|August 2006 loaded down for a donut run up to the cabin to bait black bear
A 230 mile one way trip
You have linked to this page via www.buckmountainchateau.com (a cabin in Northern Minnesota)
This page is part of that website and will be devoted solely to the wartbike.
I've had a few bikes. As a teenager I had a small 1968 Bridgestone 50cc which I paid cash for after living and
working as an indentured servant more or less on my uncles farm in South Dakota. He's a good man and I
owe him a lot for that unique experience. I graduated the 8th grade in a one room country school house out
there. I never would have gotten that bike without my hired hand wages my uncle paid me. It was the start of
my motorcycle interests.
The Bridgestone had about 3 thousand miles on it when I sold it. Not a lot but I didn't have a drivers license to
begin with and should not have been on the road period. Most of those miles were on what is commonly
referred to as the "back roads."
The next bike was a 1982 Yamaha 750 Virago V-twin with shaft drive. It was a good bike with little
maintenance requirements and I put 25,000 miles on it. I sold it shortly after I laid it down when some small
children ran out in front of me. My foot was pinned underneath and when I did get free I could hardly pick the
500 pounder up. I remember thinking, "It's not really a bike if a man can't even pick it up off the ground."
And now we come to the Kawasaki 650 KLR. A single cylinder with way too much power for the dirt but able to
take you anywhere you want to go and still light enough to man handle if you get into something over your
head. The dry weight is 337 pounds. That's what really sold me on the wartbike...well that and the cheap price
of $4999.00 The military uses the KLR and even has a diesel version which gets over 100 miles a gallon. The
wartbike is for guys that don't mind wrenching a little now and then. Nothing major just keep the chain oiled
and keep an eye on nuts that vibrate loose. There's also a couple of safety wires you might want to snip and
the balancer chain tensioner aka. "doohickey" but that's about it.
The bike has a cult following and if you google "KLR 650" you'll get about 5000 hits. "Wikipedia - the free
encyclopedia" has a good write up of the bike with all the specs at the following link: KLR 650
My wartbike has 13,000 miles as of July 2007 and might be due for a new chain? Hopefully I'll make it until
snowfall with it. The wartbike has several donut runs planned in August 2007 for bear hunting again and
hopefully Mark will be joining me with his new Yamaha 400cc Majesty (see pic below).
|Squirrels like the wartbike too...they find it makes an excellent storage facility
Thank goodness no wiring was damaged
|When gasoline starting hitting $3.00 a gallon and with the KLR getting 50 mpg it became a serious work bike. I
bolted a South African ammo can to the rear luggage rack using the existing bolt holes. It's very secure.
I was concerned it might be a tad large but not the case. You never seem to have enough space, especially with
rain gear, work clothes, etcetera. The lid is hinged and the ammo can is totally waterproof. It provides a super
secondary shelf for other more bulky gear on top. The best part of the ammo can is the cost of it and the 4
longer metric bolts was under $5.00
|The south African ammo can is gaudy looking, like the milk crate bikes of the 60's and 70's (like I give a crap).
I was able to actually use the luggage rack bolts giving it a tight custom fit.
|The wartbike without tank bags
Rarely seen like this
|Mark with his new Yamaha 400cc Majesty
A week after pic someone backed into it
causing 2000 in damage
|The manual hasn't changed in 20 years
Long guns lash down fine on the wartbike
|Why the wartbike?
|140 mile Mississippi Valley run
Minnesota left photo and Wisconsin right photo
|2002 Kawasaki KLR 650 "Wartbike"
Definition of a wart - "Small, rough, commom, ugly, and can last for years.
|The Power Plant - Single 651cc
Too much power for me in the dirt but great for highway
(I took it up to 105 mph once...)
|Spring 2008 - (15,000 miles). The Wartbike gets a new battery every year, they're cheap
enough. I repainted the ammo box on back. The tank and handlebar bag were getting quite
weathered looking too so I took what was left in the paint can and gave them a once over.
|One of several donut run's to the cabin. Lake Superior in background just outside of Duluth
Minnesota. 12 gauge shotgun strapped on for bear problems at the cabin.
|The Wartbike never made it up to the cabin the 1st four years I owned it due to gas being cheap and the fact I have
another toy I like to take up there...specifically an ATV. August of 2006 was its 1st run into the cabin. The engine is
just too powerful for the slop I have to go through the last half mile but I made it in on its virgin trip upright.
|I experimented with a Nato blue ammo can on the rear luggage rack for the 1st trip in.It worked fine
providing quick access and was totally waterproof but as you can seeit just doesn't look cool.
|Work done so far...valve adjustment and new tires around 7000 miles. Chain tightened around 12,000 miles.
Couple of safety wires clipped...specifically clutch and kick stand due to known problems. I regret to inform
other KLR riders I have NOT done the "doo hickey " yet.
|18,000 miles...me and Joel on our first run together. His new road king just turned 1000 miles. I could buy
4 KLR's for what he paid. Note the turkey vulture decal on my fairing, and he's looking at the road king.
|I decided to drop some serious coin ($1421.40) with new tires, chain, sprockets, brake pads,
valve adjustment, tune up, float valve, and carb cleanup. The sad part is I noticed a new 2009
model still on the show room going for same price I paid for mine 8 years ago...$4999.00
|I had to pick up a new handlebar bag. It's
designed for the KLR and not cheap...$50.00
(but that's what I paid for the other bag too)
|The south African ammo can was the best $5.00
investment I ever made...it works perfect on the KLR.
The cargo nets hook right onto the ammo can
|2010 summer runs to Lake Superior...Joel never made it, too busy working
|Laid the wartbike down coming out from the cabin. 4th time now it's been laid down,
fortunately, only a minor crack on the hand brush guard; mileage so far 20,500.
(The wind blew it over once while parked so can't really count that)
|My annual spring run to burn the old winter gas out of the tank found me broke down in Lake city (temporarily) with the
main 20 amp fuse blown under the seat. I've got a short somewhere and unfortunately, it was NOT to be found in the
usual locations the KLR is known to have, although, I found the beginnings of rubs there and wrapped them up with
new tape. It's running fine now and all I did was loosen up some of the wire ties holding the harness close to the tank.