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Hondo 12-08-2012 09:30 AM

Hondo's 2008 KLX450R Build
As a Colorado rider, I needed a dual sport bike that I felt confident enough to take anywhere in the mountains.

It needed to be light enough to ride hard & pick up, and I also wanted it to be in the 450 cc range.

And as I have a thing for Kawasakis, I searched for & found a nice 2008 KLX450R-

At the dealer -

The bike came with a lot of goodies like

- Cycra handguards (to be sold & replaced)
- Acerbis 4.1 gallon fuel tank
- Tusk Dual Sport Kit
- JD Jet kit properly jetted
- Easy tune flexible needle
- Smog gear removed
- Trail Tech Endurance Computer

The previous owner had installed the Tusk Dual Sport Kit and plated the bike, so that made registration simple- just go pay the tax & get the tags.

So I went to Steamboat Springs and bought the bike, then brought her home-

ready for mods-

The Preparation List

- Install an aluminum skidplate
- Remove, inspect & lube the rear suspension
- upgrade the exhaust with a Pro Moto Billet Performance Insert
- upgrade the air filter to a No-Toil system
- upgrade the hand guards to a Highway Dirt Bikes System
- upgrade the handlebar to a Pro Taper CR High Fat Bar
- upgrade the seat with a Seat Concepts foam & cover
- upgrade the ACV headlight to a DCV ADV Monster Model 60 3600 Lumen LED light
- upgrade the chain guide, roller and slide to T.M. Designworks gear
- upgrade the shifter lever to a longer Hammerhead Designs shifter lever
- upgrade the computer to a Trail Tech Striker Computer
- remove the stock speedo cable & replace it with a Zeta Meter Canceller
- install a waterproof, dual fan, radiator cooling system
- install Unabiker Radiator Guards
- install more dual sport oriented gearing
- install a Pro Moto Billet Rear Rack
- attach Wolfman Luggage gear all over the bike

Now onto the mods & upgrades!

Hondo 12-08-2012 09:30 AM

The first upgrade that I installed was a Moose aluminum skidplate.

I had to paint it though-


The next thing to install was a Meter Canceller.

As I will be using a Trail Tech Striker computer, the stock speedometer gear dosen't need to be installed as it's not hooked up to anything (the Striker has a magnetic pickup installed in the front brake disc).

The Zeta Meter Canceller-

This is a very nice piece-

Here you can see see the stock gear installed-

After removing the axle, I simply removed it from the front hub-

Removed the cable from the fork & took the entire assembly off the bike-

Put the meter canceller in place-

And installed the front wheel again- Nice!

Hondo 12-08-2012 09:31 AM

Next up - Install a Pro Moto Billet Performance Exhaust Insert into the stock exhaust.

As received-

The stock exhaust-

I removed the exhaust & placed it in my bench vice. This makes the procedure much easier.

After removing the cap, the exhaust outlet pipe & spark arrester can be removed-

Out comes the stock pipe & spark arrester-

Looks pretty restrictive to me-

Exhaust pipe removed-

A comparison of the Pro Moto Billet pipe & the stock pipe-

install the seal-

Then the new cone spark arrester-

Install the new pipe-

And the end cap-

Now it will able to breathe a little better!

Hondo 12-08-2012 09:32 AM

KLX450R Cooling Fans

While the stock KLX450R has dual radiators, I wanted to avoid coolant boilover when pushing the bike hard at low speeds & high altitude. As altitude climbs, the boiling point of the engine coolant will decrease, increasing the bikes likelihood of boilover.

To reduce this problem you have 3 options-

1- Increase the pressure capability of the radiator cap (higher pressure, higher boiling point)
2- Upgrade the coolant to Eco-freindly coolant (higher boiling point)
3- make an active cooling fan system

I chose to do 2 & 3. I will reserve #1 if I have any problems.

I searched online and found a guy on eBay that takes computer fans of all sizes and waterproofs them. As an off road bike I felt that these fans were a good investment over a cheaper, stock computer fan.

Here's a video of the eBayer watering down a fan-

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I bought 2 each of his 12vdc, 92 mm fans-

My plan is to have the 12vdc fans run off of the battery, through a switched 12vdc relay, controlled by a switch on the Highway Dirt bikes top clamp. I will install a red LED in the top clamp above the switch that will light whenever the system is on. The coolant temperature will be monitored using the sensor that was included with the Trail tech Striker.

Here is one of the fans- I decided to go with the plastic fan guards to eliminate corrosion-

The ADDA fan - these are good fans. They are 70 cfm fans, so they will provide approx 140 cfm of cooling-

Ready for installation-

Here is the water temp sensor & the radiator crossover tube that it is installed in-


I wired the relay into the electrical system so that I would be able to run the fans whether the engine was running or not. The fans pull a measly .62 amps (7.5 watts) together, so power consumption will not be an issue.

The right fan had to mounted low on the radiator due to obstructions. I tied this coolant tube to the frame to ensure adequate clearance-

Then the fan fits in the space fine-

I attached the fan to the radiator using zip ties, rubber washers, and nylon washers. The rubber washers went between the fan & the radiator, and the nylon washers went between the radiator & the zip tie that was used to hold the fan in place.

Here's a close up of the left side before I trimmed of the ties-

The right fan-

The left fan - I was able to mount it higher on the radiator -

Here is the switch & LED on the Highway Dirt Bikes Top clamp- it is the RED push button switch-

No clearance issues with the Unabiker Radiator guards and it seems to help with cooling the bike at slow speeds.

Wentjo 12-08-2012 09:42 AM


Hondo 12-08-2012 12:27 PM

Radiator Guards
Next I needed to install the Unabiker Radiator Guards.

I felt that they were necessary even with the Acerbis fuel tank and my ability to crash a bike hard.

These are top quality guards that I highly recommend.

The only modification that I had to make was to modify the petcock mount so that it was out from behind the left guard support.

Installation was easy and the results great-

Right side-

Left side-

The corners of the guards posed an edge I considered too sharp for the inner wall of the fuel tank, so I created a nice bend to keep the guard from making a hole during a crash-

Only time will tell how well they hold up, but I don't anticipate any problems.

Hondo 12-09-2012 08:40 AM

Seat Concepts Upgrade- KLX450R
An easy and very necessary upgrade for my KLX450R was a Seat Concepts foam & cover. The stock seat was about as comfortable as a fence rail and I decided to go the Seat Concepts route after hearing good reviews from some trusted friends.

When you buy the foam & cover, you can either send your stock seat in to Seat Concepts and have them install it for a fee or you can install it yourself. I chose to install it myself.

I did find that my manual & electric Arrow staplers would not drive the 1/4 staples into the seat pan, so I purchased a Central Pneumatic 20 Gauge Wide Crown Stapler #68029 for $20 (after using a 20% off coupon). It uses standard Arrow staples that are available just about everywhere.

The way I look at it, I didn't have to wait for the seat to be done and the price of the tool is less than the installation fee that is offered, and I get to add the tool to my collection - Win-Win!

Anyways, on to the installation.

The first thing I had to do was remove all of the staples from the stock seat. I pulled them out using a screwdriver & a pair of pliers.

Next, I simply pulled the cover and foam off of the stock plastic seat pan- it came off easily.

Here is a view of the the stock cover & foam, the seat pan, and the Seat Concepts cover & foam-

You can see that the Seat Concepts is wider in the rear than stock.

I then removed as much of the old adhesive as possible from the seat pan and fitted the new foam - a perfect fit!

Per the instructions, I then sprayed the seat pan and the area of the foam that meets the pan with some 3M spray adhesive and joined the two together.

After making sure that they aligned properly and letting it sit for 30 minutes or so, I pulled the cover over the foam-

I flipped it over and then started tucking in the front-

the rear too-

Then I stretched the cover evenly and stapled the cover to the seatpan. When I felt confident that I had the cover on correctly, I trimmed off the excess cover material - there ya go!

The top-

This was IMO a very easy upgrade and worth every penny!

Hondo 12-09-2012 09:25 AM

KX450F Rear Fender Upgrade for my KLX450R
When I bought the KLX450R, it came with a Tusk Dual Sport kit installed.

I immediately noticed that the rear fender light/license plate holder assembly was bolted on top of the fender instead of the normal location below the fender.

The stock KLX450Rs came with a running light (not a brake light) in the rear fender so I knew that the previous owner put the rear assy on top to cover the hole.

Here is how it was when I got it-

I removed it from the rear fender and there was the hole-

So I ordered a rear fender for a 2008 KX450F from Dennis Kirk (about $45 shipped IIRC) and after removing the old fender, laid them side by side for comparison-

In this view you can see that the new fender does not have the tab (with a hole) to hold the ocoolant overflow bottle hose or a hole for the wiring to the tail light-

I can fix those two items!

I cut the tab off of the old fender and bolted it to the new fender -

And drilled a hole for the wiring-

I also had to drill a hole to mount the voltage regulator-

There was a piece of heat insulation that I moved from the old fender to the new-

Completed the wiring- (notice the coolant overflow bottle tab)

Looks mucho better!

Hondo 12-09-2012 09:54 AM

KLX450R Swingarm Service & Upgrades
One service that I do right away with a new bike is to service the swingarm bearings.

I removed the swingarm-

And found that the bearings & bushings to have grease remaining, but I repacked them all with marine bearing grease for good measure.

Then I installed a T.M. Designs Baja Kit for the swingarm. The kit included a new chain guide, chain slider and lower roller. I think the green looks great!

Hondo 12-09-2012 10:19 AM

Pro Moto Billet Rack-It Cargo Rack
The 1st time that I saw a Pro Moto Billet "Rack-It" rear cargo rack was on a friends DR650 and I knew that I had to have one.

My plan was to get the rack and mount a Wolfman Luggage Peak Tail Bag to it to carry permanent gear like tools & tubes.

When I received the rack I was totally amazed at the quality of the rack, and the finish was amazing- lazer engraving to boot!

The rack mounts to two places on each side of the rear aluminum subframe and is independent of the rear fender.

Here are a few pics of the rack when it was installed before the KX450F rear fender was installed-

Here's a pic of the rack with the new rear fender and with Wolfman Day Tripper Saddle Bags and the Peak Tail Bag installed-

I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a great rack.

yokesman 12-09-2012 01:14 PM

What is the plan for the subframe, a recent tat report(west end only) ended with a broken subframe(reinforced with tent poles to keep going and moteling it from then on.

Hondo 12-09-2012 01:34 PM


Originally Posted by yokesman (Post 20212189)
What is the plan for the subframe, a recent tat report(west end only) ended with a broken subframe(reinforced with tent poles to keep going and moteling it from then on.

As the bike is still basically unridden due to all of the work I've been doing to it, I'll keep that under consideration and take a close look at mine. If it looks too weak for my taste I'll have a friend of mine weld in some reinforcements-

Thanks for the heads up!

Wentjo 12-09-2012 03:56 PM

Great build! Can't wait to see it finished. Let me know when your ready for a test ride.:ricky

GalacticGS 12-09-2012 05:56 PM

Looks like a well-planned build!

The Kawi 450's are nice bikes...

marc11 12-09-2012 06:16 PM

You are my new hero! Why or why hasn't Kawasaki given us an OEM street legal KLX450?

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