I was waiting at the motor registry with my face pressed up against the glass when they opened in the morning, and with all my paperwork in order it was a simple matter of paying a zillion dollars, grabbing the new plate, and walking away.
With that finally sorted I started doing a few bits and pieces. I think I have the cockpit ergos pretty much sorted out.
I fitted a pair of KTM SX ‘bars – I like them a lot – on a pair of 50mm-rise Rox Risers and a pair of mirrors I like. I thought mirrors were KTM, but I either had that wrong or these are copies. I have the same ‘bars and mirrors on the Dominator, and now the cockpit on the KLR is more open and far more tidy.
I also replaced the smashed plastic load-bearing plate in the rear rack.
The rack framework didn’t seem to be sitting right so I began messing about with it to see what was going on. I pulled out a few nuts and bolts from around the rear end and ended up no better off so I went to put it together again. For some reason I couldn’t get the rear-guard extender to line up. I sweated and swore at it for about an hour and even tried to muscle the plastic into position with a tyre lever, but the bloody thing just wouldn’t go. I could get any three bolts in, but no matter which three I chose, the fourth wouldn’t line up. I tried ’em loose, tight, and I tried throwing tools, but the prick of thing just wouldn’t work.
I gave up in frustration.
Craig Murcott dropped by for a visit, so I asked if he’d help. I figured he could hold the bike while I really threw some aggro on the tyre lever.
Craig coated the fourth bolt with WD40, wound it in with his bare fingers and nipped up with a spanner.
I stood there with my largest tyre lever gnashing my teeth and trying to control my language – Craig’s daughter Paige was standing there watching, after all.
Then I was messing about with the new ‘bars.
I had to disassemble the throttle to reroute the cables for the lower ‘bars, and I always struggle putting those poxy throttles back together. As luck would have it, Nigel Locke was passing, saw me at the shed and dropped in. As I sweated and swore he very gently suggested I line up a couple of bits, loosen a screw or two and boom! The thing almost fell back together.
Hmm. Clearly I have little or no talent for mechanics, and I know it. I’m lucky to have people like that who’ll drop by from time to time and help out.
Those things left me ready to ride the bike, and aside from a disgustingly loud exhaust and the weakest front brake ever, it seems to be in fairly good shape. The exhaust is shitty-arsed loud, but it sure does give that motor a lift. I can understand why people like them. The front brake I haven’t looked at yet. I don’t remember other KLRs I’ve ridden being as bad as this one. I’m hoping the brake pads are either a ridiculously hard compound, or, better still, worn away. Either of those would make the situation easy to improve.
In other good news, the Dominator is back in the shed.
Dan Vaughan took my incredibly insightful and accurate description of the problem (I imitated a sound like a strangled rooster trying to crow, and pointed out it only happened sometimes, and then for just a second as I shut down the motor). Dan expressed the view that the Dominator wasn’t my hobby as much as finding ridiculous, non-existent things for him to fix on it, but, as always, he brought his expertise to bear and found something to repair. That made me grin like a loon. I love knowing that bike’s in good shape.
Of course, now it’d be nice to have some time to ride it.
I doubt it’ll be this week. I have to ride an XT660Z Tenere for work, and then I have to spend a little time with Nick Dole at Teknik Motorsport. Nick’s a great bloke and we’ve known each other a long time. Over the years I’ve learned nothing involving Nick takes ‘a little time’. He refuses to cut corners on anything, and because he has so much going on he’s a difficult bloke to pin down. I usually get to fool around with the workshop dog, Ernie, while Nick’s busy, and that’s just fine with me. Ernie’s a gem, and I learn more watching Nick work than I’ll ever learn attempting things in my own ham-fisted way.