First tank report

tim

I found out the other day that I can’t change gears on the KLR with my dirt bike boots on. This morning I adjusted the gear lever up one notch and tested the theory again: much better. The other problem I find with the boots is that they push my knees up just enough to touch on the ridge of the side fairing. I haven’t swapped out the rubber foot pegs for metal dirt bike pegs, so that might help when the time comes. I’ll try to get some lower (or at least lower profile) pegs, and I might even be able to move the gear lever back down. I’d still rather ride in regular shoes, but after riding for a while in the boots today, I pretty much forgot about them.

I’ve been checking out the options for a bigger windscreen for the KLR. The stock screen isn’t bad, but the turbulence hits right on the visor line, and also tends to hit the tops of my shoulders, which is not so good on a cold night. There are a number of suppliers who make screens and spoilers for the KLR, but so far the choices seem pretty subjective, and I’m loth to spend over a hundred dollars on a piece of plastic that doesn’t do the job (for that matter, not keen on spending $100+ on any piece of plastic). I’d also read that the screen is a cause of turbulence itself, and that removing it can make a difference. I tested that today, and while the overall buffeting is not as intense, the wind hits the whole front of you, and hits hardest just below the helmet line. I’ve put the screen back on…

I still like the idea of the Laminar Lip or the MRA Vario Touring Screen. The former is a spoiler for the existing screen (or a taller one), and the latter is a spoiler and screen combination, with a range of positions to deflect the wind to best suit the height and riding position of the rider. Most reports are good, particularly of the Vario screen. It’s not much taller than the stock one, but apparently does an amazing job of deflecting the wind over the rider’s head. While a taller screen is still an option, the truth is I’d rather a short screen and spoiler that can do near enough to the same job. If only there was somewhere I could try them all out…

The crash bars are doing their job, and feel fine on the road. I tightened them up today.

I also bought a pair of Panasonic earphones this morning. The include a neck lanyard which keeps the ear buds suspended when they’re not in my ears, and also attaches to the case of my iPod nano. They’re a little toppy, but they block out a lot of external sound, which is great. The lead and lanyard are just long enough to reach the top pocket I use for the iPod.

I hit reserve for the first time today, as well, after 345km. I’m pretty impressed with the range of the 22l tank. It appears that the reserve is about 3 or 4l.

Nearly had a spill on the way to the servo this afternoon, though. I approached (downhill) a roundabout a little fast, and decided too late not to take the gap I was looking at. I hit the back brake too hard and locked the wheel, and black-patched all the way to the line. I couldn’t stop myself from hitting the back brake, but eventually managed to ease off it and apply more of the front. It was a stupid mistake, but fortunately I managed to keep the bike upright and stopped just over the line.

Forgot to mention that the Wolfman Beta has also finally arrived. It’s a nice bag (which it would want to be for the money), and it mounts really well to the bike, with plenty of pressure straps for the bag’s contents as well. All the straps have plenty of length in them, and it’s very simple to attach and remove it. Saddle bags would still be better (required) for two-up riding, but for a solo ride the Beta is great. And big.

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