Nov 16 2008

Nothing, really…


There seems to be less to report of late, in terms of modifications to the bike etc. There’s still plenty to do, but a few of the upcoming mods will take both money and time.

I have managed to get a few rides of different lengths in of late though, apart from the occasional commute to work. A few weeks back I spent some time riding along tight, twisty mown tracks in a paddock with my brother-in-law (on a KLX250) and my nephew (on a Suzuki 80). It was interesting to see how nimble the KLR could be on such a tight track, on grass, and on road tyres. It did OK, and kept pace with the 250 and the 80 with no dramas. I did manage to drop it a couple of times when the throttle completely overpowered the grip of the tyres. Looking forward to trying some different rubber.

Tested out the luggage-hauling capacity of the bike the other week, too. I spent Melbourne Cup weekend camping with some friends, and decided to go by bike with my gear on the back. The Wolfman bag was great, and this time I added a tent and a camp chair to the ensemble. The bike handled the weight perfectly. That weekend confirmed to me that I’ll need a tank bag (for gadgets and ready-access stuff) and a tail box (for hard items such as tools and cooking gear) for proper touring, but that’s OK. On a group trip, where it’s more about the travel and less about comfort-camping, it wouldn’t be hard to be self-sufficient on bikes.

Took a friend for a ride the other night. We started in evening sunshine as we left Healesville and headed to Don Valley. By the time we had ridden the Old Warburton Road it had started to turn a little colder, and the light was just starting to fade. We decided to head back via Mt Donna Buang, and about half way up we encountered some fog. Which then turned into pea-sop fog. We rode most of the trip over the mountain in 2nd gear, over bitumen and dirt. Fortunately we only encountered one vehicle coming the other way, though the driver hadn’t thought to put his headlights on. Anyway, we came out of the fog, and as we came down the mountain we saw a spectacular sunset… so it was all worth it in the end.

Managed to drop my key while taking it out of the ignition the other night. Eventually found it between the fairing and the radiator. Grrr…

Blue Ridge Racing has a nice range of motorbike tool kits. If the Aussie dollar ever makes a comeback…

I just seem to be rambling… I should stop.

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Sep 14 2008

The tool kit is rubbish


Seriously, the stock tool kit is just garbage. I’d learnt as much back in the KLX days. To it’s credit the KLR’s kit provides you with the tools you need to get the wheels off, so that’s an improvement, I guess. But after that, it just gets scary:

  • The 6mm / 8mm spanner is actually 6mm and 6mm. Don’t believe everything you read
  • The side covers, probably one of the most-removed parts of a bike, require a 8mm socket (plus extension post) or tube spanner. Kawa don’t do sockets (not that I’d trust them if they did), and they don’t do a 8mm tube spanner. Flat battery? Tough.
  • There’s a 12mm tube spanner, but it’s capped on the other end, and doesn’t have a hole to use a screwdriver for leverage, so you need a 17mm spanner on the other end to use it
  • 19 and 27mm ring spanners are made of pressed steel. They need an extender (a flattened tube spanner, effectively) to get any real leverage. Considering the use they’ll get (axles) and the space and weight they occupy (almost none), I’ll keep them
  • The 10/12 and 14/17mm open spanners are typical stock kit stuff. Forged, but not great. Since adding the crash bars I need a 13mm spanner, so I need to add to this anyway. The whole lot are going.
  • The spark plug spanner doubles as a screwdriver handle. Not a beautiful piece of engineering, but it wills stay.
  • Small and large Phillips Head drivers aren’t wonderful, but they’re a job lot with the spark plug spanner, so they’ll stay.
  • Multigrips are trash. I’ll be looking for a replacement for those
  • Allen Keys are OK, though I’ll probably replace them down the track. I’d just rather know where I got them from, I guess
  • The spanner extender is simple enough, and will add leverage to the spanners and the allen keys, plus the screwdriver shafts fit inside it. It stays.

So, the plan is to keep the 6, 19 and 27mm spanners, the allen keys, the spark plug spanner, the screwdrivers and the spanner extender thingy. Everything else goes.

First purchase (I tried today, but they were closed) will be these Bahco Reversible Ratchet Spanners. The three spanners each have 4 different metric sockets, which is quite nifty, and they’re ratchets too. As you can see, I’m showing off my tool knowledge (that is my knowledge of tools, not the other kind), which is almost nil. Still, they cover off all the spanner sizes I could need, and they have to be better than what I have.

I’m also going to replace the side cover bolts with allen-head bolts, then removing the need for a socket or tube spanner. I’ll keep an eye out for any others that are likely to be a problem, too.

I’ll replace the multigrips, add tyre irons and probably add one or two other things. I’d like to strike a balance between the useless stock kit, and the monster kit on this thread. This guy has thought of everything. I’d be happy with the best of what he’s got, if I can find somewhere to house it on the bike. I’m thinking the left side cover might be a suitable host for some of it.

UPDATE: Picked up the spanner set and a dozen allen drive bolts today. I realised that the radiator shrouds use the same size bolts, and I figured with a little effort I’d find more to replace. What I didn’t realise is that the washers on the side covers and shrouds are captive, so I’ll need to get some washers. Only the smallest of the spanners will fit in the stock toolkit case, so I’ll need to do some thinking about where I’m going to put the full kit once it is all assembled.

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