I have got very helpufull information from the Hubb over the past few months so I wanted to give a little back. Below are my thoughts on Ortlieb throw-over panniers and TKC 80s for the KLR 650 Cmodel.
After a year of problem free Ducati ownership, concerns over potential reliability issues led to trading a high millage Ducati Multistrada 1000DS for this 2002 KLR 650 C Model (European) with 15,000 km on the clock.
Having been exploring the off-road potential of the KLR, I was initially quite impressed with handling and ease of use in the dirt.
However as my experience and confidence grew, the limitations of the existing tires (Michilen something or other) soon became obvious.
I decided to replace the rear with a Continental TKC 80 Twinduro
. On my favorite trails the bike was transformed. Steep, muddy inclines which the bike previously struggled to climb, could be attacked aggressively while all the time maintaing control. Downhill where the rear used to try to come around were dramatically. Overall, I was very impressed with the new tyre off-road.
On the road, the tyre performed far better than expected, to the extent that I eventually forgot I had a non-road tyre on the rear and started enjoying corners again with confidence.
Grip in the wet did appear somewhat reduced. Tyre wear did seem high but after approximatly 2000 km, I am still happy with the tyre.
I havent seen an urgent need to change the front tyre, although on a number of occasions I did feel like the front was going to wash out on some muddy trails while probably exceeding my riding abilities.
I will eventually change the front for the same tyre although I suspect marginal off-road improvement will come at a reduction in on-road grip.
Ortlieb soft throw over panniers:
In an attempt to live the "adventurer tourer" dream, I wanted to add some luggage capacity to the KLR. I initially stayed away from hard luggage for financial reasons but also because I didn't feel the KLR Cmodel subframe in its current state was capable of supporting hard luggage. Being safer, more forgiving and lighter off road also made me happy with the choice of soft luggage.
I was initially drawn to the 15 liter bags from Dirtbagz:
Dirt-Bagz** THE Dirtbike Packing Solution!
Dirt bagz install and review - ADVrider
or the Wolfmans and others:
Wolfman Motorcycle Luggage
Cramster - Travel Gear For The Restless : Motorcycle Luggage, Saddlebags, Magnetic Tankbags, Riding Gear - Jacket, Gloves, Backpacks...
Andy Strapz - Motorbike Bags, Straps, Panniers, Over Gloves - Australian Made
Ortlieb : Motorcycle Speedbag [M63] - Â£188.50
In the end I went for the following and ordered from OutdoorGB without any issues.
Ortlieb Motorcycle Saddle Bags
I am very happy with the bags, they are light, simple and easy to use. They look like they will stand up to a bit of abuse. The throw-over panniers are a bit too close to the exhaust
Moving the panniers closer to the front would solve the problem with the exhaust but I thought they restricted the riders space.
As expected, some form of soft luggage rack
The standard pannier rack for the Cmodel is discussed in the following post:
Metal Mule also have a Cmodel pannier rack. But as seen in the post there are issues with the strength of the mounting points near the rear Carrier. Also I felt these racks were overkill for supporting throw-over soft panniers.
There were some nice options for soft luggage racks available for the A model:
KLRWorld.com - Product Review - Turbo City Performance Headquarters KLR 650 Denali Rack
Kawasaki KLR650 OSR Racks - KLR650 & Adventure Touring Motorcycle Luggage and Aluminum Panniers
Custom Built Panniers - WHY NOT USE MILITARY AMMO BOX - Page 5 - KLR650.NET - Your Kawasaki KLR650 Resource! - The Original KLR650 Forum!
Additional info and help here:
As all of the available racks were generally for the A-model, I decided to attempt to fabricate my own rack. I found plenty of inspration from the following links.
Givi T213 Soft Luggage Pannier rack for Honda XL650V Transal.. - Motorbikes and Parts - Givi / Kappa Motorcycle Luggage Specialists - givi-t213-soft-luggage-pannier-rack-for-honda-xl650v-transalp-00-p-17014.html?osCsid=eff78d1978234f41bafad590e9bee48
Just bought an '09 DR650SE - 1st Long Trip - Page 2 - ADVrider
Givi t213 soft luggage pannier rack image by Ratcatcher_photos on Photobucket
My final rack is as follows. Given a lack of tools (and skills) I was limited in what I could do myself. In a moment of inspiration I decided to use the legs from a small (cheap) folding stool. Each leg was basically a U shaped pipe.
To bend the pipe over the exhaust, I backed a car over the bar and bent the other end by hand. It was a bit crude and the pipe kinked at the bend so is probably not too strong. But it covers the exhaust effectivally.
The U shaped pipe was secured to the bike using two exhaust clamps I goot from Harlfords. I drilled the base of the clamp and bolted this to the existing carrier mount holes on the bike. The "U bolts" the secured the pipe to the base of the clamp.
The soft panniers are well away from the exhaust so no fear of spontaneous compustion:
I am very happy how the bags fit, feel and look on the bike.
I have done a quick off-road test with the panniers loaded to about 60-70% of their weight capaity. I almost forgot they were there until a steep slippy climb where it felt like the rear wasnt getting as much power as usual, it still made the climb do.
The setup gives me 47 L of carring capacity so combined with a bag on the rear seat, I should have sufficient space for a decent trip.