So what's been happening? Unfortunately the bike trip to NZ last Christmas didn't happen. 1) because I'm slack an didn't get organised 2) The dates to ship the bike over didn't quite fit with the family commitments anyway.
However I did manage to catch up with my good mate Cliffy and babysit his KLR while he was away. Naughty boy though, I found that the handlebars were bent and out of alignment (after an off), his front tyre was bald on one side and he had a small oil leak from the main engine casing. I nearly came off on the first corner. How the hell he rode it like that I'll never know but apparently he just got used to it. Mmmm. Needless to say when he got it back a week later it had a new set handlebars, a set of bar risers and was topped up full of oil. Not much I could do about the front tyre on short notice though.
Anyway it was a pleasure blatting around the Wellington region again on a bike. I had to learn to learn corner sharply, at speed, up/down hills, on badly cambered roads in the wet.....very quickly. Lots of heart pumping fun.
Anyway I've been home for a few months now and I'm looking forward to this end of year trip. The family is travelling to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland for Christmas with the in-laws. As soon as the festivities are over I'm planning to ride the eastern/southern coastline all the way from Brisbane to Perth. I've always wanted to travel through this area but so far I've only managed Brisbane to Sydney and there's so much more to see.
So the next Crisis is going to be 99% on the bitumen. Originally I had planned to save up and upgrade to >1000cc adventure tourer (not that I would sell the KLR!). My potential wish list included:
- Kawasaki Verseys 1000 (tried to test ride this one but the dealer was being a pain, no demo at all but still wanted me to buy one!)
- Yamaha Super Tenere
- Triumph Tiger Explorer (I actually gave this one a test ride - nice but heavy and the ride by wire is a bit weird)
- New BMW R1200
Unfortunately a combination of the end of the mining boom, flood levies, carbon taxes, medical insurance increases and increased medicare levies have all got in the way so the mighty KLR will making the trip instead. It's just had it's 36k service and still purring like a kitten.
The next question was do I take it in it's current form or do I look into a few road friendly mods? When I got back from the first Crisis I did have to replace the front windscreen. It had gotten scratched up after an impatient owner stupidly tried removing a camping sticker and black marker pen in a hurry with a not so gentle synthetic scrubber. I had a look around at the various replacements. I didn't really like the taller screens you can get because they'd interfere with your off road riding when your up on the pegs however I did want some better wind protection. In the end I settled on the MRA Vario touring screen. It's been pretty good so far, its better than the stock screen but you have fiddle a bit to get the right setting.
During the last service I also had to get a new set of rubber. After the first Crisis I put on a new set of Dunlop Trailmax tyres to see if they were any better than the Bridgestones. Much of a muchness really, no better, no worse. However with all the of the bitumen km's ahead I wanted something more road orientated but still able to take a quick blat up a convenient trail. I ended up getting a set of Metzeler Tourance's put on. One week in and they fell fine on road. Still have to see how they go on the gravel and how the wear but I'll keep you posted.
One shock I had during the service was that the high tensile 10mm bolt I'd installed through the sub-frame had snapped. I'd hit something solid like a brick on the freeway a few weeks earlier (it was dark, 100km/hr, didn't see it until I was on top of it, blah ,blah,blah). I'm assuming it got damaged then because that weekend I hit the fire trails with a mate and after that the bike felt a bit unbalanced. I thought it was the back tyre being almost worn out and I didn't (thankfully) ride it much after that until, I took it in for a service. Luckily my mechanic (Luke from Mack1) picked it up straight away with no damage done- legend!
Finally I've been researching the front fender. Having a trail bike fender on an adventure bike is cool in the mud but not cool when doing long hauls in a cross wind or when your following a road train. The KLR can get very unstable with the big wing at the front acing like a sail. I've seen a few guys in the States modifying their KLR's by mounting a universal supermoto fender lower down and removing the stock fender altogether. Apparently it cuts right down on the turbulence, improves airflow into the radiator and doesn't effect the offroad capability. There appears to be a number of options out there:
- Acerbis universal supermoto fender
- Polisport universal supermoto fender
- UFO fender (not to sure which one)
- KTM supermoto fender (apparently it fits)
I've gone for the Polisport one as it seems to provide the most coverage at the back. I'm going to mount it on a fork brace supplied by Eagle Mike Engineering. He sets it up to mount the lowered fenders.
I've just ordered the fender and the fork brace and they should here in a week or so. Once I've fitted it I'll post a few pics, it should look different, maybe a flash back to the Tengai?
Apart from that I think it's ready to go. I just have to look into shipping the bike over. A quick search on google comes up with a number of companies willing to ship your bike around Aus. I'll research the prices ranges and conditions and write a post about it however if anyone's done it before and had a good/bad experience please leave a comment a let me know.