How to ruin your life: A Man, A Goat, and a KLR650.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Wichser, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. Wichser

    Wichser Been here awhile

    Jan 24, 2019
    The beginning.

    I always thought of myself as a pretty decent human being. I was wrong.

    Dealing with the public for the last 10 years operating an automobile service business changed something in me that I didn't like.

    My lease was up the first of the year, so I decided that was the end of that chapter.

    Sure I had had some great times, built some hilariously nasty cars, and save people 100's of 1000's of dollars by keeping them out of the dealerships, but it was time for a change.

    I sat alone in my loft watching the clock tick closer to midnight on December 31st, I had told my employees to seek other employment, begun liquidating and/or disposing of all of the detritus I had accumulated in my life on this planet, and began thinking about the points in my life that stuck out as highlights.

    When I was 18, I had hustled up a sizable pile of cash through hard work of buying, repairing, and reselling a few cars and a couple of bikes, I left home heading west. The two months I was out on the road still stick in my mind as a glorious experience, seeing new things and meeting new people was eye-opening.

    It didn't last forever.

    I returned to Tennessee, worked my way through several entry level jobs and then went to school for Automobile Repair.

    Due to an economic downturn, my singular goal in school was denied me as Porsche decided maybe they didn't need quite that many people that year.

    I again returned to Tennessee and got back to hustling.

    Through various trials and tribulations, I found myself the owner of an automobile repair shop, where I spent the last ten years chained to a building, listening to every sob story known to man.
  2. Wichser

    Wichser Been here awhile

    Jan 24, 2019

    I lost the use of my right eye, and with it the comfort of riding for nearly 15 years. Until a friend let me borrow his Honda Grom.

    Now if you've never seen a 6'5 man riding a Grom, Google the picture of Shaq and his wife, that's pretty much what it looks like.

    I of course bought a Grom, and I highly recommend them, nothing like riding around WOT everywhere and not breaking the speed limit.

    A Honda Grom is not something someone my size should travel around the country on.


    Thus began my search for an adventure bike. Given my industry, and intimate knowledge of German engineering, I stayed way the hell away from the BMW dealer, but I did test ride an Africa Twin, a Super Tenere, and a few others. I started looking at parts, farkles and issues for the ATAS, as it seemed to fit me best.

    I quickly decided that was not the bike for me. I wanted a mule, a tractor, the small block Chevy of dual sport/enduro/adventure bikes.

    This is when I decided the Kawasaki KLR was for me. Slow, robust, and with only incremental changes since 1987.

    But what to buy?

    I'd prefer the looks of the <2007, especially the Tengai, but good luck finding a halfway decent example. (Damn you @GreatWhiteNorth and your new Tengai)

    Given my size, and availability, I settled on a 2014.5+

    So began the search.

    I trolled through Craigslist, ADV, KLRFORUMS, KLR650.NET, Cycle trader, etc looking for the "right" bike. After getting beat on several promising bikes, I started calling dealers, 2018 is the end of the KLR as we know it, so why not start fresh?

    I was pretty settled on a new 2018, with 2.3 miles in Pearl Solar Yellow at my local dealer.


    The salesman did seem to be amused that I would be putting 10-20k miles on it this year and didn't give a shit about the warranty because I would be buying a brand new bike and immediately tearing it apart and rebuilding it.

    When it happened.

    After searching a 500+ mile radius for several weeks, up popped a White 2015 , 16 miles from my house.


    I immediately called and offered to come pick it up. The fact that it was 22°F and 10:30pm made absolutely no difference to me.

    Arrangements were made to meet the next morning.

    The bike was perfect, as was the seller, a gentleman in his early 60's who had purchased it to round out his collection of bikes. A touch over 4,000 miles, a few basic farkles and a few other things he had removed in anticipation of sale that I was able to pick through and roll in to a package deal.

    It had cooled off to a balmy 16°F, but it made no difference to me. She was mine.

    Day 1


    Happy trails bash plate
    Happy trails engine bars
    Oxford grips
    Shinko 804/805 with 1.5kish miles
    Lexx Exhaust
    Lowering links
    Forks up 1"
    Tusk barkbusters
    Tusk? Pegs
  3. Wichser

    Wichser Been here awhile

    Jan 24, 2019
    The Shake Down

    Day 2

    Given my new found lack of employment, I had decided to again make a previously annual trip to Daytona Beach Florida for the Rolex 24 before I had even found the bike.

    What better way to get to know my new beast of burden, than immediately driving it across 4 states. I picked up some new gear from a local shop, and packed up.


    Cliff notes on the road to Florida:
    Atlanta traffic sucks


    At 80 mph, clutch cable jam nuts tend to rattle loose
    Butts County Sheriff's Dept appreciate you not running from them, even when the clocked speed is already as fast as you should ever drive a KLR on Shinkos.
    And let's not forget




    A friend asked how the trip was, my response:
    "Great, got to the track, camped and got drunk, woke up to racecar sounds"

    I'm here, there are pretty girls in spandex, race fuel in the air, and one of my favorites in the featured parking area. Porsche 935 K3



    If you've ever been to Daytona for a NASCAR race you know how packed they are and how tight they keep security. The 24 is a little different, after about midnight, most of the people that know what is going on go home.

    And this is why I was able to relax in the fully catered infield suites overnight (Thanks BMW, your cookies were delicious)




    Security isn't much better in the pits either.


    Then it began to rain.

    Not a little bit of rain, but enough rain that 3 Jet Dryers couldn't keep the Bus Stop Chicane from looking like a swimming pool. You may remember Daytona's jet dryers from the 2012 Daytona 500 when Juan Pablo Montoya crashed into one, and as one would expect from crashing a race car into basically a jet aircraft this resulted in a gigantic wall of fire.


    After the race was red flagged for the second time, I went back to my tent and listened to the sound of the rain while I finished up re-watching Game of Thrones.

    The race finished under red, and I drifted off to sleep.

    The rain passed over night, and I strung up my gear between 2 trees to dry. And then I checked the weather for the ride home.
    knight, Vandergraf, KLRalph and 12 others like this.
  4. Wichser

    Wichser Been here awhile

    Jan 24, 2019
    What the fuck?

    In my haste to get to Daytona I may have neglected to check my local weather on my way out of town.



    Well shit.

    Now I "have" to stay in Florida where it was 70°F and sunny. Sucks to be me.


    Time to start hitting National Parks.

    First was Tiger Bay State Forest


    Then it was Ocala National Forest, great place to take a snooze.:muutt






    I like learning new things, such as how much I have in common with Darth Vader.

    2 days and some 387 dirt naps later, I decided to ride up to Jacksonville and crash the C.A.D.S weekly meet for dinner.

    On the way there:



    I was regaled with stories of Baja by @Milkweed and @beefcake morris , It sounded like excessive, Tequila fueled, rampant alcoholism, with some riding mixed in, I took notes for future reference.

    I asked a few questions about the local parks, Croom- more fine sand, and Osceola National Forest/WMA - sandy but probably hard packed and flooded due to recent rains, sounds perfect.

    Sam @kaosrider ? was kind enough to offer me a place to crash for the night, which I greatly appreciated. I hope my incoherent ramblings were an appropriate repayment for your generosity.

    Osceola was perfect, gravelish roads and a few blown out two track kept me busy for a few days

    I was waking up to this in shorts while it was 18°F in Tennessee.



    Blow me Polar Vortex.

    When I began to pack up, I noticed very large, fresh paw prints about 40 feet from my tent... :photog I didn't keep food during my stay and none of my gear was disturbed, so I guess I lucked out. I do like petting kitties though.

    There was a break in the temps and I decided to use it to get back to Tennessee while it was above freezing.

    I'm not the best rider, it's been a while since I have flung a bike around with the reckless abandon I used in my youth. This helps me reconcile the multitude of low sides, high sides, and just generally eating shit I did in Florida.

    Why is my foot wet?

    One of my various off piste excursions managed to crush my radiator into the fan, which was held firmly in place by the cylinder head. Somewhere around Perry Georgia it began to cry the sweet, slimy tears that nearly lead me to my first concrete nap at the next exit ramp.


    A brief cooling system rebuild in the parking lot of Tractor Supply Company, involved a little JB weld and some screaming. Only the screaming wasn't mine, I happened upon a dramatic retelling of the Lover's Quarrel scene from A Midsummer's Night Dream. If only Shakespeare had methamphetamines and clapped out Chevy Cavaliers for inspiration.

    The repairs only took about 20 minutes, but I stayed for the entertainment. :rofl

    I did eventually make it home, 2700 miles on a new to me bike with zero prep and only self inflicted wounds seems like a win.
    wee-twin, DinoBike, Diddly and 39 others like this.
  5. Wichser

    Wichser Been here awhile

    Jan 24, 2019
    And so it begins.

    The shakedown was exactly what I needed, long enough to see how I operated, how the bike functioned and it's general condition. Short enough that I wasn't worried about of I would make it home.

    The Rebuild

    Driving a bike that was set up by a guy who was a foot shorter than I am, almost 3k miles, gave me quite a few points to work on.


    Forks: raised, serviced fluid, still need uprated springs

    Rear shock: swapped out with a Progressive coilovers with hydraulic preload adjuster (included in purchase) Seems to be a lot closer to my needs, may need to swap to a heavier spring.


    Range was limited, not an issue in Florida where I had 100% cell service, no food,and was limited to 3L of water. Eventually it will be an issue. It also wasn't quite enough for the timing of my slab stops.

    IMS 10 gallon tank Natural/translucent ($550)
    Manual petcock (included in purchase)
    Additional Fuel filter ($10)
    extra length leader hose for stove supply and possible loaning of fuel.

    Marked out a 3Gal reserve and 1 gallon increments, upright on the left side of the tank, on kickstand on the right side (the fuel pump renders the petcock reserve useless)

    Need KLX needle and a few jets for various altitudes, probably upgraded screws, and a spare diaphragm


    Eagle Mike Balance shaft chain tensioner kit w/gaskets ($80)
    Crank lock and balancer Tools (loan courtesy of @Gallowbraid

    GPI radiator ($75)

    Tusk oil drain plug ($10) make sure you toss the included steel "crush" washer. I'm sure you can guess where the deformation will occur in an aluminum engine case.

    Lexx Exhaust (included with purchase)

    Uni Air filter (included with purchase)
    The box appears stock I will probably pull the snorkel before I rejet the Carb for a needle and the exhaust


    Tusk Folding Shift lever ($20) I may need to notch the skid plate as it fouls in what would be my ideal position with lowered pegs.

    JNS Lowered foot peg Brackets ($90) I may need to heat and bend or pie cut and weld the rear brake lever, I was able to max the factory adjuster and brake light switch spring to work, but that may prove to be less than ideal.

    Tusk? Pegs (included with purchase)

    Tusk Barkbusters (included with purchase)
    They work, but I wish they had a larger area on the guards, a little too much wind, even with heated grips

    Protaper ATV high bars ($65) yet to install

    Krace levers ($40) and useless. They are missing the tabs to actuate the microswitches for brake light and clutch switch, technically they were free as the manufacturer refunded the order. I'll keep them in my pack as spares, they do fit and otherwise function.

    Neverlandback Stealth Mirrors ($17)
    Other than arriving damaged the first time, the replacement pair works well and gives better view angle over the stock circular mirrors. They do have a habit of reflecting some ugly fucker ever time I lean over in front of them, i might have to address this in the future. I blame the Chinese manufacturer.

    Self (not available for this build) See: loose nut on handlebars

    Oxford grips (included with purchase)
    They work great, I might rework the wiring with installation of a few other electrical components


    Shinko 804/805 (included with purchase)
    Vibrate on slabs, no lateral traction off road, will probably go with something else in the future.

    Round, black, spokey

    Chain and sprockets
    Stock ratio, in decent shape, probably just lube and ride, may grab a new chain and fit it to length and pack it in spares

    Motion Pro Bead Pro ($50)
    I had an extra lever from my tire machine and these seemed to be the answer for bead breaking and levers

    HD tube ($20)


    Happy Trails Skid Plate (included with purchase)
    Nice thickness (giggity), covers the water pump, probably what I would have bought

    Happytrails Engine Bars (included with purchase)
    Not ideal shape, the damage to the radiator may have been prevented with a bar that protrudes beyond the fairings, as other brand bars do. I don't know if the bash plate will fit with other bar systems, maybe I should just not suck and it won't be a problem.

    Trojan Magnum 36ct "I don't want a family pack" ($15)
    Perfect for protecting electrical components, smuggling cocaine, heroin, really a multitude of uses.


    Tusk Pannier racks ($170)

    81mm Mortar ammo cans (from my collection)

    Tank Vest ($170)
    I know this was expensive, and really too Tacticool for my tastes, but functionally, I think it work well, it let's me get more weight on the front (as if 63lb of fuel wasn't enough), and is infinitely adjustable.

    Molle Pouches ($100)
    I'm still working out the exact variety of attachments, but the beautiful of it being that I can do whatever I want, the Tactical Baby brand of accessories offers a despensing pouch for wipes, which may come in handy as is suspect showers may be few and far between.

    As I started filling out the gear I wanted to have, it became clear that while I would be able to fit everything on the bike, I would have little room for food and water for my intended plans of staying as far away from people and towns as possible.
    Mule came fitted with 2 Rotopax mounts which I will probably hang water off of. I'm guessing that I will be able to avoid supply runs for 7-10 days. This may be overkill, but it beats being stranded without food and water.

    Home Depot brand storage tub ($9)
    Rocklocker had a aluminum tray fabricated for the mule, I wanted an actual tub, and the Action packer the trailer was designed for is roughly 10x the cost. Generic tub it is.


    12V Outlet (included with sale)
    Functional but will be reworked

    Krono Dash kit ($80)
    Yet to install
    I went with this over the KLRDASH because of several reasons. The reviews for the KLRDASH all mention having to contort the parts to make it work, so there is no difference if the Krono requires the same. I'm not gay but $50 is $50. I have not seen anyone mention using, nor do I think I will ever use any of the variable positions of the KLRDASH, as Ron Popeil would say, "Set it and forget it"

    Garmin Montana 610 (included with sale of MotoMule)
    I was looking for something to add redundancy to my navigation, @RockLocker mentioned he had one, with a powered mount, I have yet to play with it or mount it. We will see.


    Cabela's Outfitter Sleeping Pad ($100)
    I left with basically nothing in the way of gear as I wasn't planning on camping in Florida, in the past I usually just showed up to the track with a bottle of whiskey and enough caffeine to make it through the 24hr.
    Turns out it's more comfortable than the king sized mattress I stuffed in a dumpster when I moved out of my loft.

    Ascend Red Lodge 2-Person Dome Tent ($50)
    A decent 2 man tent that was on clearance at Cabela's. After looking around I may buy a Lone Rider Moto Tent, but fuck are they expensive.

    MSR tent stakes ($25)
    After bending the stakes that came with my tent in the soft sand of Florida, I knew I needed something more robust. I also needed to up the total sale at REI to get the promo gift card that I used for a 1 year National Park Pass.

    Petzl Tikka ($60)
    I used to have an older Tikka that didn't have the swivel adjustment, but I was unable to find an old used one, apparently they changed the design 15-20 years ago. I also grabbed a Petzl CORE battery, USB rechargable, and conveniently also fits in the shitty tap light that I used for more ambient light.

    Field & Stream Sportsman 30° Sleeping Bag ($30)
    Mummy type, cheap and available, I got mine in brown.

    Coleman Sportster II Dual Fuel 1-Burner Stove ($62)
    Burns unleaded, packs smaller than and other gasoline stove I found, and it was cheap. Should work fine for soup, ramen and maybe a small frying pan if I get super fancy. I do still need to pick up a MSR style 1.5L cup with heat sinks.

    Various rebuild, test rides and what not pics:





  6. Richarde1605

    Richarde1605 Long timer

    Jan 1, 2015
    QLD Australia
    Eighteenth probably
  7. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA, 2016 R1200RT Supporter

    Jan 4, 2014
    Redding, CA
    Just sayin’: That would be a great opening line for a novel!
    patrkbukly, Vandergraf, kwisn and 8 others like this.
  8. Wichser

    Wichser Been here awhile

    Jan 24, 2019
    This is the epic rides section after all, got to keep it classy
  9. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

    Jul 23, 2010
    Central Minn.
  10. Chips900S

    Chips900S Been here awhile

    Jul 13, 2017
    Central VT
    In! I can relate man I’ve worked on cars for about 13 years here in Vermont and I’ll be following your lead very shortly.....
    billmaxx97 and ArdenLoneWolf like this.
  11. KneeDrachen

    KneeDrachen Long timer

    Jul 23, 2006
    Northern Maryland

    Pure poetry, this.

  12. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Jul 29, 2012
    west side of the pond
    This is good. Seriously good. No. Better than that. Better than good. Great! Seriously f-ing great!
  13. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy Supporter

    Oct 12, 2004
    Auburn, CA
    I like your style. :photog In.
    Foot dragger and Dan Diego like this.
  14. Bigbore4

    Bigbore4 Long timer

    Oct 21, 2010
    Andover MN USA
    Yea, me too. IN!
  15. Coldstreak

    Coldstreak Been here awhile

    Mar 10, 2015
    St. Paul, MN
    I've got a KLR so I can sympathize and all that other shat. In.
    Bigger Al and Dan Diego like this.
  16. Thrasherg

    Thrasherg Adventurer

    May 2, 2011
    Still trying to see where the goat comes into this story!! :imaposer
    Dan Diego and KneeDrachen like this.
  17. Turtletownman

    Turtletownman Been here awhile

    Apr 27, 2014
    The lovers quarrel in the parking lot?
    Bigbore4 likes this.
  18. FirePig

    FirePig Ah'm a pig. Supporter

    Jul 5, 2009
    Santa Rosa, CA
  19. Knobbly Studios

    Knobbly Studios Knob

    Feb 19, 2019
    All the way In. This sounds like my cuppa...
  20. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Been here awhile

    Aug 10, 2013
    Houston area
    I totally missed that you were riding in GA (where I grew up) until you mentioned the "Butts County Sheriff". There is only one Butts County in the US.
    Scotdotcom likes this.