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Old 08-06-2009, 10:23 PM   #1
Digger1
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Default And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!

And, so it begins:





I've finally begun the process of modding two bikes for ATW travel (one for SWMBO, one for me). This is the main reason I turned my back on a successful career over four years ago.

The black one on the lift is an '07 purchased new in DEC 06. This is SWMBO's bike (she likes the color). We've ridden it almost enough to keep everything fresh (the pilot jet is clogged solid, I think....it will not idle but runs pretty good otherwise).

It has 1200 miles on it.

I just drained the original engine oil today (I know, BAD DOG!). About the only other maintenance the bike has received is chain tensioning....I've not even cleaned or lubed the chain yet. It's still got the shipping gunk on it.

In other words, the bike is a near-virgin piece of meat.

I've got several goodies waiting on the shelf and will be modding the bike as time permits.

I'm not interested in increasing the engine performance of the bike....it's good enough for my purposes as is. Any engine work I'll be doing will be for routine maintenance or reliability purposes.

As for non-engine mods and add-ons: I've got a some $$ set aside, but will be very selective. Mostly, I'll be adding or subtracting stuff based on the results of several planned "shake down" cruises.

The design point will be a bike that is capable of completing an ATW trip. I've not yet decided if I'll circle the globe all at once or do it in a piece-meal fashion. But, the bike must be capable of doing it all at once.

I'm a pretty light packer. I'm an average to above-average amateur mechanic. I've got over 350,000 street-bike miles under my belt. I raced motocross for ten years into my mid-40s. I'm currently 52 and my clock is ticking. It's time to get it on!

I'll do the other bike next, a red '07.

Comments?
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digger1 View Post
And, so it begins:

I've finally begun the process of modding two bikes for ATW travel (one for SWMBO, one for me). This is the main reason I turned my back on a successful career over four years ago............................................
Comments?
You might consider referring to it as an 'ATW' (around the world) bike rather than an 'ATW' (across the world) bike.... I was confused by ATW at first..... would have been easier to understand if you called it an ATW bike.

Unless I was mistaken, and you meant ATW, as in (around the world), and I was the one who read it as ATW (across the world)..... Better yet you could make the black one an ATW bike and do the red one as an ATW so you'd have one of each.

Last edited by beefalumpalo; 08-06-2009 at 10:34 PM.
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:52 PM   #3
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Default Re: And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!



Im not surprised to see your intentions after reading up on you.
https://www.klr650.net/forums/showthr...highlight=hero
Some would say you've already lived more of a life than most, and here you are embarking on an massive adventure. Ill be keeping a sharp eye on this tread, hoping for constant updates.

-Robert
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!

Since you're already on top of the world , you might as well go around. Good luck and happy riding!
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!

Ok... seriously, sounds like fun!!

Aside from the mechanical stuff, I would seriously think of making the fuel and electrical systems less failure prone with some changes. Hmm.... I'd consider adding some solar cells to the top box too, I'm sure you could fit 5w+ up there just for emergency purposes. Maybe add a quick release windscreen that resembles a v-strom's for long road rides too.

And some good solid handles you can get to when she's fully packed.. in case you have to push/lift her!
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!

Quote:
Originally Posted by beefalumpalo View Post
You might consider referring to it as an 'ATW' (around the world) bike rather than an 'ATW' (across the world) bike.... I was confused by ATW at first..... would have been easier to understand if you called it an ATW bike.

Unless I was mistaken, and you meant ATW, as in (around the world), and I was the one who read it as ATW (across the world)..... Better yet you could make the black one an ATW bike and do the red one as an ATW so you'd have one of each.
I'm all over it!
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:57 PM   #7
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Default Re: And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!

Quote:
Originally Posted by robertham1 View Post


Im not surprised to see your intentions after reading up on you.
https://www.klr650.net/forums/showthr...highlight=hero
Some would say you've already lived more of a life than most, and here you are embarking on an massive adventure. Ill be keeping a sharp eye on this tread, hoping for constant updates.

-Robert
I appreciate the kind words....I've always liked looking forward better than looking back.
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"Louise" - 2007; Ebony; 1000 miles (SWMBO's)
I don't own a cage.

"The KLR....it will give you the world, but you must first give it your soul."

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Old 08-06-2009, 11:59 PM   #8
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Default Re: And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LewisG View Post
Since you're already on top of the world , you might as well go around. Good luck and happy riding!
Yep, I'm looking forward to going around at a little lower altitude this time!
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"Louise" - 2007; Ebony; 1000 miles (SWMBO's)
I don't own a cage.

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Old 08-07-2009, 12:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!

Quote:
Originally Posted by beefalumpalo View Post
Ok... seriously, sounds like fun!!

Aside from the mechanical stuff, I would seriously think of making the fuel and electrical systems less failure prone with some changes.

I'm open to any and all ideas. I like the idea of a manual petcock. I plan to research the starter relay bypass idea.

Hmm.... I'd consider adding some solar cells to the top box too, I'm sure you could fit 5w+ up there just for emergency purposes.

Interesting idea....falls under the category of reassessing the need after some shakedown cruises.

Maybe add a quick release windscreen that resembles a v-strom's for long road rides too.

I like the stock windscreen so far. Some long test rides may change my mind.

And some good solid handles you can get to when she's fully packed.. in case you have to push/lift her!

Good point...I'll see where I'm at after I install the crash protection stuff I've got on the shelf.
Thanks for the inputs!
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"Thelma" - 2007; Aztec Red; 1000 miles (Digger's)
"Louise" - 2007; Ebony; 1000 miles (SWMBO's)
I don't own a cage.

"The KLR....it will give you the world, but you must first give it your soul."

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Old 08-07-2009, 08:31 AM   #10
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Default Re: And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!

Digger1,

Some stuff I've found useful on my 2003 KLR650 for adventures are in no particular order:

- vista cruise throttle lock. I often use it both on and off pavement to give my hand a rest.

- DR650 footpegs. The grips aren't sharp but work well in helping me keep my feet where they belong.

- large flat washer welded to bottom of sidestand. Is really helpful parking on soft surfaces.

- Dual Star LED brake lite. It is very visable. I suppose if I could only do one thing to a stock KLR650 this would be the mod. Yup, even before the doohickey upgrade.

- headlight relays for reliability and improved light output.

- two accessory sockets. One hot all the time for a GPS or battery charger. The other key controlled for other accessories like a heated vest or small charger of electrical gizmos.

- heated grips with dual control heat troller. I use them from about 50 degrees and cooler as the need comes up.

- up graded footpeg mount bolts, size to M10 and increase strength. I used sockethead as the clearance is very tight on hex head.

- speedo cable guide similar to the post 08 models. I've found the stock cables get a sharp bend at the mount on the right fork slider from a tight radius bend when the forks are compressed. I've seen numerous cables with cracked sheaths at the bend point.

- Bark busters have saved my levers in gas stations and on the trail.

- No Toil air filter and filter maintenance products. Might not be real good going around the world as it could be a logistical nightmare getting the stuff. But the products do work well. My oil analysis results confirm the air filter works.

Maintenance I'd do to prep the bike would of course include the doohickey and torsion spring upgrade. I'd clean the oil pick up screen and lube the rear suspension linkage and steering head bearings. I'd also as a minimum pull the forks apart for a good flush and also use it to gain knowledge of the fork operation and particulars. I recently added progressive springs and race tech gold cartridge emulators and find I now ride a bit faster on and off pavement than I did with the stock set up. I think they are worthy of consideration.

A small dash might be nice for a few switches and indicators. Mine has a three way fan switch for normal, off and on. Two accessory outlets, one key controlled and one always hot for the GPS and battery charging. A voltage indicator consisting of just two LEDs to give me a warm fuzzy that the electrickery is working as it should. A headlight cut out switch for when I want to save some electrickery. A heated grips switch for high, off, low. I also have a heat troller dual controller for the grips but mounted on the old left mirror mount for ease of use. A thermometer so I can tell how comfortable or miserable I am.

This is just some of the stuff that popped up on the spur of the moment. Hope it's helpful.

Best,

Jeff
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Last edited by jeffsaline; 08-07-2009 at 08:36 AM. Reason: change if to is
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:48 AM   #11
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Default Re: And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!

I always thought it was a cool idea to route another clutch cable along side the stock one (zip ties). That way if one out gives out when you are in a remote place, you can replace it without "yard sale-ing" the bike.
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:59 AM   #12
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Default Re: And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!

Must be nice to be able to see the world from both angles so to speak!

As for what to do......do yourself a huge favor and dismantle the entire bike as if the worst has happened and rebuild it....this will force you to learn how to fix it and also force you to lube what the factory decided not to.....lol Plus show you what tools are needed to do this work on the road.

Do the carb mods, airbox mods, needle mods,remove tweety, install heavy duty tubes, install a heavier rear spring to handle the weight of the loads, change all lights to leds and carry spares, remove all safety switches, buy best long distance seat(Russel, rick mayer, corbin) you pick, install crash bars, good bark busters, packrat rear carrier, led rear brake light, install a power block using blade fuses or even circuit breakers to power all your stuff, buy a heated vest, I would do the 685 but that's me, install 16 tooth front sprocket and buy the best racing chain you can, carry a compressor, flat repair, extra tubes......the list never ends...sorry.

Last edited by willys; 08-07-2009 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:53 AM   #13
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Default Re: And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!

Kick. Starter!
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Old 08-07-2009, 12:13 PM   #14
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Default Re: And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!

Quote:
Originally Posted by robertham1 View Post


I'm not surprised to see your intentions after reading up on you.
https://www.klr650.net/forums/showthr...highlight=hero
Some would say you've already lived more of a life than most, and here you are embarking on an massive adventure. Ill be keeping a sharp eye on this tread, hoping for constant updates.

-Robert
Outstanding, I'm impressed.
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Old 08-07-2009, 02:43 PM   #15
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Default Re: And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!

Quote:
Originally Posted by willys View Post

SNIP

... change all lights to leds and carry spares, remove all safety switches, buy best long distance seat(Russel, rick mayer, corbin) you pick, install crash bars, good bark busters, packrat rear carrier, led rear brake light, install a power block using blade fuses or even circuit breakers to power all your stuff, buy a heated vest, I would do the 685 but that's me, install 16 tooth front sprocket and buy the best racing chain you can, carry a compressor, flat repair, extra tubes......the list never ends...sorry.
willys,

I've got to disagree with you a bit on some of your suggestions. : )

I think carrying spares is overkill and normally a good idea until you try to carry the spares. The list will never stop and the load will get huge.

Maybe a revised suggestion is more appropriate in carry the spares for items that will leave you parked until replaced. Light bulbs can be bought in most places and you can even remove turnsignal lenses and the flasher for front lighting if both head light beams are dead.

I think the 16 tooth works well for some folks that don't adventure tour. But if you are getting off the pavement regularly I think many folks will find it's legs are too long and slow speed technical riding it much tougher. I've been in softball to beachball size rocks in AZ with a fully loaded KLR taking 4 1/2 hours to go 45 miles. I was geared at 14/46 and 13/46 would have been even nicer. I can't imagine trying to do something like that at 16/43.

Additionally I think most adventure tourers don't find they have a need to go fast so they don't need the long legs even on extended stretches. I ran from Albuquerque, NM to Rapid City, SD in one day on 15/46 sprockets. Not fast at 60-65 mph but a pleasant run still. And at the speed limit I never ever wonder if I'm gonna get a ticket. : )

Best,

Jeff
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Old 08-07-2009, 04:09 PM   #16
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Default Re: And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!

Hmmm...??? Just a suggestion...not written in stone...to each their own. I would carry extra headlight bulbs, or bulb...easily taped inside your fairing out of the way. Yes the 16 tooth is tall for serious off roading...but...
I would also carry extra tubes, chain links, connector, chain breaker, patch repair, extra spark plug, oil, filter, air cleaner.....install a gas filter too.....make the engine run on the lowest grade fuel happily....like I said..the list will go on and on....no harm in having a long list...you can always prune it down.....but if you forget one essencial thing on the list...you're shit out of luck...stuck in BFI

It's a personal choice on what you bring....when we used to do adventure off-roading...we used to carry all sorts of crap....and we were in old 1946 Willy army Jeeps.....90% of the time we never used any of it....but that other 10%..made up for having to carry all that crap!

Look at the Long Way Round adventures....they had a complete support team and supposedly the best bikes(ya right!) you won't be having that luxury will you...well you are on the best bikes this time...lol...so when you are on the road of bones...and you have that small break down....you will have that 10 cent part to enable you to go forward...maybe....lol...only if you are willing to carry it...that is.

This shouldn't become a debate on what he needs to bring...but a chance for him to make that 1 mile long list to prune down to where he is happy.
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:00 PM   #17
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Default Re: And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!

Quote:
Originally Posted by willys View Post
......do yourself a huge favor and dismantle the entire bike as if the worst has happened and rebuild it....this will force you to learn how to fix it and also force you to lube what the factory decided not to.....lol Plus show you what tools are needed to do this work on the road.
I agree!.... make it look like this:
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Old 08-07-2009, 07:50 PM   #18
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:14 PM   #19
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Default Re: And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!

I would look at the IMS 6.6 gallon tank. It is very tough. I crashed with mine at 45mph and it scuffed. If you did it with stock tank it might have cracked open. The extra fuel, The sturdier design, and the ease of maintance when taking it off makes it well worth while IMHO.

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Old 08-08-2009, 12:20 AM   #20
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Default Re: And, So It Begins: The Building of an ATW Bike!

Very cool Digger. I'm quite envious, especially that your wife will be riding with you as well! One of these days, I hope I can do a similar adventure.

The first thing I would recommend is making sure to do the doohickey. The Striking Viking's bike suffered and because of this, he went to BMW's. I'd also look to mods for reducing oil consumption as you don't want to be miles and miles from a place to buy oil and finding the bike burning through it like a crazy. Reportably, the best mod is the 685 kit but if you don't to go to this extreme, I found the radiator bypass totally eliminated my oil consumption on my '06 and it brought gas mileage up as well. Many report reduced oil consumption with the pcv or mercedese valve but my tests showed no advantage but you might want to test it before your adventure and it's a simple mod and easily reversed.

Another issue the Striking Viking experienced was a blown rear shock. This seems to be fairly common occurrence with the stock shock when fully loaded and doing long distance adventure riding. An upgraded shock or at least a stiffer spring seems like a good idea. In fact, upgrading the front forks as well for loaded bikes will make the journey far more pleasant in the long run.

I also remember the Viking had an incident with a car on a busy street and was sure his aftermarket handguards saved his hands. I'd recommend a good set of similar armor as well as a skidplate, radiator and mastercylinder guards and the full side armor if an IMS tank isn't used. In this same context, you should look at getting a centerstand to make maintenance and repairs muuuuuch easier.

Another issue is what Adrian Scott experienced in his travels from Siberia to Turkey where he fried his clutch early in his travel getting stuck in deep mud. Much of the problem here was Adrian wasn't an experienced motorcyclist before beginning his travels and didn't recognize the stress he was giving his clutch and didn't realize what had happened after the clutch failed but it was a good lesson in needing lower gears when traveling rough terrain with a fully loaded bike. I would recommend carrying at least a 14tooth spare but would advise a 13tooth and get EagleMike's prevailing nut to make the sprocket change easy on the road. You could also bring a 16tooth but as this is an adventure and likely much will be off the beaten path and on totally unknown territory, the ability to go to lower gears is what you want.

I'd also recommend looking at modifying the stock glass fuses that blow easy with blade fuses and a relocation kit to put them all together in a convenient location. Similarly, look to upgrading the wire harness for the headlight. Tammy at totally wired cycles used to sell a fuse and headlight wire upgrade kit but I don't know if she's still in business anymore but I know others sell similar kits. You might also look to put on an auxiliary light. I would strongly recommend not driving at night in unfamiliar, foreign lands but things happen and you need to be prepared.

As bikes will be loaded and heavy, you might consider the larger EBC front rotor brake kit and as a minimum, steel braided brake lines.

You should also look to making a tool tube and putting together a tool kit. The stock kit isn't as bad as many claim but on world adventure, you 'll need additional tools. As a minimum, you'll need to add a 22mm that's missing from the kit for removing the front wheel.

Others have mentioned taking the bike apart and learning how everything works and goes back together, this is a really good idea but if nothing else, know how to pull the carb and how it works and how to fix in the field. Much of the outback territories won't have Tier One gas stations, in fact much will come out of jerry cans in the middle of nowhere with reports of using a cloth to filter out the grit. You'll definitely want to get into the habit of using a 3mm allen to drain the bowl when carb troubles initiate. This is a routine that would have helped Adrian if he'd known the trick with his travels.

You might also consider relacing the rear wheels to 18 inches. It's reported that in foreign lands, the 17 inch isn't common but 18 is readily available. If you go this route, make sure to go to a wider rim as well. The stock rim is too narrow for our tires and causes the center section to wear prematurely. Those that have relaced to a wider rim report longer tire life and on a world travel, longer tire life would be a desirable mod.

A GPS system would also be a must but you should look at somesort of permanent mounting system to prevent or at least minimize the potential for theft. This also brings the point that you'll want some rugged hard cases that can be securely locked. And of course you'll want to bring along at least two digital cameras and have a means to backup your images in the case of theft or loss.

Well at least for now, this is all I can think of. I look forward to reading your decisions and progress as you prepare for such a journey.

Doug
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