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Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
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Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA



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  #1  
Old 27 Apr 2018
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longtime lurker, first time poster. (tire issue)

Hi everyone, ive never had the need to post before. There is so much info already online I have always been able to search and answer my questions. First off, I'm riding a 99 klr 650. I've been riding it for 2.5 years and I love the bike. I'm stepping it up this year and I am going from Alaska (where I live ) to as far south as the funds will take me. Hopefully all the way to Argentina, but we shall see. I have about 50,000 miles on the bike and I'm going to spend the summer doing a complete rebuild, then depart at the end of September. Anyway, thanks for that spare part thread, best one I've read in a while. My issue is this, ive ridden much more dirt than highway in my life. I can't find a tire I like. I love leaning her over on the switch backs and I love ripping on the gravel roads and singletracks. I haven't found a tire that I like at all. not even close. I really hoped to have solved this issue by now, and I'm beginning to think that the issue is my expectations. It comes down to this, I want a tire I can count on in tight turns,and wet highway conditions. I also want to have great off road and gravel performance. Also, longevity would be nice. I honestly thought that my first big issue would be something different. I'm out of time for experimentation and I haven't gotten anywhere. Any thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 27 Apr 2018
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Well, you had to start posting about something and it had to be tyres (tires).
to the HUBB by the way.

It's a rather strange thing, but there is no specific section of the HUBB given over to the subject of bike tyres, in contrast to lots of other discussion websites; the nearest to the topic is probably the section on "Tech".
For instance, this sticky:-
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...xplained-82925

See what you think about the threads that do exist and contribute or ask questions in there, I suggest, if only because it is a generic subject matter that crosses the boundaries of specific bike manufacturers and their models of machines.

You may find a thread in there about whatever specific tyre you have fitted at present:
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/tech/
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  #3  
Old 27 Apr 2018
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  • a tire I can count on in tight turns
  • wet highway conditions
  • great off road and gravel performance
  • longevity would be nice

Those requirements are mutually exclusive I think. Sadly there is no such tyre.

A good off-road tyre will not behave on wet pavement and won't last long. The opposite is also true: a good on-road tyre normally sucks off-road... So it is a matter of compromise finding a tyre that is not good at anything but can (more or less) handle both situations at some degree.

What are you going to do more, on or off? Are you more comfortable avoiding the difficult off-road sections or being extra-careful on tarmac?
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  #4  
Old 27 Apr 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
Well, you had to start posting about something and it had to be tyres (tires).
to the HUBB by the way.

It's a rather strange thing, but there is no specific section of the HUBB given over to the subject of bike tyres, in contrast to lots of other discussion websites; the nearest to the topic is probably the section on "Tech".
For instance, this sticky:-
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...xplained-82925

See what you think about the threads that do exist and contribute or ask questions in there, I suggest, if only because it is a generic subject matter that crosses the boundaries of specific bike manufacturers and their models of machines.

You may find a thread in there about whatever specific tyre you have fitted at present:
Tech - Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

I've read them, and I was rolling my eyes at myself for asking the question but it's the only thing I haven't been able to solve by searching and I have invested the most money into solving this.I figured my issue was more unique because I am struggling with it. I don't know though I just don't know anything about these DOT crap dual sort tires. I obviously am going to be on mostly pavement, if you want a ratio I'm not sure what it is going to be. right now I ride probably 70 percent gravel and trail and the rest pavement. (mostly due to the lack of pavement)On such a long journey, it will be at least the inverse of that. I will be dissappointed if I can't stumble across a nice trail and run it without slipping and sliding all over the place. I'm thinking the d 606's but I don't know at this point I don't have time for another big miss.
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Old 27 Apr 2018
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I guess a lot of people struggle with it actually. what's the deal? There has to be something out there. my initial thought is to just have 2 different tire sets and switch them out, but there is no way that will be doable. It's too bad the tire technology as far as I can tell hasn't caught up with the bikes and my klr is a gen 1. I'm really dissappointed in what I have found in my 2.5 years of dual sport riding in the tire technology. While this is a general issue my bike is a klr 650 and not all tires fit the stock klr wheel and things like suspension and power also factor into tire performance.
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  #6  
Old 30 Apr 2018
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On the trip you describe, you will be mostly on pavement and you will be finding lots of twisty mountain type roads. There is gravel and dirt to be had, but it will be in short bursts. Deciding to deliberately go off roading for extended periods is not a great idea if you want to preserve your bike's reliability. there are several 80/20 tires that really rock like sportsbike tires on pavement. They do't last long though. many us Heideneau's least aggressive tire,which is still pretty dirt biased and I wouldn't try hang it out in the twistys on that tire. Personally, I'd rather have grip on pavement and take it easy on the dirt than the other way around.
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Old 30 Apr 2018
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Great plan! September a great time for departure. You will have no problems with tires, just plan your changes carefully. Most of S. America you have limited choices ... so expect compromise.

Obviously front tire will last double rear tire, so a good front that works well ON and OFF road is ideal unless doing mainly ROAD travel. But traveling out of USA, longevity has to be TOP OF THE LIST.

Of 10 or so different fronts used on my DR650, my two favorite front tires have been TKC80 and IRC TR-8. The TR-8 lasts longer, cheaper and works a bit better off road, the TKC80 works very well ON road, excellent handler for knobby tire, even in wet, expensive, good for maybe 7K to 9K miles at most. (in my experience)

Way back in 1998, rode a new 1998 KLR press bike from San Fran Bay to Baja, Copper Canyon, lots more. 6600 miles, 6 week tour. Stock Bridgestone rear worn out by Durango, Mex. (under 3K miles!) Found a funky Kenda road tire that fit, ran that rest of the way.

Rear tires are more of a challenge once traveling. I like the D606, used them front and rear in Moab, UT and Colorado passes. Very good if mainly OFF ROAD ... but the rear lasts maybe 3000 miles, bit more. Front lasts but slippery on wet pavement.

Lots depends how much off road you want to pursue. When in US you can re-new your tires anywhere anytime and quickly. But once you cross that border, tire and tubes are like GOLD.

I often pack a rear tire on the back. Some don't like it, I don't mind. For me, nothing worse than running out of tire middle of nowhere.

A few ideas:
Start with new tires from AK. If you plan to do Moab, Colorado, Nevada Black Rock Desert or Mojave desert off road, then your tire choices should be more off road biased.

Near the border Re-Tire front and rear (no matter if your current tires not fully worn out ... Go NEW!) ... maybe pack a spare rear on the back? Don't forget QUALITY, real rubber spare tubes.

You can find tires/tubes in Mexico or Cent America but you may not get anything any good .. and you may have to wait ... like two weeks. Guadalajara or Mexico City KTM or BMW or other dealers will be your best hope ... and BOY! will you pay big for those tires! Or ... you might get lucky at the Kawasaki dealer!

If you don't re-tire in Mexico then not a whole lot of tires until Colombia. Yes, there are some tires to be had in Cent. America, but few/far between. Remember it's mostly all 125cc or smaller bikes down there.

Once in Colombia you can find tires for the KLR, perhaps not the very best, but
it's getting better. I don't know current details on sourcing tires further South other than they are expensive and sometimes hard to find. Do your research once on the road.

Rear Tire Choices:
Rear tires a tougher choice. Many swear by the German Heidenau, Mefo or Mitas tires. Some seem to last on some bikes but on and off road performance is not better ... or not as good as ... a $60 Kenda K270. They are pretty tough and DO mostly last well. But at $150 a crack ?

For road use I now mostly run the Shinko E705. If you have to go off road, lower pressures down to 17 PSI. The Metzeler Tourance, Avon Distanzia and Michelin Anakee ALL will last longer than the Shinko but at substantial cost.

50/50 rear tires I like:
Kenda K270 (ran over 6000 miles in Baja, Mexico trip)
Surprising off road performance, not so great riding aggressive in the twisties. Only so so in the wet.

Shinko 244 (rear) (Lasts only 4 to 5K miles)
Also very good off road and better than the Kenda on pavement, good in wet. But agressive use will wear it out quick. (I've used 3 on my DR650) Cheap and cheerful but not a S. America tire.

So, key thing is to get from US border to Colombia on one rear tire. The Kenda can do it if you keep highway speeds low. On my trip I ran at 70 to 80 mph in all of USA portions. This took a BIG chuck of miles out of the Kenda. Going slower, I'm confident that K270 would have reached 8K miles.
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Old 30 Apr 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tromak View Post
I have about 50,000 miles on the bike and I'm going to spend the summer doing a complete rebuild, then depart at the end of September.
One brief comment: A full rebuild is great ... but be sure to do a short "shake down"ride before leaving USA. I've read several ride reports over the years where one small mistake on the rebuild took out the engine, leaving rider stranded.

Some may remember Jammin Jay and his 3 year RTW ride. This happened to him and delayed his departure buy (IIRC) 6 months or a year. I'd do a very conservative, careful rebuild ... not a "hop up".

The good news is most who rebuild (if done right!) have no more OIL USE which seems endemic to KLR's.

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  #9  
Old 1 May 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
One brief comment: A full rebuild is great ... but be sure to do a short "shake down"ride before leaving USA.
You want to use the bike at least a month before you leave. Allows any bugs to come out before you leave.

Tyres.. you want ones that last ... at least untill you can get more. And when you get replacements ... you will be getting what they have .. not 'what you want'. While 'maximum performance' is a nice goal at/near home ... when your away you settle for something that will get you going. So ... learn to cope with less than ideal tyres.
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