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Dr. Frazier Globe Killer KLR Photo Gallery

See photos of Dr. Frazier's Globe Killer KLR project build, which takes a stock 2009 Kawasaki and turns it into a round-the-world globe trekker.

Slideshow
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Front suspension was beefed up with Progressive fork springs out of the Happy Trails catalog.
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The Happy Trails designed K 9 Fork Brace was to lessen potential wobble and reduce fork flex.
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A stiffer German made Eibach 500 spring on the rear shock was added to compensate for increased weight and the heavy pilot.
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Gafler brake pads front and back were installed to improve braking and last longer than the stock pads.
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Gafler braided brake lines from the Happy Trails catalog were to make brakes less spongy and more responsive.
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My favorite dual-sport tires, Avon Gripster AM 24’s, and heavy duty tubes from IRC, were installed for better mileage and off-pavement exploring.
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The heavier duty aftermarket cam chain adjuster known as the “Doohickey” was installed with torsion spring (right), the original spring (center) allowing for little adjustment.
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Pictured is the Doohickey and torsion spring after installation
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Fuel flow adjuster from Happy Trails after installation allowed for easy adjustment as altitude changed.
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Carburetor Vent T and Flow Hose is shown here being installed to prevent crimping and dirt from finding its way into the carburetor.
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The Happy Trails “secret” Vent T is pictured here.
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Heavy duty RD Nerf Bars and Highway Pegs from Happy Trails bolted right on to protect the engine and body work while adding an optional riding position for the driver.
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The Happy Trails Skid Plate took only a few minutes to install, replacing the original plastic one for better protection.
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The rear brake master cylinder had to be moved back to install the Happy Trails master cylinder protector.
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The Happy Trails Rear Brake Protector easily bolted on to their extender.
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A beefier Happy Trails K 9 Shifter lessened the possibility of the original shifter folding into the engine case or bending when making contact with roots of rocks.
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Acerbis hand guards were to provide lever and bar end protection.
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A taller windscreen, a Lominar-Lip, easily attached to the fairing to provide better wind, bug and rain deflection.
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This tough adjustable center stand could be used for multiple heights on 2008 and newer KLR650s.
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Ready to be tested for 10,000 miles, the ‘round the world “Globe Killer KLR” was off to see what worked and what did not, and any changes that might have to be made.
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Tim Bernard had his riding gear and modified F800GS ready to explore fun in less than ten minutes.
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The KLR650 and BMW F800GS loaded and ready to test the Fun Factor.
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Testing included some paved side roads.
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Highway speeds tested seat comfort, wind protection and miles per gallon.
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Gravel roads tested suspension, handling and the Fun Factor when sliding the back wheel.
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Bernard and I would swap motorcycles and drive each over the same sections, and then making our comparisons within a matter of minutes.
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The suspension of the Kawasaki KLR650 was softer than that of the BMW F800GS, but smoother and more comfortable.
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Driving where there were no trails and plenty of holes and rocks tested pilot skill as well as handling, equating to the Dropability Factor, and at speed, the Flipability Factor.
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The KLR650 had plenty of suspension for the sudden drop or hop when finding an unseen hazard when significantly off-road like pictured here.
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Uphill with a load in loose gravel the F800GS gearing nearly matched that of the KLR 650.
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The KLR650 pulled the driver and gear up hill a bit smoother than did the F800GS.
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Judging the “Cool Factor” included how cool the motorcycle looked when parked, here the BMW F800GS.
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Beauty can be in the eye of the beholder, here the KLR650 on parade for the “Cool Factor.”
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Head-to-head, the Kawasaki KLR650 (left) and the BMW F800GS had many areas for comparison.
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Nearly 8,000 miles of the 10,000 mile KLR650 overall test included carrying a full load on the back.
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Tim Bernard rolled out another of his modified Kawasaki KLR 650’s to run against my Globe Killer KLR in the annual Big Dog Adventure Ride.
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The Globe Killer KLR even took on a couple of behemoth BMW’s during the Big Dog Adventure Ride, staying with them until they hit the pavement.
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Pictured here is one of tests leading up to the Dropability Factor, some tight turns off-road in loose sand as speed was increased.
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The KLR650 was driven hard on and off-road, with and without luggage.
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Back at Happy Trails Central I found a wide range of adventure motorcycles to challenge. Pictured here was a friendly challenger owner who walked away, head down, from my friendly challenge by claiming serious work prevented him from showing me how he could “ride the hide off” the Global Killer KLR. I believed he could.
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During the extended test I used various luggage carrying systems and configurations to see which worked best with the Happy Trails luggage rack and panniers.
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To test the cooling system under a full load I did some “Reservation Adventuring” in extreme heat.
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The Globe Killer KLR liked this kind of off-pavement work, the Gripster tires handling well.
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To test the suspension with a full load I looked for tracks like pictured here, but only when dry knowing they turned to slime when wet.
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Camping gear was a major part of my luggage and weight.
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Left is the original Kawasaki hand guard and lever protector, the right is the Acerbis wind and water deflector. Note the larger wind and water protection of the OEM part.
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The original Kawasaki hand and lever protector bolted on the Acerbis base after a little work with a grinder and drill.
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A 1960’s Bell helmet face shield turned upside down and bolted on the top of the Lominar-Lip Windscreen deflected wind and water over my helmet.
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Doing some final field testing found the KLR650 tagging some of the higher peaks and passes in Colorado.
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The KLR650 got me and my fishing pole well past the ends of some roads for an evening of camping in solitude while I digested a fish and boiled a cup of coffee over a campfire.
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Topping Pikes Peak found the Kawasaki gearbox range capable of compensating for loss of power at higher altitudes. The fuel flow adjuster Happy Trails installed also allowed easy altitude adjustment.
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After this photograph I drove another 600 miles home to compensate for any odometer calibration variances, the KLR650 not missing a beat and seemingly ready for another 10,000 miles.
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Much of the mileage done between the 10,000-mile point and the 20,000-mile check-up was done in a touring mode, the last 4,500 miles almost entirely on paved roads or high speed interstates.
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Testing the “off-road” riding capability of the KLR650 at high altitudes found the need for more aggressive off-road tires in mud or snow.
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Lightened of its luggage for the BIG DOG Adventure Ride 2011, the KLR650 easily managed some of the Colorado Continental Divide passes while using the Avon Gripster tires.
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Mud was not a friend for the loaded KLR650. Quick stops and curves on rain slickened dirt, aka mud, were often a challenge, like here in South Dakota.
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On a dry dirt road like this the loaded KLR650 easily held 50-60 mph. The Happy Trails modified suspension worked well at absorbing any ripples or bumps.
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Of the last 10,000 miles to reach the 20,000 mile point, nearly 80% was done on pavement to reach off-road destinations, much at speeds above 60 mph.
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The warning sign in the picture was ignored for the first 2-3 miles until the pilot realized the day would be soon pass out of the fun zone while flogging and dabbing through deep soft sand with the fully loaded KLR650.
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Sand, deep soft sugar sand like pictured here, was found in California. Driving fast to keep the front wheel light proved fruitless and painful because it meant sailing over the windscreen further when the motorcycle flipped or flopped.
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Lightened of luggage and camping gear, the KLR650 proved it could reach some remote fishing holes where fish were biting.
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Seeking adventure on the KLR650 found it exploring what was described as “Adventure Golf.” As pictured here the motorcycle was “in the rough.”
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Motorcycle journalist and adventurer Genevieve Schmitt could not pass on a chance to try the fully loaded touring KLR650, finding my settings a “bit tall but comfortable.”
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The result of a near collision with an out-of-control SUV was a shattered left handlebar mirror.
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The fully loaded KLR650 proved to be no match for an errant deer trying to run through it to the other side of the road.
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The deer hair in the Happy Trails Highway Peg proved significant contact had been made.
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The pictured snake zigged when the KLR650 zagged, unfortunate for the snake because they were coming at each other from opposite directions.
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At 16,450 miles one of the front brake pads started to hang-up from lack of maintenance. New pads were installed and pistons were cleaned and well oiled.
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Master Mechanic “Merf” at Happy Trails in Boise, Idaho did a detailed 20,000 mile inspection.
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Top spark plug had 20,000 miles on it, and was working fine. Installed was a new one, merely because it was easy.
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One of my mistakes was not having cleaned the air cleaner over the last 10,000 miles. It was clogged with dust, choking off the intake of clean air.
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A new rear Avon Distanzia tire was installed knowing the next major miles were going to be on pavement.
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The swing arm bolts were bone dry and needed a good cleaning.
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The front sprocket was starting to show wear, but for 20,000 miles still had some life left.
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The rear sprocket was also replaced, it showing signs of wear, but again some life left.
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A new chain was installed while installing the new sprockets, the old one starting to kink in places.
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The lower bearing and race were found to be rusted and slightly pitted, so were replaced.
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After 20,000 miles this was the windscreen configuration that provided enough deflection to throw wind and water over the top of my helmet at speed.
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A newly designed Rallye Windscreen, HPT4-8-17 was installed to replace the homemade system I had been using. An experimental wind side deflector was also installed.
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The odometer rolled over at 20,000 miles.
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The stock KLR650 is ready for “long hard ride” modifications and outfitting.
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The used Lominar-Lip was added to the Rallye Windscreen to deflect wind and rain even higher than the HPT4-8-17.
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The odometer rolled over at 30,000 miles.
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Somewhere in the wilds of Montana, well off pavement, the KLR650 adventured over 30 miles of empty road devoid of any other adventure motorcycles, cars or trucks.
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On The Mother Road, fully loaded, the KLR650 rolled along happily at posted speed limits.
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As the front Avon Gripster tire approached the 15,000 mile mark I started to carry a used spare that was later found to be unnecessary.
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When the pavement ended and the serious gravel began I could quickly off-load the luggage and camping gear with no adjustments needed to the suspension for the harder work.
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Hot, dry and dusty desert riding at speed never overheated the fully loaded KLR650.
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The Avon Gripster and Distanzia tires, deflated to 20 PSI, did not bite into deep dust like pictured here, causing me to paddle and wobble in places. This deep dust far exceeded the manufacturer’s design for the respective tire and was not tire shortcoming, but more pilot short sightedness or poor expectations.
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Occasionally a pit stop was needed to evaluate the wisdom of proceeding further off-road with the fully loaded KLR650. The motorcycle bounced much happier with the luggage unloaded and stashed in the nearby forest for collection upon return.
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The KLR650 easily kept up with much larger displacement dual-purpose or adventure motorcycle models during the annual running of the Big Dog Adventure Ride.
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The KLR650 carried everything needed for comforting rough camping.
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The quickly attached or detached helmet visor added to wind protection on days when I was knocking down 500-600 miles at highway speeds of 65-75 mph.
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The bug and dirt splatter pictured on the windscreen would have been on my helmet face shield, or in my teeth had I been smiling.
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The Rally Windscreen dashboard unsuccessfully begged to have attached a wide range of farkle or bling ranging from a GPS to a radar detector or glittery gold stuffed animal with a bobbing head.
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The Happy Trails KLR650 Lift Handle bolted easily onto the motorcycle frame and made rolling the motorcycle on to the center stand an easier job.
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The Happy Trails aluminum panniers were sturdy enough to sustain several significant hits, not folding in or cracking like less expensive models or breaking like other plastic panniers. The mounting system suffered no obvious bends or breaks.
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A slow speed slide was not able to rip the top off the sturdy Happy Trails pannier.
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The front tire, at 15,000 miles had a few miles left, but after three years some slight cracking appeared. The front Avon Gripster had done the job well and was ready for retirement.
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The year-old rear Avon Distanzia tire, after 10,000 miles, had plenty of tread left on it and showed no signs of exterior degradation.