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, […]

KLR650 Shrinking Fuel Capacity

KLR650 Shrinking Fuel Capacity

The list of problems that I’ve discovered relating to the KLR650 since March 1990 is much too lengthy to deal with in a short article. Most of them I’ve written about in Kawasaki Dual Sport News, Dual Sport News, multisurfacemotorcycling.com and at present on topgunmotorcycles.com, run by Major Todd Vosper, a retired Marine Attack Pilot […]

KLR650’s Forgotten Bearings & 3 Tiny 0-rings

KLR650’s Forgotten Bearings & 3 Tiny 0-rings

It has long been obvious to me that the all important periodic maintenance chart in the factory service manual is ignored by most KLR650 and DR650owners. I recently asked a long-time rider of the KLR650-A when he had last lubed his swingarm and Unitrak lever bearings. His answer should have shocked me but didn’t. Not […]

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 […]