Although I already own a KLR650 heavily modified for travel, I chose a Yamaha WR250R for my trip. The WR250R has a superior charging system, putting out 350W peak, which can charge my electronics, my heated jacket, and heated grips. It also has a much lighter weight, making it easy to pick up fully loaded without assistance. Additional benefits of the WR250R are fuel injection for worry-free fueling at all altitudes and a modern suspension.
The downside to the WR250R is decreased top speed and acceleration. While the KLR can hit 100mph on flat ground and cruise at 85mph all day after the modifications, the WR250R might have a top speed of 85mph loaded up, well below redline. It prefers to cruise at 65-75mph.
For my purposes, these downsides are welcome. On the KLR I often found myself focused on simply getting somewhere quickly, where quickly was measured as faster than surrounding traffic on the interstate.
I have no need to be anywhere in particular on this ride, so it is no loss to roll along at 65mph. I've found that 55mph is about the fastest I can go and still adequately see and process the things I see by the side of the road before they've sped out of my field of vision. If I ever get hasty and forget about appreciating the here and now, the bike will be there to remind me that there's not much sense in going fast, and it won't do it anyhow.
I purchased the motorcycle used with 10,000 miles on the odometer. This necessitated some basic maintenance.
- Clean out OEM grease and repack steering stem and swingarm linkage bearings. Beware the linkage bearings, some of them are uncaged so the rollers can and will fall out if not handled with the utmost care.
- Check/adjust valves. Yamaha claims that the bike can go to 26K before the first valve clearance check, but this is inadvisable based on reports of tight valves from owners of other models of Yamaha motorcycles with the same published specification. My exhaust valves were tight and needed to be adjusted. My notes for doing the check and adjustment this are available here.
- New FMF Fuel Programmer settings (1.5, 2.5, 1.0, 8.0, 4.0, 4.5 per SheWolf)
- 112-link Tsubaki Omega O-Ring Chain with master link clip. The Tsubaki Omega chain is more pricey than others, but it is the only brand that sells bulk master link clips. I have standardized on the Tsubaki chain for both of my motorcycles for the ease of removal, cleaning, and reinstallation. 112 links with the gearing below places the adjuster at around 70% inward brand new. 114 links with the gearing below was near the limit of adjustment.
- 13T front sprocket, 48T rear sprocket.
- No-Toil Air Filter. I normally have two of these for every motorcycle, so I always have a clean one on hand. The dirty one can be washed in a sink with no dangerous chemicals involved.
- Spark Plug (NGK CR9EK)
- Rotella T 5w40 Full Synthetic Oil and OEM Oil Filter.
- Fuel Pump, best price from servicehonda.com.
- Fork Seals. A shop is installing these for me for an hour's labor because I hate suspension work after spending a week chasing the source of wobbles and weaves on my KLR.
- Reinstalled OEM exhaust. The FMF exhaust is lighter, but the power gain is not great and small-bore motorcycles sound terrible with large exhausts. I don't mind thumping along on my KLR, but the WR250R simply sounds flatulent when piped through a free-flowing muffler. The OEM muffler is a baffle-type that never requires repacking and is fairly light to begin with. Failure to repack a muffler with fiberglass packing can cause the end cap to blow off. Repacking is a messy process that gets fiberglass all over everything as it flies off the packing.
- LED Turn Signals from eBay. Picked the kind with an orange tip for $15 a pair.
- IMS 4.5g Gas Tank in Natural (Translucent).
- Flatland Radiator Guard. Fit was not great with either aftermarket tank, the Safari or the IMS. Given the wrap-around design I am concerned that in a crash the gas tank could bend parts of it into the radiator that would otherwise be untouched. In retrospect I would have tried a Bulletproof Radiator Guard.
- Fuzeblock FZ1. The two-position fuse design allows for always-on and switched modes on each circuit. Each circuit can handle up to 10A with a maximum of 30A for the whole device.
- Flatland Racing Skidplate with mounting slots drilled through for oversize zipties and backed up by hose clamps through the holes on the wings.
- Tubliss Tubeless Kit Front and Rear. Eyeballing the inner bladder valve stem and having it stay in the same position when inflated is challenging.
- Suspension Setup. Once loaded, the rear shock is quite overburdened. At full preload the race/rider sag is 100mm out of 270mm, which is where I've left it.