Dakar 2018

One of the yearly big “adventure” motor-sport events is the Dakar Rally. The 2018 race will dash through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. In this rider and machine testing event, there will be three riders on Kawasaki motorcycles. We all know, you could do the Dakar Rally on a KLR 650, but you would not stand a chance to win it, and maybe you would look for an early finish of the race, because not being able to complete stages within the available time limits. The KLR 650 is a donkey, it will do almost everything and take you everywhere, but for the Dakar, you will need a race horse.

For three riders, the choice of weapon is the Kawasaki KX 450 F.

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Kawasaki KX 450 F

Of course the necessary modifications were done to make it work on the 14 days and 9000 km race, where 4500 km will be raced against the clock.

Patricio Cabrera from Chile did race the Dakar in 2017 and with the help of Kawasaki Chile, finished in the overall 33th position. Patricio will race again in 2018.

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Patricio Cabrera

Cristobal Andres Guldman Gonzalez, a fellow countrymen of Patricio, also participated in the 2017 race and finished in an overall 65th position with th help of RPM- Marcelo Sánchez. We will see him at the start of the 2018 Dakar Rally again.

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Cristobal Andres

The Dakar race also not new for Emiliano Carbonero from Argentina. He finised the 2017 race in the overall 62nd place with the help of the RPM Kawasaki Team. He also will dash trough the start line of the rally this year.

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Emiliano Carbonero

We wish not just a successful race for the three Kawasaki riders, but a good time as well.

You can follow the 40th edition of the Dakar Rally on the official website and the web pages of the competitors, but I will try to give a regular summary of the motorcycle related events here as well.

 

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Doohickey

“Doohickey” is a placeholder name to refer to a machine or a piece of a machine what you cannot recall its name, function or both from time to time.

In the KLR world, the doohickey refers to the “Balancer Chain Adjuster Lever” which gained a bad reputation as a part which can break over the time due to design flaw.

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Lets’ be honest, the old doohickey is looking flimsy and the fact, that it has been put together from two parts, doesn’t make it really reliable.

But just like with any other parts of the KLR, what owners aren’t 100% happy for whatever reason, you can get different after-market parts. The choices are almost endless in any area.

The reason I am writing about it now, is because the question emerged a few times, if this bit is still recommended to be replaced on the “new” KLR 650?

I think the best explanation if we put the three doohickey next to each other.

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The left one is the old two part doohickey. The middle one is the doohickey from the “new” KLR 650. The third one is an after-market one.

The new doohickey is machined from one piece of metal and definitely looks more solid than the old one.

In terms of over-engineering, the after-market doohickey is the winner.

A broken doohickey can be a big problem anywhere. Doesn’t matter if it is your near by back country road or the remote steppes of Siberia . OK, in Siberia it is a bigger problem.

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And now, the big question. Am I going to replace the doohickey on my 2014 KLR 650? No. I don’t just want to believe it, but the pictures are supporting, that the Japanese engineers are did acknowledged the problem with the old part, and did address it. In terms of engineering I think it is designed sufficiently to hold -up on the rides I am doing. Perhaps, if one day I will embark on an around the world trip on this motorcycle, maybe I will change it to the over-engineered after-market one, but until then I am happy with the current doohickey.

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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Sunday Rambling

After the first “floating above the road” video, I did try to make a more lively video about the ride today. I hope it can make people excited about “adventure motorcycle riding”.

I know it isn’t a project which can compete with around the world documentaries, but I don’t want to do that at all.

It can still tickle the adventurer in everyone because all these, what you can see on the video is just at our door step. If you can spare 2-3 hours once in a month and put aside $3000-$4000 for a second hand motorcycle (it can be even cheaper if you are not afraid of doing some fixing and maintenance by yourself), you can ride the very same roads and much more.

I really hope you will enjoy the video.

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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.

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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.

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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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