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Husqvarna 701 (KTM 690) Enduro (Dual Sport) Project Bike - Technical Thread


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Apr 9, 2023
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New Mexico
There is a 701 Enduro only thread already:

I posted tech stuff in that thread and felt as though maybe that wasn't the best place to do so, so I decided to start a more tech-oriented thread.

I've been building up bikes since 1970. This particular journey has started with a nice 2021 701 with only 2,500 miles. It came with a few great aftermarket bits, stuff like the skid plate and HDB handlebar bits that I'd've chosen anyway. With the cost of entry via a near-new used machine, plus the cost of many mods doen and to come, I fully expect this bike to approach, and maybe pass, $18k. What's new for me is how fast I'm going about it. I'm getting older and have built up some ability to spend foolishly, so here we go.... :0-0

I bought the 701 fully aware of the negatives and the sub optimal aspects. I had ridden 690s and 701s in the past. I'd come away with, "Interesting bikes, but, well, meh!" One good things about sampling bikes is accumulating list of things I didn't like, and then investigating what-if I could fix those things?

The design is a mix of brilliant parts and doh!, what the hell, what were they thinking? parts. At the heart of this machine is the venerable LC4-derivative motor, with its truly impressive power and torque and (more so in later versions) quite low vibration above chugging rpm, for such a big single. It's good enough at the get-go to make it worth farkling and customization.

The gearbox ratios are a big minus for the application. Premium/expensive dual sport/adventure bikes should not have close-ratio-spread gearboxes. Especially irritating is the high 1st gear. I keep trying to shift down, thinking I'm in 2nd. I understand why they did it that way. One transmission to work for all the several brands and various models using this engine. Some smart people in UK knew enough to know what was off and hopefully, how to fix it. The Nova Racing wide-ratio gearset cost $2,600, and that's with me supplying all the extensive labor to swap the gear clusters. Much more of course, if you pay someone to do the work.

The fueling is definitely off. Maybe this thing is 'Euro 5, and as such is too lean off bottom especially, and that's even with the O2 delete & dongle. My bike distractingly hunts around at partial throttle at lower rpm, which is quite irritating. I'm thinking I may have to go all the way to the latest Power Commander to be able to customize the AFR and get rid of the surging. Aside from the ineloquence of adding a lot of wires and connectors here and there, the Power Commander allows the level of control to definitely solve the problems. There are other dongles, like out of Australia, but when I inquire there about having one shipped to the US, I get no answer.

The suspension is disappointingly slow and harsh. I'll use Race Tech's Gold Valve kits and my own valving specs to liven things up.

The cramped ergonomics were a big objection. KTM likes its high and more forward pegs. I don't! With HDB handlebar parts and trials ergonomics, and MUCH larger foot pegs that are lowered and moved back, I've achieved the ergonomics I wanted. Nice and roomy, with much less energy intensive sit-stand transition.

The seat is not as horrible as I expected, but I have a Seat Concepts Comfort XL on order, which will make my butt happy.

I fixed the hot running catalyst muffler with a replacement. I liked the quietness of the stock muffler, but not the weight and heat.

For luggage I went Mosko.

A video with a partial summary of changes so far:

Another video about Mosko bags for camping-level capability:

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Maximizing horsepower is irrelevant to me. All I care about is 'right' power, as in very useful and predictable power. The power is certainly ample grabbing a handful, but it isn't 'right.' There is an over-lean condition at and above idle and low throttle openings, with a pulsating feeling of hunting around, and the occasional pop on deceleration. Not only is that distracting, it's also not safe as I will be doing some technical riding. A heavy, taller bike lacking rock solid predictable power off bottom is an invitation to unexpected 'thud' stalls. I've been injured twice from that in the past and don't care for a repeat!

My 2021 701 is unfortunately Euro 5, not Euro 4 or previous). The previous owner fit a Rottweiler [UWSL]O2 sensor dongle and removed the O2 sensor. I've asked him to please locate the O2 sensor so I can experience closed loop to directly feel the difference, closed loop and open. The Euro 5 ECU coding may be defeating the dongle. Can't know without trying.[/UWSL]

[UWSL]Since I picked the bike up I fit the lighter and a lot less hot Wings muffler with the quietest dB killer insert, and also fit the RADE Garage dinky airbox and oiled foam air filter. The changes are supposed to make the bike run even leaner, but stock or not, the lean problem is right there![/UWSL]

[UWSL]I tried to contact someone down under about their little super dongle, but they ignored my inquiries. So that left the expensive Dynojet Power Commander. I[/UWSL][UWSL] called Dynojet and had a long conversation with a 'techspert' there about my desire for a plug-and-play solution. I wanted to know if the new Commander 6 could solve my problem without me futzing around a lot with it and gained confidence that for some $470 it might be plug and play. I certainly hope so!! We settled on a very specific map, which they will load for me before shipping the unit.[/UWSL]

[UWSL]I'll let all two of you :-) know how it turns out. [/UWSL]
One of the things I think about is what if I get into nasty terrain on a big bike like the 701. And then I see nuts like this tacking nasty stuff in the wet on bikes one step UP in size and weight, and doing it, just because.... Makes me feel old and too cautious.

Then they had to go back down.
Watched another video of the above guys doing Cliff Hanger Trail, MOAB:

I rode that trail in 2011 with the below group. I had the smaller bike, a 2006 KLX 330. Although a bit under powered, I sure appreciated the agility and not having to ease my sphincter back down to my ass from my lungs when encountering an 'oh shit' situation while riding a bigger bike.

In prep for this trip I had just changed fork oil... and forgot I had left all the adjusters wide open. Dave started Cliff Hanger (I followed as #2) by dropping down a series of sphincter-puckering steps (I did wonder why the guys standing nect to the trail on a high spot tracked us with big WTF Os for mouths). Hello! Welcome to M O A B! Bam-bam-bam! And thanks for no warm-up, Dave! The KLX forks hammered to full bottom on each step down, as the surprised rider behind me crashed ingloriously to lots of scraping and clacking noises. I stopped at our first break to close up the adjusters (below). It was fun to again 'ride' the same route virtually in the video above.
110924 Moab - Taking a Break.jpg

[UWSL]Cliff Hanger was a warmup ride of a long full-day Moab-area ride... 12 years ago! The then Chris & Dale & Dave & Joe... seen here in a more-youthful state. I started the morning laying on my back in the motel room, with a seriously pinched nerve. Pushed through that and the ride itself fixed the problem after an hour.[/UWSL]

Fun trail!

The idea of doing that bit on some larger adventure bike seems totally nuts to me. Not because you can't do it on one of those bikes. The question is, why would you want to? But I get it. KTM 790s and T7s are part of the adventure. I've a friend who teaches adventure bike training schools. He'd do that trail on an R1250 GSA. In fact, next morning we encountered his group on the slick rocks. They had come from across a very remote area to get there, bringing their stories of watching each other winch their big beasts up and down gnarly places.

No thanks! For me doing this stuff on a very well set up 701 is about the biggest I'd want to go. But a 701 all loaded up with kit for camping?

No thanks.

A quick aside here regarding:
An incident in the video shows why I avoid aluminum foot pegs on bigger bikes, whether wrought or forged. The fellow on the white T7 snapped his right wrought aluminum peg clean off with a very minor fall. Dink! And he says, 'f^<k me!'
A T7 With Snapped Off Aluminum Foot Peg Moab.jpg

I love aluminum, but not for applications like foot pegs. I fit the largest Bosley pegs from Radan in CZ on my 710. Yes, they are quite large and wide, and thus more prone to take a hit. But they are made of from welded stainless steel plate and will tend to bend instead of snap. On the Beta 390 I have the quite long and slightly wider KTM Rally pegs, which are investment cast stainless steel and also really tough.
Bosley XL 3cm Back 2cm Down - Right.jpg

Behind the pegs is a forged aluminum part, yes, but as a forging and with a closed up clevis they are quite strong.

And now back to the usual predicaments around

Watching the videos of these daring guys riding big-ass bikes I notice the absence of camping kit. At most, some compact bags,

In the 701 build phase a bomb went off of having a ride this coming August with a CAMPING REQUIREMENT. Oh jeez!

An overnight camping requirement causes luggage to 'jump out' to meet the need to carry the required bulk for an old guy to have some prayer of overnight rest. We're tougher when younger and can afford the costs of 'stupid hurts' adventures. In planning for a multi-day camping adventure on the WYBDR, I made educated guesses based on certain assumptions. Like needing a 'sleeping system' and decent tent. So I went Mosko 80. When I received the box, Hefting it to the garage I was like, violated feeling, thinking I had made the classic beginner error of too much stuff. And during the assembly and mockups, that seems the case! Here's the assembled Mosko 80 with a 2012 Pinnacle 701 'Go-Go Gadget' tent on top, and four 30-oz MSR fuel bottles in the auxiliary pockets. NOTHING is in the saddle bags! No tools, no supplies, and its OMG, what have I done!
Mosko 80 on 701 Mockup Pinnacle 701 & 2+2 MSR Fuel Bottles.jpg

And just 2 years ago I told myself it wasn't worth it to camp out on rides... that I'd much rather motel it or park a trailer somewhere for day rides.

Yet I signed up to pay for the privilege of riding and CAMPING. At my age and with beat up body, that translates to enough and good enough kit for a chance of actually sleeping after a long ride. And on a BDR with moderate terrain, swinging a leg over all that mess may not be objectionable, but if truly technical terrain is encountered, whether by route choice or weather incident, will have me regretting the boat anchor of all that stuff.

One assumption I had was 'deflating' and de-kit the Mosko 80 for day rides. But even completely empty it's 20+ pounds of just bags. Now I see that I will likely have yet anothe expense to argue over with my accountant spousal unit: A Mosko 10+2+2 setup like on my Beta 390.
Mosko 10+2+2 on the Beta + Pinner Tool Roll & Pico Tankbag.jpg

But oh how I hate breaking a careful setup on one bike to 'steal' it for another bike! I find that time consuming and impractical, and inviting of mix-up mistakes in what I pack. So I repeat to myself, "There is no Unicorn...."
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To fix the jetting on Super Farkle the 2003 KLR 685 with Keihin CVK carburetor, I raised the stock needle with an 0.080" shim, and liberated the fuel screw so I could open it more. That's it! Some thinking and tweaking, with zero pennies. As long as you drain the float bowl when storing it more than a few weeks, zero problems. Push the thumb choke to full and it ALWAYS starts within a second, no matter how long it sits. The good old days!

My 2021 Husqvarna 701 was messed up in a very similar way as the Gen 1 and later KLRs, but in a more sophisticated way. I don't get it. Cars operating under the same restrictions don't hunt and surge. Why the bikes?? The result is more than the irritation of the disconnect between throttle input and engine response, it's a safety issue. Response predictability is impaired, which can result in losing control when it matters most. Injuring myself isn't my idea of fun.

My bike was broken-in new. It came from the previous owner with a few farkles, one of which was a Rottweiller O2 sensor dongle. I'm not sure about THIS particular dongle, but they are often just two resistors for the 4-wire O2 sensor. One resistor to make the ECU think the O2 heater is still alive and well, and the other to tell the ECU, "Hey there, I'm running at the maximum sensed lean condition... please increase injector pulse on-time."

How the bike ran BEFORE that dongle is unknown to me, but certainly AFTER, it's obvious Mr. Dongle is not a comprehensive fix over over-lean condition. Either the dongle is getting ignored by the Euro 5 ECU code, or it only helps richen things up a tiny eenie weenie wee bit, to where you can hardly tell. Where it counts most for slow technical work, the AFR is likely well into the 14s and not what is more ideal ~13.7 (13.7 parts air to one part fuel).

I'm after is 'right power', as in predictable, without any disconnect or hysteresis regarding throttle input and engine output. I really don't give a crap about MORE POWER, dust, noise, mayhem, and super over rich stinky exhaust. Just how much more bloody power do you need from an LC4, really?

So I ordered a DYNOJET Power Commander 6, specifically, PC6-23015, with map M23-015-003 already loaded. I received the PC6 very quickly!
PC6-23015 + Converted & Loaded MAP M23-015-003.jpg

So how does it work?

The PC6 grounds directly to the battery (single black wire). It is powered by the bike from one or more of the connectors, when the power is on. The PC6 has a 'brain' in a little black box that stands BETWEEN five components of the FI system. This is all done by connectors with no splicing required.

The instructions say to place the PC6 behind the ECM in a depression there. The direction of the wiring harness from the PC6 follows the positions of five components going forward on the bike from the PC6, left side, center, then right side.

TPS: The two black 6-pin connectors having black and black-white wires
Crank Position Sensor: The two white 2-pin connectors having brown-white wires

Single fuel Injector on the throttle body: The two black 2-pin connectors having red-orange wires

Inner spark plug coil (black stock connector): The two black 2-pin connectors having green wires
Outer spark plug coil (white stock connector): The two black 2-pin connectors having blue wires

The first impression of a gaggle of wires running here and there simplifies once you get what they are doing.

I will stuff every connector with silicone grease for future reliability.

I won't be able to install this thing until after this weekend's 2-day trials event, and maybe not until after I do land work after that.

Stay 'tuned!' :-)
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In a photo above, you'll see my green 2012 Pinnacle model 701 Go-Go Gadget tent on top the Mosko 80. I like that tent! When my wife and I were doing trans continental ride-and-camp it was perfect. No loose poles... very fast to erect. It also does not pack down very compact. Then it was no big deal for two people on two bikes. But it's just too big, taking up too much space, and this old man would like to update to a 'sleeping system.'

I was in REI and looked at bike packing tent$. The Big Agnes Crag Lake SL2 caught my eye as the poles issue at least was addressed with a single pole set that pivots in the middle. No loose poles. Packs in a lot less space than the old Pinnacle 701, so it can go in a side bag. Three pounds lighter, too, as in 5 something instead of 8. I bought the ground sheet there, but not the tent (sorry, REI), as it was on sale at Campman for 90 bucks less.

Being a 2-person tent means it's really only for one person and some kit. My wife no longer rides so these days it's just me anyway.

I hope this item doesn't suck. We shall see.

Now where and how to pack a Zenbivy-type sleep system? If I am to moto camp again, waking up repeatedly because of pressure spots or being too cold will not be my idea of fun. Especially over multiple days.
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Doing a quick install of the Power Commander 6 this morning so I can find out if the fueling issues are fixed before I have to engage in other projects. I want to know now instead of later if it was money well spent.

The instructions show the pre-Euro-5 ECU with one ,instead of two, connectors. Dynojet show housing the PC6 behind the ECU, behind the battery. I got it to fit there - just.

I found the electrical cable lengths are adequate to reach the battery ground and all five of the targeted components.

Silicone grease was stuffed in every connector.

Due to the from-to lines to the five components, the PC6 grows the number of connectors on the bike by 10 plus the battery ground.

The install went well. I detail that in this video:

The directions were not an exact fit to my 2021, so I followed my instincts regarding the line layout. I was happy with the resulting clean install.

In the below photo the Dynojet PC6 wiring has the black braid. My routing put all the wiring under things like under things like the the crankcase ventilation hoses.
PC6 Layout Under Rade Garage.jpg

The PC6 did sit behind the ECU & battery, but it was tight. Tight enough for me to need to modify the over-battery aluminum plate. I shaved down the lower edge of the plate below to relieve pressure on the module. A little silicone 1 adhesive unitized the module to the plate so it won't move around.

Things in the battery/ECU area are busier on my bike. The previous owner ran accessory power with a fuse (just below the red + battery cover) from the battery. I appreciate that as I will fit at least two Powerlet BMW-style power outlets to the bike. Also in that area is a KTM ABS dongle. This plugs into the diagnostic port, which is down and right of the PC6 module. I'm holding the dongle's cord and the diagnostic connector up out of the way.
Placement of PC6.jpg

So how did the $$ module and wire gaggle work? Overall feel of power is better. The lean feeling of luffing around when the throttle is barely cracked just above idle was reduced, but it unfortunately did not entirely disappear (the only disappointment). Rats. I did not do a no-touch-the-throttle to full temp 'reset' because I wanted a before feel, followed by an after feel. So I'll give it time.

I wanted no further fiddling, and almost got there. The big LC4 single has a BIG piston, higher compression, and relatively short stroke. Lugging smoothly at and near idle rpm is something it doesn't like to do. It will reward you with chugging if you try. It is possible with the particular motor that no matter what I might do with the AFR at idle, this bike will never feel sweet there. Gonna have to reprogram myself to run a little more rpm.
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Rode the bike about 40 miles yesterday to take in freeway speeds.

I can definitely confirm the gearbox ratios are stupid! KTM's approach to fitting the SM gearbox to all the LC4-based bikes handicaps the Enduro model. The top two gears are quite short, with sixth gear being a tiny mincing step above fifth (WTF). And that's with the stock final drive, which of course makes 1st gear stupidly tall. I 'solved' the problem on my 5-speed KLR by always running a taller final drive (41/15), fitting a Rekluse auto clutch to make a tall 1st gear not as much of a problem, and carrying with me 14 and 16t front sprockets to gear up further for LONG road sections, or gear down some for LONG off road sections. My plan for the WYBDR and the KLR was to run a non-o-ring chain for that ride only, to have pretty easy gearing swaps in the field. I could do that on the 701 as well, but for $uch and expen$ive and more modern bike. I chose NOT to buy the AJP PR7. The wider-ratio-spread gearbox for it (they make the same SM gearbox choice mistake) was much cheaper, at $800 as the gearset is an SWM assembly. The whole gearset for the LC4 is 100% after market and costs more than 3X as much!

The newer twin-balancer version of the LC4 makes the stupid gearing a little less irritating on the freeway, as vibration is overall less than the last version of the LC4 while over spinning the big single. The big new KTM motor is amazingly smooth for a single. The lower-frequency vibrations are all but gone, but remaining in the vibration profile is some high-frequency vibration that within an hour will tingle the hands. I wonder now what several full days of riding with some freeway sections will do to my hands! Will they ache and go numb?

One adaptation long helping me on any machine of this type has been being able to ride one handed, left then right and back, to give hands a break. That is possible with friction throttle locks. There is one design I have bought many of and adapted to many bikes. The N.E.P. friction throttle lock is ultra simple and ergonomically smart. Just rotate the thumb over the top and push down, or up to flick off.

People without fabrication smarts won't do well adapting these to bikes, but with skill they are adaptable to any bike. I currently have one on the KLR 685:
NEP Throttle Friction Lock Mounting on KLR 685.jpg

... and one on the Beta 390 RR-S. With the relatively small Domino throttle, I machined and aluminum spacer and put an M6 thread in the throttle casting and used a Kawasaki M6 screw cut to exactly the right length. Silicone 1 adhesive has served for years as 'Loctite':
NEP Throttle Friction Lock Mounting on Beta RR-S.jpg

The only difference in the N.E.P. versions is the general way to affix to various throttles. I believe I have long used the Yamaha version, the CC-2 I think it is, because of the 90-degree step projection having the pivot pins for the two halve of the clamping part.

It's time to order several more of these to have around.

You'll usually see trials grips on my non-trials bikes. They are smaller in diameter, have a simple diamond grip pattern, are in a very soft material, and they are LONGER than the typical off road grip and throttle pipe length at about 5". The N.E.P. throttle lock takes up about 3/16" space (unless you cock the assembly in a botched custom install). I'll set the grip back a touch from the N.E.P. I mount grips only with a touch of water, then wire them in three places. They never move after that, so they don't end up pushing on the N.E.P.

The 701 has a typical too-short throttle pipe (sigh). It also has an interesting flange in the throttle-by-wire pipe (see below at grip flange folded back) that night make a nice 'cavity' for a throttle lock with no issue of the Pro Taper grips the previous owner fit to the bike, and creeping onto and pressing on the the N.E.P. friction lock. The Pro Taper grips I actually do like. Maybe I'll stick with them? The are short of course, especially with bark busters crowding the ends, but they might just work out.
Pro Taper 04250 Grips.jpg

At this phase of the 701 project, I can beat up on myself a bit with the realization, as the 701 becomes more known and less theorized, that my totally developed and paid for 2003 KLR 685, the venerable Super Farkle, remains superior to the 701 in such categories as suspension, comfort, and general practicality with respect to what triggered the 701 project... an upcoming WYBDR. The KLR remains superior in all but weight and hoitie toitieness, and those rare instances when I might wish to afflict myself with the more radical and technical off road sections.


At what point in the expen$ive build will the 701 cross over a line into overall superiority? We shall see. Getting the 701's suspension past ridiculously harsh will help. The coming Seat Concepts Comfort XL may also help, but in no way ever will but comfort surpass the Sargent World Seat on the KLR! I can sit all day on that super-wide seat for days without my ass scabbing over and falling off. Right now the KLR is servings as place to rest the 701's Mosko bags while I work on other things.
Super Farkle Irony.jpg
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The stock Husqvarna seat isn't as bad as several past KTM 'brick' seats, but given my affliction of Noassatall, I knew it was just a matter of time for rejecting it. So I just went ahead and bought a tried and true standard height Seat Concepts (SC) Comfort XL, which is their widest version. Long build time, but it finally arrived.

I chose a color away from blue toward more neutral. The quality of the product is very high. Seat Concepts even make excellent injection molded (high cost tooling!) seat pans that are every bit as good as OEM. I weighed the stock seat at roughly 3.4 pounds. The SC seat with more and better foam weighs just under 5 pounds.
SC Comfort XL Grey Yellow Topside with Stock Seat.jpg

Here's the underside juxtaposed with the under-seat changes already make:
SC Comfort XL Grey Yellow Upside Down.jpg

Any time you widen a seat you effectively make a bike feel taller in the rear because the legs have to go around the wide part to get to the ground. KTM products are noted for high pegs (fixed that already) and high seat heights. While the SC seat is narrower toward the front, which helps when dabbing, one is not always slid forward when a panic dab is required. The ground is farther a way, and just that little bit too much tilt can result in going over, ingloriously!

The US, Euro, and China market has responded to the need for lowering with a plethora of options. Ride height is more complex than most realize. On top of design fundamentals of seat height and basic geometries of rake, trail, etc), futzing with ride heights (bike pitch) through dog bone length or through rocker link geometry (the typical 'lowering link' approach), it's a give and take compromise and it helps to understand the tech detail. My practice for lowering off-road-oriented bigger bikes is to not lower with aftermarket components, but to lower by raising the forks as much as I can in the triple clamps (the 690/701 provides a lot of room to do that), and and not jacking up - even backing off of - rear spring preload.

The 701, being a heavier bike already, will be carrying loaded Mosko 80 bags, there will be natural lowering at the get-go. Heck, before bags and kit my stock kickstand is barely long enough for me to sit on the bike kickstand down. I'm already close to the tip-over point.

What I don't know with this bike (yet) is if I should opt for a stiffer spring so that I can run less preload while not being under spring on big hits. But given what feels under sprung or not is directly influenced by the damping philosophy, I will get that part right first, before changing springs. People can be in automatic mode and almost always opt for 'heavy duty' springs, but that can be a mistake unless it is done in the context of the damping and usage scenario. The 690/701 have long been very plugged up (and harsh feeling) in the damping, so I will correct that before I turn my attention to spring rates.

What I have done in the past, coming out of the suspension evolution of the late `70s and on, is adopt stiffer springs with very little spring preload. It's a way of having your cake and eating it too. In the old days, pretty much every bike was under sprung and over damped. The 701 still has the latter problem, but I'm not sure about the former yet.

So lowering links as a way to lower seat height....

Kouba (USA) has been around a long time. Kouba goes the route of lengthening dog bones to lower ride height. Here are their options, in inches:
Kouba Link Options for 701.jpg

A modest 5/8" lowering, to 1-1/4" and topping out at 1-1/2"

An interesting Euro version adds two inserts configurable two ways each: 0cm (0"), 1cm (0.394", which is 3/8" plus), 2cm (0.787", which is 3/4" plus), and 3cm (1.181", 1-3/16").

Advantage: Not having to figure out beforehand a complex scenario of variables to make a buy decision on how much to lower. When setting up my KLX330 project bike years ago, I went through three sets of dog bones to get the effects on lowering and steering reaction torques. That bike used individual flat dog bones that were pretty cheap, so buying three sets didn't hurt much. But when the dogbones are unitized and come with needle bearings, they can get pricey!
ET Racing Lowering Link with Several Configs.jpg

Another approach is to leave the dog bone length alone and instead change the geometry of the rocker link. The French make a pricey one from billet (translation, 'Triangular Billet' in one lowering option of 5cm (almost 2 inches!"). A Google search for "macadata.com billets triangulaires" for more tech data brought up poof, nothing.
RAC Billettes Triangulaires 50mm.jpg

And as always, the Chinese never miss an opportunity to claim and then dominate a market through low price and high enough quality. Here's a 4cm (1.57") lowering rocker link:
NICE CNC Rocker Link 5cm - Chinese.jpg

The above shows double row German INA caged needle bearings, stuffed into a black anodized machine wrought likely 6061 T6 with needle spacing about the same as the cruder-machined French unit above. So $70 versus $300 for a more sophisticated design.... hmm.

So what's the right approach? I should wait until I re valve the shock and forks first to address the high seat-height issue. But I can walk and chew gum at the same time. A low-risk option would be the expensive Euro multi-configuration dog bones option, as different heights are just a matter of disassembly and reassembly. OR, there's the option to guess buy the cheap Chinese stuff. If I miss on the lowering choice it doesn't hurt much.

Longer dog bones versus changed rocker geometry are going about lowering in different ways. Figuring out how each direction might play out in terms of rising rate linkage curves just make my head hurt.


  • Chinese Copy Lowering Links.jpg
    Chinese Copy Lowering Links.jpg
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Oh yeah... SOOOooo much better!
S3 TRI-FIX Grip on Right of 701.jpg

I was tempted to leave the fat-stubby-nubby Pro Taper grips on the 701, but then I found a set of S3 TRI-FIX grips in the spare parts box! These are the perfect trials grips (non fat-stubby-nubby) for any bigger bike with bark busters, as they have machined aluminum ends and already are holed. They don't have Mongo flanges, aren't fat, and certainly are not short.

Fitting the longer grip on the left was easy. Just slide the switch set inward.

Fitting the longer grip on the right required removing the throttle pipe (way easy), and getting rid of the mystery flange:
Pro Taper 04250 Grips.jpg
Stubbie-Nubbie Grip & Throttle Pipe Flange to Remove.jpg

That was fast and easy. I slipped the pipe over a handlebar end in a vice and hack sawed off the flange in segments, then smoothed.

The following video goes into more detail:

I remove grips with air pressure, and mount new grips with water and air pressure... then stainless steel (0.025") wire them:

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Yesterday a quick ride. What an improvement the SC seat and the S3 grips to the bike! The feeling of 'making it my own' took a big step up.

I sit with my coffee now, pre-poop, contemplating today my first opportunity to test the suspension and other details on the near-new and part-way modified project 701! In three hours my friend will putter up to my house with his old crusty 690, a 2013 with 26k miles. We'll cross NE Albuquerque then Rio Rancho, NM west to the 'West Mesa' area to do some desert riding and taking some big sand and rough terrain.

Today will address, 'just how bad is the suspension?' Also, 'How much of an improvement to power will the PC6 result in, really? I expect the glue-slow suspension to continually irk, but it's always good to challenge one's assumptions. I hate glue-slow suspension! But how bad are the frond and rear WP strokers... really? Today's ride will set the direction for the near future re valve.

Tires will be another learning experience. BIG powerful motor with the stock TKC 80s... in sand! I had a more trials-type rear tire on the Beta 390 the day and did not make one of the biggest sand hills. No problem usually, as I'd just turn out and go back down. But I waited one second too late to abort and a tiny bit too little clutch slip resulted in a thud-stall right at apex of the turn-out, and my weight was slightly down hill. The result was a fine 'flying W' a long way downhill, and landing on my side with arm a little too extended. Thud and a pop and a cracked rib.

That was a pivotal moment... a final straw! It finally knocked my out of my embedded clutch arrogance with the determination to go Rekluse auto clutch with its assumed negative trade-offs. Little did I know that the auto clutch would lead to a simplified controls scheme resulting in more positives than negatives. I was still reticent enough to try the change in the KLR first. When that worked out well, I converted the Beta, and since then there's been no going back. And I've heeded my wife's repeat warnings to not get hurt today, as we are off soon to see the grandbaby in London. She wants me healthy! I've been holding off on the $900 Rekluse for when I get the wide-ratio tranny gearset, and that will be inside of the coming month. Got to be cautious today!
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I find your comments about the KLR vs 701 very interesting. Last year I sold my trusty but very tired 60K mile KLR. Lots of people I know laughed about it being a KLR. If they only knew that it was all day comfortable, and with Race Tech bits in the forks, a descent rear shock, and 685 with a ported head was a joy to ride as a commuter bike and adventure bike.
Simmons1, I'm happy to see you find my work interesting! I'm about objective analysis, and eschew the corruption that spending a lot of money on something newer makes it better or best in some grand orgasm of confirmation bias.

My Gen 1 KLR685 has been a long-term relationship of continuous improvement on slow burn, with periods of bursts.

I purposefully 'afflicted' myself with this 690/701 long-running-model-cum-unicorn because I wanted to and could afford to do so, and I plan to make it a long-term relationship similar to the KLR, only with the 701 I'm front loading with rapid improvements.

People tend to get hung up too much on brand, model, year, and forget the greater importance that life teaches by negative and positive example... that what matters most is 'the loose nut behind the handlebar' (the human), described succinctly in the bible as, "There are those who gather (build the humble into wealth and beauty), and those who scatter (reduce wealth and advantage into disadvantage and shit piles).

Imagine a non functioning 701 baking in the sun with dead cars and appliances (add several buzzing insecurity lights and nuisance barking psychotic dogs chained in place to the scene), while some old old KLR, well maintained and farkled continues on in a eloquent dance.... In between is whole continuum of humanity and the machines they couple with. Somewhere in that continuum is all motorcyclists on dualsport-type machines. What specific machine matters less than what the rider does with and to his specific machine.

[UWSL]When contemplating other than the KLR, seriously considered a brand new DR650 as a starting point. Brilliantly simple quality machine lacking many of the more modern afflictions by safety and envirocrats, like ABS and eco-strangled fueling. I could have fit seriously good suspension and other mods for another budget Japanese killer stealth dual sport. [/UWSL][UWSL]But then I realized I had already exactly that in the KLR, so I chose to do something different and throw myself a slightly depreciate and essentially new 701, which unfortunately got me into ABS and Euro 5. Oh well. If nothing else the learning experiences are fun.[/UWSL]

[UWSL]Even with a rapid pace of mods it's taken me a month and a half to finally get to a road-to-off-road ride. That happened yesterday, as my friend and I rode west from ABQ to the diverse West Mesa area.[/UWSL]
[UWSL]Here we take a break in higher, less sandy area:[/UWSL]
Joe 690 and My 701 West Mesa.jpg

We expected a little wet in the sand and soils, but nope! Powder dry despite the surrounding mountains getting drenched, even that morning. The sand and gravel wash areas immediately challenged the porky machines, especially mine with the stock TKC-80 tires, which are horribly squirrely in deep dry sand. Sand like this here, where it wasn't as deep and loose as elsewhere:
My 701 West Mesa Deep Sand.jpg

Takeaway 1: Definitely go more knobby. My friend's 690 had knobbies front and rear for an obvious difference when we swapped bikes. We were both were running 18 psi front and rear. I wasn't comfortable with less due to the rocky areas and tube-type with no rim locks. I do like the Tubliss system, but may just keep it simple on the 701. No crashes, thankfully, but several times it was close to a fast face stuffing, which did not inspire me to more aggression from confidence! I'm thinking the same brilliant Golden Tyre 90/90 (in between skinny and fatty) GT216AA for the front, same as I have on my Beta 390. I really like that tire! As for the rear? Not sure yet, but it won't be a rally-type tire. I'd rather burn up a knobby earlier than live with more road-like tread longer.

The 701 promised to be markedly better for off road riding than my KLR, and I found that to be true. Yesterday the sphincterometer would have been driven high up in my body if I was on the KLR. The 701, though on the chunky side, feels more the off road bike instead of a 50-50 bike. It was pleasant and fun, and once I get a few more details are sorted the sphictometer will descend in the body more in the technical terrain. And oh that yummy power! The bike being a chunk, it was nice to dial up a throaty burst of power to, say, not paste myself into the face of an unexpectedly deep sand whoop I'd get surprised by. The low vibration was much appreciated too, and at the speeds we were going there was no hand tingle at all by the end of the day.

The Seat Concepts Comfort XL proved excellent as always. No distracting butt chatter of painful-ass.

As for standing, the big revision to the ergonomics (especially the 3cm back and 2cm down HUGE foot pegs) made the sit-stand transition far easier and standing riding far more natural. That especially was immediately apparent when we swapped bikes, and I got the rare complement of, "The ergonomics are excellent!"

As for the emasculated Power Commander 6 for $450 (versus no longer available PC5), it and the preloaded map did not expunge all of the luffing feel at low throttle and rpm, so it is not yet a 100% turn-key solution to Euro 5. More to do there. My friend's 2013 690 is more powerful. Some of that was tires, as he could hook up more, and some was the more linear power of the 701, even on setting 2. I could smell some richness and maybe a touch of oil in his burn (the thing has 26k miles), but although I was more conservative and smooth in the throttle, we both got the same mileage at close to 59mpg.

Yesterday was my first time to test the suspension. We both definitely felt the superiority of the 2021 WP suspension versus the 2013 WP. Both are harsh on higher-frequency chop, and both are bound up in the damping and slow responding, but the the `21 is just better at being harsh and bound up. I had all my adjusters wide open, but the front and rear are quite bound-up feeling. Body weighting response? Forget it. The only option is to use the abundant power to hammer through stuff. And in that regard the `21s suspension works pretty well. It's as though that's what they intended, but it would have been much better to have some use of clicks, rather than being back up against a wall with no choice to free the poor thing up. To give you an idea of how plugged up the strokers are, I slid the red plastic rings at the bottom of the fork stanchions up about 3" so I could measure the maximum suspension travel. I stuffed the front end hard enough, in one case hitting the face of a deep whoop cringe hard to - I thought - use up the full travel. I expected the rings to be pushed down to the 250mm (9.8") level, but they never made it past 200mm (7.9"). The reason timing. The damping is quite tight so even a big hit with clickers full open, the forks could not stroke fully. Are they expecting me to land a big double on this big bike? I'd rather have more terrain compliance and more reaction to body inputs. I have no intention to Supercross this thing!

Added to the glue slow suspension is the action of the front ABS when enabled, which is a repeat default at every power-on. Right when I needed maximum braking power, the sphinctometer would shoot up in my body when I'd lose braking power and feel pulsings in the lever. The manual says ABS detects a 'locking tendency' (it does this with rotor pulse count changes), but it kicks in too early and thus restrains hard braking! I have the big manual and in the ABS section it says that to turn off the ABS, "...go to 'Starting.'" Rather, it's 'Starting the Vehicle', p 71. When stationary press and hold the ABS button for 3-5 seconds. The ABS warning light should come on. The ABS will be off. Uh huh. Did that and the light came on for a bit and went off, with no seeming change and of course it resets itself every time you power down. Gaak! I thankfully fit the pricey KTM dongle to shut the crap off on the rear, but they apparently can't trust that I know how to brake on the front. One time I almost went off a killer edge when the ABS prevented me from braking hard enough. It's definitely not smart enough to prevent braking power loss from lock-up. It rather prevents me from maximizing the braking!

When I figure out how to do it, I will expunge the bike of all ABS clutter. I've watched a video on how to do that on a 2019, but my `21's bloated nanny code may make it more difficult. The guy with the `19 disassembled to the ABS unit to pull the control board out so the ECU could be fooled into thinking it was still there. Brill idea, and might risk that eventually. First I'll plumb the front and rear calipers direct, bypassing the infernal unit. If that goes well, I'll try the board-pull approach.

In sum, the ride convinced me I'm onto something good though ridiculously expensive, and what may ensue is a long and satisfying relationship with this machine. Spoken like an engineer, no?
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Very entertaining and interesting reading. I've long been tempted by the 690/701, but for the exact reasons/cons you've observed, I've shunned it. It could be a great bike, but isn't. I do think you're on the right track to make it one however. I'll continue to read on with your progress.
A friend from Tulsa overnighted at our NM house last night. LONG time motorcyclist, fellow trials rider, and off-road and dual sport guy. He has a 701, which he adores. He regrets selling his KLR years ago.
He's not such the technical nut like me on bikes, but he is regarding camping and kit, as he has done immensely more moto camping than me. We had long discussions on the intimate details. He thought my Mosko 80 setup was super robust, but maybe a bit big. I rode the West Mesa are with deflated Mosko 80 and didn't even know it was back there. Fully outfitted may be a different story. With a big bike like the 701 and BDR-level riding, he thought it no issue, and, "take what you want, you'll be fine." But for anything technical he pointed to my Beta 390 and said he'd be on his Husqy 450. I agree.

I will share here some takeaways:

- If you travel in a group with a support vehicle, tempting as it may be do not put any of your kit on it. rather, be entirely self sufficient as that vehicle may show up late or not at all, and if it rains at the destination, and some of your kit is on the truck, you will have a learning experience.

- Regarding fuel, I showed him my Aux Pox which are made for 2X MSR 30-ounce fuel bottles each. He shook his head and said, "In almost all of North America you're fine with the stock fuel tank plus one Giant Loop 1 gallon Gas Bag, which you can strap to your bag. I'd put a couple of water bottles in the Aux Pox! The gas bag you can dump into your tank early and just roll it up." I have one of those gas bags, fortunately. I told him I had made use of the MSR fuel bottle many times, such as when on the Beta with 2-gallon stock gas tank, and how I could pack several in my Osprey hydration back pack. He shook his head, "I don't want bottles on my body in a crash." I asked is that was because of fuel, he said no. It was to not hit the ground hard with something hard and cylindrical between body and ground (or car or truck). Hmm. Hadn't thought of that!

- Pack more minimally than you often assume, but maximizing on a few critical items. The people that over pack and end up with heavy bikes and high CG are often the less experienced folks and more inclined to get injured when their overloaded bikes flop over on them. They may also be inclined toward Mongo-size bikes to start with, so over packing just amplifies already heavy. Some kit, like tools and tire repair stuff is non negotiable, but the cast iron skillet or a whole wardrobe of clothing are just not necessary. Learn from trips. Come back and do two piles. One is what you used, the other, what you did not use. Toss what you did not use (tools and repair supplies excepted).

- Test your kit before going on a long trip with short overnight trips.

- Carry some paracord and carabiners. Very flexible to hang things or do damned near anything.

- Cary a simple tarp with paracord tied to the corners. You can use a tarp so many ways! To, say, cover the whole bike with riding gear on top to overnight in case it might rain, or to make a fast rain fly tied to a couple of bikes for a group to sit under if a drenching rain comes... way out there. Great in case the group has to sit out a drenching rain that just happens along when riding in, say, Bentonite clay. Extend your tent front door area to be able to exit and pack on dry ground. Or just lay it on the ground for a dry place to pack or to dress. Or make a 'shower stall' for multiple uses.

- Get away from stuff bags for tents and other items, as the resulting round balls or sausage shape wads won't pack in bike bags as compactly as just letting the bike bag determine the shape of packed items. Stuff your stuff-sack-free tent, for example, into the bottom of a bike bag and carry the poles elsewhere, separately.

- Minimize clothing like pants and shirts (two each per week of riding). He said he sometimes never make it to the backup pair on a long ride. However, take ample underwear and socks as these will be the slinkiest and nastiest items. And they can be washed and dried out on the bike if strapped on with a small mesh sack before the day's ride (not for heavy dust rides).

- Employ Frogg Toggs rain upper and lower gear not only for rain, but to help ride warmer at times or (oversize the upper to be able to wear it over other riding gear). This rain gear, being more cloth like rather than crinkly plastic, is quieter in the wind, and it can event be worn as a 'warm shirt' in camp. There's just rain gear, but complicating the choice are many related products:

- If your ride daily with over pants like Kline Mojave, you don't need to wear pants. LD Comfort 'riding shorts' as underwear aren't cheap, but they don't look like underwear, which allow you to undress in company without looking like you are parading in underwear. There are no seams to sit on when riding.

- Carry waterproof shoes like Keen sandals strapped to the outside of your bag for walking around in when not riding. In my case I don't ever remove the right shoe, and that's always a New balance running shoe, so I strap the left shoe to my bag.

- Always carry a Jetboil, water, and Mountain House dehydrated food and water for independence from direct support... just in case.

- Suggested was a hammock instead of tent, though he does like tents too. I asked about hammocks out west, where trees lack. he said that is a problem, but you can sleep in a hammock on a sleeping pad and it is like a large mosquito net. No thanks. I'm a tent guy, and recently bought this tent and ground pad. The model seems uncommon, but I like the idea of a single pivoting poles set (no loose poles):
Big Agnes Crag Lake SL2.jpg

- A very good inflatable sleeping pad is gold!

After some investigation, I decided to this one (which is currently out of stock in 25" X 78"):
Big Agnes Rapide SL 25X78.jpg

- High quality down $leeping bag. Nothing sucks worse than getting cold or having bony body parts contacting the ground when trying to sleep. Youth can sleep through trench warfare, but us older guys can't. I will check out the recommended Western Mountaineering sleeping bag (20 degrees or less) and their down pillow. I like green, so maybe this bag (USA made and looks expensive!)
Western Mountaineering Badger MF Sleeping Bag 15 Degrees.jpg

Western Mountaineering Badger MF Sleeping Bag 15 Degrees Price.jpg

and maybe this:
Western Mountaineering Cloud Rest Pillow.jpg

I say 'maybe', because every night I sleep with a typical wrap around neck pillow and am addicted to them. Maybe I can find a place on top of the moto bags to drag that mess along??

Now for riding gear I have my own long-established favorites. I don't follow the crowd. On my off road bikes I wear a Bell Star street helmet. It's quiet, and I have tinnitus pretty bad and need to protect my hearing. This guy, which is 2011 or so, but I just put on a new shield and all new inside liner, pads, and other bits. I put a band of electrical tape at the top of the shield so when down the sun won't be in my eyes. The gorilla tape top strap is to prevent the shield from shutting all the way (no ratchet action on the old Bell unlike my former Shoei), for ventilation.
2023 Bell Star Refresh.jpg

For hearing protection I always shove ear plugs WAY in. I want to be as deaf as possible so my head doesn't ring even louder than normal. My friend suggested:

- Get yourself set up with a couple of pair of custom $ilicone in-ear-molded ear plug$.

Will do!

I always wear a street mesh jacket with protective pads. Under and over the mesh jacket I have a wide range of temperature-regulation options. Inside usually goes a long sleeve T shirt for hot weather. Long sleeve so the sun doesn't speckle the arms. That same long sleeve T shirt can be soaked in water for about an hour of blissful air conditioning. Stop and repeat, as needed.

For colder times, all sorts of combinations are possible, especially under an out rain upper to stop wind blowing through the mesh. That ranges from several shirt layers to a Polartec fleece. Or, over the long sleeve T shirt and under the fleece can go my 12-year old Aerostich heated vest.

Powering the heated vest and other 12V bits, I have long used the European DIN Hella adapters (aka BMW style), instead of SAE connectors. On the bigger dual sports I prefer two female sockets up on the handlebars via custom mounting. I buy the USA available Powerlet outlets and associated adapters.

A whole different issue is tools. I have tools already custom set up on the Beta and will not touch that setup. I have already started my list of 701 tools and supplies, and have been contemplating slick ways to do such things as how to hold and use Torx bits compactly? My other friend showed me this cute bit Torx bit holder:
Neat Tool for Torx Bits.jpg

1/4" X 1/4" socket to hold all bits below T??

But tools are a big subject and for another post.
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Tires! Yes, tires, the bottomless rabbit hole. My anticipated use: Mostly dirt, but I will have to ride Wyoming top to bottom mostly on road on my return leg of WY BDR to return to my truck. Just going to keep these as standard tubes with Quadboss sealer inside.

TKC-80s have proven mediocre and inadequate for off road.

First consideration: Dunlop 908 Rally Raid. Out of stock.

Second consideration: Goldentyre Rally tires. Good reputation, life, but tread blocks look a little close together.

Third consideration: Motoz Rallz, currently in #1 place due to greater tread depth and the nice blocks spacing.

Other considerations: Put a more knobby tire on the front? Like 140/80-18 Motoz Rallz on rear and 90/90-21 Goldentyre 216AA on front? Mmmaybe not, as the Ralz front looks decently aggressive.

What y'all think?
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