? for KLX 300 gurus

I have a '96 DR350S and a 2001 KLX300 for my boy. Both are street legal and loads of fun.

The thing I don't like about the KLX is it's gravel road manners. When you get out of the track and into the ridge of gravel the DR might wiggle a little, but that's it. The KLX however will stain your under wear. It simply scares the crap out of you and makes you cry for your mommy. I've tried moving my weight forward and back, weighting the pegs, etc. Even on roads with a small amount of gravel it is not as stable. Is there anything we can do to help this. There is a '02 KLX that is like new for sale here in town that I would like to have, but not if I have to keep the DR for country roading.

Thanks in advance for any ideas.

Bill is better for this one. He might be riding the same kind of terrain. Mine is really stable in loose rock and gravel. The difference is probably tires. I tried a new Dunlop 773 for the front. They appear to be a Michelin M-12 copy for about 10 dollars less. Once the mold release ground off, it did very well in dry conditions, fairly well in wet conditions too. I'm running the X-11 Michelin trials tire on the back. For off road use only it has been great. Since you are street legal, and the Trials tire is too soft to last on the road, Bill had better offer up some choices.

Anyone else with a street legal KLX??

I should have mentioned tires. The KLX has stock rubber. Rear is just starting to show wear the front is like new.

The DR has Kenda 570s that are in the same condition.

I don't know which tires come stock on the KLX's these days, but my 2001 was a squirrel with stock tires. I only ride dirt. Dunlop 756 in the rear and Michelin M12 on the front work for me. Bill (mostly desert riding) likes the Maxxis Cross but I tried one on the rear and it was slippery on hard pack.

You didn't mention your weight. The fork springs are for a 135lb rider and the shock spring is for a 185lb rider. You can guess what that does for handling. Our KLX's are known for being nimble in the tight stuff because of the steering geometry. But, with the soft fork springs, the front end compresses and makes the bike twitchy in the turns, as does the stock front tire.

I'd try a different set of tires first.

Ride on


I thought they changed the rear tire type at some point, are they Dunlop K695's, I thought thats what I had stock. If thats the case, I don't think it's the tires, unless they are worn to a pulp which you said they were not. Doesn't the dr have a longer wheelbase, that typically helps a bunch for high speed stability. I never could turn a flat corner on gravel unless I was on a quad. You might also check that the front fork is not running low in its travel. Lower the fork tubes to flush with the top of the triple clamps and then go try it again. Setting up bike balance has an effect of what you are talking about. I thought the klx was reasonably stable at speed, but me and gravel roads don't get along too well some times, so I typically try to take those corners slower so I may not experience your issue.

Bill? Bill who? :cry: :cry:

Um, how come I have to weigh in on this? Well, the KLX turns tight and because of that type of frame geometry, it has some headshake at high speeds. Not massive headshake mind you, but enough to get your attention. Like the others said, I would think about tires and suspension. You're not being real specific in your post about EXACTLY what is happening. Some riders I know wet their pants at 20mph on a flat fireroad. Others I know have absolutely know sense and push their KLX's faster than is imaginable - even with stock suspension. I can't keep up with them. :cry:

I'd check tires first and try a different brand. Check with guys in your area that ride the same terrain. Other than that, I don't know what to say. A stabilizer will help a lot, but honestly, I know guys riding stock suspension that will go so fast on them that it makes my hair stand on end. I've got my bike dialed in suspension wise AND have a stabilizer and I can't keep them in sight.... so... exactly what is it that is making you cry mommy? :cry:

My 04 came with Dunlop 739's. After a hand full of rides new tires are needed. I ride in New england where we get everything, Hard pack that turns into sand which turns into a mud pit, then dont forget the rock gardens....how could I forget, they made Fred andrews quit a race a few years back.

Any suggestions for a good all around tire?

"Some riders I know wet their pants at 20mph on a flat fire road.":LOL: I resemble that remark!? :cry: When we get into technical stuff I tell the kid I'm practicing to ride trials and I need to be able to go that slow. :cry:

Exactly what is happening is this. When you hit loose gravel at speeds between 30 and 50 mph it does get bad headshake. By shifting weight back and carefull use of throttle I can lesson the headshake, but the rear end starts moving back and forth also. This is going basically staight down the road. Turning can be difficult but after learning to keep the bike more upright, weighting outside peg, and using the throttle to control the turn it's not too bad. The bike is very stable on hard surfaces at any reasonable speed.

In the rougher more technical stuff the KLX is much better in nearly all respects than the DR. Well, it is built for shorter guys, but that can be changed.

To me it sounds like a rider weight / suspension / tire issue. We don't do a lot of gravel roads around here, but my son can take his KLX down whooped out trails in 5th and 6th gear without an issue. But ONLY after we worked on his suspension a bit. My buddy is right there with him on his bone stock KLX also but has put on new tires and adjusted only compression on the front. I bet if you think about it while you're riding, you'll find the front end is diving a lot - well into the suspension travel. My guess is that the rebound on the rear needs to be adjusted also. New springs, correct tires for your terrain and some tweaking on the compression/rebound should get you in a good place.

It's amazing what a suspension reworking will do. My son used to swap out side to side in the whoops consistantly. Simply putting in heavier fork springs and adjusting rear rebound stopped it almost completely. When I stepped off my KLX with ESP tweaked suspension and rode my buddies KLX down a sand wash, I could barely turn without falling over. Getting the suspension dialed in makes all the difference. Maybe the DR is just suited for your weight and the KLX is working against you.

Good luck.

The kid came home from school today with a print out of this thread. The "wet your pants at 20mph" parts were underlined and he was having quite a laugh. Why do they let them on the net at school?? :cry: Funny part is I think the bike scares him more on gravel than it does me.

Since he weighs 50 lb. less than me I don't think it's all suspension, but it sure could contribute. I've thought about tires. The KLX doesn't have the rim locks installed, so we have'nt dropped the pressure below 15psi. Last guy had it set up for pavement. No rim locks and the tires balanced. Does work nice on the pavement, but that's not what we do. When I ride from town I'm on gravel as soon as possible.

Thanks for all the suggestions and the chance to be publicly humiliated at the highschool.

The KLX is short in the wheelbase as previously stated. That is why it has the tight stuff agility, but the obvious tradeoff is high speed stability. [@#$%&*!] that rhymes! It's most obvious on dirt roads and gravel. Go borrow a mates rero trailbike say a 1980 YZ, go down a dirt road at speed, hop back on your KLX and enjoy. My secret is I haven't hopped on anything newer, so I reckon it's great!

:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: Know what you mean cogdoc. Had a chance to ride a friends '71 175 Yamaha a couple of times this summer. Makes you apreciate the newer stuff.

Are you sure it still works good on the street? Could be a bent rim, have you checked the spokes for tightness. Make sure the wheel is true and doesn't have a wobble. I took mine down a long flat stretch at the sand dunes, I got it to 72mph, if I recall correctly. It was not shaking, but I was. I have ridden bikes with loose spokes and a wobble in the rim, it could do what you describe. I would have thought you would notice it at slow speed as well though.

MMaxed - :cry: :cry: :cry: Isn't school great? IMO 15lbs it too much pressure in the tires. I usually run 9-11 and anything more gets me feeling squirlley. Good luck.

You're probably right on tire pressure. Last time we went riding my tires still had 20 psi in from a pavement running test. I got about an 1/8 of a mile on a friends gravel driveway and pulled in to the pickup to grab the tire gauge and drop the pressure. My DR was back up to form.

Along the same lines- but not in your case:

I ran a new tire (dunlop 773) that would not bite. My buddy had the same new tire on our first ride- same complaint. After we scrubbed off the mold release on some gravel road it worked fine. Mold release leaves a shiny finish on a new knobby and it will take a few miles of gravel to polish it off. Give the new skin a chance before you toss it on the burn pile.

Thanks for all the help guys. Will try dropping tire pressure when weather clears up. If it turns out that winter has come early, the bikes get ready for storage and the sleds get the hop up parts installed.

I hadn't thought about release agents on tires. I use hot soapy water and a stiff scrub brush on snowmobile belts for that reason.

Now I just have to decide if I want that KLX??!!?? :cry:

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