30th Wedding Anniversary

How Not to Celebrate Your 30th Wedding Anniversary

Editor’s note: Pauline Read has just written her first article for Top Gun. She reminisces about a motorcycle trip she and Elden made in 2010. As a long time member of Vida Nueva Baja Ministries, I have offered my help by transporting much needed funds to various churches and orphanages that help the poor of […]

2018 DR650SE – What’s new?

2018 DR650SE – What’s new?

I wandered in and out of motorcycle shops in San Diego county, studying all the new models of every available brand for several months as the new two-wheelers were released last fall (2017) and this spring (2018). My hope was to find a bike good enough that I could easily develop it further until it […]

A Story About Elden Carl and Pauline Read

A Story About Elden Carl and Pauline Read

From the editor: During my searches of Elden’s archives I have found a number of letters and testimonials from a couple of long time expert motorcyclists who have ridden with Elden and his wifePauline. The testimonial reproduced below is from Garry Wright, a former 1980’s pro-motocrosser and outstanding pavement rider. He lets the reader see […]

Necessary Improvements For Your DR650SE

Necessary Improvements For Your DR650SE

Rod Morris, proprietor of MMP (Multisurface Motorcycle Products) on this website is a very knowledgeable guy with a long and successful career of riding and working on motorcycles. And nobody takes better care of his customers than Rod. From time to time he will refer a potential customer to me, usually someone that has a […]

Happy Birthday Regis Philbin!!

Happy Birthday Regis Philbin!!

(Webmaster’s note – we are in the final stages of shifting Elden’s shooting articles to a new website completely devoted to the subject – stay tuned!) When you are 83 years old like me, lots of little things pop up that bring back old memories. For instance, one day while looking through our local newspaper, […]

Shocks and Springs and Things

Shocks and Springs and Things

We are fortunate to have Rod Morris and Multisurface Motorcycle Products on this website. Not only has Rod been an excellent multisurface motorcyclist for about half a century but he is very knowledgeable about KLR’s and DR650’s. The shock service that Rod offers at MMP is reasonably priced and expertly conducted  by Ed Runnels who […]

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 […]