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Seeking basic advice

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I have a Kawasaki KLX 140 - I am new to the trail scene, but I've been riding street bikes for many years. I am not so much mechanically inclined, but I'm willing to learn and get my hands dirty. What are the basic things that I need to be able to do so that I can maintain the bike in a way that will make it last and not crap out on me miles from the car? For background: I ride about once weekly for about 2-3 hours on fairly wide trails at my local state park (prentice cooper near Chattanooga, tn). Conditions range from dusty to mildly muddy. I'm 5'7" and 140#, and I work hard to ride well within my limits - although I do like going fast :). Despite my restraint, I have become quite adept at throwing the bike at the ground, sometimes braking a few ribs. BUT I LOVE IT. Basic advice is what I'm looking for...

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Buy a service manual and read it several dozen times. Follow it.

Keep the bike clean and go over it regularly. If something is broken, fix it properly. If something is worn out, replace it with a quality part.

Keep the spokes tight, the air filter clean and change the oil.

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And chain adjusted properly and proper tire pressure.  The tire pressure is something you may have to play around with for what suits you, the conditions and the tires.

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14 minutes ago, William1 said:

Buy a service manual and read it several dozen times. Follow it.

Keep the bike clean and go over it regularly. If something is broken, fix it properly. If something is worn out, replace it with a quality part.

Keep the spokes tight, the air filter clean and change the oil.

At the risk of sounding like a complete dolt, are saying a manual other than the one that came with the bike? 

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1 minute ago, dvm moe said:

At the risk of sounding like a complete dolt, are saying a manual other than the one that came with the bike? 

That was probably an owners manual.  Service manual is a big book.

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google "KLX 140 service manual" and several are for sale
also
google "KLX 140 service manual pdf" and there is a download you may be able to get.
How old are you? 50's?



Is it that obvious? I'm 46.
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Isn't that KLX140 really small for you?   


I've learned my lesson that bigger is not always better (cue the inappropriate jokes). I learned to ride on a Honda Rebel, then got too big for my britches and bought a Honda Shadow Spirit 1100. Rode it out of spite for a few years and then sold it. Got back into riding with a Moto Guzzi V7 (about 700 cc), then fell in love with my little Yamaha R3 (320cc).

I didn't want my intro to dirt to be too intimidating. I wanted the chance to learn and develop my skills first. For now, the size and power are just right. 80% rider, 20% bike.
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The klx140 is a very low maintenance bike. My wife rides it and I keep it going for her. Change the oil and filter every 25 hours or so, clean the air filter as needed. Watch the chain closely seems like I'm adjusting it every 3 or 4 hours. Try to use ethanol free gas too. 

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The klx140 is a very low maintenance bike. My wife rides it and I keep it going for her. Change the oil and filter every 25 hours or so, clean the air filter as needed. Watch the chain closely seems like I'm adjusting it every 3 or 4 hours. Try to use ethanol free gas too. 


Thank you - I will do that!

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10 hours ago, dvm moe said:

 


I've learned my lesson that bigger is not always better (cue the inappropriate jokes). I learned to ride on a Honda Rebel, then got too big for my britches and bought a Honda Shadow Spirit 1100. Rode it out of spite for a few years and then sold it. Got back into riding with a Moto Guzzi V7 (about 700 cc), then fell in love with my little Yamaha R3 (320cc).

I didn't want my intro to dirt to be too intimidating. I wanted the chance to learn and develop my skills first. For now, the size and power are just right. 80% rider, 20% bike.

 

 

I agree 100% on starting to ride on a low, easy to ride, low maintenance air cooled 4-stroke.  I just meant the KLX140 is physically very small and was curious if it was uncomfortable or if you felt cramped on it.  My 18 year old niece wanted to start riding.  She's maybe 5'3.  When we were searching for bikes for her we likes the KLX140 but it was just too small.  We ended up getting her a CRF150F which fit her better but even that was still on the smallish side but served her well through her initial learning period.

Doc

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Those klx 140 are very reliable they will get some valve chatter if you ride them hard. They are very easy to adjust yourself.I believe every 50hrs. They also come in the larger sized "G" model that is on large wheels etc

Sent from my Moto G (4) using ThumperTalk mobile app

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2 hours ago, Doc_d said:

 

I agree 100% on starting to ride on a low, easy to ride, low maintenance air cooled 4-stroke.  I just meant the KLX140 is physically very small and was curious if it was uncomfortable or if you felt cramped on it.  My 18 year old niece wanted to start riding.  She's maybe 5'3.  When we were searching for bikes for her we likes the KLX140 but it was just too small.  We ended up getting her a CRF150F which fit her better but even that was still on the smallish side but served her well through her initial learning period.

Doc

Gotcha. The 140G model is what I got. I feel like it fits well. Maybe that will change with time...

2 hours ago, Greenwrench said:

Those klx 140 are very reliable they will get some valve chatter if you ride them hard. They are very easy to adjust yourself.I believe every 50hrs. They also come in the larger sized "G" model that is on large wheels etc

Sent from my Moto G (4) using ThumperTalk mobile app
 

Thanks for the heads up :). The G model is what I ended up getting.

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Learn to replace wheel bearings.  They don't seem to last very long.  

Also, learn to disassemble and clean steering head bearings and swingarm bearings.  These should be done annually.

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3 hours ago, CDNSXV said:

Learn to replace wheel bearings.  They don't seem to last very long.  

Also, learn to disassemble and clean steering head bearings and swingarm bearings.  These should be done annually.

Good to know... I assume this is something I can teach myself with the help of a service manual? And is this a kawasaki thing or a general dirt bike thing?

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2 hours ago, dvm moe said:

Good to know... I assume this is something I can teach myself with the help of a service manual? And is this a kawasaki thing or a general dirt bike thing?

General dirt bike thing, although bikes with bigger or doubled up wheel bearing usually last longer, so how often any bearring needs to be replaced depends on the bike and riding conditions. Its easy to do most bearings with basic tools, but can be done in a quarter of the time with the right tools.

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Currently I am working on a way to seal off the wheel bearings from the dirt and water associated with dirt biking.  Turns out the bearing dust seals don't actually seal off the bearings very well.  There is nothing stopping water and dirt migrating down the axle and into the hub area.  My last set of bearings barely lasted a year.

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Currently I am working on a way to seal off the wheel bearings from the dirt and water associated with dirt biking.  Turns out the bearing dust seals don't actually seal off the bearings very well.  There is nothing stopping water and dirt migrating down the axle and into the hub area.  My last set of bearings barely lasted a year.


Well, that's just awesome.

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