The Chronicles of Betty

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by mcpenner, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. mcpenner

    mcpenner mcpenner

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    I wanted to give her a better name, something that would roll of the tongue or lift the heart with mystery, but I can't get away from it. Her name is Betty. She's not pretty, but she gets the job done. She's not fast but she can go more places then I know how. She is not a show off but she'll still be there in the morning.

    This thread will be the place where I chronicle my experiences, modifications, and impressions of my entry into the world of dual sport with the KLR 650 named Betty. It may not be interesting to anyone but me. That's okay. It will likely be a slow thread as I don't expect to be buying all the hot stuff to add to her or go on any long world traveling adventures. But for whatever it is worth this thread will chronicle the relationship between a mostly ordinary man and his motorcycle.

    Pictures on the way home on the day I got her:

    [​IMG]

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    #1
  2. RandoCommando

    RandoCommando Wannabe

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    :lurk
    #2
  3. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    Cool, I look forward to following your thread.
    I'm sure it will be interesting, cause it is what we all love.
    The mods are secondary to the experiences.
    #3
  4. mcpenner

    mcpenner mcpenner

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    I suppose the place to start is by describing Betty as I got her. She is a 2005 KLR 650 (duu, obviously). Mostly stock I think, but here is what I know:

    - had a Jardin pipe on but it was replaced with a stock 2008 pipe before I got her. The dealer said the carb was put back to stock and I generally trust this dealer so I'll go with that for now.
    - KNN air filter
    - Aluminum skid plate. If anyone knows what make I'll add it in here.
    - fork brace. Again, tell me what make this is;
    [​IMG]
    -Kenda 761 tires. Front is cupped so I got the dealer to throw in a new one for free after we made the deal:clap

    -Been down at least once with minor damage to left side plastic and handle bars slightly bent.
    -rear brake master cylinder guard. I think it's after market or did they come with it?

    Other then that I think everything is stock and in good shape. Everything works. No need to do anything (I know I'll be told to do the do-hickey). It's a good place to start.
    #4
  5. mcpenner

    mcpenner mcpenner

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    Wow, this is really hard to describe. I come from cruisers and have no dirt background so the best word is "different"! To tell you the truth Betty rides almost exactly as I expected, maybe even as good or better then I had hoped. So some random first impressions are:

    - seating position is great. I was getting tired of the feet forward, curved back bone cruiser position. Betty just feels natural and right. Everything falls to hand.

    - Power is enough for how I ride, and for me that is a good thing. Enough to be fun but not so much as to get in trouble.

    - I can't describe it, but I love the power delivery of a big single.

    - I don't know what all the complaints about vibration are all about. Yes I can feel the engine, but that's why I ride, to feel things that are real rather then be isolated or insulated from the world.

    - I'm undecided about the wind protection. It is actually better then my cruiser up to my shoulders. I have no problem riding a few hours on the highway but I might like something better more to reduce wind noise then anything else. I'll be experimenting here.

    - Tried two up with my daughter. Not bad, but I would not want to be so confined for too long. I don't think I'll ever bother taking my lovely wife on it. If she is coming we will take the cruiser.

    - Suddenly a whole nother world opens up! It's like the wardrobe in the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

    I did a comparison between the KLR and the Honda Shadow here:

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=824964
    #5
  6. jkdwings

    jkdwings Been here awhile

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    Great looking bike! I'll check in on this thread as you go along.
    #6
  7. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    The fork brace looks to be a studabaker.
    The K&N air filter is ok for the street but if you plan on being in dusty conditions you should get a Uni or Twin air filter.
    #7
  8. OKlr

    OKlr 25mph gate inpector

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    exactly. i prefer no toil or uni. No toil is great if your in a rush, just clean the airbox, wrap the filter on the cage, greese the lip and your set. they come pre oiled.

    Cycle gear is having a sale on there trackside hanguards, i picked mine up 40% off and they fit well.
    #8
  9. mcpenner

    mcpenner mcpenner

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    It's not much, but I needed storage space now. So I mounted an actionpacker box. I do not expect this to be permanent. On a normal day this time of year I can see frost in the morning and T-shirts in the afternoon. So I need someplace to pack the layers. Action packer works great, but in the long run I don't think I want a top box at all.

    [​IMG]

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    I simply put two bolts through a piece of plywood and into threaded holes in the rack.
    #9
  10. mcpenner

    mcpenner mcpenner

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    I like the looks of the lower fenders mounted to the fork brace. Does anyone know if this works on this one?
    #10
  11. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    I am not sure on that one,but Eagle Mike has tapped holes in his for this.
    #11
  12. mcpenner

    mcpenner mcpenner

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    I've been riding motorcycles now for about 7 years. I work across the street from my house so I do not commute but I do have to travel around a little from time to time. Now, with Betty, I can take routs I never even noticed before.

    The old rail bed that goes right by my house. I have to open and close quite a few gates but there is a lot of nice country side out there.

    [​IMG]
    #12
  13. mcpenner

    mcpenner mcpenner

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    Every time I go out for a ride I wonder how long the "new toy" joy will last? I mean I have taken the shadow a few times when it is more appropriate (cold; heated grips and vest or with a passenger), but I still want to take the KLR every time. I wonder if this will change? I wonder if a day will come when I only take the KLR if I'm planning to take some rougher roads? I wonder if after a year or so I will sell the shadow cause it never gets used (could I ever farkle up the KLR if I sold the shadow!)? No one can answer these questions...but I wonder?
    #13
  14. mcpenner

    mcpenner mcpenner

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    I've been playing around with the suspension settings. It felt OK when I started riding Betty, but with a little reading online I soon realized that it might be better. So I looked. The rear had no preload at all. It was sagging about five or six inches under my weight! So I cranked it up. I immediately noticed much better handling. The front end was more planted and the whole bike was less influenced by wind, road irregularities and just all around better. I also found that one stroke of my bicycle pump in each fork leg reduced the brake induced fork dive quite a bit. But, with pre-load on 5 and air in the front the ride was starting to feel harsh. So I let the air out and turned the shock down to 4. All the small pavement bumps and stuff are gone now and it still easily handles the biggest hits I'm willing to face (not very big yet). I will definitely add air and go to #5 if I plan to ride aggressively on or off road and it's nice to know I can load up at least a little with one pre-load left for the ride I like.

    For now that's all I need. But I remember thinking my suspension on my mountain bike was broken after riding a year. Then I realized that I was taking drop offs at speed that I used to get off and walk over so who knows? I might be looking for upgrades one day, but not now.
    #14
  15. mcpenner

    mcpenner mcpenner

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    I haven't ventured into the rebound dampening (right terms?) on the rear shock yet. I guess if I notice the back end loading up or feel like it's trying to buck me off I'll get into that. For now it feels compliant at whatever setting it is on. If any of you care to enlighten me on this issue I am a willing student.
    #15
  16. mcpenner

    mcpenner mcpenner

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    Just a few miles from home. I didn't even know this existed until Betty came into my life. There are a lot of "dead end" gravel roads around. It turns out most of them are not actually dead ends. You just can't get through the road allowance on four wheels any more. Betty can make it through just fine. This one had some sandy sections. Most of you wouldn't have noticed but for my novice off road ability it was interesting. I defiantly need some crash bars soon.

    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    Air is not really recommended,most put longer preload spacers (made from pvc pipe from the hardwarestore) on top the springs and maybe go heavier weight oil for a cheap improvement.
    #17
  18. mcpenner

    mcpenner mcpenner

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    Yah, I know, but I don't always follow recommended advice. I've decided I don't want it in there anyway. It was more of an experiment to see if it would be worth while to do the more recommended options and for now I'll just leave it as is. I traded an 83 goldwing for the KLR so I'm used to making air adjustments to the suspension and it just seemed natural to me on a fork that has air valves.
    #18
  19. mcpenner

    mcpenner mcpenner

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    I've decided to do the 22cent mod. I've read enough about it. It's easy enough and all reports say it's worth while. 4 degrees below freezing last night so I might wait till spring. It's a little hard to get motivated for stuff like this. If it's warm enough to work on the bike for a few hours it's warm enough to ride. What would you choose?
    #19
  20. mcpenner

    mcpenner mcpenner

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    I'm not really sure why I am doing this? I'm actually not complaining about the stock windshield. It blocks most of the wind blast from my chest. I get a little on the shoulders and the blast is just below my face shield. My only real complaint is the wind noise.

    I guess I just have to customize and fiddle around with whatever toys I own. So here goes. Wind shield experiment #1.

    I took a plastic pail and cut it to approximate some of the after market taller/wider windshields. It's not really the right material as it is too soft but I thought it would give me an idea as to whether or not an aftermarket might be worth the investment. Here's what I came up with.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    As you can tell I didn't really do a very good job, but I wasn't trying to build something for real.

    What I learned;
    - adding 5 inches puts the wind about the middle of my face shield. Defiantly quieter, but any bit of side wind would case the soft plastic to bend in and dump the wind right on me. So a little better and a little worse. But I know a real windshield would not bend and be better.
    - It didn't really seem to introduce any turbulence so maybe I would be OK with a shield of this stile?
    - I'm afraid of a shield that comes this far back. I'm really liking the off road ability of this bike and I like my nose too.

    Stay tuned for #2

    For those of you who ride with no windshield, I tried that too. I can see why you like it but it's not for me. I like the stock shield better then no shield by quite a margin.
    #20