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Old 01-28-2013, 07:13 AM   #1
fleshpiston OP
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: minneapolis
Oddometer: 612
The gravel road tourer, my take on the KLR650

Hey all, I've been posting bits and pieces on this build in the various KLR threads but maybe it's time for it's own space.

Soooo.... gotta start somewhere I guess.

I started with this....

But maybe a bit of history for context first?

Here's my first dual sport on the way to the AMA Superbike races at BIR with beer in the cooler. I think I was rooting for Troy Corser that year? After a few months with this bike I knew there would always be a DS in the garage.

Great bike, had some shortcomings but I didn't know any better, I just rode the wheels off it. I sold it way too cheap to a friend, who still rides it today, and replaced it with this....

Again, great bike, rode the DNR trails in Northern MN with my kid, etc. but it was just too dirt focused for my needs. Most of my riding is in the drift-less region of Wisconsin so I need to pound out a couple hundred miles on pavement before getting to the "good stuff" I needed more luggage capacity, more comfort, etc. Basically I needed a street bike that can do dirt, not a dirt bike that can do street.

So I skipped right over the DR and got a 96 KLR. Here she is the day I brought her home.....

The body work was pretty beat up so I started collecting the red-silver stuff. Over that winter it was gone though and all the usual stuff was done......

It emerged that spring looking pretty fresh.....

So for the next few years it served me well, never left me stranded, no issues at all. Many great rides.

Oh, and I guess I need to post the mandatory ADV staged water crossing to make it official..... (I'm told I need to stand up to make it look more adventurous)

Ok, sorry about the picture show/history lesson, time to get on with the build ......... in a bit.

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Old 01-28-2013, 07:55 AM   #2
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I've seen some of the other pictures, looking forward to seeing it all come together.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:56 AM   #3
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nice write up and bike!
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:02 AM   #4
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Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Garden City, Michigan
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Sweet !! I am glad you are doing a thread on your very interesting KLR build.
I look forward to all the details.
ST1300 - IRON BUTT # 23,716
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:10 AM   #5
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I like it! More please...
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:09 AM   #6
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Location: Gallatin Tn
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Awesome cant wait to see more!
Brandon Beck
2006 KLR650 (Sold)
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:11 AM   #7
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"Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the natural lot of mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair."
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:12 PM   #8
michael weiss
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I could not find the like button
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:30 PM   #9
fleshpiston OP
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Originally Posted by michael weiss View Post
I could not find the like button

Awesome first post!

So in the few years that I've owned the KLR I noticed I was riding my VFR less and less. When it was time to ride, the KLR always seemed to get the nod. The VFR was great for covering a lot of ground at high speed on big roads, but these days I guess I try to get away from all that. (maybe getting old?) As much as I loved the whine of cam gears and V4, it was hard to justify keeping her around.

So a decision was made --

Sell the VFR and KLR and go shopping for a KTM 640 Adventure.

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Old 01-29-2013, 11:35 AM   #10
fleshpiston OP
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Well, nobody took the bait I see.

I was partially serious, I did shop around for a 640A but they're scarce around here, and ....well....the KLR just fits my budget better. I thought if I could improve some aspects of the bike, mainly suspension, I'd be happy with it

While doing a little research on the KTM I did run across a great thread from inmate Gunnerbuck. He had picked up a second 640 to have as back up. When one bike is down for maintenance he could still ride the other one.

I liked that idea so I picked up another KLR, an 89. It was cheap, mainly because it had a crappy flat black rattle can paint job, but the PO had done the Doo, the valves were recently adjusted, both brake calipers were rebuilt and it had new chain and sprockets. The rad and fan were in perfect shape too, unlike my banged up ones. I don't plan on having 2 running bikes but I'll have all the spares I need sitting right on the shelf. I could also continue to ride my 96 while getting started on the "good" bike.

These are the only pics I have of the 89......

So what to do about the suspension? The obvious route for the front would be brace, springs, and Ricor or RaceTech valves. I wanted something a bit sexier though so a quick check on ebay and the next thing you know I'm the proud owner of a set of 04 WR450 forks and brake with less than 200 miles on them.

A little while later I found a set of triples. The top clamp is aftermarket but I'm not sure who made it? Maybe an early Applied? I just like the fact that it has separate bar clamps, that gives me some room for adjustment without having to add Rox risers or similar.

So the running tally for the front end so far......

Forks - $101.00
Brake - 41.00
Triples - 25.00
Wheel - 76.00


Sold the stock wheel and forks off the 89 for $340 so at this point I'm pretty happy with myself. (that will change- more later)

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Old 01-29-2013, 01:29 PM   #11
Lurking,with intent
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Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Marshall,Minnesota Scandinavian Prairie Ghetto :)
Oddometer: 223
I am in, for the ride on this thread let's roll !
Heavily Medicated,for your protection
and sometimes,released out in to the
Real World for a ride !
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:54 PM   #12
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Location: Portland, TN
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Originally Posted by fleshpiston View Post
Maybe an early Applied?

I am pretty sure you are right. I had an Applied on a XR a few years ago and from what I remember it looked exactly like the one pictured.
Current Rides
2008 Suzuki V-Strom 650
2002 KLR - Not quite a stocker.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:19 AM   #13
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Location: Mid-Coast Maine
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Looking good to me as well, I will be following along
However, I am not complaining because I know that I am probably better today then I will be tomorrow, so I try and enjoy every day as it comes, and stay determined to live well and be appreciative of what I still can do..."Stromsurfer"
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:02 AM   #14
Unstable Rider
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Howdy Flesh,

Appears we are maybe neighbors. Great post, I have a KLR in the garage meself.

Never do anything you would be uncomfortable explaining to the paramedics...
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:09 AM   #15
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Location: Southern Ohio
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This should be interesting. I'm in!
2008 KLR650E
2001 KE100 (daughters bike)
1983 IT250
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