50/50 to 80/20

Not one pic from this commute. As the KLR climbed the switchbacks to the Zion tunnel the sunrise light was dappled against the canyon’s west walls where there’s a discernible tree line. The light hit it perfectly creating this amazing highlight running along the lower third of the mountain leaving the rest to go to shadow against the salmon colored morning sky. By the time I could pull off and grab my camera it was gone.

On the east side of the park around a tight corner the KLR startled a half dozen big horn sheep, all with the presence of mind to duck down the gully instead of dart in front of me. At ten miles-per-hour it’s no big deal, but it was sure pretty. And then the wild turkeys just outside the park’s kiosk. They’re nowhere near as smart as the sheep.

And the panic stop on 89 just outside of Glendale for the confused mule deer in the middle of the road. A southbound semi locked ‘em up as well. New tires on the KLR kept it dead straight and controllable and short, articulated to a fast stop without skidding.

This commute was all about the tires for me, and the oil change as well. Sixty miles-per-hour comes in at 3500 rpm instead of 4000, changing its powerband considerably for highway passing. The bike is flickable in tight corners where before it would “walk” on the lugs of its nobbies, and when you ride by the feel of your seat, that’s an unsettling feeling.

The new shoes are Shinko Dual Sport 705s, an 80/20 tire, eighty percent on-road. If you’ve been reading UtADV you know that I lost pressure twice before from my rear tire, a new tire, in fact, that I mounted three weeks ago. The first was in Junction, Utah where I noticed the KLR fishtailing at low speed, and the second was on I-15 in Orem during rush hour traffic in the HOV lane at 70 MPH. In both cases the tube twisted inside the tire and created pinch holes.

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When Rocky Mountain ATV called to tell me my new rubber was mounted, they indicated the rear tube was twisted and pinched and was about to fail. Three tubes. Three different shops. I tried mounting the rear tire when I replaced the third tube but couldn’t get the bead on the rim. Has to be the tire. Cheap POS clone of a Shinko 244. The lugs were already separating with less than a grand on the clock. I’m suspecting load issues. This tire wasn’t made for the load I’m hauling on this KLR.

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So, my confidence is back with the new 705s, load rated. We’ll see how they do with a thousand miles a week.

I came up 89 to Richfield, 70 to Aurora and then 50 to Scipio and I-15. The Tour of Utah was taking up my usual route. The KLR now has freeway manners as well, making me appreciate it even more.

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