To Doo Or Not To Doo On Your Gen 2?
The Doo Hickey Mod
This is not another "how-to" write up on the "doohickey" upgrade but, a forewarning to those with a newer gen 2 KLR650. There is a lot of information out in the world as to whether or not you need to change the doohickey out on a gen 2 (2008 - 2018) KLR650 or not. Yes! If you have a KLR650 no matter the year, get in and replace your balancer lever (doohickey) and the balancer adjustment spring. Back the adjustment lever out one turn, tap the bottom of the engine case with a rubber mallet, tighten back to 69 in/lbs and you are done. Now, go find a trail and enjoy!
BATTLAX ADVENTURECROSS AX41
Spring is here and winter is becoming a recent memory. As the flowers start to sprout, so do new tires. Bridgestone has redesigned their Battlax Adventure tire, so I though I would give them a go. Introducing the new Battlax AdventureCross AX41 from Bridgestone.
They have redesigned their AdventureCross tire to be an all-around model with a focus on the dirt and mud. These are listed as a 60/40 tire so they should eat up the road and the dirt with equal performance, but with dual sport tires there is always a compromise. Bridgestone's new block pattern has a higher cross section and redesigned wall angles on the blocks. According to Bridgestone, this makes them more durable and perform better in muddy conditions. These tires have a beefed up carcass to make the tire 30% stronger. Yes, they are stiff; I could almost sit on the rear tire unmounted and it wouldn’t fold.
Well, that's the stuff you can read from the Bridgestone site. How do they work on the pavement? I've had them on the KLR650 for about 450 miles so far. The more I ride with them the more I love them. On the street they are very well behaved. The front stays where it is pointed and tracks straight as an arrow. Vibration from the blocks is minimal and the lean angle is more than the KLR will allow and the AX41s will handle the twisties just fine. I surprised myself by dragging my toes a few times through the corners. The rear is starting to round off the edges just a bit, but as you will read, that isn’t an issue for off-road traction.
Enough of that road stuff, these are a 60/40 adventure tires! How are they off-road you ask? Well Bridgestone has done their homework. My normal “get out of the house” route is about 50 miles. About 20 miles of that are dirt forest service roads and some un-maintained logging roads with a few jeep trails and some single track. It has been really wet around here, even for Oregon, so all the riding is, to put it lightly, “soupy”. The Battlax AX41s do not care as they will eat it up like a second course in a 7-course meal!
These tires are very confidence inspiring. Hard pack gravel roads can be taken at speed, they don’t wander or bounce, and they hold their line like they were on the street.
Now, once you get off the maintained roads is where the AX41s really shine. Single track, jeep trails, and just plain old muddy trails are now inviting! Whereas. before I would really second guess before going into something tight and technical in the mud, I now know these tires will hook up so well that I am looking forward to getting back out on the trails. Lateral grip is good and the front stays pretty planted without too much drama. As with the front, the rear hooks up in the loose and muddy conditions and provides plenty of grip.
I really wouldn’t hesitate in recommending the AX41s to anyone with an adventure or dual-sport bike. They could be overkill for someone who never heads off packed gravel roads. For someone who wants great performance on and off-road I strongly suggest taking a good look at the AX41. Bridgestone has really hit one out of the ball park with these tires. Now, excuse me I must go; trails to ride.