YAMAHA WR250R Followup

YAMAHA WR250R Followup

On August 29th 2009 we purchased a new Yamaha WR250R from San Diego’s “House of Motorcycles” (619 229-7700). Sean Warner, General Sales Manager, arranged for delivery of the new “in the crate” unit and Kevin Bosley, their fine prep guy, did the set- up work right down to filling the tank with the called for […]

Motorcycling’s Dangerous SIDE

Motorcycling’s Dangerous SIDE

As a result of the recent terrible accident in Imperial Valley, CA the ongoing debate concerning motorcycle safety has intensified, especially in two wheeled circles.  As the wrong-side driver/killer roams the highways in his probably repainted Honda car, we ask “could the loss of innocent life have been prevented”? In an effort to reach a […]

KLR Subframe Bracing

KLR Subframe Bracing

Henry Nottingham, House of Motorcycles (619 229-7700), stellar parts guy who has been selling me motorcycle parts and accessories for “nigh onto” 37 years recently called and asked if I would try to help “Nick”, a KLR650A traveler. Henry, great guy that he is, didn’t have a #148 KLR650 main jet in stock but wanted […]

Yamaha WR250R

Yamaha WR250R

(Editors Note: As you’ll see in the opening paragraph, this article was meant for publication last summer. We apologize for the delay – we “lost” the article somewhere in the email “ether” but will follow up soon with more articles on the WR!) Our new 2009 Yamaha WR250R was purchased on August 29th 2009 from […]

Rake and Trail is Important

Rake and Trail is Important

Back when Honda announced the coming of the XR400, I was so excited that I told the sales manager at House of Motorcycles (619 229-7700) to please put me at the top of the list. Although I didn’t like the XR400’s proposed rear suspension set-up (harsh ride) or their radial valve head, I figured I […]

Tough in Baja

Tough in Baja

On our latest two-dayer in Baja, Rod Morris and I enjoyed challenging conditions in the mountains. After crossing the border on our KLR650A’s we headed east from Tecate into rather fierce 40 – 50 mph gusting head and crosswinds that would steer your bike for you if you weren’t alert. I stayed in 4th gear […]

KLR650 / DR650 “Carbonmakers”

KLR650 / DR650 “Carbonmakers”

Every time I turn the WR250R key to the on position and hear the fuel pump pressuring the injection system I get the “willies”. Why? Because, to paraphrase Kevin Cameron “Motorcycle fuel injection systems are very reliable, but if one fails, be ready for a long walk”. Fuel injection systems are far more complex and […]

Front End Stabilization

Front End Stabilization

I recently did a “Fuel For Thought” article on our website relating to the difficult dirt road conditions that Rod Morris and I encountered on a recent 300 mile trip in Northern Baja. As I wrote in the article I made some changes to the front end which resulted in improved handling in deep chopped […]

Cold Start-up and Integrated Transmissions

Cold Start-up and Integrated Transmissions

In a recent issue of “Cycle World” magazine, Paul Dean discussed the problem of sticky clutch plates in motorcycles with integrated transmissions and clutches. As Mr. Dean pointed out, damage to shift forks and gears can occur if you do not first “free up” and unstick the steel clutch plates from the fiber ones before […]

Big Single Engine Abuse Common

Big Single Engine Abuse Common

The KLR650 and DR650 have engines that are among the most abused in motorcycledom. Over-gearing, over-loading, and poorly modified carburetion – among other things – have caused short engine life, excessive fuel consumption, and oil burning in many big singles.As I write this I’m sitting at my favorite restaurant, La Fogata in Tecate, Baja, Mexico.  Before I ate […]

Killing Engine Efficiency

Killing Engine Efficiency

As we’ve said many times, don’t expect improved performance, good gas mileage and long engine life if you have increased aerodynamic drag and overall weight followed by over-gearing your big single; especially if that big single has one spark plug like the KLR650 A surprising number of KLR650 riders are still changing from 15/43 (stock) […]

KLR650 “A” and “E” Horsepower

KLR650 “A” and “E” Horsepower

When Todd Vosper and I did our comparison test of the 2005 and 2008 KLR650s we weresurprised that the 2005 pulled the 2008 on an uphill roll-on test. We knew better than to believe Kawasaki’s propaganda, but still we expected improved power in the new model.  Since our 2008 was burning a litre of oil every […]

More on the KLR650 Balancer System

More on the KLR650 Balancer System

If you don’t think keeping the balancer chain in a KLR650 engine free of slack is important, just ask Kurt Grife, Jim Bellach, Corby Hall and numerous others what happens when the chain comes off its sprockets. You will at least lose your engine or at worst go down when the rear wheel locks up […]

DR650 Fuel Filter Problem

DR650 Fuel Filter Problem

In previous articles, we have discussed the few problems concerning Suzuki’s great DR650SE. In each case we’ve suggested a fix. The Top Gun Secondary Air Filter is a good example, especially for you dirt riders. The NSU problem and fix, originally posted here, has found its way to many other sites dedicated to MSMs and dirt bikes. […]

More KLR650 Assembly Screw-ups

More KLR650 Assembly Screw-ups

Bruce Redding Mexican Rally Car champion, Air Race Champion and long time master motorcyclist has owned and ridden more two wheelers than most people (including me) have ever seen. He’s been observed traversing Baja and mainland Mexican roads with everything from a Harley Road King to an Elden prepped DR350 and various pre-2008, Ohlins-equipped, KLR650s, including his most recent […]

Avoiding Danger in Mexico, Part I

Avoiding Danger in Mexico, Part I

Oh how I long for the good old days in Baja when Alan Dietor (the best dirt rider I’ve ever ridden with) and I used to wander all over Baja without ever encountering (other than flat tires) or even hearing of a major problem, human or mechanical. To be sure, riding in the early 1970s […]

Timbo Lewis  is Argentina Bound

Timbo Lewis is Argentina Bound

Tim Lewis, citizen of Arkansas and the world has called me several times concerning long distance MSM motorcycles. We decided a pre-‘08 KLR650 properly set-up would be best for his trip from Arkansas to Argentina via our house in La Mesa (near San Diego). Unfortunately the late model used KLR650 that he had purchased came with a screwed-up carburetor. The “Dyna-Jet” tuning complete with drilled […]

Adjustable Pre-Load Fork Caps

Adjustable Pre-Load Fork Caps

We understand that among the new products released recently are pre-load adjustable fork caps for the KLR650. If you are constantly changing the weight carried forward of where the seat and gas tank meet they might be helpful. If not, they’re superfluous. It’s more important to have Schrader valves in your fork caps (like the pre-‘o8 KLR650). As the […]

DR650 Important Service Suggestion

DR650 Important Service Suggestion

Once again, we have Elden doing double-duty on articles, so a short tip this month for DR650 riders. We at Top Gun are pretty anal about our motorcycle maintenance. In the areas of steering and suspension, we are especially so.We avoid fork braces and annual steering bearing replacements by ensuring proper steering adjustment, and are also very […]

Summer Gearing

Summer Gearing

Rod Morris recently talked to a customer concerning gearing his KLR650 down to 14/49 or 51.  In cool weather this might be an OK idea if the bike is equipped  with a Chain Master upper chain control unit. All KLRs need a “Chain Master”, but those with larger rear sprockets need it more in order […]

Shearing Forces and the KLR650

Shearing Forces and the KLR650

At first I wondered why Pauline and I with our gear all loaded onto the KLR650 never broke a stock upper sub-frame bolt. With over 40,000 miles two-up on and off- road carrying approximately 375lbs on the sub-frame, we should – according to the so called experts on the Internet – have been bitten by […]

Mel Clark’s 2007 KLR650 Rotor Problem

Mel Clark’s 2007 KLR650 Rotor Problem

Todd’s Note: We had Elden pull double duty this month with FFT and Technical Insights. This is a short article, but we thought it was important to get the word out.   Kenny “M” of KBM Motoworks (760 481-5341) finished his adjustment procedure of Mel’s 750 mile 2007 KLR valves. After replacing the cover etc., he headed […]

“Meredith” has KLR Transmission Problem

“Meredith” has KLR Transmission Problem

Several months ago, Jay Bass, Rod Morris, and I were north bound in Baja near Punta Prieta when we passed three north bound KLR650s which we later found out were piloted by Phillip Orth of Sierra Vista, Arizona and two female companions. Meredith, one of the two ladies, phoned me the other day from Mexico […]

KLR650 Drive Chains 101

KLR650 Drive Chains 101

As you probably know, there are three drive chains in a KLR650 engine; one drives the cams, one drives the balancer system/water pump, and the third drives the rear wheel. The balancer and rear wheel drive chains are probably the most abused in motorcycledom. Why you ask? The rear wheel drive chain, despite living in […]

48,000 Mile KLR650 Tune-up

48,000 Mile KLR650 Tune-up

I’d like to open by apologizing to our readers for goofing off on my lack of information production over these past several months. I’m not permitted to offer any excuses at this time, but I will attempt to do better from here on out.   Rod Morris recently brought his 1996 KLR650 to my garage for a […]

KLR650 Balancer System

KLR650 Balancer System

We commend Tim Carrithers of “Motorcyclist” magazine (Dec 07) for printing John Gorman’ s long overdue and scathing letter concerning the poorly engineered balancer system in the KLR650.  “Motorcyclist” is the first major magazine to address the problem, but alas, they were mislead by Kawasaki Service and inadvertently passed incomplete information along to their readers. […]

Suspension 101

Suspension 101

As you may know, we at Top Gun have introduced two custom rear springs (sold byMMP) for the stock KLR650 rear shock; a 6.6kg and a 7.4kg.  We toyed with the idea ofproducing an 8.5 or 9.0kg but were afraid the stock preload mechanism might be overstressed by such a heavy spring.Finally a vast majority […]

Traveling Around Africa on a KLR650

Traveling Around Africa on a KLR650

I recently got a beautiful picture post card from Bill Kamps of South Padre Island, Texas. The photo is of Hout Bay and Chapman’s Peak, Cape Town South Africa:  Gorgeous stuff. Bill Kamps is one of several KLR world travelers that we have helped with bike set-up and prep.  I’ve never met Richard Kickbush of […]