Watch “KLR Ramblers Ride at Thundercross Valley Dirt Bike Park” on YouTube

Great video from Anton. Thank you.


Tire talk

We often talk or argue about tires, based on our experience on different roads, with different riding habits, in different conditions and no question, all of us are right. Does not happen often when you have the chance to test different tires in the same conditions. The February KLR Ramblers ride unintentionally turned out to be a very good opportunity to do that.

Three of us set out for that ride on three different set of tires. Myself had a CST rear tire with a couple of thousands of km wear on it. It was not really a choice of mine, but when my Shinko got completely worn out, there was nothing else I could find and get fitted on my KLR 650 in Wanganui.

tire-CST-C6559 tire-CST-C6559-m

The very imaginatively named Chinese made C6559 was OK on the gravel roads, I did not dare to stress it on the tarmac, but turned out to be next to useless on dirt roads. Long as it is hard packed dirt road with light dust on it, you can get along with it, but in the moment you touch some mud, it clogs up and loose traction. You also cannot expect traction on grass. After the beginners track I did not risk getting on the more advanced tracks, which turned out to be a wise decision. The CST tire presented the lowest performance in this group. Seems, that the Chinese engineers did browse the Internet to see how adventure motorcycle tires looks like and did something based on what they saw, but I felt the real product development and testing have been completely left out from the process. I could recommend the CST C6559 only for a maximum 250cc motorcycle with 90% road use.

The Second set of tire was Michelin Sirac. According to Anton, this is the best 30/70 tire he had so far. It definitely did well on the tarmac, gravel and mild dirt riding.  In shallow mud it still could get some grip and the tread was clearing up quickly. Anton could complete the more technical “B” track with some difficulties but it was done.


The real bad ass tires of the day were the set of Shinko 244 on Herman’s KLR. I had a very good experience with these tires before and when the CST will be a bit more worn out I will get a set of Shinko 244 again. The Shinko 244 took the KLR everywhere where the rider wanted to go. The tread pattern always did clear up very quickly, thanks to the generous spacing of the blocks and the pattern. It provided maximum performance all the time. The only complain I can make about the 244 is the higher tire noise on the motorway, but it is still within the OK range. I felt the Shinko tires being the only true 50/50 tires among the sets I have used so far.



Ride from Auckland to Wanganui

I had four days on my own to spend it on the motorcycle. I used this opportunity to ride from Auckland down to Wanganui.

Since I have ridden the Port Waikato area many times and posted a lot of pictures about it, I started to take photographs just at Raglan.



Sometimes I needed to stop to admire the glorious gravel roads waiting for me to ride.


Glorious gravel roads

Meet the grader machine. It turns the gravel roads to dirt roads for you. :-)


Meet the grader

Obviously, later it will be covered with fresh gravel and compacted.


Freshly graded road

Exciting landscape ahead.


The gravel road begins here (again)

I have found important to have regular stops to refresh myself.


Rest stop

The route cut through a very diverse landscape. My personal favorites were the ones traveling through forests.


Forest route

On long rides in remote areas, you need to have a good plan to refuel from time to time. Gas stations are scarce in some areas.


Morning fuel stop

Traffic jams are common everywhere in New Zealand, but I don’t mind this kind of traffic jam.


Morning traffic jam

I did travel some rarely used farm roads, no need to say these leads through the most beautiful or interesting sections.


Rarely used road

Taumaranui did look like a ghost town.



One of the rest stops to refresh myself and snap a couple of pictures.


Afternoon rest stop

The first glance of the Ruapehu.



Fishers Track was one of the highlights of this trip, but don’t do it alone.


Fishers Track

Close to halfway. The Wanganui River.


Wanganui River

The Wanganui River Road is a sealed road but there are enough roadworks on it to keep it interesting.


Wanganui River Road

King Country with its restless hills.


Restless hills

The Forgotten World Highway (SH34) is one very common element of motorcycle tours. Mostly sealed road with a short gravel section.



An almost empty town, Ohura. with only 120 or so residents.



A lovely spot to stop. Looks like a 17th or 18th-century romantic landscape painting.


Landscape with waterfall

There is no road trip in New Zealand without rain. Here is one which just passed by.



And finally back to the Waikato area.


Waikato area

Here is the route I did from Auckland down to Wanganui.





“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.


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.


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.


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.

Honey! Am I fat?

A fellow rider got intrigued by the previous article on the weight of the KLR 650 and measured his.

He has a California model KLR with only two additions he made.

  • SW-MOTECH crash bars
  • a plastic toolbox for storage on the rear rack

Apart from these, the motorcycle is all stock.

Since he knows the weight of the crash bars and the box at the back, the weight of the stock KLR was easy to calculate.

It is 205 Kg, 9 Kg more than advertised in the technical specifications.

Indeed, the KLR can be considered fat, and very difficult to reduce its weight significantly.

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.


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.


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.