Planning for a Birthday in Prudhoe Bay

Discussion in 'Americas' started by black 8, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    This adventure has been in the making for two years since my retirement on September of 2015. I have taken a couple of cross-country treks from San Diego to Key West visiting family and to enjoy my new found freedom from my electronic leash.

    With the blessing and support of my wife, I'll be spending my 50th birthday on an adventure ride to Alaska. My wife and I lived in Anchorage for two years from 2005-2007 and ever since then Alaska has been beckoning me to return.

    My plans came to fruition last October when I visited my SoCal dealer and purchased this Camo KLR-650 at a sweet price of $5,400+ tax and title. I was trying to get away from camo and wanted all black but it's starting to grow on me. I attended the MSF course in 2008 on a KLR-650 and have always loved the handling of this light adventure bike. The other reason(s) for selecting this two wheeled pig was the 6.1 gallon gas tank for it's extended range and the simplicity of on-the-go fixes.

    Over the past few months I started researching information pertaining to ADV rides to the Arctic Circle. I was confident that others have laid the ground work and it was just a matter of finding the source - that's when I stumbled across the Adventure Rider Forum. Since then; I have read just about every ride report to Alaska, the Alaska and Haul Road Primers, tire threads, calcium chloride threads, gear threads, modifications, youtube videos, and then some. I thank all the inmates that contributed their wealth of knowledge to this resource for those of us just starting out on ADV rides.

    Which brings me to today. I was mostly on the sidelines lurking about reading but decided to pull the trigger and create my first thread to add my own trials and tribulations on planning for my Alaska ADV.

    Inclusive dates are tentatively 22 May through 22 June 2017.

    Cheers...

    IMG_0014.JPG
    #1
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  2. willys

    willys Long timer

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    Welcome from another KLR rider....get the seat organized for your fit and it'll serve you well.....research it and how to make your own if you can work simple tools.....it's easy. Enjoy the trip, you're going at the same time as the D2D, roughly so maybe search this out also...
    Again welcome.
    #2
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  3. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    Thanks - - - I'll definitely look at that seat mod. Can't be that hard to shave off some foam. My first trip to Florida on a Kawasaki Versys; stock seat + damp Scorpion riding jeans from rain + too lazy to put on rain gear = "monkey butt".

    Lesson learned was get a set of Klim jacket and pants, one less thing to bring and ride through the rain. Already signed up for D2D as #36. Looking forward to my first one.
    #3
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  4. willys

    willys Long timer

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    IF you are one of us larger framed buys...trying to be polite ...lol
    You'll want to widen the seat and firm it up. I start from scratch and build up a new one....it is easy really....I won't get into it on your thread as it's a long discription etc, but it makes a solid seat similar to the Corbin.
    #4
  5. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    I must admit that I am not as slim and trim as I use to be and have put on some retirement lbs - c'est la vie :jkam

    I googled the seat mod and looks simple enough to remove the staples and trim the foam down to desired size by a guy named Weiderfan's Motorcycle Channel. Others also did a gel insert as well...some good stuff.
    #5
  6. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    Taking advantage of Black Friday and end of year sales from the likes of Rocky Mountain ATV/MC and Revzilla - a steady stream of deliveries from UPS, FedEx, and OnTrac began to arrive. At first, I mainly focused on protection for the bike like; crash bars, aluminum skid plate, Barkbusters, and center stand for ease of chain maintenance and flat repair. Afterwards, I went after nice to have farkles for the bike.

    Here is an install of the Eagle Mfg drill through subframe bolt upgrade kit to handle the added weight of panniers and associated ADV camping gear and other supplies. It increases the strength of the subframe bolts especially if you plan to off-road or traverse pothole strewn gravel roads like the Dalton Highway. I've read to many horror stories of KLR owners shearing their subframe bolts due to a heavy load over rough terrain.

    Eagle Mfg drill through bolt upgrade.JPG

    Also upgraded the stock rear shock spring to 9kg (500lbs) to compensate for the added weight of rider w/ gear and supplies I'll be taking for the month long trip. For my set-up; rider w/ gear only - preload is set at (1) with a 30% suspension sag. At a preload setting of (3) the suspension sag sits at 30% fully loaded with a 350+lbs.

    Eibach 9kg spring.jpg
    #6
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  7. willys

    willys Long timer

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    You may wish to drill and tap out your footpeg bolts to the next size up and use 10.9 grade hardware....
    #7
  8. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    Thanks willys - already planned on upgrading 8.8 bolts to 10.9 grade bolts as my upgrades progress. I'm starting to know the people's names at Lowes every time I search for bolts. It's just a pita to get the sizes I need so I resorted to a company called Bolt Depot out of Massachusetts and just order on-line now. Keep those suggestions coming in case I miss something.
    #8
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  9. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    I upgraded the stock exhaust to a LEXX MXe to help shave some weight from all the protection that I've added to the KLR. The stock exhaust weighed a little over 11 lbs after I removed it from the bike while in comparison the LEXX MXe weighed in at 5.5 lbs. It's a little louder than the stock exhaust but it adds a little more pep in the KLR's get-up-and-go when I twist the smile factor grip.

    I went with Tusk panniers and mounts to carry some of the gear that I'll be taking with me up on the trip. IMO they are cost-effective when compared to some of the higher end brand names and will provide both security and keep my gear dry. I'm planning to load the lighter gear; i.e. clothes, sleeping bag, camera gear and such in each pannier and keep the weight down to a maximum of 30 lbs or under to reduce the stress on the mounting bolts (even though I've upgraded them from 8.8 to 10.9 for added strength). The heavier items will reside in a Wolfman dry bag behind me in the 2up position and will serve as a backrest as well.

    Lexx MXE.jpeg

    I've also installed a KLR upper dash and paired it with a Zero Gravity Touring windscreen to help deflect the airflow. Mounted at the highest configuration, the set-up has reduced wind buffeting and the airflow now goes over my helmet. Meanwhile the lower dash will provide my power needs to recharge batteries while on the go. I'm going a step further to waterproof the connections with liquid electrical tape.

    KLR lower dash waterproofing.jpeg
    #9
  10. Lizzard323

    Lizzard323 Solo rider. Lover of solitude and corn meal.

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    deleted
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  11. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    Lizzard - I'll be sure to bring a cupcake and candle to mark the occasion, thanks for the suggestion....
    #11
  12. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    During my research I came across a website appropriately titled "KLR650 FAQ", which is a treasure trove of information on both the 1st and 2nd Generations of the KLR. Granted it is dated information but still relevant to some degree. One of the known issues that struck out to me was the failure of Kawasaki to properly lubricate the swing-arm and rocker-arm bolts during assembly at the plant. A quick query to fellow inmates validated this issue.

    I pulled the rocker-arm bolt and sure enough it was dry as a bone.

    Rocker Arm Pivot Bolt.jpg

    I disassembled the entire swing-arm assembly and lubed all the bolts and bearing sleeves with some Maxima waterproof grease.

    Swing Arm.jpg

    The photo below was submitted by a fellow inmate in our exchange back and forth and was the result of failing to lubricate the rocker-arm bolt for over two decades.....

    Bell driver.jpg
    #12
  13. willys

    willys Long timer

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    Just a small thing, maybe you want to disconect the clutch safety switch and the side stand safety switch, as they will leave you one day standing scratching your head...lol.
    Also I have had to actually cut that bolt out of a customer's swingarm and frame because it was siezed so badly!...hours and hours of work just to get it out, new bearings with plenty of marine grease and all is new. When you see for the first time the earings and how much grease the factory places on them it's criminal. One dab in the centre between the two roller bearings is all they get...how is that suposed to lube anything? It just sits there....watching the bearings rot and ear out....lol
    #13
  14. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    Never thought about that.

    I've heard of riders disconnecting the side-stand safety switch before; I know it prevents one more failure to start if it wears out or if you're doing trails and the kick stand accidentally kills the motor due to downward force from a bump or jolt.

    Other than that what are the other benefits?
    #14
  15. willys

    willys Long timer

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    The only benefit is the fact they will never leave you standing on the side of the road ondering why the bike stopped...other than that....it doesn't serve to do much....you just need to start the bike in neutral all the time if you do not push in the clutch lever or it'll jump....it only takes a couple of goodscares and you always pull clutch in before starting...lol
    The other thing is you must naturally understand to lift your sidestand before you start off....as it won't prevent you from starting the bike after disenableing it....so again a few scrapes etc and that loesson will be learned....lol. Yes we all do it....
    #15
  16. willys

    willys Long timer

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    Oh another thing is to ziptie a spare key somewhere just for emergencies IF you loose your keys so you can at least ride.
    #16
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  17. Lizzard323

    Lizzard323 Solo rider. Lover of solitude and corn meal.

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    I put it on my boot. My ropers..
    #17
  18. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    I was thinking about attaching the spare keys to the tether in my Overland pants right pocket but I didn't feel like getting stabbed by the spare keys if I go down. Their inside my DSLR camera bag cause I'm not losing that bag...
    #18
  19. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    To be on the safe side, I've drilled & tapped swing arms and put grease zerks where they can be reached without too much trouble. An annual grease job is far better than the factory "lubrication?".
    #19
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  20. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    All this talk about lubrication just reminded me to pull the front and rear wheels to see how much grease is in the wheel hubs...
    #20
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