First trip out on my KLR

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by DutchVDub, May 22, 2013.

  1. DutchVDub

    DutchVDub Adventurous Pirate

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    I bought my KLR 11 days ago, its my first bike and I've been enjoying the snot out of it. I was planning on running a portion of the Peak to Peak on Monday as my first longer trip, but a buddy of mine is coming back from Northern CA and after riding there and back he's a bit lonely. He called me up and said if I meet him in Green River, WY he'll pay for the hotel and beers, so off I go to ride almost 350 miles solo and then back home with him the next morning.

    The steed, freshly painted and farkled with premium ammo can panniers
    [​IMG]

    The ROUTE

    The plan is to leave my house at 11:00 am and be there just in time for dinner. So far I've put 500 miles on my bike since I bought it 11 days ago, I'm comfortable on it and have already experienced rain, wind, and dirt roads. Now to see how my arse will fare and go for a real ride. I'll post up pics and updates as I go.
    #1
  2. DutchVDub

    DutchVDub Adventurous Pirate

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    I decided that as I was going on a longer ride I should install the T-Bob kit I had sitting on my tool box. I had meant to do it when I pulled off the plastics for paint but got lazy, so here we go.

    Instead of pulling the exhaust as per the instructions I decided to "flat-rate" it and only move the over-flow tank out of the way.
    [​IMG]

    Almost there
    [​IMG]

    And done. It took me all of 30 minutes to do, we'll see tomorrow if it leaks or not. :D
    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. DutchVDub

    DutchVDub Adventurous Pirate

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    All ready to go, I just have to make a quick stop in Loveland on my way out.

    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. DutchVDub

    DutchVDub Adventurous Pirate

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    Well the trip was going great, but now I'm in WY waiting on the wife to get me and load the bike into the truck.

    First the good stuff.

    I went up through Loveland and Fort Collins w/o any issues. It was slightly over cast but nice and warm still. I made it up to Ted's Place on HWY-287 just north of Fort Collins. It's an old fuel stop and I frequent it often when wheeling and camping along Poudre Canyon.

    [​IMG]

    Got the bike fueled up, after some math it was showing 57.4mpg over the last 220 miles. Awesome. I also decided to have some lunch, it was a feast worthy of champions.

    [​IMG]

    One last picture and I'm on my way. I thought it was a nice scene.

    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. DutchVDub

    DutchVDub Adventurous Pirate

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    After Ted's Place I continued up HWY-287 towards Laramie, WY. It was starting to get colder so I threw my hoodie on under my riding jacket.

    I settled into a nice groove holding the throttle at 5000rpm for an indicated 70 MPH until I came upon some construction.

    [​IMG]

    This is my "stupid construction" face
    [​IMG]

    Continuing along my Journey it started getting colder and foggy. I was contemplating pulling over to throw on my Army Issue wet weather cost and pants when I saw this sweet old post office/diner. I've drive this road several times and never noticed it.
    [​IMG]

    I then threw on the gear, you can kind of see it in the reflection.
    [​IMG]

    I was glad I did suit up because it suddenly got really cold and foggy. One draw back to the "wheat whacker" mod is that the vent for my helmet's face shield doesn't get enough air flow and the shield fogs up a bit. I can just barely crack it open and solve the issue so its not too bad. I also have to say the Army wet weather gear works great. I stayed warm, dry, and comfy.

    Wyoming!!!
    [​IMG]

    I made it to Laramie and the sun came back up. Unfortunately it was ridiculously windy too. I was half side saddling the bike to keep it straight.

    Parked at an abandoned fuel stop to stretch for a minute.
    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. CaveDave

    CaveDave Underground

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    I understand!:lol3

    Sounds like the shakedown run shook something down? :ear
    #6
  7. DutchVDub

    DutchVDub Adventurous Pirate

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    Unfortunately about 15 miles down the road as I was passing a tractor trailer at 75 MPH I caught a huge gust of wind and started getting very bad wobble in my front tire/handle bars. If it had been my jeep I'd have called it death wobble. I tried slowing down and moved to the side of the road so the truck driver wouldn't hit me but the wobble got worse and worse. Feeling I was about to lose it I aimed for the field and started praying.

    Here is the result of that experience.
    [​IMG]

    The same truck drive pulled over and helped me up. He also called 911 for me. By the time the EMT's rolled up I was walking around and gathering bits of bike. They looked me over and said I was good enough to where they wouldn't force me to go to the hospital. The WY Highway Patrol officer then gave me a ride to the Petro Truck Stop in Laramie, WY where I'm waiting on the wife. I've got some road rash on my lower back and my left shin, I'm also really stiff and sore but otherwise fine.

    I had full coverage on the bike and will be getting another one. It'll be a dual sport although to be honest it might not be another KLR. I enjoyed the hell out of it while I had it, and definitely don't blame the bike at all. I just know the people I ride with and where I want to go a more highway friendly bike would be best. I've been contemplating the V-Strom, F800GS, or similar. I'm not looking for a fast bike, just something more street biased. Still, I haven't fully given up on the old girl yet. It was running great up until the wreck and while I know I'm very lucky it's obviously a sad day for me.

    Oh, wife just got here and said I have to get a bigger bike. Hey, at least she said I can get one. :)
    #7
  8. myorangecrayon

    myorangecrayon Adventurer

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    Great trip until the bike took a nap, glad to hear you're alright! I wasn't clear from the description of the wreck, was the wobble solely due to the wind, or was there some sort of mechanical failure? Did the wind just blow you off the road pretty much?

    Don't know what bikes you're looking at, but my Honda NC700X is rather highway friendly and gets great gas mileage. Ridiculously customizable as well. Ride safe!
    #8
  9. DaveWave

    DaveWave It is what it is.

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    Glad to hear you are OK! This is not the first time I have heard of someone getting surprised by a gust of wind from passing a big rig. Good luck in your search for the next bike.
    #9
  10. GSAragazzi

    GSAragazzi Long timer

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    Man, I was all into the story. Didn't see that coming. Glad you are ok.
    Swap the bike and keep the wife.
    She seems nice and understanding, unless of course she has a million dollar term insurance on you :rofl
    :freaky
    #10
  11. DutchVDub

    DutchVDub Adventurous Pirate

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    Thanks guys. I'm not sure what caused the wobble. It just barely did it on 287 when I got over zealous on a straight away but it went away when I slid up against the tank and put more weight up front. My panniers didn't have much in them but I'm wondering if their weight too far back led to is. Looking back I'm thinking I should have use the rear brakes only to slow down. The wobble got worse as I slowed down and the worse it got the more front brake I squeezed.

    It was a used bike with over 21,000 miles on it soba mechanical issue might have been a factor but I had been going over the bike the last 11 days since I bought it.

    I definitely want another adventure-tourer/dual sport. I honesty don't think a heavier bike would've made much difference but if it'll make the wife happy and let me keep riding w/o having to get a divorce then so be it. An 08+ KLR is high on my radar but I doubt she'll go for it.
    #11
  12. cuonawv

    cuonawv Adventurer

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    "Squeezed" - I bet your MSF rider coach is VERY happy right now..


    Dang, I was really looking forward to this read..

    No worries, this eventually happens to most of us - you just got it out of the way very early on..

    Pick up your bike, dust yourself off and learn from it.. -

    If I were you, I would grab another <07 KLR - you already have a great parts bike:clap

    Glad to see you're alright - hang in there.
    #12
  13. TaZ9

    TaZ9 Been here awhile

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    I used to own two KLR's and had similar (minus the crash) experiences. Worn or loose head bearings, high winds and large panniers = the death wobble. Top heavy bike doesn't help things.

    Glad you suvived!

    Hope you find a bike you like.

    Ride safe!

    Taz9
    #13
  14. SkiBumBrian

    SkiBumBrian DualSport Crazy !!

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    Weight vs. suspension set up. Glad you are ok. Sag is crucial with weighted bike. Holy Crap! Could have been a lot worse. Like you said, not the bikes fault, she is rebuildable. Re spring bike to your weight, get rid of the stock sail (fender) and ALWAYS be wary of jet wash (big trucks)..Glad you are still with us!
    #14
  15. _ransom_

    _ransom_ Adventurer

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    glad you're alright!

    keep us posted!
    #15
  16. RandoCommando

    RandoCommando Wannabe

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    +1 on getting another Gen I KLR and that you're alright!!!

    I had a bad wobble in my front on my 99 KLR.
    I put new tires on, balanced them, and put a fork brace on.
    Wobble disappeared.
    I upgraded the fork springs after that and the front was totally different.
    Glad you walked away from this with my injuries.
    #16
  17. Pete-NZ

    Pete-NZ Been here awhile

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    going by yer posts...
    1st motor bike..
    owned it for 11 days...
    passing at 75 mph..
    unable to control the wobble....
    came off...

    sounds about right...
    #17
  18. Tsotsie

    Tsotsie Semi-reformed Tsotsi

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    I posted the following on another thread. It may be of interest to some readers here too.

    "Sorry to hear this. You put a lot of time and love into that ride!

    This is the 3rd such event I have heard of. The other two were air-lifted out!

    Soon after getting my KLR in 08 I nearly sold it in disgust. I aborted a 1500m ride after 200miles due to the instability. I was comparing it to my rock solid BMW.

    The advice given on the various sites were all related to bearing adjustment, pre-load front anbd back, sag, tire pressures, tire types, front fender, wings on the bars and on and on. They may all be contributors to some degree and I modified and adjusted it accordingly - although nothing was out at the time. I beleived that there was something else more fundamentally wrong.

    Here are the eventual conclusions I came too;
    1. The frame flexes excessively from the head backwards. Loaded with heavy panniers, standing still you can simulate the 'tank slapper', tail wag and frame flexability by moving the bars quickly,
    2. In certain wind conditions, direction and speeds an unstable set of vortices comes off the back of the bike. These create pulsing forward that then plays into # 1.

    Over the last 50K's, through the very windy and thermal laden West Texas, the 50-60 mph side winds approaching Glacia NP in upper Montana-as examples, this is how I manage the above;

    1. Know and understand when these conditions exist or can be created. Winds and side winds over 20mph. Speeds at or approaching 80mph. Large vehicles moving at speed create a large bow wave and or corresponding low pressure area in the lee.
    2. If overtaking a vehicle move over and away as far as you can and then some to get out of their wake.
    3. If the occilations begin, slowly back off.
    4. Avoid a deathgrip or the temptaion to try to steer out of it.
    5. Move your body weigh as far forward on the seat in anticipation that you can.
    6. Understand and anticipate the possibility and ride accordingly before it begins.

    While not as solid as other makes in windly conditions, the fact that I still have the KLR , do many 800m+ days and it is my choice for long distance riding is testament that I now have it manageable and stable enough."
    #18
  19. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Imbecile

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    Glad you're alright.

    If you go with another KLR, a heavier rear spring makes a world of difference with the wobble. I upgraded mine and the wobble hasn't been back since.

    John
    #19
  20. jschance

    jschance Adventurer

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    If you decide to stick with a 1st Gen KLR, I've got a 2007 that I'm thinking about selling.

    It'd make a great Fly and Ride adventure.:evil
    #20