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  #1  
Old 9 Sep 2007
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KLE 500 stability

Hi,
I'm after advice about our 1992 Kawasaki KLE500. We bought it 12 months ago for 2-up touring & transport when we travel in our motorhome. The bike spends more time being towed on a trailer than ridden on the road! The tyres currently fitted are Golden Boy Trail Tire 3.00 -21 (front) and Pirelli Trail On/Off 4.60 - 17 62R (back). Both are in good / near new condition (1-2 year old and less than 1200 kms use), as is the whole bike despite its age and 80,000 kms. The problem is the bike feels unstable and moves around when ridden at about 80km/hr, making it feel a little unsafe for both rider and pillion. Our combined weights are approx. 150 kgs plus and we use a large RJays bag for our gear, but the bike seems to have plenty of power so I'm not thinking power is the problem. Are the tyres the cause of the problem? I'm thinking of trying more of a road type tyre, but would appreciate any thoughts or advice before I do anything. Maybe the bike is unsuitable for our intended use? Any feedback / ideas much appreciated.
Rob
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  #2  
Old 10 Sep 2007
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Unsafe - instability

Hi there Rb,

I rode a Kawasaki KLE (400ccm) a couple of years ago and I am riding a Honda TransAlp (also 400ccm) now. Both were equipped with trailmax tires (front and rear). Packing up the bike with panniers plus some stuff on the rear rack sometimes caused some instability ("-feeling"??). I was told by several people that this is based on the thread of the tires but also on the weight that I stored on the back. Me being a lightweight (68kg) that makes some sense to me, since the front tire (front portion of the bike) did not get enough weight. So, to make it short, yes, I guess it is a tire problem (street tires might be better) as well as a weight problem. Get with me for more "experience-exchange"!!

Safe riding

Klaus
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  #3  
Old 10 Sep 2007
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Hi Rob,

Have u adjusted your rear shock to a harder setting to cope with two up and such?.

Mine does the same at about 90mph, front end starts to wobble a bit. Im sure its the combination of light front end and the tyres.

I adjusted the rear shocker to the hardest setting and that has cured most of it but i think im gonna change to a different tyre type.

In a previous thred, someone recommended Avon Distanzia as a good on road/off road tyre.

Hope this helps
Roy
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  #4  
Old 10 Sep 2007
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the rims might also another thing to check i guess.
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  #5  
Old 10 Sep 2007
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KLE Stability

Hello,

I wouldn't want to alarm you, but it's abnormal. I think you should check tyre pressure and shock setting first. With my 50 kg son and my own 70 kg, shock on 3rd (middle) position, 150kph is no big deal ! So at 80, either your shock is on softest position, or your tyre pressure too low or something's really wrong.
By the way, how's the bike when you ride alone ?
I'd suggest to check wheels alignment (you just need to bend a string), rear arm side excessive free movement (I think of used bearings), same thing for steering : put the bike on something hard to free the front wheel, and try to move the fork back and front. If it moves, unscrew up bolt and tighten the steering, with a screw driver and a hammer. Then screw the bolt to keep it tuned. If it doesn't work, get new bearings... And hope the frame hasn't been damaged.
Steering movement must remain easy, to prevent bearing damage and bad steering feelings, so check it before to re-tighten the bolt. I mean the chrome one under the bar.
You could also check rims, spokes (need to be tightened ?) : to check the spokes, try and fold them with your hand : you take two at a time and try to approach them. You do it for each couple of spokes. Maybe one couple will be softer than the others...
Then check suspension. If they are too soft, it could explain the stability disaster you're in.
The most common fork disease is joints failure. Easy to strip the fork and search for oil on the tubes. If there's some, you must change joints and oil. Oil quantity must be perfectly the same in both tubes. So if you loose some, you get two problems : fork too weak and oil quantity different in each tube.
Shock absorbers have joints, too, but if it gets too weak, you'll need a new shock.
Last advice : check wheel weights, sometimes mechanics put flat ones and you loose them.
Try and get the ones that go on spokes. They're more secure. But at 80, I don't think it's the problem.



Have fun !
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Last edited by AluBoxesAddict; 10 Sep 2007 at 17:24. Reason: type mismatch
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  #6  
Old 12 Sep 2007
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Thanks for the feedback

I'll spend this Saturday going over the bike, especially the suspension and shock absorbers. The rim is fine, so that is not the problem. I appreciate your contributions. Rob
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  #7  
Old 18 Sep 2007
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Progress so far

Hi Guys,
Have now checked the rims and spokes - no problems there. Tyre pressure fine. Checked the suspension setting - it was already set at 5, the highest. Not sure what my next step is ... but thanks for the input.
Rob
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  #8  
Old 18 Sep 2007
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The funny thing is Rob, My bike dont do it all the time?.

I think wind factor must play a part. The KLE is very light and tall at the front so two up with luggage is only gonna make the effect worse.

If I keep her under 85mph, there is no problem.


Im gonna change tyres, but not before these are shot!!!!.


Cheers
Roy
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  #9  
Old 18 Sep 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AluBoxesAddict View Post
Hello,

I wouldn't want to alarm you, but it's abnormal. I think you should check tyre pressure and shock setting first. With my 50 kg son and my own 70 kg, shock on 3rd (middle) position, 150kph is no big deal ! So at 80, either your shock is on softest position, or your tyre pressure too low or something's really wrong.
By the way, how's the bike when you ride alone ?
I'd suggest to check wheels alignment (you just need to bend a string), rear arm side excessive free movement (I think of used bearings), same thing for steering : put the bike on something hard to free the front wheel, and try to move the fork back and front. If it moves, unscrew up bolt and tighten the steering, with a screw driver and a hammer. Then screw the bolt to keep it tuned. If it doesn't work, get new bearings... And hope the frame hasn't been damaged.
Steering movement must remain easy, to prevent bearing damage and bad steering feelings, so check it before to re-tighten the bolt. I mean the chrome one under the bar.
You could also check rims, spokes (need to be tightened ?) : to check the spokes, try and fold them with your hand : you take two at a time and try to approach them. You do it for each couple of spokes. Maybe one couple will be softer than the others...
Then check suspension. If they are too soft, it could explain the stability disaster you're in.
The most common fork disease is joints failure. Easy to strip the fork and search for oil on the tubes. If there's some, you must change joints and oil. Oil quantity must be perfectly the same in both tubes. So if you loose some, you get two problems : fork too weak and oil quantity different in each tube.
Shock absorbers have joints, too, but if it gets too weak, you'll need a new shock.
Last advice : check wheel weights, sometimes mechanics put flat ones and you loose them.
Try and get the ones that go on spokes. They're more secure. But at 80, I don't think it's the problem.



Have fun !
So, have you been riding/testing the bike solo - shift your weight around at speed and see what effect that has.
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  #10  
Old 28 Sep 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldcoaster View Post
Hi,
I'm after advice about our 1992 Kawasaki KLE500. We bought it 12 months ago for 2-up touring & transport when we travel in our motorhome. The bike spends more time being towed on a trailer than ridden on the road! The tyres currently fitted are Golden Boy Trail Tire 3.00 -21 (front) and Pirelli Trail On/Off 4.60 - 17 62R (back). Both are in good / near new condition (1-2 year old and less than 1200 kms use), as is the whole bike despite its age and 80,000 kms. The problem is the bike feels unstable and moves around when ridden at about 80km/hr, making it feel a little unsafe for both rider and pillion. Our combined weights are approx. 150 kgs plus and we use a large RJays bag for our gear, but the bike seems to have plenty of power so I'm not thinking power is the problem. Are the tyres the cause of the problem? I'm thinking of trying more of a road type tyre, but would appreciate any thoughts or advice before I do anything. Maybe the bike is unsuitable for our intended use? Any feedback / ideas much appreciated.
Rob

hello,

I have a friend with an f650gs that has that problem and after many visits at bmw dealer he finally found that problem was tires .... he change front tire but same problem ..... he finally changed the rear tire ... and yes that was the problem. Try to borrow some tires and change them to see if tires are a problem
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  #11  
Old 11 Jan 2008
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found my problem - there was no air in the front shocks - used bicycle pump and put in 0.7 bar.- bike now stable as can come.
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  #12  
Old 12 Jan 2008
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How did u come to that figure?

I was under the understanding that the forks were left at atmosphere pressure?
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  #13  
Old 18 Jan 2008
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No specific formula. I just took a chance and pumped up the one, measured it and made the other one the same. I did not test any other presures as this one suited me perfectly. differant people with differant weights might need other presure. Try it - it is for free and might just work for u too. WARNING: do not use a high presure pump as will blow a seal. A bicycle pump works best and it only takes a couple of strokes
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