GPX files

I am getting questions about how to download the GPX files for our rides all the time. Now I have the time to put together an illustrated how-to, to make everyone’s life easier.

So, first step is to go to the KLR Ramblers website and click on the link which is supposed to lead you to the GPX file. This is the obvious part.

The link will take you to Dropbox.com. I have chosen Dropbox as our file hosting provider for a practical and a selfish reason. The most important is, Dropbox is offering a reasonable large storage for free, and the more personal reason is, Dropbox client is available on all platforms what I am using every day. Although the KLR Ramblers files are hosted for free, Dropbox a company which is trying to make money, so I am not upset about they approach to trying to gather new customers and sell subscriptions, but here it is how can you go around.

After clicking on the download link, you will get the below screens, depending on if you are downloading on a computer or a mobile device.

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Dropbox on a PC
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Dropbox on a mobile device

Instead of creating an account, logging in or downloading an application, simply just click where the red arrows are indicating, to jump to the download.

In the next step, just click on the “Direct download” link (indicated by red arrows) and the file transfer will begin.

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Dropbox on a PC
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Dropbox on a mobile device

After the completed download, the file will be in your “Download” folder most likely or in the folder what you specified before the download just began.

If this “how-to” doesn’t work for you or you think I forgot something, please let me know through our contact form.

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Losing weight, gaining muscles

Today I have done what I wanted to do a very long time ago, weighted my KLR. There were a loads of swaps and changes on the KLR since it rolled out from the dealership, and many of these changes had the aim to reduce the weight of the motorcycle.

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How much does it weights?

Let see what have been done.

  • Swapping the stock plastic hand guards to Barkbuster Storm hand guards. It is a bit of additional weight but I am not sure how much. I consider this as a must for me and I don’t care about its weight. The Barkbuster hand guards are saved my controls and my hand a number of times already.
  • SW Motech crash bars. Definitely additional weight, but after cracking the plastic fairing it was considered a must have for me, just like the hand guards. I didn’t dare to measure this heavy stuff. Must weight a ton. :-)
  • I did swap the stock foot pegs to the IMS Super Stock foot pegs. It was a change for more comfort and stability. Although I did not measure these items, I believe, these are slightly lighter than the stock pegs.
  • With the change of the footpegs I was in the need for a slightly longer gear shift leaver. The IMS Flightline Shift Lever compliments nicely the foot pegs. I opted for the one inch longer version.
  • Another change for comfort was the ARTRAX handlebar risers. Definitely additional weight, but not much. You need to be aware of the fact that a loads of small things will add up and 100 gramms will accumulate to Kilograms.
  • I have changed the stock windscreen to the Zero Gravity Sport Touring windscreen also in the hope of more comfort. It did worked well and added a clip on extension to it for a mix of additional comfort and “optical tuning”. Little more weight again.
  • Let’s get down to the heavy weight stuff. Changing the stock battery to a Li-Ion was definitely about losing weight. The battery project ended up with shredding off 3.8 Kg from the KLR.
  • Changing the muffler to the FMF Q4 was also definitely about losing weight. More precisely about losing 3 Kg. The good thing in the FMF Q4, that it has a spark arrestor and a quiet insert which definitely makes it a pass on the WoF but the sound of the motorcycle is changing to awesome.
  • Together with some extra hardware (nuts, bolts, spacers and aluminum plates) a plastic toolbox has been added to the rear rack for a convenient but inexpensive storage space. It looks like the Pelican cases, but it is the cheap Chinese version. Newer measured the weight of it, the practicality overweights it.
  •  have taken off the plastic sub fender for visual improvement and weight saving in 50-50%.
  • Finally we can count some extra weight, represented by nick-necks like GPS holder, USB charger and extra cables, mounting straps for the tank bag and such.

I am not sure you have read everything above, and I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t read it entirely because I would like to know only the final number, so here it is.

199 Kg

The KLR in its final form weights one hundred and ninety-nine Kilograms. I definitely expected less, but doing a bit more counting makes the figures look nice.

The motorcycle was serviced a couple of weeks ago, so it has all the fluids, such as engine oil, coolant, brake fluids, etc. as it is in the manual. Before the weighting I had a stop at the petrol station and filled up the tank to the rim to present the motorcycle as heavy as possible.

By the manual, the curb weight of the 2014 KLR 650 is 196Kg. After a second read and re-considering the loads of extra additions the 3 Kg plus isn’t that much. I am pleased with the KLR.

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Tank bag

We haven’t done a product review for a long time and this is right because we spent the time with organizing rides and riding together.I was eyeing with tank bags for a long time but didn’t take the effort to get to a higher energy level which results in action. Durin the motorcycle show, I could visit the few accessory resellers and find out, there is nothing available there what would please me.

I was eyeing with tank bags for a long time but didn’t take the effort to get to a higher energy level which results in action. Durin the motorcycle show, I could visit the few accessory resellers on the showground and find out, there is nothing available what would please me.

krg01

Since I wanted to stuff only some small things into the tank bag, like wallet, phone, camera, etc. I was looking for a small one. After doing some “research” on the Internet, I wanted the Kriega OS 6 with a tank adapter. Since all the nearby or accessible stores in NZ had only the old Kriega US 5 bags, I decided to order mine from Australia (MX Store). The Kriega OS 6 was designed to correct some design flaw of the Kriega US 5 bags, and funny enough, I could get it cheaper (including shipping) than walking into a shop in NZ and buy the old design.

So get down to the bag. I think the original design idea is following the MOLLE design line which was developed for the army and stands for “Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment”.

Since I was housebound for the weekend, I took my time to get things done properly.

The first thing what you need to do is secure two straps under your seat. It just did not go easy, the KLR presented a good mind-bending puzzle, to find not just a way to get this done, but get it done in the perfect way.

krg06

Finally, I got the two little plastic tabs sticking out from under the seat. Just in case, I put a bit of duct tape between the plastic tabs and the tank to prevent the paint being rubbed off.

Next item is to attach the tank adapter to it and drive two straps around the headstock of the KLR to secure it over the tank.

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Yes, you see it correctly, it is covering the tank cap, and will need to be detached when I am filling up the motorcycle with petrol. I will find out later, how much trouble it is.

The Kriega OS 6 bag is neat and all the materials and the way of construction is convincing. It looks like something that will last, and this feeling is supported by the 10 years warranty coming with the bag.

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After some wiggling and trial and error, I found the perfect place for the bag on the adapter and everything isn’t just ready for adventure now, but also looks good.

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The summary of my experience is so far positive. Good materials, quality workmanship, and relatively easy installation. Let see how it will perform on the Northland Rally.

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Preparing for summer

We are at the middle of the winter here in New Zealand and many of us, apart from the occasional weekend day trips, are preparing for the spring and summer time multi day tours.

It takes time to learn from our own mistakes, or from other other people’s mistakes, and plan and prepare more or less perfectly for the “big” summer trip.

I have collected a few ideas what worked for me. I hope these can help you as well.

  1. Have a packing list for every trip and save it for the future. I am an extreme example, I have all my packing lists back for almost ten years. When I am going to somewhere, I pick the last list from a similar trip and going through on it critically. What did I use from the list? Pack it again. What I did not use? Leave at home this time. Was anything I missed during the trip? Do not forget this time.
    plist1
    Stuff for 4 days

    By know I don’t really need to think much about packing. Most scenarios were played over a few times and packing is brought down to the essential. You can ask, why I am not sharing my list? Simply because everyone are different. What works for me, maybe doesn’t work for you. I am sure, you will figure out things quickly on your own.

    plist2
    Everything from above loaded
  2. Choose the right trip for the motorcycle you have. Yes, you can ride through gavel toads on a Kawasaki ZX10R, but there is a very slim chance, that you will actually enjoy it. Experts say, choose the motorcycle for the most challenging part. If you ride 5000 km and 1000 km is off-road and single track, you are better off with a 600 or 400 cc light dual-purpose motorcycle than a Versys 1000LT. At the same time the opposite is also true. For a 7000 km road trip a 250 cc single cylinder bike is not the best choice. I hear the voices saying, “I did it.” and “Yes, you can.” and it is true, but how much will you en joy it? Do you want to remember, and recall later the struggle from one day to the other, or the joyful riding?
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    The right motorcycle for the right trip. (everide.org)

    Many of us are having one motorcycle only and we don’t want or can’t change it frequently. I am certainly belonging to this group, and I rather plan my own trips to suit me and my ride than follow others’ path.

  3. Wrong riding gear. I am talking about “adventure riding” only now. Leathers are great on the track or on a sunny Sunday afternoon, but on a week long trip it is questionable. Here in New Zealand, you need to be prepared to all 3 seasons (1), in every season. Make sure your gear is layered and have sufficient protection all times.
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    Atrocious situation, atrocious riding gear

    What works for me is a textile jacket with removable lining or a thermal jacket, MX body armor, long sleeve t-shirt or turtle-neck, t-shirt and a rain jacket what I can pull over all of this. These layers can be combined and changed easily even at the middle of a trip.

  4. Gadget mania. Do not take too much gadgets withbetween you. Multitude of special containers and boxes, phone, tablet, laptop, compact camera, SLR camera, action camera, 8 different charger, drone, etc. Are you going to use all these enough frequently to worth carry it? I see the point in using a drone at a certain spectacular spot, but worth it carrying it for 7 days? Do you really need a laptop and tablet?
    overload
    Gadget overload

    You are supposed to be busy with riding and at the end of the day enjoying the location and/or nature and not doing business, editing videos and photos. For me a smartphone is enough. Anyway, very likely on the country side you have no phone coverage and Internet connection on most places. On the other hand, if you can’t leave work behind for a few days or even for a couple of weeks, don’t go. Your mind will be constantly occupied with thoughts around your work, and can take away not just the pleasure of riding, but also present a safety concern if you are not turning 100% of your attention to the betweenbetweenriding on the road.

  5. Connected to point 4, too much weight. A lot of small things will come together to a humongous weight at the end. Be practical. On an adventure ride, it is really matter if you need to lift a 250 kg motorcycle, or one which weights “just” 200 kg. An overloaded motorcycle will be only “pain under your backside”. You don’t need 3 pots and 2 pans.
    pan-lid
    Deep pan with a lid – universal

    One deep pan with a lid and a metal mug always served me perfectly. Be critical of your gear. There are very few things what is a must to carry. The rest will be maybe missed, but you can go on without it. Since you have your packing list, you can add the dearly missed stuff to the packing list of the next trip.

  6. Riding too much or too little in one day. It is hard to tell how much you should ride one day. It is depending on the rider and the road/terrain you travelling through. Know your limits, have frequent breaks and you will figure out what works for you. A good idea to keep your riding plan flexible as possible. If you need to rush to catch a plane, train or ferry, your holiday will turn into a crazy cannonball run.

(1) If I want to be honest, the NZ weather is going around an early spring – summer – late autumn, early spring again cycle, at most of the North Island.

OsmAnd tutorial

In connection with our March ride, one of the recommended GPS mapping applications was OsmAnd. On the May ride, I have been asked if we can get it working instantly on a phone for the ride. Since I am using a Garmin 62s for a long time now, I am out of touch with the changes of OsmAnd and embarrassingly, I could not get the downloaded GPX file loaded in the map on the spot.

Finally I had the time and could put together a quick tutorial on how to use OsmAnd on our ride. So here we go….

  1. First step is to download and install OsmAnd from Google Play or Apple App Store. After starting the application, you need to download the country specific map to the phone. The map is about 170-200MB, so better to get it done when you are connected to a Wi-Fi network.
    010.pngI like OsmAnd because it is a good quality software, free to use (including the maps)  and can work off-line, without phone or data coverage, relaying only on the built in GPS in the phone. You even can switch the phone to flight mode to save battery power by disabling cellular and data connection.
  2. Once you have OsmAnd running and you have the map, go to the KLR Ramblers website and download the GPX file for the ride.
  3. Start OsmAnd, touch the menu sign.
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  4. In the menu, select My Places.
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  5. In  “My Tracks” select the “+” sign and find the GPX file you just downloaded.
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  6. When the GPX file is loaded, it will be found in the My Tracks list and you are good to jump to the next step.
    Go back to the main screen and touch the “Navigation” symbol.
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  7. In the navigation option, select the “Settings” sign.
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  8. Roll down to the “GPX Route” option.
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  9. Touch the “Select GPX” option and you will see the list of GPX routes you have uploaded.
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  10. Select the route which you would like to follow, and on the next screen immediately un-select the “Calculate route between points” option.
    Even the most expensive GPS is still unable to read our mind (fortunately), and will take you to places with auto-routing where you did not want to go.
    In my opinion, better to do the research and put your route together by yourself than making extra miles on crowded, boring highways, wasting time and petrol instead of riding on the pleasant tiny gravel roads of the country side.
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  11. Going back to the main screen, you will see the route displayed on the map. Remember, a route in a GPS means a series of way-points connected with straight lines to indicate the order you are planning to pass through those points. Here is a post about way-points, routes and tracks and how these are working. You still need to find the way between those points, but all this laid down over a map, it is rather easy.
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On the June ride we have a GPX file with the route only. I made this tutorial for that ride. On other rides we provided the track as well. If you are loading a GPX track into OsmAnd, you will get a couple of different options when you lay it over the map, but I am sure If you got through this tutorial without trouble, you will deal with that successfully as well.

Take care on the road, and see you on out next KLR Ramblers ride.

 

MC mod

There is a mod from Eagle Mike, dubbed as the MC mod. In this mod, the exhaust cam has been advanced with one tooth (counter clockwise). They are claiming 7%-10% torque and horse power increase thanks to this mod and no downsides. No more oil or petrol consumed.

This last statement is a bit strange for me, because you cannot get extra performance out of thin air. This made me curious about what is in the background of this mod technically.

The engine is going through the four strokes as:

  1. Exhaust
  2. Intake
  3. Compression
  4. Combustion

4StrokeEngine_Ortho_3D_Small

Looking at a camshaft, the sequence would be as follows:

  1. The exhaust lobe pushes open the exhaust valve and the piston comes up to push the exhaust out, then starts to close.
  2. The intake starts to open, just as the exhaust is closing, piston goes down, and the intake valve closes.
  3. Then both valves stay closed for the compression and combustion strokes.

This means that the first lobe to come through the rotation will be the exhaust lobe, immediately followed by the intake lobe.

camtiming

Overlap is the point where the exhaust valve is closing, and the intake valve is just opening. To increase overlap, you have to RETARD the EXHAUST, and/or ADVANCE the INTAKE.  To reduce overlap, you have to ADVANCE the EXHAUST, and/or RETARD the INTAKE.

In our case, the MC mod is reducing the overlap between the operation of the exhaust and intake valves. In cam tuning it is known to increase low RPM power, and causing no change or reducing the high RPM power.

From the point of an outsider (me), looks like when the exhaust valve closes earlier, no air/fuel mixture can escape through the exhaust valve and also, maybe, a bit higher pressure will be present in the cylinder when the piston starts to move upwards.

For me, seems that there is no “negative” effect of this mod, because the extra power is earned from saving a bit of air/fuel mixture by not letting it escape through the exhaust valve, but I don’t have real experience in internal combustion engine tuning. If you find my logic faulty, please let me know and we can discuss it and I will update the post accordingly.

Here is a video of guys doing the MC mod.

 

Meet-up

Finally I had the time to process all the pictures from the ride on 08/04/2017 and put it here on the blog. Technically it was not a KLR Ramblers ride, I just tagged along. We had a loads of fun and I am sure, everyone learned something useful there. We did all sorts of exercises like breaking, safe cornering, down-hill, up-hill riding and so on. A big thank you going to Joao for organizing this ride.

Click on the circles for the full size picture.