I’ve been riding for a while now, and had been pretty content to use whatever came to hand to place under the kickstand to prevent my motorcycle from sinking into the dirt. I’ve used plastic water bottles, soda cans, rocks, electrical cover plates and plastic kickstand pucks. But when you arrive on the spot and even have a kickstand puck in your tank bag, there is still quite a balancing act to drop it and get the kickstand over top of it. Now add in the weight of a bike fully loaded for touring, and a ten or twelve hour day of riding, and I can tell you that sometimes I nearly fell or dropped the bike while getting that support under the stand. And what about those quick roadside stops where all you want to do is get off for a minute or two?
The KLR will get you there.
At Rocky Point Newfoundland, while on my heavily loaded KLR, I got off the bike to take a few shots…
Only to find it taking a dirt nap.
Problem solved the cheap way… A kickstand plate from eBay.ca
A search with keywords such as “kawasaki versys 650 kickstand plate” brought a whole list of decent kickstand plates, that were certainly a whole lot cheaper than those that I’d seen on other online websites, especially when you view the selection available with free shipping.
I went with gun metal grey to match the worn kickstand of the Versys.
I knew that it wouldn’ be SW-Motech or Touratech but I’m on a budget and was able to find a few styles coming in at under $12 with free shipping!
Touratech wants $59 before shipping for this model:
Touratech Kickstand Adapter
I placed an order for the eBay special and sat down to wait out the month or more it took to arrive from China.
It was made from a piece of aluminium with stainless steel fasteners and looked like it had just come off the CNC machine. supplied with a hex key all I had to do was use some thread lock (I’m an Ex-KLR rider remember) and it was on the bike in under ten minutes.
Pros: Price and performance is brilliant.
Cons: 5% of the time when parking on very loose soil I still needed a kickstand puck, but that was due in part to a heavily loaded touring bike on boggy earth. The Touratech model is larger and probably would have worked in all fairness, but I saved about five tanks of gas plus! 🙂
Parked on that 5% patch where I still needed that kickstand plate.
So you might have read the post where I describe how my fork leg is now marking it’s territory as if it were a dog checking it’s pee-mail around the neighborhood. If you did, then let’s get on with this post shall we?
The trick of shoving a bit of plastic up the works and reaming out the grit might have actually worked! I went online and bought a couple of the “Seal Mate” products, and waited patiently for them to arrive in the mail posted up from the US… …then I got a call from my Honda dealer in Summerside that a petcock I ordered in for my 2001 Honda XR400 was in, and while I was at the parts counter, I spied a rack of the Seal Mates, for $10 each. Almost twice what they cost online before shipping, so I bought one. I’d love to tell you that I brought it home and proceeded straight to work on the bike, but it would be truthful to say instead, that I made a kick-ass Chicken Curry for dinner that night for my PEI family. (recipe available upon request)
Let me describe how I went about this wonderful task:
I thought my triple tree lift was in storage… Nope, it was stuffed in the back of a shed.
It turns out that the lift was designed for sportbikes, and not wanna-be adventure bikes, or as my friend Zac likes to call bikes like the Versys, Sport Utility Bikes. (You know, sort of like the SUV’s that only ever go offroad onto the grass of the soccer pitch?) So I had to locate a couple pieces of 2×6 spruce to put under the lift for some added, er…. …lift.
Remove the front axle (it had been so long since I had this axle off, that I forgot what size hex fit the front, was it 17mm or the 19mm? Either way I knew I was covered with my Motion Pro axle removing tool —which didn’t fit. ) with a 14mm 1/2 drive hex key…
Remove the front tire (and find that the lovely Michelin Pilot Road 4 or PR4 front tire was scalloping but had plenty of meat on it after just over 10,000km)
Remove both right and left brake calipers
Wedge said fender with brake calipers dangling off of it out of your way so you can now sort the fully exposed oil soused fork leg.
Clean it up. I’m going to suggest first off using a rag and some elbow grease, and perhaps some brake cleaner as well if your leg looks like mine…
Pry down the dust seal very gingerly so as not to scratch the surface and really bugger things up…
Clean that up as well..
Produce the Seal Mate and follow the instructions they provide, and perhaps even watch their How-to video once or twice for virtual practice.
Right, now I need to put it all back together again to compress the front end so the seals reset themselves. 10 good compressions of the front end.
If I got this right, I should see smears of fresh fork oil coating the leg, then those smears getting pushed lower and lower by a newly seated fork seal.
Open the envelope your brother-in-law hands you, to find out that the two Seal Mates you ordered online are now in your possession, making you the proud owner of one seal mate, and two superfluous backups.
Realize that instead of being superfluous, the two surplus Seal Mates would make great stocking stuffers for the dirt bikers in my family… win:win:win
And Hey Presto!!! It seems to have worked in bench testing mode! I walked away from it after compressing the front end about 15 times, and it was dry as a bone when I got back. We all know that bench testing is no substitute for the real thing…
Today I took the bike out for a fling for green peppers as tonight Chilli Con Carne was on the menu (recipe available upon request), and I took a road full of potholes and frost heaves there and back, around 20 km of fun riding… And again, the fork leg was as dry as a bone when I got back and packed it away into the garage.
Tomorrow I’ve got to return some library books and collect some fork oil to top off what got pissed away, and I think the bike is overdue for a nice clean up.
Anyhow, I’m packing for my first tour of the season, and I am so happy that I don’t have to spend my trip budget on new fork seals and having someone else replace them for me, although fork seals are messy, messy adventures. *sigh*
I’d love to say that I’ll order in a set of seals and the inverted fork spring compressing tool, but when I was doing all that work on the front brakes, I can see that this tour will end with a front brake pad re & re.
It turns out that if you ride them, you have to repair them. Go figure.
That fork oil collects even more dirt and grit, and paper towel just won’t clean off the lowers.
These things work as advertised!!!
Everytime I wheelie, I think of all the grit that might end up jammed under the seal (It doesn’t stop me though)
Yes, it is pulling out the dirt
And more dirt
Seal Mate sells them through Motion Pro
I can’t remember what this was supposed to show, but the lighting is bad so I took a duplicate. Just be a good reader and ignore this one, please? There’s a good lad/lass.
Seal Mate works, and I wanted to pass that information along should you want to try it out for yourself.