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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been searching for a decent bike to get me back and forth to work while I rebuild the trans in my daily driver. Now I'm a family man and it isn't just about me so some compromises were in order to make the wife happy. Before I even started my search I had to be sure we were on the same page and agree on a total price. Money isn't a good topic to argue over so this was a prudent step in my opinion. Taxes came in and we decided that we would have $1200 left over for "play" and that I could have it for a bike. So what can you buy that is street legal for cheap??

I searched Craigslist, eBay, local classifieds, all over the place online to try and find the best bike I could that fit the price range and that I could get on the road quickly. I tried to find a KTM but for that price all I found were basket cases. DRZ's can be had for that price but mostly the E and S versions, not the SM's. However I would have had to find a way to get one home from either Texas or Louisiana. I was forced to look at older bikes in order to keep out of the Nighthawk, Buell Blast catagory. I opened up my search to all enduro style bikes on or off road and looked at a few KLX's, a few DR350's and was about to drive up to Pennsylvania to check out an '85 KLR 250 when I found a 1999 KLR 250 about 20 minutes from home. I was really feeling discouraged at that point and the search was really stressing me out. I missed a few killer deals by minutes in some cases. This bike for some reason caught my eye and I called immediately. Three days later the gentleman called me back after repeated emails and messages. I really thought I had missed this one as well.

I set up a time to go see the bike last Tuesday immediately after work but there was no time to get to the bank so I went with my best bargaining tools but no cash. The seller was adamant that he had recieved several calls and I shouldn't wait to see it. (Good tactics on his part but stressful for me) I ran out the door at 6pm on the dot and was in his front yard shortly there after. The bike as dirty, old dirt too, not from a recent ride. It was stone cold so he hadn't been prepping it before I got there. The tires were dry rotted but inflated, and it had a small dent in the tank that wasn't in any of the pictures on Craigslist. He was a good guy and offered me a cold one while I looked over the bike from top to bottom. He even tossed me the key and a helmet so I could take it on a ride. We hadn't even talked price at that point and he had no cash in hand when I left his driveway. I didn't push it, just a quick ride to see how the clutch felt and to check for braking ability and suspension travel. 15 minutes later I was back and I checked the lights before determining that it was a solid all around bike.

The haggle: if there was one. I didn't beat him up on the price. He was well below blue book for it and it wasn't beat up, just dirty. A handshake sealed the deal for $1200 and I left with the key to the bike and a promise to come back with a certified check.

I picked the bike up on Friday afternoon, dropped off a bank check, and dropped it off at work so I could clean it up and have access to my tools. As soon as it hit the pavement I kicked it once, fired it up, and went straight to the trails for a short blast though the woods. First impressions now that I own the thing are as follows:
-Its front end heavy
-The front brakes are terrible due to lack of use
-The back tire is trash and the knobbies are almost gone
-The chain is sloppy
-The headlight is blue (likely a Pepboys special)
-Handlebars are short and the drivers area is cramped because of it.
-It put a huge smile on my face until I had to put it away.

Here's a pic to prove that I do have it, crappy cell phone pic, but I was in a hurry.


I've already started looking for the things I need to get it through MD state inspection so I can get that out of the way. No mods will be done before it's tagged and on the street for a little while so I can get aquainted with it.

However I can daydream a bit so here's what's in store:
-KX125 inverted forks - $41 on ebay
-KX125 triple clamps - (undecided)
-KX250 rear shock - $7.50 on ebay
-Clutch cover - $15 on ebay
-New bars (undecided probably TAG as they used to sponsor me)
-New headlight assembly - CityX or similar with small Buell fairing
-Cycra front fender (previous sponsor)
-MX Bonz brake snare, cooling kit and vent lines (previous sponsor)
-New chain and sprockets (maintenance items)
-17in front wheel to match the rear. (Found a rear rim to lace to front hub)
-New tires (undecided)
-Smaller lighting and shorter mirrors
-MX style seat (KXF or similar)
-Perhaps a set of XGX graphics (previous sponsor)

Not bad for a lot of searching, a lot of looking, and it meets all of the wife's criteria so I'm happy, she's happy, and I'll be back on the streets in no time. Look for more updates to this project here as I get it street legal and then mod over the winter. Any help or tips are appreciated I'm an old MotoX guy looking to have some reasonable fun on the streets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I know that it isn't the best forum etiquette to bump your own thread but I figured I'd do it just this once before assuming building up such an unpopular bike was ...... unpopular.

I found out some information on the KLR's and it seems that the 250's as well as the 650's were, and still are, used as Police and Military bikes all over the world. That got me thinking ??? if these bikes have been produced since the mid eightees virtually unchanged there should be at T-O-N of parts out there just waiting to be had. Seems I was right. As I said before there are plenty of parts available on eBay and I have been taking advantage of N.O.S. parts.

I started to recieve shipments yesterday and I should be busy getting it ready for inspection this weekend.

A new rear rim assembly arrived from a Military Surplus dealer in PA. I'll now have a brand new rear hub and spoke set in case the rear grenades and a 17" rim for the front as it has the same spoke alignment as the back.


I also opened up my slightly used clutch cover, N.O.S. levers, and donor rear shock from a KX250. The cover on the bike has a spot of JB weld so I'll replace it when I update the clutch basket. The levers are either bent or broken so they NEED replacing. The shock will be part of the suspension rehash when the front forks come in.


I gave the beast a solid test drive before I pressure washed it for the first time. It is in better shape than I thought now that I can truly see everything. The chain may not be in that bad a shape and the sprokets aren't deformed at all. I can put those off to save $$$ until winter. However I tried to test the lights and found that the battery is unable to maintain voltage for more than a few minutes. I've been trying to charge it slowly over the past few days but it may be a dead soldier. Lastly I ordered a fresh set of Kenda 761's from American Motorcycle Tire and hope they last me through the summer before I put a sticky set on with the 17's

If I get it legal and find a photographer I'll post some pics of the pig in action. So far it's been fun putzing around the parking lot and trails at work.
 

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Good looking bike there. I didn't realize those parts were so cheap!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The cheap parts are still rolling in! Found a brand new set of TAG Metals X5 standard bars in blue that really caught my eye. I started out looking for a better set of bolt in levers like ASV's or similar but decided to just spend $9 on a factory replacement pair. Here's a side by side of the old and new parts to show just why they needed replacement on my 11 year old "off roader".

Slightly bent factory bars next to slightly wider and taller TAG X5's


What's left of the factory levers next to a N.O.S. set scored for super cheap.


Installed, roughly. Not tight yet, no grips yet. It'll take a ride or two to find the sweet spot for the bar rise, lever location, and mirrors.


Sorry for the crappy cell phone pics but my wife it a bit leary of me taking her Nikon to a dirty shop. Still waiting on the front forks and new tires. The only things I still have to aquire before State Inspection are grips and a new battery. The "new" one that came with the bike is worthless. So far the parts tally is up to $300 give or take so I'm only $1500 total and once the title shows up I'll just have to pay for tags and insurance to be legal and on the road. Not too shabby for anyone that wants to give street motard a shot and not drop 6 or 8 grand on a factory tard.
 

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good luck with the build. make sure u post lots of pictures
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The last of my parts arrived today. I'm still watching a few items on eBay but I have a few days before I'll comit to bidding on them. I was stoked to see the long skinny box show up USPS as I knew what it was immediately. MY FORKS!!! Haven't decided on when I'll strip the bike and do the entire suspension mod but it will likely be over the winter. Historically me and the "guys" would go out one last time on Thanksgiving morning for a blast through the woods before we had to go visit in-laws or parents but since I'm now the parent I tend to just stay home. Perhaps this year I'll resurrect the tradition and have one-last-ride in late November before retiring the bike until the weather breaks in spring. That way I have a few months to work out the front end geometry, find parts cheap, and lift the rear to match the longer front forks. It will also allow plenty of time to either have the wheels built or do it myself. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Here's one of the forks leaned up against the front end so show how much beefier it is and how sexy this thing is going to be once I lay down a more interesting color combination.


If you look hard enough you can see that there is a new battery sitting on the rear fender. I need it to get through inspection and I hate to say but it was $4 less than the forks cost. Guess I can't get everything super cheap.

Hopefully the tires will be in tomorrow so I can get this thing legal and on the road, I'm dying to ride!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here I am bumpin my own thread again with a parts update. My new tires showed up on time but without tubes! A quick email and the tubes showed up the very next day. I don't like order mixups but quick resolutions are as close to getting it right the first time as you can get. Pulled the wheels off of the old girl and found a use for my old MX stand. It was a sad day making the bike unrideable.



However the condition of the old tires should have rendered the thing useless anyway so it was worth not having my after work stress relief for a day or two. Word to the wise, don't take bike parts home with the intention of getting them worked on, after two days I put the wheels and tires back in my car and just swapped them at the shop. Silly me.



Off came the knobbies and on went a new set of Kenda's. Nothing special just enough to get me to the winter when I can tear it down and lace up the 17 on the front end.

One thing was bothering me with the front wheel off, the extremely long front fender. Internet searches were fruitless. The oddball single year color of this thing isn't condusive to off-the-shelf parts so I taped it up and cut it myself. Ended up tossing about 5 inches of plastic in the trash after all was said and done. It doesn't have super clean edges but it isn't a complete hack job. I did sand and file the leading edge to clean it up a bit.



So now the bike is 99% ready for its trip through state inspection. I'll be picking up the grips tonight on the way home and it will only take a few minutes to toss them on Monday. Here's the way she looked when I got back from scrubbing the tires in. Already needs another bath, don't worry it'll be clean before I put her away for the weekend.

 

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Hey fit4aking have you fit those kx 125 forks on 99 klr 250 and how it go and pm me details on how you did it as I've got a 89 klr 250 and I've been researching on how to do this and then I've come across that your doing it please get back to me thanks
 

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Hey fit4aking have you fit those kx 125 forks on 99 klr 250 and how it go and pm me details on how you did it as I've got a 89 klr 250 and I've been researching on how to do this and then I've come across that your doing it please get back to me thanks
I'm curious as well, but I wouldn't get my hopes up for a response. looks like he hasn't posted here in over 3 years :(
 

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Hey chris I wonder if you ever find about that KLR 250 forks swap from the KX125? I havr my 1989 KLR 250 and I want to converted to sm for my son. Let me know if you ever see this, I know this had been dead for so many years

Hey fit4aking have you fit those kx 125 forks on 99 klr 250 and how it go and pm me details on how you did it as I've got a 89 klr 250 and I've been researching on how to do this and then I've come across that your doing it please get back to me thanks
 

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I too am really curious as to how this ended up. I have a constant love for underpowered 250s from the 80s and 90s. I just feel invincible riding them on twisty roads. Like, how can this go wrong? Until it does.
Anyhow, I'd love to see the forks swapped over and it motarded out. If I found a good one for cheap, I might do the same.
 
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