From home: South Bend, Indiana
Destination: Munising, Mi in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

This has been in the plans for several months but finally the time came. The route plan was 'ride north'. We ended up pretty much through the center of Michigan until the Mainstee National Forest, then cut west through Petoskey, Mi, then up to the bridge where we would cross and then go from there.

Night #1 we stopped at one of the trail heads that leads to Michigan's 3,700 mile ORV trail system in the lavish 36 sq mile civil township of Boon, population of 670 Michiganders. Sometimes, this place is littered with action-goers on two and four wheels and sometimes there isn't a sound to be heard. On July 3rd, it was the latter of the two. A nice little rain storm left us with a few extra bottles of tasty Michigan brews the first night but more fires would be had and the trip was still young. Oh, don't ask me how I know this...but it is probably a good idea to do a few practice runs setting up your tent at home, if you haven't done it in awhile. I learned the hard way that my tent's rain fly actually has two different ways it can go on. ....I will leave it at that.

Untitled by Frank Vest, on Flickr

Day two's goal was to cross into the UP via the beautiful bridge which connects civilization to Michigan's little bit of God's country. With a bit of throttle, we managed to make it all of the way to Newberry, Michigan. This village can be spotted on the map if you happen to look for the one stop light towns. All of its 1,500 citizens were friendly and it's nice ORV trailhead made for a perfect spot for night #2. The extra beer was welcomed and more was enjoyed. Michigan is also home to many awesome small breweries, FYI. It's actually one of the industries that is propping up Michigans economy right now.

Untitled by Frank Vest, on Flickr

DSC_1372-1 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

Day 3, keep moving to Munising. Along the awesome stretch of the highway named M28, we encountered the Seney Party Store. Everything from a bear rug, to a new shot gun, to a sticker for your two wheeled pride and joy can be had at this yooper stop.

Untitled by Frank Vest, on Flickr

I'm 100% sure the Loch Ness Monster resides here after taking a nice bath in this lonely lake.

Untitled by Frank Vest, on Flickr

Onto Munising. Upon arrival and a quick trip across the city, it becomes apparent that "Pure Michigan" is turning this 2,300 person, 1 stop light town into a tourist spot that simply can't handle the load. Still a fantastic place to visit, just don't be surprised to see a 12 year old working the local sandwich shop or the coffee house to have more customers than it can handle. Oh, and bring cash. It turns out the internet connection isn't the best and credit card machines tend to get jammed up with the work load.

Untitled by Frank Vest, on Flickr

To see Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, we opted to hop the ferry to see the sights. While it was a very nice, relaxing ride, it was also 2.5 hour boat ride (after a 4 hour wait). Later I learned the same sights could have likely been seen via a small hike up the back side of the lake shore. -which by the way is a very awesome twisty road to get to the many trails.

DSC_1422-4 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

DSC_1419-3 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

DSC_1416-2 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

Night three was sorta a crap shoot for a spot to call home for the evening. Long story short, some wacked out locals pointed us to a little piece of the beach just outside of the town, Christmas. Christmas is another lavish city, this one hosting a casino and even a motel. The lakeshore and the winters make this a popular town and support its economy.

Lesson learned, talk to the wacked out locals.

DSC_1454-7 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

DSC_1453-6 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

The evenings tasty brews chilling in the great Lake Superior

DSC_1463-9 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

Oh, the morning instant coffee was fantastic as well...

Untitled by Frank Vest, on Flickr

A quick stop to check out this overlook. Michigans UP was and still is a mega logging industry area. Back in the day, the loggers would actually drop logs into Lake Superior via this channel. The bilboards actually stated that the logs would slide so fast and create so much friction it was common for some of them to be on fire before hitting the water. Today, it's a tourist spot and the hill is quite the challenging climb.

Untitled by Frank Vest, on Flickr

I take back the comment about the KTM breaking down. It did have one minor hick-up but decided that this would be a place for it to break down at. I had no complaints.

Untitled by Frank Vest, on Flickr
From here, it was a quick trip south, back to Indiana. Overall, a great trip and the new KLR proved to be one very fantastic motorcycle.
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I come in Peace
Great ride report Frank.

Nice to see that the new bike is working out. Looks way better to me with the Fender up high.


If anyone needs a doo-hicky tool, I have one I'm willing to lend. It will fit in a flat rate box and I'm willing to send it anywhere. I send it to you (paypal me postage) you use it and send it back to me.

My personal thoughts on the doo differs from everything you read on the net, but my new bike already has it done and the guy I bought my bike from gave me the tool he had.
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The bike is officially on the battery tender as we wait for the snow to clear. Hippo hands are at the top of the Christmas list this year, so hopefully Santa is good!

Next up, a tear down and inspection of the bike. Because I can't keep anything stock and always want more, I have been considering shipping my head to Mtech in Bend, Oregon for a little of their love. The word on the street is that they are able to replicate what KLRCary left behind in terms of R&D along with his 685 kit. With an exhaust, this head work and the 685 slug (which I already have) this is said to be a beast of an engine. Heh, a beast KLR. Who woulda' thought.

I extend my thought to the forum. Does anyone have experience with this?



I come in Peace
I have not done the 685 kit, but know two people who did and have been pretty happy with the results. Wish I could offer more info.


The 685 on this bike is done. Having had both, I can tell you that the 685 kit is very well worth it. -I am considering doing the head as well.

After a few chimes on the KLR forum, it seems mtech is a bit sketchy and I should consider looking elsewhere for head work. I think I will save this for my last project for the winter, concentrating on redoing the front suspension, exhaust and putting on a lighter spring on the rear shock for now.


Did the 685 kit make it a more highway friendly bike?

I've always liked the klrs and I'd definitely consider downsizing to one from my DL1000 but I do still need to be able to cruise at 80mph and pass ...

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ERT, if you read all of my thread, the main reason I got rid of the first KLR was because I felt it needed more to ride highway, which is my commute to work everyday. The 685 kit completely transforms the bike. I generally run 70-75 and I think with some gearing, 80+ could be done fairly easily.

The bike runs very smooth with the 685, has a little more grunt, and results in -0- oil burning. I didn't add a drop of oil all 'season' last year. My brother in law is finishing up a 705 kit on his KLR and I am looking forward to the end result as soon as things thaw out. He did pull the head off and took out quite a bit of mass in the runners, so that should be an improvement also. There are two large restrictors in the intake ports (IIRC) that he removed, which was very surprising to see!

FRANKDATANK! You won't regret the KLR! If you have any questions, please ask!

I picked up a light bar and plan to do a few other things to the bike as soon as time allows. I think I am going to leave the engine alone for now.
Glad you posted all of this Frank!

I used to have a Husaberg 570 but sold it last fall after realizing it did not fit my needs. I have wanted KTM 950/990 for several years but they always been outside my price range. Saving now but just bought a new to me Tacoma so it will require some time and money also.

Right now I have been trying to find a lower cost option for the next year or two until I can save up the cash for an ADV. The 'Berg made me realize that I need more street and less dirt ability. There is just not enough hard dirt trails around here for me to need a hardcore enduro and the riding back and forth to the trails was miserable. I want the ability to do some basic two up riding but still be able to tackle some harder trails on my own. I looked seriously at the DL650 but don't think I would like the positioning and they are little more expensive.

I find it interesting that you went from a KLR to an ADv and back. Was the cost of buying the 990 or the cost of maintaining that turned you off? How would you compare the 990 vs the KLR offroad? Did you ever ride both of them 2 up? I am assuming the KTM would win in that regard? How did the fit/comfort level compare between the two? I am a big guy at 6'6", 250 lbs. I have like the ADV due to it being big guy friendly. Any other reasons that you didn't mentioned in your earlier post?

I know there is all kinda of comparisons and such on other forums but I would like YOUR opinion on the subject especially since you have went back and forth. The reason I am asking all of this is I am trying to determine if the KLR will fit my needs and if so will it fit it good enough to not need to buy the KTM down the road. That would be the difference in buying a nice low mile, higher priced KLR now and modding it over time or buying a cheap already modded KLR that I would leave alone and sell a year from now.




Hi Joe, sorry for the late response. -and Semper Fi to you also!

I really liked my 950 and it was everything I asked for. It was easy to ride, went fast, and would go anywhere with the gobs of power it offered. My problem with it is that it was just a bit too much for me. My other concern with it is that it seemed every time I went out on the bike, something happened to it. I feel as though I did quite a bit of maintenance to it and yet it still seemed to be on the center stand getting worked on as much as it was getting ridden. It was always pitty stuff, too. -not for me. The guy who I sold it to (another Jarhead) is in complete love with the bike and says he has had -0- issues with it since he owned it and did nothing beyond gas and oil last summer. Maybe I worked all of the kinks out of it, who knows. A good friend of mine also has a 990 (owned since mile 1) and has done nothing to the bike outside of what the owners manual calls for and the bike has been great for him. His bike is sitting around 50k miles.

'Mechanical' on here owns a 990 and does 2 up riding on it. -even some off road while 2 up. He also owned a KLR prior to the 990 and loves his 990.

What I like about the KLR is that it offers so much. People are doing 'round the world rides in bone stock form, or you have those owners out there like myself who think the bike is a good platform to be built on enjoying the bike. The KLR is beyond simple, which is why I gravitated back to it. Features like a cable clutch, minimal wiring and a tractor engine that will run on about anything that is combustible make it the perfect bike for adventure riding in my opinion. There is a reason why the grand 'ole Marine Corps choose it for its bike. haha! The KLR does okay off-road, but the 990 was built for off-road. It (the KTM) really is a 100hp dirt bike that perform well on the road. Tear it apart and you will see why the bike does so well. -lots of attention to detail where it counts, weight placed very precisely and a very good suspension out of the box.

To answer your question regarding 2-up riding, I would not two up the KLR, unless my 5 year old wants to go for a ride around the neighborhood. The KTM offers way more power and more room for 2 up riding. I really like the comfort of my KLR when riding single and I am 6'3 and 50 pounds overweight by Marine Corps standards. That said, I do have a nice Sergeant seat and Renthal handle bars, which add a lot of comfort.

If 2 up riding and off road capability is what you are after, hands down the KTM, if you are considering the KTM and the KLR.

Keep your eye out for used bikes. I gave $4000 cash for my 950 and you can find first gen KLR's for $1000-$1500 and the second gen KLR's for $2500-$3000. With the KTM, be prepared to do the fuel pump and water pump day #1. CJ has the best advice and products, in my opinion.

If you have any other questions, please ask!

Scott, stay tuned. ;)


Its time for miles!

Seriously, I haven't seen my grass since about October. What a joy it has been. NOT!

Ove the past few months, I have slowly done a few mods to my bike. I also decided to take this time and do some preventive maintenance, which seems to be overlooked by so many people. Preventive maintenance can be the difference between a good day's riding and a horrible experience.

I am not going to lie...a BMW F800GSA at the International Motorcycle Show in Chicago made me think long and hard about jumping the KLR ship once again for a larger bike. On my way home, I tried to think of reasons I didn't like my KLR. -or what little modifications I had left to do to my KLR to make it that much better. My reasons for buying a F800GSA were short, my list for keeping my KLR was much longer.

IMG_1938 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

First step, dial in my suspension. My bike already has a Cogent Dynamic Moab rear shock with a 550pound Eibach spring wrapped around it, but my front end lacked some attention. The previous owner set the bike up for his weight, and I think I am probably another persons weight more than he is. He had factory springs, Ricor Intimidators and Amsoil fluid in the forks. I knew from my previous bike that Cogent could fix me right up. After a few calls to Joyce and Rick at Cogent, I decided to pick up their new KLR DDC kit. If you are familiar with the Race Tech emulators Rick has been setting up for several years, you will know what the front end of the KLR is capable of. Well, Rick has taken it a step further with his new DDC kit. Seriously, it takes about 20min to install this new set up. He matches the rider up with a set of springs, fluid level, spacer setting and combines it all into one kit. It really couldn't be any easier. Rick also gave me some pointers about re-doing my shock, which his advice is pretty much spot on. He advised making the spring 7/3/4" long by compressing it, close the shock rebound valve, and then give it about 15 turns. Bingo. The bike floats down the road and absorbs bumps like it is nothing. I can't wait to get it out on some washboard dirt roads this summer! The bike feels so much more planted to the road, and loves corners!

IMG_1986 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

The new cartridges

IMG_1987 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

New spring on the right, stock KLR on the left

IMG_1991 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

The preset spacer length

IMG_1990 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

Part 2 to be in another post...
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Part 2 of my winter fun

With the desire for more light, I decided to begin searching for something new. How about a light bar!

This is the Hella Optilux 6 LED mini light bar. Super bright, only draws 18 watts and in a nice aluminum housing. It fits perfect on the front of a KLR! had the best price at only $50 shipped.

IMG_1952 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

IMG_1955 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

IMG_1961 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

They also have some 4"x4" 4 LED fog lamps that I think I will be picking up. A friend picked some up for a Jeep and they fit perfect on the bottom of the SW Motech crash bars. More to follow on this...

IMG_2006 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

When putting my front end back together, I noticed this on my brake line. I had full intentions on putting on a big brake kit on the front end, but decided I needed to get this done sooner, rather than later, after this find. Luckily, this is just the outer portion of the line and not the line itself, but it still made me a little uneasy.

IMG_1994 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

I picked up some brake lines from ebay user GTAUTOSPORTS. From Canada, they arrived really quick! From Happy-trail came a set of front and rear Galfer brake pads and am using some ATE DOT4 brake fluid. ATE fluid is super resistant to moisture and can withstand lots of abuse. -more than a KLR can ever give it. The brakes feel like there is actually something there now! (ATE blue is no longer available, but the red is still available)

IMG_2011 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

For what its worth, I ended up using a syringe to actually pull the fluid through, as this ended up being the easiest way I have ever done KLR brakes.

IMG_2073 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

More on some preventive maintenance...
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