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 to help Nick whether or not the store
made money.

Sir Henry, as I call him, telephoned me requesting that I help Nick if I could. I called Nick
at the number provided by Henry and arranged to have him come to our home. Once in
my garage I quickly realized that (A) Nick was a pretty sharp guy but, (B) The internet
had claimed another victim.

Nick, who lives at 10,000 feet, had come down to sea level with a grossly mis-jetted
KLR650A. The spout was pulled from the air box, KLX needle installed, #142 main jet in
place and an open aftermarket exhaust system passing “gas” fumes.

Nick was getting by OK at 10,000 feet elevation but at sea level he was running grossly
lean and in danger of damaging his engine. I would like to have furnished Nick with #150
and #152 main jets but since I run stock jetting, stock air box, and slightly modified stock
muffler, I don’t need them.

Nick, being a clever guy, had built his own pelican case racks and installed heavy duty
forks and triple clamps on his KLR. When I asked if he had braced the KLR’s subframe
he looked at me with a scowl and said something like, “Yeah, and what a nightmare that
was! The big drill the kit provided damaged my frame inside the backbone and I had to
do some fancy fabricating and welding in order to save my frame.”

We’ve been warning people for years about this infamous, expensive kit from the
Northwest. The main problem is that the part you drill through is smaller in diameter inside
the backbone. The drill either decreases the wall thickness inside to almost nothing or
may break through if it runs off center.
Pauline and I, with all of our gear loaded onto the KLR650 subframe, weigh 375
pounds and despite logging tens of thousands of off-road miles, have never
broken a subframe bolt. How can that be, you ask. Simple, we properly torque the two
upper sub-frame mounting bolts after applying intermediate Loctite to the threads.
If the bolts don’t come loose the constant