Here is a list of the modifications that we made to the 2016 KLR 650 for our 3--5 year around the world expedition. [We made most of these mods while we were at the owner of Happy Trails---Tim Bernard---home in Boise. Thank you again Tim!!!] We had to change the KLR from a short day ride, dual sport bike into an adventure bike….the kind that would have a chance of surviving the Travessilla Expedition.
Mods Bought at Happy Trail
SU Pannier Racks with Puck Kit
KLR Skid Plate with A & E Mods
KLR Skid Plate Impact Kit
KLR Master Cylinder Guard
PD Nerf Bars (Crash Bars)
Upgraded Sub-Frame Bolts
4—Water Bottle Holders (2 Liter) Bolted To Rear of Panniers. (If I had to do it again I would bolt them to the front to get the weight forward. I didn’t think that there would be enough room for my legs but there is.)
Front Fork Brace
Foot Pegs (Moose Racing)
Magnetic Oil Drain Plug
LED Tail & Brake Light (WOW Light)
Wolfman Explorer Lite Tank Bag w/ KLR bag straps
Multiconcept X-Strong Hand Guards
HD Doohickey and Spring
PD Nerf Bags
Long Shift Lever
Gel Cell Battery
Kick Stand Pad
10.5” Teton Aluminum Panniers with Locks
Large Rear Luggage Rack Plate
We Added The Following From Other Sources
Remote Mounted Compass
10 Gallon IMS Gas Tank. (IMS is one of our new partners/sponsors, and they are also sending us a 10 gallon tank for Lana’s KLR)
Custom Made Crash Bars (to fit over the bigger gas tank) from DirtRacks. The Happy Trail PD Nerf Bars (Crash Bars) will NOT fit over the IMS 10 Gal Tank
Heidenau Scout Tires. I choose a wider 140 for the rear for both bikes (stock is 130) for better flotation and a bigger foot print in the sand of the Sahara Desert. The bike handles MUCH better on all surfaces with the 140 rear
Silicon radiator hoses
Progressive Suspension (brand) Monotube Cartridge Kit (for front forks) and a 465 Series Rear Shock w/ RAP (this made a HUGE difference in the ride and handling!!!)
Here we have not installed to new 10 gallon IMS gas tank and custom DirtRacks crash bars yet
Here is a photo of the same bike at the Toronto air cargo with the 10 gallon IMS tank installed.
Now I know that some of you are already questioning how smart it is to have the extra weight of 10 gallons of gas vs. the standard OEM 6 gallon tank. But here is the reasoning behind this decision.
There is an area in Western Sahara and Senegal that you have to carry extra gas. I would rather have the weight forward so as to not have “the end of the diving board effect" (as Tim Bernard of Happy Trails call it) of the extra weight of four gallons of gas (26 lbs.) plus the weight of the containers out past the shock absorber on the rear rack.
We do not need to keep the tank topped off if we do not need that much gas between stops. Although we have found that the bike is MUCH better balanced with the IMS 10 gallon tank when it has 6 gallons of gas in it than with a full OEM 6 gallon tank!!! We were both a little hesitant when we decided to fill the IMS tanks to the top with the bikes heavily loaded, To our surprise they were really easy to ride full of fuel. It was about like riding a full OEM 6 gallon tank.
Unlike the OEM tanks that are metal with no way of telling how much gas you have left, the IMS tanks are “see through” so we can actually tell how much gas we have left rather than taking a guess. And from experience I can tell you that you cannot rely on the odometer to tell you when you need to fill up. It is NOT that the odometer is off---in fact it seems to be remarkably accurate. The problem is that when you get into a head wind, a strong side wind, soft ground, gravel road, adding more weight, riding at higher speeds on an interstate highway, taking on a poorer quality of gas, and etc, etc…any of these things can and does change your fuel consumption, and sometimes dramatically. The "just watch your odometer" method of determining your fuel quantity might work great running around town, but do NOT try that on a long trip with your bike loaded unless you plan to carry extra gas!!! At one point in a strong wind—estimated at 40 MPH---we dropped from 50+ MPG down to 32 MPG. Fortunately we found an unattended card lock gas station in rural Kansas or we would have been combining the gas from both bikes and adding the stove gas to get to the next gas station and bring back more. And remember this: When you are riding a long ways always run off the top half of the tank. In other words, when you get to half a tank of gas fill it up. We always do and still just about ran out of gas. Your next planned gas stop, in some off the beaten path, rural or remote area, where you will be getting low on gas, might not be open for any number of reasons: the power is out and they can't pump any gas, the gas pumps are not working, there is water in their gas, they are out of gas, the place is closed to go hunting or fishing, the list goes on and on. (When you have spent as much time in the bush as I have you too will have seen all of these reasons, and more, that a gas station is closed).
Experience……..learn from it and learn from the experience of others.