The KLR 650 is a great bike, but keeping the chain lubed can be a hassle. This is particularly so when riding off-road a lot. If the bike had a centerstand it'd be easier. I know, there are ways around it- Lean the bike on the side stand, use a lift, or rear swingarm stand. But still there must be an easier way.
There is. Now, we've all heard of automatic chain oilers before, and the Scottoiler comes to mind. But I've never liked that design- Once the motor's running, it keeps dumping oil onto the chain. Sure, you can adjust the drip, but that doesn't help if you're sitting at a long traffic light or worse, waiting for a train crossing. Besides, the thought of it slinging oil everywhere I go just offends the environmentalist in me.
Enter the "HawkeOiler." This little doo-dad is similar in concept to the Scottoiler, but is much better thought out. Instead of a vacuum-controlled unit that continually drips oil, the HawkeOiler only sends oil to the chain when you press a button. MUCH better. It uses a small electrical pump to faciliate this. It's smaller than the Scottoiler to boot.
There are a few components to install- The activation switch, the oil reservoir, the pump, and the tubing to carry the oil to the chain.
The switch is small- VERY small. And there's plenty of empty space
inside the left control pod on the handlebar. Use a phillips screwdriver
to remove the housing, then take out the three screws holding a steel
plate inside. This plate holds in the switches for the high/low beams,
turn signals, and horn. You'll see that there's plenty of space to
mount the HawkeOiler switch, once you've drilled a hole for it.
The hardest part about installation is finding a place to mount the oil reservoir. It's not that the reservoir bottle is large- It isn't. But there just isn't any extra space on the KLR to accomodate it easily.
The bottle comes with a nifty clamp and two nuts/bolts to mount it. But the only place I could find to put the bottle was on the left side, at the lower intersection of the frame and subframe. And there's no flat place to drill holes for mounting the clamp. And there's no way I was going to drill into the frame. So I grabbed a bit of sheet steel and cut out a little plate that I could clamp to the frame. I'd have preferred aluminum, but didn't have any. I'll remake it that way later. I cut one end to make a tab, then drilled and tapped holes on the plate for mounting the clamp supplied with the oiler. Mounted the supplied clamp to the plate, filled the bottle, put it in the clamp, and then used a zip-tie to make sure the bottle wasn't going anywhere. I suspect that the orientation I chose would lend itself to letting vibration work the bottle out of the clamp over time. After that, I used a screw-type hose clamp to affix the whole thing to the frame.
Now the reservoir is easily seen (so you know when to refill it) and it's out of the way of feet and hot engine parts.
I'd thought of running the wire to a switched source (such as the headlight) instead of the battery. But it occurred to me that it wasn't really likely that people would stand around my bike pressing the unlabeled rubber button on my handlebar. No, more likely is the possibility that I'll want to put some oil on the chain with the ignition off.
The kit supplies a number of self-adhesive clamps to hold the line to the swingarm. I positioned the end VERY close to the rear sprocket, VERY close to the chain. It should be close enough to send the oil to the chain, and not into the atmosphere.
When positioning the tube, be sure that the end coming out of the pump doesn't get near the chain- I think if the two met, the chain would make short work of the plastic tubing.
And that's it. An easy install! You'll see a little overspray on my rear wheel. That's my fault, not the HawkeOiler's. I played with it a little much, watching the oil drip onto the chain. I also over-oiled it intentionally, as I had a bit of rust starting to form on the chain rollers.
Even with the whole system in place, it's not something that looks like it's taken over the bike. And it should provide a good, easy way to keep the chain lubed. In wet and/or dirty conditions, all you'd need to do to oil the chain is to hit the button a couple of times as you ride. That's a whole lot easier than carrying chain lube!
Send accolades, comments, questions, or ridicule to: Kelly