My BMW R1150 GSAA at Deals' Gap

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KLX250S Adventure Make-over - Phase 4

Phase 4 began on Saturday afternoon with me in the garage as the wind howled outside. The Happy Trails SU Side Racks were looking a little bare and it was finally time to mount a set of Pelican 1550 cases sourced from Nalpak Group on them. Along with the LED tail light assembly detailed in a previous posting, I'd picked up the Happy Trails SU Puck Kit for 3/4" tubing (P/N HTPMK750-A), as seen below.

I was favorable impressed with the ruggedness of the aluminum "pucks". Hardware was included for tool less mounting/unmounting using the big plastic knobs - 2 per side. In addition, extra bolts for wrench-required mounting/unmounting were also included.

To make sure I mounted the bags in the same location on both sides, I planned to use one of the ridges on the bottom of the Pelican case as a guide rest for the tubular rack. With this in mind, I knew from trial fitting that I'd have to remove some of the plastic from the ridge opposite the guide ridge due to the width of the SU Rack. I tackled this modification on both bags using a Dremel Tool earlier in the week, as shown in the photos below.

Knowing that I needed to make sure the bags were in exactly the same location on both sides of the bike, I decided to create a template when planning the left side that I could flip it over to use as the template for the right side.

I removed the left side SU Rack and positioned it where I wanted it to be on top of the template and Pelican case. Following the instructions from Happy Trails, I then positioned the 4 "pucks" in place to maximize stability at the bottom (no forward or backward movement allowed) and to allow rotation at the top for case removal.

Upon doing this, I realized that more plastic was going to need to be removed in order to allow the puck in the lower right to mount flat to the case.

The Dremel came out again, making short work out of the additional plastic removal. Then with the rack and pucks back in place, I used the insert from a ballpoint pen to roughly mark through the bolt hole of each puck. This worked out pretty well in practice, but probably has some of you cringing.

Small pilot holes were drilled through the paper template and left side case. I then used a step drill to work my way up to a clean 5/16 inch hole for each.

A keen eye will notice that the step drill got away from me on one of the holes. Oh crap. In reality, this mistake didn't cause any harm, but I was much more careful when drilling the remaining holes.

With holes drilled and deburred, I test fit all the hardware to make sure everything was secure. Yes!

With everything looking good and feeling very solid, I flipped the template over, traced the main lines through and taped it to the side of the right side case. I used the right side rack and pucks to check everything out. With just minor variations in rack dimensions, I only had to adjust the location of one hole before drilling. No mistakes this time!

Before I mounted everything back on the bike, I took a moment to weigh everything.

  • Left side Pelican 1550, mounting hardware and SU rack:  13.1 lbs.
  • Right side Pelican 1550, mounting hardware and SU rack:  13.2 lbs.
  • Happy Trails SU Rack "Bumper": 1.7 lbs.

That's a total of 28 extra pounds on the back of the bike, before I pack anything in. I might have to check that preload adjustment on the rear shock after all.

With the weighing done, the bags were removed from their respective racks and I commenced re-bolting the SU Racks back onto the KLX250S. I'm getting to be pretty good at doing this now and I managed to complete the process in about 15 minutes. The trick to making it a little easier is to start with the middle bolt on each side, followed by the shorter, front bolt and finally the hefty rear bolt. None should be tightened much until you are satisfied that the bolts are threading in properly. Stripped threads in the frame = much badness.

With everything in place and tightened up, I then bolted on the rear bumper using the 4 temporary (actually undersized) bolts, washers and nuts I'd used initially. I did end up asking Bob at Happy Trails about the missing hardware and he kindly arranged to send it to me! I'm not sure how it got missed in the first place, but it's the customer service that matters in this case. Thanks Bob!

A few minutes later I had the bags in place and the mounting hardware tightened. I'm really pleased with the results and managed a short, brisk ride this morning to get the feel of riding a (much) widened KLX250S. I actually couldn't seem to tell the difference, but I bet I would in a stiff cross-wind.

Anjoy the photos below of the finished work! I'm now starting to think about electronics.

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