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About Sabre

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  1. Sabre

    I found a used KLR 650, what do you think?

    Here's a loaded '99 with 16K on the clock, asking $1995. 99 KLR The year isn't a huge deal, but any year bike with 33K on the odo is going to take a big hit in the resale price. Combine the vintage with the mileage and...it may be a really great machine, a real steal for somebody, but it's a bit more than I'd pay.
  2. Sabre

    What dual sport to buy?

    I agree: if you want real dirt performance, plate a WR450, DRZ400E, or something like that. Forget about the vast array of larger bikes if you really dig the single track. If you're really contemplating a 1-1/2 hour commute to the trailhead, you'll be doing a tradeoff with gearing, tires, seat comfort, etc. If most riding is close by, comfort is less an issue. You'll want to do a bit of searching on this site regarding plating the bike in Oregon; it's different in every state, and you're fortunate enough to live where it's relatively easy. See what experience others have had in your state. You most likely will get by with a baja kit that gives you tail & brake light function, turn signals (or maybe not?), a mirror and horn. DOT rubber may not be required (it's not in WA), but a quick check of licensing requirements will answer that question.
  3. Joe, While many of us replace them for "peace of mind," don't worry about it...go ride! Yeah, I replaced mine, 'cuz I'm a worrier. There was nothing wrong with it, nothing wrong with the spring, either. Yes, of course, you hear these horror stories like getting stranded at the far end of the Dalton Hwy, or fragging the motor, etc., but consider this: the vast majority of the zillion KLR owners worldwide have never even heard of the doohickey, have never worried about it, and just ride the wheels off their bikes. Ask the local dealer's mechanic what his experience is...it's most likely that he'll roll his eyes and tell you that he's NEVER seen a failure, or perhaps he'll look at you like you have two heads. Yes, I did mine. However, consider this: if the internet did not exist, the doohickey would not be a problem! Get one of Eaglemike's lovely upgrade kits. Buy his fabulous tools or borrow some. Or not. In any event, ride the thing!
  4. Sabre

    Mountain bikers get all the good trail

    One of the things that burns me about this is that there remain those thoughtless riders who foul it up for the rest of us. We as a community of riders have collectively crapped in our own hot tub by having that element among us who disregard the regs, litter, cut gates, tear up the landscape, start fires, make excessive noise, etc. It is up to each and every one of us who is interested in off-road riding to police ourselves and our fellow riders.
  5. If you're really intending to ride only a minimum amount of pavement, I'd echo what has already been said about looking at the non-DOT options. I had always assumed that DOT's were part of the required gear in my state. I was recently educated to the contrary by a LEO friend of mine. I checked the statutes on the web and...sure enough, the DOT stamp is not required!
  6. Hey, one little detail should be pointed out. If you're seriously looking to cruise 90-100 mph, don't bother looking at the KLR any further. The various BMW's, KTM 920, Triumph Tiger, and the V-Strom/Wee-Strom are going to be your only choices if that kind of speed is important to you. Yes, there are dealers who will sell you a KLR 650 for $5K OUT THE DOOR. Of course, if such a deal is not to be had in your area, it's moot. Several folks have had success by searching a bit further away from home. For them, it was worth the hassle of driving several hours to save a couple of hundred bucks. I still think the best deals are to be had on low-mileage used machines, but I'd never steal the thrill of buying new from someone!
  7. The bikes are shipped with the forks slid up like that to make them fit in the shipping crate. If it's sitting like that on the showroom floor, you should immediately suspect that your dealer either (a) was daydreaming when they set the bike up, or ( is an idiot. Yes, it's also a way of lowering the bike (along with lowering links for the rear suspension) for those who just can't get used to the height of the thing. Also assume that the dealer setup will include a chain that is WAY too tight. And, as been said many times before, re-tighten all fasteners. Then Loctite or safety wire 'em. Retighten fasteners. Got that? Retighten fasteners. OK. The KLR is dead-nuts reliable. It's an old design, going back to the early 80's, and has been extremely well sorted out by now. No major changes of note since the early 90's on these things, and, in fact, most parts are completely interchangeable regardless of model year. There is an ENORMOUS owner support group around the world (start at KLR650.net), and therefore you never need do more than simply type in a quick question to get meaningful, informed support virtually instantly. You'll hear a lot about the "doohickey." It's a cam chain adjustment lever that has been known to break occasionally. Many bike owners are fanatics, of course, and insist on doing every mod that we possible can regardless of whether it's really necessary (you know, there are the pure performance mods that really make a difference, the ones that you think maybe made a difference but insist to your friends that it's a huge diff because of all the money you spent, and the ones that are just for looks, peace of mind, status, fun, etc.). The doohickey is in the peace of mind category. Sure, you'll hear horror stories from owners who found a broken lever or spring in their engine...it does happen from time to time. Of course, you'll never hear from the zillions of owners worldwide who have never even heard of a doohickey, don't care about it, and so are blissfully ignorant...and ride their bikes forever without a problem. Another advantage of the KLR is that its old powerplant design doesn't allow you to spend piles of cash trying to eke out performance mods that just aren't there. Why is that an advantage? Well, it's strong, reliable, dependable and adequately powered as is from the factory, and your money therefore can get spent on some minor suspension mods, tires, DOOHICKEYS, sexy new helmets, etc, or, in the lingo of the KLR owners, "farkles." Oh yeah, and GPS units, panniers, top boxes, aftermarket tanks, seats, windscreens, handguards, sprockets, turn signals, yadda yadda yadda. Yes, it's a sickness. It's NOT a great woods bike (leave that to the various 400's and smaller). It's NOT the absolute best 650 in the dirt (the Suz DR and Honda XR have the edge there). It's not the fastest or most comfortable on the superslab (try a BMW or KTM if you can afford to buy or maintain one). However, it's a really great all-rounder, will easily take you around the world if you like (and not leave you stranded when a computer dies or the ABS pukes), has enough cred to have plenty of dirt fun with the right riding technique, will cruise at 70 all day long, will almost always run perfectly and never leave you stranded, will require far less maintenance time than most other machines, and can be had at ridiculously low prices. There was recently a 2005 model with 2,500 miles for $4,400 near me. I found a Y2K model several years ago with 2,200 miles for just over half the price of a new one! As always, YMMV.
  8. Sabre

    DR verses KLR

    The KLR rates at 41 hp, the DR at 35 or 36 hp. However, torque curves will be more meaningful, and gearing differences will play a much larger factor in whether either is more suitable for you than will horsepower. The DR weighs in at about 14 lbs less than the KLR (dry). Given that the KLR comes stock with that big tank and a cooling system, the wet weights differ a fair amount more, reducing any meaningful differences in those horsepower ratings.
  9. Sabre

    DR verses KLR

    The KLR edges the DR in: seat comfort, roadability, water-cooling (if that counts to you). The DR edges the KLR in: off-roadability, lower/lighter, air-cooling (if you're afraid of the radiator). Both are older, proven designs with large aftermarket support. Mostly comes down to personal preference...that are those with a good case of MBD who have both!
  10. Sabre

    Plating your bike?

    Try a search of the archives for answers to this question. The short version is is that it is virtually impossible to plate an off-road motorcycle in Washington UNLESS: 1) you are transferring a plated title from another state; or 2) you are plating a KTM that does not mention "for off-road use only" on its manufacturer's certificate of origin. To be legal in WA, you need working lights including brake lights, two mirrors, a horn, DOT rubber, and a legal muffler. You do not need turn signals. Check those archives...some folks have stories about getting around the rules, including buying new in British Columbia and then importing.
  11. Sabre

    KLR650 newbie

    A friend recently got a new KLR that had the same symptom. He tracked it down to a loose mounting of the HORN! (Mine has long since crusted over with dirt and grime, so nothing rattles) Seriously, get yourself some blue Locktite and start going over everything, especially that speedo cable. The old girl does tend to shake things loose!
  12. Sabre


    The KLR is an OLD industrial design without a lot of inherent power gains to be had. Most quick mods can be done easily and cheaply, and mainly serve to correct the OEM overly-lean condition required by EPA. Handling mods are much more important on the old KLR. Having said that, we all like to farkle our machines, and the KLR certainly has a long and noble tradition of having aftermarket toys hung on her. One serious student of KLR mods has documented his tweaking results here: http://www.patmanracing.com/klrdyno.htm Rather than listen to people who claim to have huge increases in horsepower ("you can feel the difference!"), listen to people who have facts at their disposal. Patman does. He describes the torque increases possible with the Big Gun Q-series pipe, but cites primarily an eight-pound weight loss and good looks as the reasons he spent over $400 on one. Be forewarned, however, that plenty of honest KLR owners will tell you that, given 20-20 hindsight, they would go back and spend their money on things other than a pipe or major carb work. If you want big power, get something else.
  13. Hey, just read the book. There wasn't any catering...it was Ewan, Charlie and Claudio on three beemers and that's it. Sure, they had an SUV and minivan as support vehicles, but they only hooked up with them in certain cities and border crossings. As for not being hard...what is "hard?" A guy who's a competent street rider but who has no off-pavement experience (Ewan) takes a bloated pig of a bike like that overloaded GS and spends a lot of time in sand, mud, swamps, etc.: that's hard. It's feckin' hard. Read the passages where they cross Mongolia.
  14. Sabre

    Road trip to Canada first time

    We travel into BC every week. One thing I would recommend is a card from your insurance company that specifically states that your coverage applies in Canada. My company (USAA) sends out such cards on request. I don't know about CA, but in WA, bike insurance is not required. However, all licensed bikes in BC must carry insurance, so it's something to bear in mind. A good resource for rules as well as travel planning might be the Canadian Automobile Association, http://www.caa.ca/indexm.asp
  15. Sabre

    DRZ comfort?

    I met a guy a while back on a nice DRZ that had a beautiful custom seat. I think he said that it was by Mustang, but I may be mistaken. It was nothing like the OEM butt floss seat; this one flared out to support the "sit bones," and the guy reported that he used the bike in comfort for 200-mile round-trip commutes. Any respectable seatmaker or auto upholstery shop ought to be able to fashion a comfortable alternative to the stock seat.