Saturday, April 15, 2017

KLR650 Triple Tree

Have you ever bent the post/stem in the lower triple any motorcycle? Well, sure enough, we pulled it off on our 2016 Kawasaki KLR650.

The damage arose at the Devils Creek Rally in the beginning of March. My son low sided the KLR when the lead made a sudden turn. While he was able to complete the weekend, it was clear that a new bar and right foot peg needed to be ordered.

Then there's always the tweaking of getting the front back in alignment. After a couple tries, I couldn't get the dang thing aligned. Worried that the problem was a fork (or two) I took it to a shop who came back with the tree problem. Dang! I've never had that happen.

Anyway, I found a used lower tree for a 2016 on eBay for $91 (new OEM is $500). After install, the bike came back into alignment. There ya go, there's a first time for everything.

On the bar replacement, we initially went with a ProTaper Contour with the Henry/Reed Bend. Very cool bar, with a fat bar clamp and I had a set of fat-bar Rox Pivot Risers to use...but once on, the bend really didn't work well with the KLR. No loss since I put it on my DR650 and it's working out fine.

So after some more measurements, we decided on the ProTaper SE ATV High Bend and that bar is working out really well. Measurements of this bar are:

Width 32"
Height 6.3"
Pull 4"

Full ProTaper Bar Specs HERE.


I had Trackside Handguards on both my KLR650 and DR650. The handguards on the KLR needed replacement after the low side...and the guards no longer fit the fat bar on the DR, so I moved them over to the KLR with the new ProTaper SE ATV High Bar. The KLR650 is a tough bike to fit with hand guards because of the big front cowl. However, I got them fit with the new bar.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Devil's Creek

My 2016 Kawasaki KLR650 completed its second year at Devils Creek at the first leg of the 2017 AMA Dual Sport Series, this year ridden by my son. I rode our DR650. The only change we made over last year was to better equip it with a set of Dunlop D606 DOT block knobbies. The TKC80s used last year were pretty good, but the 606s made the deep sand much more manageable.

Toy Hauler

When my son purchased a new trailer for his mobile bicycle repair business, we decided to keep the old trailer (a 5 x 9 Haulmark Enclosed) and convert it into a toy hauler. A real toy hauler is a camper/hauler combination. Some are trailers, some are complete mobile units. Very pricey, indeed.

We can make the old Haulmark work for our needs and continue to advertise the bicycle business by not changing the wrap. The first use of the toy hauler trailer was a dual sport rally in Brooksville, but it will serve to haul or bicycles and, with some special mounts, the kayaks and provide a convenient place to bed down for the night.

The only improvements made were adding a flooring, essentially leftover pieces from the new mobile unit build and a touch of paint. It already had electrical connections and lighting.

The hauler can carry two motorcycles and a lot of equipment. We only hauled the DR650 up to Devil's Creek in Brooksville in it because my son came up a day later on the KLR650, but they both go in facing forward and the other facing backward.

At Devil's Creek we still used two tents but the plan is when I go to rallies on my own, I'll slide my inflatable mattress in the trailer, as shown in the second photo below, and sleep inside. Unfortunately, it only has the ramp-type door, but I'm just going to have to make due.

Next stop, Hohenwald, Tennessee and the Southern Discovery TDSA Spring Rally on March 31-April 2.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Nomad Rider Crash Guards

This post serves to summarize my experience with the Nomad Rider Crash Guards.

I purchased a set of Nomad Rider Crash Guards in December 2015 for installation on my 2016 Kawasaki KLR650. The Nomads have a history of fractures that the company reported had been resolved by using thicker tubing. I specifically discussed this with the salesperson at Nomad before agreeing to purchase the bars. I received and installed the guards in early January 2016. See Nomad Rider Crash Bars.

In early March 2016, the right guard fractured at the frame downtube mount point during the Annual Dixie Dualsport Rally. Nomad Rider Promptly replaced the damaged right side guard. See Nomad Rider Crash Bars Broke/Cracked.

In mid May 2016 I suffered a leg injury in a trail fall and was prevented from riding motorcycles until late July and I was unable to ride serious trail (or rally) for the remainder of 2016.

In late December 2016, I noted that the left Nomad Rider Bar had fractured at the left foot peg mounting point. Similar to the first fracture, it was the mounting plate that fractured rather than the tubing. See More Nomad Woes.

Again, I contacted Nomad Rider (providing photos) regarding the damage. They offered me a choice to (i) replace the left guard with a matte black guard (even though my right guard was gloss black) or (ii) a discounted price on a complete set of gloss black guards. I chose the first choice of free replacement of the left bar.

Going a month and a half later, the left Nomad guard has not been delivered to me as promised. I have purchased and installed a set of Tusk Guards. As we embark upon the 2017 Rally Season (first rally in three weeks) I have much bigger things to deal with than the missing Nomad Rider Bar and do not plan to pursue the promise.

To summarize, the Nomad Rider Crash Guards had acquired a reputation of fracture (see KLR650 forums .com and .net and Facebook Group). Nomad Rider represented on their website and to me via a phone conversation that the defect had been corrected. Yet each of my two guards sustained a fracture. Nomad Rider promised to replace the second damaged bar and they did not replace it causing me to spend money to purchase a replacement set of bars. In all honesty, at this point I'm glad to move onto a set of crash bars that (based on customer reviews) will likely be more reliable to a serious dual sport rider.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Tusk Crash Bars

I've decided to discontinue using the Nomad Rider Crash Bars. Given my experience, I think that they have issues whether inherent or how I'm using them; design, metal, I don't know, but I don't trust them any more. To replace them I have purchased a set of Tusk Guards. These guards have a fairly decent following from watching the boards and they are certainly priced the lowest plus I had credits to apply making them even more attractive. They fit with my Ricochet bash plate.

The new Tusk Guards were purchased from Rocky Mountain ATV. The price was $169.99, but I had over $25 in RMCash credits to apply to the order, plus I picked up another $8.50 in RMCash credits from the guard purchase itself. They are yet to be installed, but I'm starting the post upon delivery and will update with the installation.

Each side (bar only) weighed in at 8 pounds (16 total pounds). I was quite surprised that they weighed more than the clearly beefier Nomads that weighted a combined 15 pounds. The hardware that accompanies the bars was another 1 pound. However, that's probably a net wash or only a small bump against the stock hardware weight.

The product came with two pages of nicely printed installation instructions that seem to be clear and concise, although installation actually looks fairly intuitive.

Stay tuned for an update of the installation...


The Tusk Guard installation is not, in any way, interfered with by my Ricochet bash plate. There are two mounting points on the down tube and another at the upper subframe bolt. I didn't have to remove the bash plate to install the guards.


As mentioned, I had to purchase a new set of crash guards (Tusks) when Nomad Rider lagged in shipping out a replacement guard...which as of this date (March 22, 2017) I have not received and have given prepare the motorcycle for the first of 2017 rally.

Well, the first rally at Devil's Creek put the Tusk Crash Guards to the test, indeed. My son Sam was riding the KLR650, I was on our DR650. On the first day of the three day rally, our group of five making our way between trails on a paved road. Sam was 4th, I was 5th. The leader decided to make an abrupt left turn causing everyone to lockup. The KLR on its D606 knobbies went down at about 25-30 mph on the right side. My son was able to get up with nothing more than a few superficial wounds...due to having good gear on...and the Tusk Bars did their job, took the fall and suffered only minor inward bend that isn't enough to require replacement. We continued the rally and completed it two days later.

There's first hand experience that the Tusk did its job in a lowside.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Armor FZ-09

As if I didn't have enough blogs already, I've started a new blog: Armor FZ-09. I'm about three days from taking delivery on a 2016 Yamaha FZ-09 from Barneys in Brandon, Florida. It's a pure nekkie sport bike with an 847cc in-line triple (with crossplane technology). After a 2016 on only dual sports, I was jonesing for small (and cheap) road bike. Here we go...

The "Armor" is in reference to the armor grey color of this particular model.

UPDATE 1/4/2017:

The FZ-09 has arrived....