Thursday, August 24, 2017

Swingarm Spool adapters for Harbor Freight motorcycle stand

If you are serious about doing your own maintenance on your bike you really need to have at least a rear swingarm stand.  I picked this one up from Harbor Freight a few years ago but have never really been satisfied with the paddle type swingarm attachements -

I find swingarm spools to be a much easier and stable method of lifting the rear of a motorcycle so I decided to look at upgrading this stand with the ability to interface with a set of spools.

After a bit of googling I was coming up with no results that jumped out at me until I chanced upon an Amazon review of these -


 The user posting the review advised that these were a perfect fit for the Harbor Freight Haul Master stand (item # 65620).

I decided to take a chance and luckily, the reviewer was spot on.  Both the Harbor Freight stand and the stand the Motorsports products adapters were designed to use a 3/4" square tube mounting point.

Harbor Freight original

Motorsports Products adapter

The adapters appear to be well made and finished and actually fit more smoothly in the stand that the original paddle adapters the came with my stand. 

The adapters originally came with rubber caps for the long end of the spool interface to prevent scratching of the swingarm while maneuvering the stand and lifting the motorcycle into place.  Unfortunately my spools are quite large in diameter and keeping the rubber caps in place was crushing and damaging the caps so I removed them.  If you have small spools this should not be a problem. 

Installation is as simple as removing the old paddle lifts and sliding the new adapters in place, adjusting them for the width of your spools and lifting the bike as normal. 

Lifting my ZX-6R

One downside is that the HF stands don't have the optimum angle for lifting with these installed and it is a bit tricky to get the bike on the stand if you are doing it by yourself.  If you are not comfortable with that and don't have anyone around to help I would recommend getting a better stand with spool provisions from the start.

It is also worth mentioning that the Harbor Freight stands are not of the best quality.  They are plenty stable (had to bend one of mine a bit so it would sit flat) but you would likely be better served getting a nicer stand from the beginning.

That all being said though, IF you already have a HF lift and want to use spools this is a great way to upgrade your stand.  For the amount invested it works well and if my stand somehow walks off from pit lane someday I won't be too broken up, which I can not say for something like a $150 pit bull stand.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Kawasaki K-TRIC Carb Information

*Not really KLX related, but I am posting this here as an archive*

Doing some digging around the net i found some interesting stuff a guy did a few years ago mapping the ignition curves of the CDI on a ZRX1100. Yes i know its not exactely the same as my 2002 ZX-6R, but the K-TRIC system appears to work in the same way on all of Kawi's bikes.

Thanks to Sean Stasiak for all this information and to Jake from Kawiforums for bringing the idea to my attention. I tried to send Sean an email to see if he had any other relevant information, but it was returned as it appears the email in the .pdf is no longer valid.

This first image shows a sample of the 3D timing map the CDI uses.

The second image shows the operation of the TPS unit. Basically more throttle = more voltage to the CDI which translates into more timing advance.

The third is a scan showing the text of the manual describing the K-TRIC operation and its default protection.

Now heres where things get interesting.

From what I gather the CDI input for the TPS operates in a range of 0-5v. The J model service manual states that a properly adjusted TPS shows .95v - 4.15v (lowest idle and highest WOT reading respectively). The ZRX1100 manual states .9v - 4.26v while not exactly the same, is pretty close. More on what this has to do with anything in a minute.

Here is a .pdf showing the ZRX1100 default ignition map with the TPS unplugged.

As you can see the timing map tops out with around 37 or so degrees of advance.

Now here is the high res mapping of how the CDI interprets the readings from the TPS. (You'll need Excel to open and view the spreadsheet)

Looking at the spreadsheet you can see that Sean's TPS topped out at a voltage reading of 4.13v resulting in a maximum advance of 35.52 degrees. Now this may not seem signifigant, thats only a 1.48 degree difference in advance. However what this implies is that even with a properly adjusted TPS the CDI will never reach full advance even at WOT, not to mention how this could affect the TPS adjusted timing curve. Unplugging the TPS defaults the CDI to the "safe" timing map and also results in maximum timing advance that the CDI is capable of.

FWIW I've had mine unplugged for about 3 years now and I feel there is a difference in power output from my 2002 ZX-6R. I've seen no indication of any kinds of problems from running the TPS unplugged.  Your results may vary and i take no responsibility for any damage that may be caused from running with the TPS disconnected.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Installing a lightweight Flywheel

Since my bike is now a full time supermoto, I wanted a bit quicker throttle response and faster spin-up for the engine. I was less concerned with low end grunt like was needed for off-road technical trails when the bike was equipped with dirt wheels and tires. I sent a flywheel I purchased off of ebay to Cycle Pro in NJ to have it shaved down and lightened by 10%. Turn around was about a week and a half.

 To swap a flywheel the steps are as follows-

Drain engine oil
Remove Sprocket cover and case saver

 Once that is done you should be looking at this (i had my chain removed for cleaning, you should be able to move it out of the way since the back wheel will be coming off but more on that later) -

Next you will need to remove the three 8mm bolts from the starter gear cover which sits above the alternator cover.

There will be two additional bolts inside of here that will need to be removed in addition to the 8mm bolts around the periphery of the alternator cover.  The starter gear will need to be removed, it should just slide out.

Once that is done you should be able to pry the alternator cover off with some wiggling.  There is an o-ring on the starter that can make this a bit tricky as well as possible gasket stickiness. 

When the cover is off you should be looking at this but note that there will be an additional gear set that will interface with the flywheel gear (mine is removed in this pic, it sits in the bushing hole at the top right of the flywheel).  I have heard you can remove this gear with the flywheel still installed but I was unable to, not a big deal. Be sure to check this bushing for damage as they have been known to wear out prematurely (not common however). 

Now we will need a way to keep the engine from rotating while we remove the bolt holding the flywheel on.  I used a chain clamp.  

Once the bolt is free we need a method of pressing the flywheel off the crank.  You can use a fancy tool for this but I used the rear axle since it's the right size and thread. You may need to re-position your flywheel holding apparatus to keep the engine from turning.  

Once you have the old flywheel off make sure your starter ring and shim are in proper orientation as well as the key for the crank and you can install your lightened flywheel.  Getting it back on can take a few tries but since it is keyed it's impossible to put on the wrong way (unless you forget to use the key).  Don't forget to put your starter gear back into its bushing like I did the first time, luckily I didn't have the bolt torqued back down.

Tighten the flywheel retaining bolt to 88.5 ft lbs.

I was able to reuse my original gaskets and have not detected any oil leaks, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to have new gaskets on hand in case they tear while taking things apart.  Reinstall everything in the reverse order and refill the crankcase with fresh oil and enjoy your new, quicker revving KLX !!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Converting S to SF

So you want to go from this -

To this ??

Well, you'll need a few things.  The easiest method for converting a 09+ KLX250S to supermoto status is to acquire a set of KLX250SF wheels.  You can find them on ebay (as i did) or buy them new from a factory Kawasaki parts dealer (~$1200 when i checked in 2012) or get lucky and find a deal on a forum or craigslist.

The nice thing about the SF rims is that the hubs are the same as the S wheels so actually mounting the wheels up will be a straight swap with the factory axles and spacers.

Now assuming your wheels came complete with rotors and sprockets (and that they are usable) the only requirement to fit the SF wheel will be the larger front caliper mounting bracket that will need to be installed to allow clearance for the larger SF rotor.  I covered this in my SF front brake conversion post here.  This can be purchased via the same channels you can get the wheels from.  The rear wheel needs no extra attention and will fit right.

If you just got the wheels you will need to swap out your old S rotors to your new wheels, this is what i had originally done on my bike and saves the need to swap out the front caliper bracket since you are reusing your existing rotor.  I found this setup to be entirely satisfactory and would not have bothered "upgrading" the front except for the fact that a smoking deal fell into my lap for an SF bracket and rotor.

Now that the fitment issues regarding the brake have been taken care of, the next issue is the gearing.  The S model with its larger 18" rear wheel and 42 tooth rear sprocket will experience a significant decline in final drive ratio with the smaller 17" rear wheel.  The best method to rectify this is to get a 39 tooth SF rear sprocket, though you can achieve nearly the same end gear ratio with a larger 15 tooth front sprocket.  (Note that the 15T is the largest front you can run with the stock case saver in place).

Hopefully now you've got your gearing sorted and the bike will have a top speed of more that 60 :)

Next we have to tackle the unfortunate reality that since we've now gone from a 21" front wheel to a 17" wheel the speedometer is now WAY off since the instrument cluster calculates speed based on revolutions of the front wheel. ( new smaller wheel will rotate more times going the same speed).  In my case the bike was reading ~90 while the GPS i had taped to the mirror was telling me i was going 60.

The solution i used was the 12 o'clock labs SpeedoDRD  -

You'll want the Y1 model for the 09+ KLX250.  $79.99 as of time of this article. ( I have no affiliation with 12 o'clock labs BTW).

The other option for the factory dash are the Speedo Healer that you can get from Blue Monkey Motorsports which I believe are $116.  I'm not sure what model you need as i went with the speedoDRD.

If you want to go fully custom, there are various aftermarket instrument clusters available with the Trailtech Vapor being one of the most popular for the KLX - This solution however will require custom wiring for most all of the dash functions.

And that should be all you need to get your Tard 'on with your KLX.   If you want to swap back and forth between dirt wheels and sumo wheels i would recommend having two sets of rotors (one for each wheel) as well as standardizing the front rotor size so you don't have to mess with switching the caliper bracket each time, which is probably the hardest part of the wheel swap.

Happy motoring !

Sunday, March 30, 2014

KLX 250 Rectifier ground mod - possible fix for ~6500 RPM stumble

This is an archive of the relevant information regarding the rectifier grounding mod that was discussed over at the Kawasaki forums pertaining to a fix for the stumble or miss that affected some KLX 250's at around 6500 RPM cruising speed.

Special thanks to Maine250SF for reporting his experiences with Kawasaki warranty work which is where most of the information on how the mod is to be performed and to David R for confirming an actual electrical anomaly with his diagnostic equipment.  The original thread can be viewed in its entirety here -

Basically the mod entails either cutting and re-grounding the black/yellow wire pictured here that runs from the regulator/rectifier to the existing factory ground, or splicing into this wire and adding an additional grounding path.   Most use the starter motor ground located just to the front of the rectifier plug as seen in the pictures of my modded ground below David's quoted post from the forum.

David R - post # 65 from


This is the plug.


I made my ground "T" in with the ground already there.  Its a ground in parallel.  Crimp on terminal on the other end of the wire and bolted to the engine using the existing bolt going to the same spot as another ground already on the motor just in front of the reg/rec.

I want this clear.  I soldered a wire to the back part of the terminal you see in the picture and inserted the terminal back into the plug.  Plugged it back in.  Motorcycle wiring was not changed, cut or removed only extra ground added.
This is what I was getting occasionally

This is more like what it should be

I ran the bike for a few minutes after doing the repair and saw only normal spark traces.  I am going to check the grounds to the CD box and coil.

40 miles, and I THINK its fixed.   This inculded an attempt to do 80 on an expressway.   Pavement is grooved and enough traffic that the bike was not too stable so I backed off to 70-75 mph.  It seems to run great.



Here is a picture of the finished mod on my bike.   Remember to make sure if you are cutting the wire to ground the plug end of the wire that is attached to the white box that plugs into the rectifier and not the end that runs into the wiring harness with the other wires to the original ground.  Grounding the wrong end will result in your battery not being charged and eventually the drained battery will cause the bike to die on you.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Converting S front brake to SF

Well, luck would have it that i came across a great deal from a forum member over at the supermoto junkie forums who had a complete front brake setup for CHEAP.  So i snatched it up just to complete that last little detail on my converted S model.  Below is a quick overview and photo follow along of the install -

First get your bike up on a stable platform to remove the front tire.  I have a couple of moto stands from harbor freight that work pretty good.

Next, move around to the front of the bike and loosen the 10mm fork clamps for the axle, and then loosen the axle nut with 17mm and 19mm sockets or wrenches.

Slide the axle out from the left side of the bike and slide the wheel out taking care to not lose the spacer on the right side (rotor side) of the wheel and sliding the rotor from between the brake pads on the front caliper.

Set the wheel spacer, axle and axle nut aside and set your wheel down on a flat surface to work on removing the rotor bolts.  I like to use a large broken down cardboard box to prevent scratching of the wheel.  Remove the rotor bolts with a 6mm allen wrench. To break the bolts loose I used a 3/8 drive ratchet and allen socket since they were so tight.

Once the bolts are removed you should be able to lift the rotor off the wheel.  The rotor cushion foam piece will probably stick to the rotor and come with it.  I re-used mine, i believe its intended function is to reduce brake noise.  Put the new rotor on and line up the bolt holes, then replace and tighten the rotor bolts.

You can see the size difference between the S and SF rotors.  Will this translate into better braking ? Only one way to find out.

Now we move on to the caliper bracket that will move the brake caliper farther away from the wheel to allow clearance for the larger rotor.

To install this, we first need to remove the bolt that holds the brake line bracket so we can get that out of the way to give us some more workroom.  Its a 10mm IIRC.

With that out of the way, loosen the caliper retention bolt on the inside of caliper.  This will allow us to remove the caliper from the bracket later and is very tight, so i recommend doing this first while everything else is still bolted to the bike.  You don't need to remove it all the way, just break it loose.

Next, remove the caliper bracket mounting bolts, these are 6mm allen, same size as the rotor bolts.  I recommend 3/8 drive ratchet and allen socket for this as well.

With those two bolts removed the caliper and bracket should dismount from the fork.  Now you can remove the caliper retaining bolt from the back of the caliper and slide the caliper from the bracket.  I had to use a bit of propane torch and a punch to tap the retaining bolt from the bracket due to a little bit of corrosion.  I don't have detailed pictures of this step but its easy enough to figure out, but may take a little wiggling and finagling to convince the caliper to slide from the bracket.

there is a small post bolted to the bracket that slides into a rubber boot on the caliper (middle of the bracket in the pic below), this stays on the bracket where as the other rubber booted bolt stays on the caliper (the D shaped hole on the upper left of the pic below).

Now install the caliper to the new bracket taking care to ensure the retaining bolt is orientated properly into the D shaped hole and that the caliper post on the bracket is installed correctly into the rubber boot of the caliper.  this again may take some jiggling and finagling.  Once that is done you can re-install the caliper retaining nut and put the bracket and caliper back onto the fork.

Re-tighten the two 6mm bracket bolts to the fork and then re-torque the caliper retaining nut. Replace and tighten the brake line holder bracket and you are done with the caliper.

Slide the wheel back into place taking care to ensure the spacer is reinstalled correctly on the rotor side of the wheel.and the speedo drive is reinstalled correctly on the other side.  Slide the axle back into place and retighten the axle nut to 65 ft-lbs.

Now stand back and admire you new fully supermotoed KLX250S.

Now, i really don't think i've noticed any improved braking performance from the larger rotor, and to be perfectly honest if I hadn't gotten a good price for everything i wouldn't have bothered.  Now, if you are taking your bike to the track and running it hard, it might be a different story.  BUT for my use so far on the street, i can't tell a difference.


KLX250S Headlight Removal and Installation

From what i've been able to gather from my somewhat limited searching of the web on the subject of changing the headlight out on the '09 and up KLX250s, there is a distinct lack of information. Its not the at task is really difficult or anything, but exactly how to go about it was a bit confusing for me.

I ended up referencing the factory service manual to find out what exactly need to be moved, removed and beaten with a hammer to get the job done. So without further delay, here we go:

First you need your bike -

Next you need to detach the front fenter by removing these four (4) 8mm bolts -

Now step back and look at how weird the bike looks without the front fender -

Next remove the headlight fairing ring. I forgot to take pictures of this but its three (3) 8mm bolts, one in the center on the bottom and two (2) on the upper on each side.

Now remove the two (2) 12mm bolts on the upper bezel retainer -

And then the two (2) 10mm bolts on the bottom -

Pull out the bezel and detach the bulb wiring from the harness via this clip -

Pull back the rubber weather seal and remove the bulb socket. Push down on the wire bulb retainer and swing it to the side and remove the bulb -

Put your new bulb in, replace the retainer and wiring socket along with the rubber weather seal. Plug the wiring harness back in, and bolt the bulb bezel in place. Replace the headlight fairing, and reinstall front fender.  Enjoy.