By Jerry Matta
After selling my CR/XR100 conversion, I decided to take a trip down mini-bike alley, so I picked up an '04 KLX110. The little KLX is getting ever more popular as people are beginning to realize their potential in power, suspension, and economy. So the next few months (or weeks), I've decided to do a project KLX110 article to show just how to build one and not break the bank (at least compared to a fiddy). The first thing I did was to go to Callaway Motorsports in Riverside, CA. (now out of business) and pick up a brand spanking new 110. They gave me a great deal and the paperwork was finished before the bike was even prepped. If there is one thing I can't deal with, it's haggling back and forth over price, etc. and the ol' "Let me talk to my sales manager". The whole thing took less than fifteen minutes. I gave them a price, they said,"Fine" . . . done deal.
So the first step in the project: I went down to Two Bros. Racing to talk to the KLX110 king himself Joel Albreict. He hooked me up with a Tag bar kit, which includes a BRP triple clamp, Tag bars and grips, a longer brake hose, and a lever. Everything went on like clock work, except getting the throttle grip off took the help of a wire wheel on a bench grinder. This opens up the cockpit so your elbows are down and gives that BMX feel. The kit retails for $299. Second was the heavy duty Footpeg mount with IMS footpegs. The stock pegs are way to small and in combination with the bars, it makes it completely user friendly. The only problem I have with the mount is there's no kick stand option. I know kick stand aren't cool, but when I go camping or something, I don't want to lug around a bike stand. Plus, since there's no sub-frame to grab onto, lifting is a pain. So I'll weld one on. Third, was new plastic and graphics. I bought new plastic so I can put the old (new) plastic back on when I sell, to give that still brand new look. The graphics and seat cover retails for $99. I didn't use the seat cover, I'm going to wait until I get a second seat.
Step four will be some motor mods; a 133 kit w/ cam. Step five will be suspension, and Step six will be KX60 hubs with Excel rims.Here's the latest updates: This includes 133.5 stage 3 kit from Two Bros., along with Gold Excels equipped with 9 gauge spokes, KX60 forks, and a custom side stand.
The Takegawa 133 kit from Two Bros. went in fairly easy with no real surprises. The nice part was the original gaskets came off with very little scraping, which is nice because that's the worst part of motor work. I just hate scraping gaskets. It comes with everything needed, aluminum cylinder, piston, cam, carb (jetted perfect), pod filter, throttle cable, even a spark plug. It was also a good time to swap out the cheesy stock Phillips bolts for Honda style bolts. I've never worked on a KLX motor before, but the directions were easy enough to follow. One tip, when you go to start it, make the the run switch is on! At this time I'm running a stock pipe. I drilled out the flange in the header, but it still is way off from it's potential. The increase with the stock pipe is a little disappointing, it feels like a stock XR100. So a pipe is a definite must.
The Excel rims were fairly easy to put together, other than drilling the rims to fit the nipples, everything went smooth. I did have to grind the extra part of the spoke that stuck out of nipple end. The hardest part was putting the tires on. For little tires, they were a big pain. Also, heavy duty tubes are a must. You also need weld a drum stop onto the swingarm. This needs extra care, otherwise your brakes could bind. The price for these were fairly inexpensive, I got the hubs off ebay and everything else ran less than $125 a piece.
The KX60 forks were also off Ebay (only $40). I dropped them off at Fineline Suspension where they valved them and installed .35 springs. They are 10 times better than stock, the only problem now is the shock. So I am still a little (a lot) hesitant to bomb jumps, which means I can't fully enjoy or test the forks, so further adjustments will have to wait, until I get a shock.
Being that the rear brake pedal is lower than the rest of the motor, the KLX doesn't sit on a stand very well. Combine this with the fact that it is a 143lb little tank and I hated putting this thing on a stand every time I rode it or just in the garage. So I decided to put a kickstand on it. The sidestand is a combination of a XR75 bracket and a XR80 kickstand. The bracket was welded onto the Two Bros. chromoly footpeg mount and works perfect. I wish Two Bros. would offer an optional brace with a bracket already on, in order to accept the stock sidestand. This is kind of like the electric start on a big bike, some people like them, some don't. For me, this is one of my favorite upgrades.
Ok, I updated the rear suspension with a Works Performance shock and Sik 50's swingarm. The swingarm seem great, no real problems. I got one of the first ones, so I had to weld on a brake stop for the kx60 hub, but they come stock it now. My real problem with the setup is the shock seem way too stiff and long. There's no sag what so ever and it doesn't bottom no matter what. But it feels pretty good when I over jump something. The shock might be a tad too long, because I had to lower the forks all the way down in the clamps. Now the bike sits about 2 inches higher, which causes it not to turn as good. For now, I've only ridden it in my backyard, so I need to take it to Elsinore for a full test.
Well after all this I traded it away for a few bikes and now I plan on building backyard XR80's with 120cc motors.