Modern Baja: Different But Still Lots of Fun

Modern Baja: Different But Still Lots of Fun

When the best all around dirt rider I ever knew, Alan Dietor, and I began riding in Baja Norte in 1974, there were very few paved roads and what pavement existed was pretty bad. It was easy for the late Niles Ussery to set up a Tecate 500 course to and from San Felipe without […]

Oil and Oil Filter Replacement

Oil and Oil Filter Replacement

Way back in ancient times before synthetics and motorcycle specific oils, some folks used to change the engine oil, usually Castrol GTX, every 1000 to 1500 miles. Some felt it was necessary to also replace the oil filter (if the bike was so equipped) each time theoil was replaced. The procedure I follow has always […]

Motorcycle Oil Consumption

Motorcycle Oil Consumption

Back in 2008 Top Gun Motorcycles purchased a new Kawasaki KLR650-E model which turned out to be a lemon.  Initially we had ran into some seemingly fueling problems that turned out to be improper routing of the CA emissions system from the factory. After our normal break-in, we began to notice that oil consumption was high: […]

Long Live Your Chain and Sprockets

Long Live Your Chain and Sprockets

Glossary MSM – Multisurface Motorcycles/Motorcyclist MMP – Multisurface Motorcycle Products TGMP – Top Gun Motorcycle Products MSM Weight Categories Lightweight – up to 250lbs Middleweight – 250lbs – 300lbs Light-Heavyweight – 300lbs – 350lbs Heavyweight – 350lbs – 400lbs We’ve been monitoring the drive system on a twenty some year old “A” model KLR650 for […]

Top Gun’s New Custom Spring For The DR650SE

Top Gun’s New Custom Spring For The DR650SE

Glossary MSM – Multisurface Motorcycles/Motorcyclist MMP – Multisurface Motorcycle Products TGMP – Top Gun Motorcycle Products MSM Weight Categories Lightweight – up to 250lbs Middleweight – 250lbs – 300lbs Light-Heavyweight – 300lbs – 350lbs Heavyweight – 350lbs – 400lbs If you’ve been visiting our website for long you know that Top Gun has had a […]

KLR Rear Suspension and Chain Control

KLR Rear Suspension and Chain Control

As I sit here in my favorite Subway restaurant (#40249) at the corner of Avocado Ave. and Hwy 94, my mind harkens back to early 1990 when I purchased my first KLR650 ; a very clean and slightly used 1989 A model. Even before I took my new acquisition off-road I knew I had some […]

More on Final Gearing

More on Final Gearing

Every two or three weeks I ride down to Ensenada and stay overnite at Hostel Sauzal at 344 “L” Street in El Sauzal approximately 1 ½ miles south of the 100 kilometer sign.  For $15 you get a clean bed and one of Maria’s tasty breakfasts in the a.m. (011-52-646-17-46381). Besides doing some writing and enjoying […]

Stay “SPOT” On, All the Time

Stay “SPOT” On, All the Time

I’ve pretty much avoided the electronic age I have only two modern instruments of communication; a simple cell phone that won’t tweet, twitter or “doo doo” in my pocket and a thing called a “SPOT”. The cell phone is for emergencies only between Pauline and me, but the SPOT and I are inseparable. I won’t go […]

Roll-On With Rod

Roll-On With Rod

I called Rod Morris and he suggested we meet at Bell Valley east of Potrero on Hwy 94 for a roll-on test between my stock 2004 KL-A model and his 1999 KL-A model. Rod’s KLR has a fresh MMP/Top gun engine that we wrote about previously. My “A” model has a dead stock engine except […]

Air Filtration

Air Filtration

Some guy on one of the Internet sites wrote recently that I had been riding off road bikes since before there was dirt and that I had forgotten more than most people ever knew about KLR650’s. The first claim is partly true in that Baja dirt is much different from when I first started riding […]

KLR650 Chain Adjustment Revisited

KLR650 Chain Adjustment Revisited

Back in the last century (1990) when I purchased my first KLR650 (1989 A-3), one of the first things I noticed was how much chain slack the factory recommended (50 – 55mm or slightly more than 2”). I put the bike up on my Handy Lift and studied the situation concluding that the factory was […]

Riding Twisty Roads

Riding Twisty Roads

The most memorable encounters are mostly with lighter bikes usually singles in the 350 to 400 pound range. Of the heavier bikes, the GS Beemers come to mind. Ron Jensen was a terror on his early GS1000. He could keep up a pace on challenging mountain roads usually reserved for lighter more agile bikes. Ron […]

Two–Stroking Around the World

Two–Stroking Around the World

Long after I thought two-stroke motorcycles were extinct I ran into Paul Suchy at Santispak 10 miles south of Mulege Baja Sur. Parked there on the beach under a palapa was a loaded down JAWA 350cc two-stroke twin that had already traveled across Europe and Asia followed by a boat ride to Washington State where Paul […]

Reliability is Not Accidental

Reliability is Not Accidental

Back in 1955 when I completed my Korean War enlistment and left the military, the first thing I did was to buy a new 200cc Triumph Tiger Cub. As my salesman, Jim Keating had predicted, I soon tired of the lack of power produced by the little single and moved my 200lb butt up to a 1955 AJS […]

Racing Rod’s Rod

Racing Rod’s Rod

  Rod Morris and I recently did our first two day Baja loop since rebuilding and breaking in both of his MMP/KL-A KL engines. The overnite would be at Maria Navarro’s Hostel Sauzal (hostelsauzalbc@hotmail.com, phone: 011-52-646-17-46381) north of Ensenada on Hwy One (344 Avenida “L”). For 15 bucks you get clean facilities complete with a comfortable […]

Fixin’ Rod’s Rods: Part 1

Fixin’ Rod’s Rods: Part 1

Rod Morris has two KLR650-A’s. One is an A-10 (1996) and the other an A-13 (1999). The 1996 was previously owned by Joe Carpenter, the best KLR dirt rider that Rod and I have ever ridden with. The 1999 was once the property of Mark Behling who built our first website multisurfacemotorcycling.com which has since been shut down. […]

Tex Ernhardt Baja Ride

Tex Ernhardt Baja Ride

On Wednesday January 16th 2013, Tex Ernhardt, triple threat master rider/driver/pilot Bruce Redding and a dozen friends took off from Phoenix, AZ on the 14th Annual Tex Ernhardt “No Toro” (No Bull in English) Baja ride from Phoenix to Cabo San Lucas, Baja Sur. Since the ride really gets cookin after on overniter in Ensenada, […]

Mileage! Smileage!

Mileage! Smileage!

For years I’ve carried in my wallet a small laminated 50 word paragraph from an article written by the late great Gordon Jennings. I’ve quoted it before but here goes again. To paraphrase; Mr. Jennings wrote that “the typical” motorcycle has 8.5 square feet of frontal area producing 60 pounds of drag at 60 mph […]

Mis-drilled Shaft Hole

Mis-drilled Shaft Hole

The Skipper recently gave me a print out concerning a factory machining error in the inner left cover of some “E” Model KLRs (2008 -2009). For a compulsive the fix would be to carefully measure the depth of the hole to determine the exact length of the error followed by having an aluminum plug with […]

Maintenance Tip (KLR650/DR650)

Maintenance Tip (KLR650/DR650)

“Grease your long bolts”   If you don’t like rust on your cross bolts, it’s best to apply a film of water proof grease to the bolt shaft before installation. This is especially important when you’re getting ready to install the long fat cross bolt that goes through the front of the “uni-trak” lever on […]

Setting Up KLR650 “A” Front Forks

Setting Up KLR650 “A” Front Forks

I’m not aware of any conventional forks that function better than those found on the original 1987 through 2007 KL650 A. The new “E” model forks have (according to our calculations) 10% greater cross-section area and have a four bolt fork alignment axle cap, but I like the longer travel and smoother damping characteristics of […]

Rod Morris – Gently Blown A-13 Transmission

Rod Morris – Gently Blown A-13 Transmission

In a previous article we reported a blown 4-dog gear on the main shaft of Rod’s KL-A13. He was about to transport the transmission, crankcases and a piece of aluminum knocked out of the crankcase, for inspection. All internal parts and the crankcases including the bearings were carefully examined. Fortunately the crank and gear box […]

Yamaha, “tear down that wall!”

Yamaha, “tear down that wall!”

Any of the “big 4” could build a great multi-surface motorcycle, but alas they never quite seem to get there. Too little fuel, too much weight (especially up front), poor suspension, and treacherous off-road handling, among other things, keeps most of them on the street. Back in 2009 I bought a new Yamaha WR250R which […]

Bullet Proof KLR650 In Trouble

Bullet Proof KLR650 In Trouble

Luis T. of San Diego, CA called me the other day stating his late model KLR650 with only 25,000 miles was using 1 quart of oil every 1,000 miles. Luis had called me a couple of years ago about a noisy “A” model engine which was partially fixed, and just in time, by an aftermarket […]

Choke It – But Don’t Kill It

Choke It – But Don’t Kill It

I learned about the downside of carbureted motorcycle enrichening systems the hard way. In the first instance I loaned my KL-650A to a former riding companion for a long ride in Baja. On the second day he rode the bike hard for 20+ miles with the choke full open. Oil consumption increased dramatically thereafter resulting […]

Dangerous EPA Mandate

Dangerous EPA Mandate

In the good old days before the Environmental Protection Agency got going, motorcycling was in some regards safer. For example; if your carburetor float valve should stick open, the fuel would go through the overflow tube in your carb’s float bowl and end up on the ground. Now it goes into your cylinder and ultimately […]

Oil and/or Filter Changes

Oil and/or Filter Changes

Since I began riding motorcycles in the summer of 1955 there have probably been hundreds of millions of dollars (or more) worth of perfectly good oil filters thrown away at oil change time. How can that be you ask? Simple, because many people believe that if you change the oil you should also change the […]

Springs and Things

Springs and Things

The two best vendor reps I ever dealt with were Mike Henderson formerly of Progressive Suspension (I’ve lost track of him) and Garry Gallagher formerly of Metzeler Tires and now our go to guy at EBC brakes. Back in the 80’s Garry taught me almost everything I now know about motorcycle wheels which to this […]

Buyer Beware

Buyer Beware

I’ve always been amazed by the number of poorly designed and unnecessary components that are sold to KLR650 owners by the aftermarket. Some of the worst are:   The upper subframe long bolt from hell! Before you drill through the welded-in distance collar, look inside your frame’s backbone and you’ll see that the necked down […]

More Trail – Less Flail

More Trail – Less Flail

I don’t know who came up with the term “more trail – less flail” or its sister term, “less trail – more flail”, but both are brilliant in their simplicity. There are other factors involved when it comes to what makes any given motorcycle steer a certain way like triple clamp and fork off-set, rake, […]