Preventive maintenance

You know...that stuff you know you should do, but would rather not do because you would rather be :bike_rider:. Hopefully these photos will direct you in a different direction on those thoughts. I read so many articles about the KLR on how to farkle this, what skid plate will be the best, what jet to put in to get the bike 30 more miles down the road, etc. etc. etc....but rarely do you read about the dirty work. Keeping the bike going.

If you have a KLR (or any bike) and haven't totally tore the thing apart, you are only doing a dis-service to yourself, especially if you wonder off the beaten path at all. Upon reassembly, you should be understanding why and how each part works together. When failure happens (because it will) you will understand how and why it happened. There are enough youtube videos, tutorials and manuals out there that you should be able to do about anything to the bike. -and if you don't feel comfortable doing these things, there are riders all over the country willing to help. I have no problem helping someone out, your garage or mine just let me know. I am in South Bend, Indiana and willing to travel to help.

Not pictured, but I am a firm believer in zip ties, synthetic bearing grease, dielectric grease, and locktite. I opt to use amsoil synthetic waterproof grease (likely have to order it), permex (the stuff at your local auto part store) and the real deal locktite *blue* stuff. Use whatever you will, this is what I use and it hasn't let me down.

All of my electric connections got pulled apart and a dab of dielectric grease put in. When I popped in a new spark plug (also not pictured), I put some in the wire where it makes contact with the plug. All of these things will make the bike run smoother, resists corrosion, and will give you a piece of mind.

That said, how about what I did take photos of. Have you read about (or found out for yourself) how the steering head bearings, swing arm bearings, and the bottom pivot bearings are almost always dry? Probably not, but you have read about which lowing links work the best. And the links have to come off to get to the bearings, though always go neglected. I bought my bike from a NASA engineer, who seriously reworked everything on this motorcycle, putting thought to what he thought was everything. While he managed to go complete overboard on almost everything, he lacked to pay attention to these bearings.

This is my bottom steering head bearing and it is damn near dry, only what Kawasaki put in from the factory.

IMG_1988 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

My swing arm, very little grease as well

IMG_2049 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

The bearings at the bottom ...not sure what the proper term is....but they too were dry. I did pull this completely out for another set of bearings, but you get the idea.

IMG_2026 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

The bolt that holds it all together which should be lubed and near mirror finish...(I was able to clean this up)

IMG_2048 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

As you have all of your bearings out, clean them up real well with some brake cleaner and inspect them. If they are discolored at all (especially like a blue tint), replace them. Mine were all fine, thank God. And when it all goes back together...don't be afraid to use liberal amounts of grease. Yes, some will squish out...just clean it up. This bottom 3 bearing thing is a huge PITA to put back in and it will take a few choice words and likely a second set of hands to get it back together. Oh, and you will find that there is a sleeve where the bearings are. You will have to tap those out. Be careful. (put a socket on them and tap the socket)

IMG_2066 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

So hopefully those few photos have changed your mind about simple maintenance. If you aren't messing around, you could probably knock out all of these bearings on a Saturday night and not need to worry about them for another 30k miles. With all of the other detail the previous owner went through, I really wasn't expecting to find this. I am glad I did, but even more pissed I didn't do it when I got the bike last year.

The bike couldn't be ready for more miles if it didn't have fresh oil in it. I have been happy with Amsoil full synthetic 10w-40. I try to keep my daughter involved as much as possible and she is slowly starting to enjoy being in the garage. :)

IMG_2079 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

So there you have it. My bike is ready for the road, with no plans yet for the summer. My father and brother in law are taking their KLR's to Alaska and I wish I could join them :( My time will come. -If I was able to go, I feel my bike is ready to go. :victory:
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Also, with no photos, I pulled my valve cover off and did a check of the valves. All were within tolerance which put a happy face on me.

Putting it back together, I rolled the exhaust cam ahead by one tooth. Read about it here.

One more thing I forgot to mention. My new horn! The Seibel was great, but not an instant horn when you need it the most.
The Hella super-tone fits perfect. The kit comes with 2 horns, so plan to split the kit with someone else, unless of course you want 2 horns.

IMG_1981 by Frank Vest, on Flickr

And there you have it....she is ready.

IMG_2081 by Frank Vest, on Flickr
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Thank you for the reply!

Almost 26,000 views and not a lot of comments makes me wonder if I am reaching out to people with this thread...
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New member
I'm a thread stalker sorry but with me doing my build your build it definitely helping. How do you like the LED bar light?

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So far, I really like it. It is very well built and is super bright! I don't think I will be able to run it during the night hours because it is so bright, but I will run it during the day so people see me.

You should post up about your bike!


Keep it the ideas and photos!

Here's my KLR:

Getting tired of all this white stuff!!!


You and me both! I rode to work in 26deg weather but the ride home was a little better at around 42deg.

This was the first my bike has been out for more than a 10 mile trip since October! The suspension felt great and that exhaust cam modification added a little grunt to the bike well!


New member
My bike at this point is super stock. I have purchased the wolfman wolfy escape backpack (with fuel bottle holsters), rainier tank bag, beta plug rear bag and battery tender charger. It doesn't help that I dropped major coin on a 2 PC aerostich roadcrafter riding suit, icon variant helmet and answer riding boots. I also ride a BMW r1100s so I needed a suit more than farkle. I have all the parts that I need on a "need to buy" list I just gotta wait for the funding to finalize the purchasing.

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Actually, it makes me happy that you took care of yourself FIRST rather than the bike. You can farkle the hell out of a KLR but if YOU aren't comfortable, it will be hell to ride.

I too have a lot of 'stich gear. Top notch stuff and service!


New member
I have been riding for roughly 12 years and I understand the importance of rider safety and comfort. Everything after that is just accessorizing lol.

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I am considering selling this bike. My work schedule and a 5 year old that loves being outside has turned this bike into a dust collector and my interest has just gone to the wayside. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this bike. This KLR is unbelievably smooth and quiet for a thumper and has been 100% trouble free. I try to put ethanol free fuel in it as much as possible ($5 gallon) and I use amosoil in the case and bearings.

If you want my sales pitch, you wont find a better built, more sorted KLR anywhere. The prior owner was a NASA electrical engineer who worked directly on the shuttle and the same attention to detail is in this KLR. I added to what he did and the bike is ready to ride around the world tomorrow. He built most of this bike with the end goal of a quiet and comfortable, trouble free KLR to ride South America and was never able to do the ride when NASA was dismantled. Nearly everything is upgraded or modified on this bike. I have a collection of take off parts, manuals, receipts, maintenance/fuel logs, spare oil filters, and sprockets that will all go with the bike. Current mileage is around 11,500.

The specs of this bike:

modified factory exhaust drilled out inner muffler baffle
installed HMF spark arrestor screen and downturned muffler tip
upgraded to Eagle Manufacturing idler balancer lever (the doo)
upgraded to Eagle Manufacturing torsion spring
replaced 12x40 rotor bolt
upgraded to DesmoParts stainless steel fastener engine kit with Permatex antiseize
upgraded to Cometic inner left side engine case gasket with Permatex sealer
upgraded to Cometic outer left side engine case gasket with Permatex sealer
upgraded to Schnitz Racing K-type magnetic drain plug
upgraded to HIFLO HF123 premium oil filter
installed Motion Pro 1” oil filter magnet
filled with Shell Rotella-T SAE 15W-40 oil 1400, 4000, 5800 miles, Amsoil from 5800 miles to current
removed air injection system (AIS)
welded air injection system feed tube closed
upgraded to Eagle Manufacturing security oil fill cap
replaced exhaust manifold gasket
installed K&N crankcase breather tube filter
installed Cometic 0.010” cylinder base gasket – compression ratio increased to 9.85:1
installed JE Pistons 685 forged piston kit from Schnitz Racing at 4000 miles

removed airbox snorkel
installed Koubalink extended T-handle fuel screw
upgraded to UNI foam air filter
drilled carb slide to 7/64”
installed Y-filling to float bowl vent line
upgraded to KLX jet needle with circlip in #2 position
replaced main jet with 142.5
new spark plug with dielectric grease
adjusted fuel mixture screw out 2 ½ turns
idle at 1050 RPM
upgraded to stainless carburetor bolts with Permatex antiseize
upgraded to Stead Engineering alloy choke plunger
plugged carburetor vacuum lines
cut down fuel valve feed straw to 1” above reserve feed
rebuilt petcock with custom Viton fluoroelastomer gasket to convert to gravity feed
upgraded all petcock fasteners to stainless steel socket head cap screws
installed clear fuel hose
flipped both carburetor clamps upside down for better access while tank is mounted
drilled 5 1” holes in airbox and door, installed UNI filtered air vents UFV-6
advanced exhaust cam by 1 tooth

upgraded to Hella horn, single install
installed USB hard line to front dash
installed Deltran battery tender quick connect
installed Oxford heated grips for sportsbikes
upgraded to Road Rocketeer Brake! LED taillight
upgraded to Happy Trails Odyssey battery kit
installed Eastern Beaver single horn relay kit
installed Eastern Beaver Power Center 8 fuse panel under seat
relocated fuse block to side cover
installed Eastern Beaver dual H7 headlight relay kit
installed Eastern Beaver handlebar auxiliary light switch
installed Kuryakyn black universal LED battery gauge
applied 'Black Magic' Insta-Cling Window Film with 5% VLT to the battery gauge window
eliminated side stand safety switch
relocated inline fuses underneath rear seat
eliminated clutch safety switch
added split loom tubing and wrap to wiring harnesses
fabricated running lights from Harbor Freight pond-scum housings, SuperBrightLEDs MR11-WWHP6 bulbs, schedule 40 1 ½” PVC endcaps and stainless 2 ¾” hose clamps.
SW-Motech rear turn signal extenders
Installed HID projector housings
upgraded headlights to DDM Tuning Dual 35W Slim Ballast HID H1 4500K
installed AdMore Lighting LED55-T-TS brake/turn signals in GIVI topcase
replaced dash lights with (3) WLED-W-120 Cool White SuperBrightLEDs
replaced neutral indicator with WLED-G-120 Green SuperBrightLED
replaced turn indicator with WLED-G5 Green SuperBrightLED
replaced high-beam indicator with WLED-B-120 Blue SuperBrightLED
replaced license plate bulb with 67-W15 Cool White SuperBrightLED
Installed HELLA Optilux 6-LED light bar

installed Thermo-Bob radiator bypass system
installed CV4 temperature strip on cooling reservoir
installed coolant temperature face overlay from Watt-Man

modified sprocket cover to accommodate 17 tooth sprocket
replaced rear sprocket with Sunstar 42 tooth, adjusted axle 10 turns out
upgraded to Eagle Manufacturing prevailing torque nut
replaced rear axle carter pin with axle clip
installed no-loss valve caps
Avon Distanzia front tire AM43 90/90-21 54V
Avon Distanzia rear tire AM44 130/80R17 65H
Metzeler 21” Type A front tube
Metzeler 17” Type A rear tube
All bearings packed with amsoil synthetic grease

installed Eagle Manufacturing fork brace
Installed Cogent DCCD emulators/spacers, progressive springs and fluid set to 135 mm from top of fork tube
Upgraded to Cogent Dynamics ‘Moab’ rear adjustable shock with Eibach Racing spring
Adjusted rear per Rick’s (Cogent Dynamic) recommendation: Spring set 7/3/4 tall, 15 clicks from closed

installed nylon slide on rear brake lever pull
installed KAW rear master cylinder guard
upgraded to Happy Trails aluminum rear master cylinder mount
upgraded stainless lines
upgraded to galfner pads
ATE 'blue' DOT 5 synthetic fluid

installed SW Motech engine guards
installed SW-Motech steel skidplate
upgraded to Barkbuster Storm offroad handguards
glued rubber tank dampeners to frame
replaced corroded battery holder cover and bracket
installed Eagle Manufacturing subframe upgrade kit
repainted skid plate & engine guards with Rust-oleum
modified skid plate and engine guards to shock-mount to frame with isolation mounts
installed Uni damping foam on skid plate
upgraded to DesmoParts stainless steel fastener chassis kit with Permatex antiseize
blue locktite on bolts and fasteners
red locktite on subframe and peg bolts

upgraded to Acerbis Universal Supermoto and/or KTM front fender front fender
modified front fender to mount to fork brace
made custom graphics from 3M Scotchlite Plus 680 Series Reflective Sheeting
installed headlight lens mesh shield stone guard

upgraded to ProTaper SE 7/8” ATV high bars in jet black
installed Kaoko cruise control throttle lock
installed ROX SpeedFX anti-vibration 2” riser for 7/8” bars
upgraded to Madstad Engineering RoboBrackets adjustable 18” smoke adventure windshield
upgraded all hand control hardware to stainless cap screws
upgraded to MSR shift lever
installed MFW Master Grip highway pegs
installed Twisted Throttle footpeg joint for M10 holes
installed SW-Motech mirror wideners
installed Happy Trails dash panel
replaced footpeg pin with AVC footpeg bolt upgrade
installed foam 7/8” Grip Puppies
installed Vibranators for handguards with 8mm socket head cap 80mm (right) and 75mm (left)
upgraded to Sargent World Sport Performance Seat, regular height
installed Stompgrip tank traction pads
upgraded to Dakota Motorsports extended clutch release lever arm
installed GIVI backrest to topcase

mounted Wolfman Explorer Lite tank bag
upgraded to SW-Motech aluminum tail rack
installed SW-Motech quick-lock adaptor plate for GIVI Monokey top-cases
fabricated tool tube from 4.5” OD thin wall aluminum pipe and clamp-tight pipe end caps
modified skid plate to mount tool tube with vibration-resistant 5/8” stainless hose clamps and 1/8” x 2” neoprene rubber bands
SW-Motech quick-lock EVO side carriers with TraX ALU-BOX adapterkit
TraX EVO 45-liter ALU-BOX black powdercoated sidecases and drybags. One box had a revit pop out, but still usable.
Installed lock-set for EVO ALU-BOX cases
SW-Motech anti-theft device
Installed GIVI E55NT Maxia 3 Monokey Topcase
Installed GIVI case carrier rack to topcase
Installed GIVI padded liner for topcase

I don't think I would take much less than $6000 for it. Before you knock the price or make an offer, understand that this KLR is not a typical KLR and you are in BMW pricing to replicate. I will be cleaning the bike up and making a video of it hopefully this weekend. Again, not 100% sure I want to sell this, but highly considering it. I am willing to ship at buyers expense, picked up in South Bend, Indiana. Fly and ride to SBN or POSSIBLE ORD (Chicago/O'Hare) is available also.

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