Home ADV News The KLR Kronicles: Chapter three

The KLR Kronicles: Chapter three

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With ad-man Mitch’s KLR back on the pace it was time to have a look at the editor’s 2007 model.

This bike was purchased sight-unseen from an ad on the Australian KLR Riders Facebook page. It’s the first of the Gen 2 models and had 44,000km on the odo. The bike had seen some serious adventuring and was a little rough around the edges cosmetically, but seemed to be in good shape mechanically. An FMF full system meant it was louder than stock, but it also offered noticeably more snort. The bike passed rego in both Queensland and, a few days later, NSW, so the exhaust is clearly legal.

The previous owner was a tall bloke and the ’bars were set high on Rox Risers. Rubber was a near-new Pirelli Scorpion front and rear, and the rack was fitted with a plate to accept a large Rjays topbox – supplied with the bike. Footpegs were an aftermarket type with no brand, but were a good size and in good shape. The mount bolts on one side had worked loose and the bolts were bent and missing thread.

First up the top box hit the spares bin, and removing the mounting plate showed the rack was a bit how’s-your-father. The plastic centre plate was in pieces. A quick visit to the Facebook page found another, and a valuable source of KLR parts, information and coffee in ‘Mac’, one of the members.

Awesome.

It was time to start some tuning for the rider’s tastes.

First up were the rear blinkers.

The KLR system is actually pretty good, but there’d been a past problem with the right rear on this bike. After making it through the rego checks the whole blinker unit worked loose and dangled down in the exhaust gas during a ride. It melted. They’re as dear as poison and stick out a fair way, so were replaced with short, compact rubber-mounted units. Cost was about $20 for a pair.

The bracket for the rear brake line was missing, so a new one was fabricated that kept the line on top of the swingam and – hopefully – out of harm’s way.

Moving forward, the sidestand foot was rubbing on the swingarm and scoring the metal, so the stand and all the switching was removed and the tang on the frame gently persuaded to a slightly steeper angle.

It’s a laborious process, but if you stick a pipe on the end of the stand and drag it outward you’re likely to spread the arms of the bracket and end up no better off in the long run.

Next up was to change the ’bars from the tall, steel ’bars to KTM SX ’bars, the rider’s personal preference. The alloy ’bars are a little flatter and wider, and Rox Risers were swapped for pair that would accommodate the fat, crossbrace-free pair.

Stock mirrors were changed to a pair of ‘Folding Dualsport Mirrors’ from Adventure Bike Australia. These guys have some great product for the KLR, and the service is really first-class. The mirrors are copies of the KTM folding mirrors, but are about half the price. There’s been a fair bit of gear for this bike purchased from Adventure Bike Australia, and just to clear the air, it was all purchased. There were no freebies or deals done. The excellent service and great product kept us going back.

The Barkbusters and mirrors clashed with the taller, aftermarket Zero Gravity screen. Some ridiculously expensive – but awesomely good-looking – mirror extensions sorted the mirrors, and the Barkbusters are a problem waiting to be solved.

The engine itself seems to be in good shape. It’s using very little oil, was a little noisey on the left-hand side, but had no obvious problems. An Eagle Mike doohickey and torsion spring from Adventure Bike Australia was purchased and with the correct adjustment on the balancer chain things are smooth and solid.

Adventure Bike Australia also had some JNS footpeg mounts that moved the ’pegs down and back while still keeping the ’pegs and mounts above the bottom frame rail, so they were fitted.

It’s created problems with the placement of the brake pedal and gear shifter, and that’s looking like a cut’n’weld solution in the near future.

There’s a new KLRDash.com full dash fitted so the GPS can sit front-and-centre.

Fitting the dash turned into a bit of a mission, and we were lucky to be able to get some time with a really good bike builder and his workshop. He handled the fiddley work and made sure the installation was solid and polished, and that the GPS sat level and secure in the rider’s eyeline.

While we had the services of a first-rate tech we also fitted a pair of suspension ‘dog-bone’ linkages that raised the rear about 25mm.

The bike now sits flatter and has the rider in a far more commanding attitude both on the seat and on the footpegs. The bike feels like an aggressive dirt bike busting to attack some tough terrain.

Finally for this chapter, the Pirelli Scorpions were swapped for a pair of new Motoz Tractionators.

That’s where the bike’s up to right now.

Next the bike’s off to Safari Tanks in Victoria for a larger fuel cell. While it’s there the Touratech folks are going to give the bike an adventure fit-out with some of their premium equipment. Once that’s done the position of the brake pedal and gear lever will be sorted and the bike will start some serious, real-world test riding. It’ll be thrown in at the deep end, you can bet.

If you’d like to give this KLR a really close-up inspection, it’ll be on display on the Touratech stand at the Melbourne Moto Expo.

More updates soon.

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