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Archive for August, 2010

KLR650 Width and the “No-Zone”

Posted by Tim Bernard on 24th August 2010

by Tim Bernard

When setting up a KLR650 my guideline is 36” total width.  Here’s why:

First of all, anything that sticks out beyond 36” is in what I call “the bug line”. Simply put, this means that if the bugs are hitting the panniers then so is the wind, which means more wind drag on the bike.  The KLR650 is a single cylinder bike putting out about 30 HP at the rear wheel, so every bit of drag at the rear is important.

The second issue is clearance around obstacles on the trail. Sooner or later there becomes a NO-Zone and I have adopted the 36” rear width as my acceptable standard.

When the 2008 KLR650 came out, changes included a new tail rack and new rear side covers. Both of these contributed to making the 2008+ KLR650E wider at the rear by 1.75”. This might not seem like a big difference, but in my opinion it’s enough to affect the “bug line” as well as the NO-Zone. Because of this, pannier buying guidelines are different for the newer style KLR650.

On the older KLR650A, I like 7.5” or 9” wide panniers . The 7.5” is a good slim look, while the 9” gives more volume, with a total width of exactly 36”. However, the KLR650E model with 9” panniers is 37.75” wide and that’s a no-go for me. I recommend 7.5” panniers on the newer KLR650s for a lean width of 34.75”

Nothing scientific or fiercely debatable here, just my seat of the pants opinion derived from experience.


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IAMC Newsletter August 2010

Posted by SCG on 24th August 2010

Idaho Adventure Motorcycle Club


August 2010 “Discover Adventure Together” Issue #3

In this Issue. . .

*   Reminder of Third Annual Club Ride (Challis Area)

*   Congratulations to RWC (1st 2010 IAMC Challenge Platinum Tire winner – by Terri Hiatt)

*   Riding Solo in the Outback of the Owyhee’s (by Sam Stone)

*   The 2010 IAMC Challenge (by Toni Toepfer)

*   Combating Riding Dehydration & Hyponatremia (by  Craig O. Olsen, M.D.)

The Third Annual Club Ride

It is not too late to “opt-in” for our 3rd annual club ride coming up Friday, August 20th through Monday, August 23rd.  Please go to the website,, under event to learn more about this ride.  With our base camp at the Challis Hot Springs in Challis, Idaho, we will have grassy campsites for tents, RV sites (all on the river).  There are motels available if anyone wants to attend but prefers to not camp.  The camping accommodations will be $10.00 per person per night (they are waiving the site fee for our group). There is terrific terrain of all levels difficulty to ride.

Group Photo on Rail Road Ridge (2009)

Yankee Fork Dredge

Congratulations to RWC…First to Document all 45 2010 IAMC Challenge Sites!

By Terri Hiatt

Ryan William Cantrell is our first club member to make all 45 sites so we send a congratulatory shout out to him.  He racked up approximately 6,900 miles and invested about 28 days to visit all the destination points.  WOW! – outstanding job from an outstanding rider and club member.  A new page is coming to the Idaho Adventure Motorcycle Club website called “Challenger’s Hall of Fame”.  Anyone who makes it to all 45 challenge sites and posts their photographic evidence will be permanently pictured on that page.  We have several Challengers getting close to the platinum mark….looks like it’s turning out to be a great summer for riding and we have a lot of awesome pictures being posted from the sites.

Riding Solo in the Outback of the Owyhee’s

By Samuel Stone

So now you have that new or at least new to you dual sport motorcycle and are just itching to go on a great adventure into the wilds of our backyard…the Owyhee’s!  Well let’s put this in perspective, how many are aware that the county of Owyhee is 7,697 square miles that in itself is nearly the size of the state of Massachusetts at 10,555 square miles, and Owyhee barely has a population of over 10,000, so I guess you wonder where I’m going with this?  As you are already apprehensive about the thought of heading out there, part excitement and part terror, your senses are heightened with adrenaline.  So now you are out there…nothing to worry about if you are prepared.

Being prepared is both mental and physical and most of us, if not all of us, for the most part are physically capable or we wouldn’t be riding; so what it boils down to is your mental state.  Once you can get past this openness of the desert, it is a wonderful if not spiritually healing place, a place that allows tranquility.

I started riding the Owyhee’s back in 1994 on a Yamaha TW 200 and thoroughly enjoyed my solitude, and I must admit to roll up on a butte or bluff and kill the engine then there is, “nothing” not a sound other than the wind or perhaps the rustle of the brush accompanied with the sweet fragrance of sage or juniper.  Then you start to survey the land slowly turning in a 360 degree circle, and it hits you.  You are really alone!  Then a fleeting ephemeral thought passes:  “I sure hope my bike starts.”  The fight or flight moment envelops you ever so briefly, and then you know all is well.

The Owyhee’s will delight you in so many ways and there truly is something for everyone from the go fast extremists to explorers and scenic riders; it will make you feel alive yet provides you with a feeling of awe!  If you are something of a neophyte to riding the gravel/dirt, I would recommend a wonderful scenic ride called the Mud Flat Road, also known as the Owyhee Upland Scenic Byway.  This can be ridden in a day, but I would say you will enjoy it more as an overnighter.  This allows you to actually watch as the topography changes numerous times.  More information on this can be found at the following site:

One little jewel I stumbled on many years back is the Bruneau Canyon Overlook.  You come to it following along down the Clover-Three Creek Road, and since you are heading that way, keep going south towards Murphy Hot Springs and then on to Jarbidge where food, spirit and fuel await – all in all a good easy ride.  Don’t let your apprehension dissuade you; the Owyhee’s will move you in ways you never thought possible!  It will make you feel so insignificant as you survey all that surrounds you, and remember by pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, you will learn more about who you really are and of the nature and history that surrounds you.

In closing I would like to say to know yourself and be diligent, stay within your riding abilities for you are the only one who knows your limits.  Don’t be shy to explore, and if you feel the terrain is beyond your skill set, get off and hike around.  Even I won’t ride certain places alone.  There is plenty to see, old homesteads, ghost towns, cemeteries of times long past, flora and fauna to overwhelm.  Remember to carry plenty of water and account for changes in the weather.  Leave everything as is so those who come after you also can enjoy what you have discovered.  Respect property; if a gate is closed then make sure it is left as you found it once you have gone through.

The 2010 IAMC Challenge

By Toni Toepfer

The 2010 IAMC Challenge provides an exciting way for adventure riders of all levels to explore the Idaho outdoors.  As a newcomer to dual sport riding, I view the Challenge as a good encouragement to get to know the surrounding country, by bike and myself.

Having grown up in Germany, Idaho is still new to me.  In Europe one cannot experience the outdoors being secluded more than 10 miles from civilization.  With outdoors as untouched as here in the Northwest, I would feel foolish not to be exploring.

The westerns I watched as a kid (“The Indian in the Cupboard,” for example), the stories I grew up with of Native American living, and the idea of wildlife such as bears and rattlesnakes roaming freely made me want to further experience what the Northwest is all about.  My family went on road trips into the Idaho mountains to go camping occasionally, and I regularly visited a friend’s cabin north of Boise in High Valley.  I always had a lot of fun on these retreats although the idea of adventure motorcycling was still remote to me.  This helped me realize that what remains of the wild west and its history is right here all around us.

After receiving my driver’s license at age 17, I bought a worthless car that was quickly replaced by my first motorcycle.  A close friend’s father (Sam Stone) actually introduced me to motorcycling when the car broke down and I needed another form of transportation.  Sam gave me his Yamaha TW and pulled me into adventure riding by the aid of abundance pictures and stories he returned with after every one of his rides.  After 4,000 miles of riding to school, along the Boise Ridge, and around Lake Cascade, I was looking for a bigger bike, and I purchased my current Kawasaki KLR650 in July 2009.  The extended range and comfortable highway speeds of my KLR were the last encouragement I needed for extended trips on a motorcycle.

My KLR is a 2003 model that I purchased used through Happy Trails.  Beneficial to me, this meant it came with several extras that would be basic additions to anyone interested in adventure riding.  These include a luggage system (metal panniers), nerf bars to protect the front and a bash plate to protect the engine.  Additionally, the doohickey had also been done, something every KLR should have before thinking about relying on the bike in remote places.  I cannot think of a dual sport bike that doesn’t need additions to make it  more reliable before taking it out into the back country.  Besides the additions the bike came with, my philosophy has revolved around riding what I have until it needs replacing, and making sure to keep up on the maintenance meticulously along the way.  Additionally, I try not to polish the chrome too much – when I go for a ride I would like to enjoy myself without worrying about what might break.  Being new to the sport, these ideas may change, and I am also not riding a $15,000 dream machine.  Having put more and more miles on my bike, there are upgrades that I now would not want to go without.  I replaced my gas tank with a plastic one, adding protection and expanding the bike’ range to 350 miles.  I purchased a used GPS that is a comforting addition when exploring (though a detailed map nevertheless always stays with me).  And on my last three-day trip, I carried a SPOT, an assuring safety device in case I ran into trouble.  These are all items helping me get out into the country more easily.  As far as departing goes, I generally leave spontaneously as I am a college student with relatively few ties.

When I first found out about the Challenge last winter, I saw it as a very fun way of getting into dual sport riding.  Since day one of riding, I have loved getting out on two wheels – whether by myself or with friends – but being a rookie I never used to open a map book, point at a random location and say, “This is where I will explore.”  The Challenge provided a guarantee for me that whatever site I ride to, these are fun places that experienced riders have previously approved.

About 8,000 miles later of riding to 38 challenge sites, I have learned several valuable lessons.  While it doesn’t take a motorcycle journey to help me realize to love the place I live in, I have nevertheless definitely learned to love it.  Wherever I have gone on these rides, the incredible scenery and the profuseness of wildlife have astounded me.  Loving where I live is important when it comes to adventure riding.  As I am out there so often, I do my best to practice responsible behavior.  This usually holds as easy as following the Forrest Service instructions, but also includes rules everyone should always follow, like leaving nothing behind and not disturbing the wildlife.  There are simple things I have learned expanding my common sense, like staying off a muddy road.  My clutch always thanks me, and ideally, when the road dries, no fellow rider will face a potential crash from a foot deep rut.  Expensive road repair costs are avoided that way too.  I have also learned my lesson about staying off very snowed-in roads.  I find much enjoyment in pushing my limits as well as those of my bike, but after pushing said limits, it is more enjoyable, as well as admirable, to trust oneself and be able to turn around, for example when seeing muddy roads that initially appear harmless.

While the Challenge provides a fun way to explore, it goes without saying that the people I have ridden with and the experiences shared have been the primary components in contributing to my passion for adventure riding.  This first season has taught me the value of exploring the outdoors together.  I cannot thank fellow riders enough for being there when I was stuck in the mud, when my chain came off in the mountains, or the numerous times I have been shown how to change tires and how to replace valve-shims.  Exploring together, setting camp at night and chatting over the fire are activities I cannot see myself getting bored with.  Lastly, the Challenge has taught me that preset locations are not necessary to help me realize wherever I go, the place we live in is amazing – there is an endless amount of destinations and every one is worth the journey.

Combating Riding Dehydration and Hyponatremia

By Craig Olsen, M.D.

In the previous two issues of this newsletter we have discussed how dehydration contributes to rider fatigue and potentiates both hyperthermia and hypothermia, all of which are real risks that need to be managed when adventure riding.  Since we are in the hottest portion of the adventure-riding season – July and August – it will be worthwhile to briefly review dehydration and hyponatremia and how to manage these two riding risks.

Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you take in and your body does not have enough water (and other fluids) to carry out its normal functions.  We routinely lose water as we:  1) breathe with humidified air leaving the body, 2) sweat to cool the body, and 3) urinate or have a bowel movement to rid the body of waste products.  Each day the average adult loses more than 10 cups (close to 2.5 liters) of water through these mechanisms [3].  In Idaho’s dry desert climate insensible water loses from breathing and sweating will be much higher than a region of the country with similar temperatures but much higher humidity.  To get an idea of the magnitude of these losses, during a brisk walk, up to 16 ounces of sweat may be produced to allow for body cooling.  That is a pound of water lost that needs to be replaced [1].  Similar or greater loses routinely occur while riding a motorcycle.  These loses can be potentiated by other health conditions (increasing age, diabetes, congestive heart failure, vomiting or diarrhea) and medications (diuretics, antihypertensive, etc.).

Symptoms of mild dehydration become noticeable after 2% of one’s normal water volume has been lost [2].  Since 75% of our body is water, for the average male (150-160 pounds) that is approximately one liter of fluid loss before symptoms become noticeable.  For the average female (120-130 pounds) symptoms become noticeable with even less fluid loss.  Mild to moderate dehydration is likely to cause dry, sticky mouth, sleepiness or tiredness (fatigue), thirst, muscle cramps, headache, dizziness, and/or lightheadedness.  With severe dehydration symptoms will progress to confusion, generalized weakness, coma, progressive multisystem organ failure, and death if untreated [1-3].

Prevention of dehydration is best accomplished by drinking sufficient water.  The greater the water losses through perspiration, obviously, the more water that must be consumed to avoid dehydration.  For routine non-stressful riding in which a person is not perspiring to any large degree, drinking when one is thirsty is sufficient to maintain hydration.  When the riding becomes more technical and demanding, much more physical energy is expended and insensible water losses from perspiring will be significantly higher.  Under these circumstances, especially in hot, dry environments, relying on thirst as an indicator of dehydration is not adequate.  It is best to hydrate the day before such a ride and keep drinking lots of water during the ride.  The best indicator of adequate hydration is urine output that should be copious and clear, not limited and dark yellow (concentrated).

Hyponatremia resulting from an abnormally low blood level of sodium can result from over hydration secondary to compensating for excessive perspiration.  Sodium is an essential electrolyte that helps to regulate water levels in the fluid in and around cells.  Normal blood sodium levels are 135-145 milliEquivalents/liter.  Up to 2 grams of salt (sodium) can be lost per liter of sweat.  If only water is replaced (preventing dehydration), hypopnatremia will result [4].

Early warning symptoms of hypponatremia include nausea, muscle cramps, disorientation, lethargy, fatigue, slurred speech, and confusion.  Severe forms of hypponatremia may lead to seizures, coma and death.  Since the early symptoms are similar to those of dehydration alone, further treatment of dehydration (taking in additional water) only worsens the severity of the hyponatremia [4-5].  According to a recent study, women appear more prone to hyponatremia than men [6].

Again, prevention of hyponatremia is the best treatment by supplementing the rehydration with a sports drink containing sodium (e.g. Gatorade).  Use these sports drinks in moderation (perhaps every other or every third liter or replacement fluid) since many contain sugars and/or caffeine (Red Bull, PowerAde, Gatorade, etc) both of which can contribute to dehydration, especially in individuals with diabetes.  Avoid salt tablets since they may lead to hypernatremia that worsens congestive heart failure and hypertension.  Another alternative for electrolyte replacement is an electrolyte add-in (e.g. Elete) that can be added to your replacement water [4-7].

Be aware of the effects of dehydration and hyponatremia, particularly during the hot, dry riding season, and take active steps to prevent both before and during your ride.  Doing so will make your ride more pleasant while reducing and thus adequately managing these two riding risks.

Some of the important things water does for our bodies are illustrated below courtesy of the Mayo Clinic Foundation [5].


  1. Dehydration, by Benjamin C. Wedro, M.D.,
  2. Dehydration  http://www..wikipedia.ord/wiki/Dehydration
  3. Dehydration
  4. Hypnatremia, by Elizabeth Quinn, Sports Medicine, fluid/a/Hyponatremia.htm
  5. Hyponatremia, Mayo Clinic
  6. Hyponatremia, Medicine,
  7. 12 Tips for Keeping your Cool on a Hot Ride, by Patrick Thomas, Spring 2008,

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