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Sequoia KLR650 Small Soft Bag Rack Review

Reviewed by The SLO-KLR, The KLRWorld.com Forums
July 29, 2007

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Introduction 

Today I'll be reviewing the Sequoia Rack for Small Bags for the KLR650 / 650 Tengai provided by Tom of Turbo City Performance Headquarters.

Information for the Sequoia Rack is located HERE.

Current Price (as of July 29, 2007) is $229.95

Weight- 11 lbs.

Top Rack dimensions -10 in. long by 17 in. wide at the front tapering to 14 in. wide at the back.

Side Rack dimensions - 12 in. wide by 7 in. drop at the front tapering to 11.5 in. at the back and 11 in. by 5 in. wide shelf to support the bottom of the bag.

Overall width - 28 in.  with bags - 33 in.

Tools needed for installation - 5mm and 6mm allen wrenches, 8mm socket and wrench, wire crimpers.

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Here's what I saw when I opened the shipping box.

The rack was well packaged, wrapped in bubble wrap then fully submerged in packing peanuts in a sturdy box.

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It looks to be well made, weighing in at nearly eleven pounds. It's not light, but then neither is the KLR.  All welds were solid albeit a few on the under side looked a little messy- but they were still solid.

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The unit comes painted in a silver/ gray that closely matches the frame color on my 2005 KLR.  It is built specifically for the small Cortech bags (but I'm sure it would accomodate most any saddlebag of similar size and shape) with custom loops for the crossover straps and complete support for each bag.  Each bag sits on its own shelf taking the stress off the cross straps which can come apart if the bags are overloaded (Cortech says 10lbs per bag limit).   With this kind if support you need not worry about putting too much weight in these small bags.

Here is a closeup view of the rack installed-

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The top rack measures ten inches in length by seventeen inches across at the front, tapering to fourteen inches across at the rear.  It is designed to fit the Cortech tail bag that matches these saddle bags.

I didn't have a tail bag on hand to try out but judging by the way the saddle bags fit the the rack, I'm sure the tail bag will fit just as well.  Now if you're thinking this rig looks like just the ticket for your ride except that the bags are on the small side, you're in luck because Turbo City makes a rack for the larger Cortech bags as well which has also been reviewed here at KLRWorld.

The first rack I received did have a few minor install and usability issues.  The install issues centered around the turn signals.  My unit did not come with any type of spacer to acommodate the locater pins or the unthreaded portion of the turn stalks.  The other issue was the lack of a place to mount the helmet lock.  I like to use my bike to run arrands and its a real pain to have to carry around your helmet while your cruising through the store. 

The good news is that when I contacted Tom at Turbo City to express my concerns, he quickly made changes to remedy all of these issues and sent me a new rack with the updates in place.  How cool is that for customer service and vendor concern for product quality? 

Here is a good look at the helmet lock on the lower left and spacers on light brackets.

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The tools needed for this project are a 5mm & 6mm allen wrenches, 8mm socket with wrench, 14mm open end wrench and some wire crimpers. 

Installation was simple and straightforward and is easy enough for the mechanically challenged to install.

Unplug and unbolt the turn signals and bolt them up to the brackets on the Sequoia.  Undo the two side bolts and the two top bolts from the stock rack and remove.  Slide the new rack into place and bolt back up using the supplied bolts for the top and the stock bolts for the sides.  Crimp in the wire extensions and you're done.  With the rack now installed it takes just a couple of minutes to strap the Cortech bags onto the Sequoia rack and you're ready to roll.

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The Test Ride


I headed off to Cal Poly where the ride begins and ends.  As I rolled into the parking lot with my new saddlebags mounted, I got a few strange looks from the hardcore crowd on their svelte dirt bikes which they were unloading from their trucks.  The uncertainties crept into my mind as I already had reservations about installing this rack and bags then taking it for a hard core dual-sport ride.

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I had visions of tipping the bike over and doing some serious damage.  Well that vision was quickly erased shortly after we reached the dirt.

When I stopped to move my tank bag to the back rack, the kickstand sunk into the soft ground as I was dismounting and over it went.  When I got it back upright I did a quick inspection to find no damage.  The rack actually saved the saddlebag from being crushed by the bike. 

Later on in the day I gave it a good crash test when fatigue got the best of me and the front end washed out in some sand that I didn't see.  The bike ended up on it's left side yet again but this time it didn't go down so softly.  The rack survived with only some minor scratches to the finish and again saved the bag from taking the abuse.  Now that's not to say that this rack is meant for crash protection because it is not, but it is certainly built to take some torture.

By the end of the day I had logged two hundred miles and the bags stayed firmly in place throughout the day despite being pounded across 60 plus miles of rough single track and dirt roads.  I can honestly say that this setup simply disappeared while I was riding because they were back out of my way and I wasn't reminded of their presense until I went to swing my leg off the bike.

The Sequoia Rack provides good clearance from the stock exhaust so your bags won't end up as melted goo.  The overall width with the bags in place is 33 inches which is about the same as the stock handle bar width, so you lane splitters need not worry about hooking a bag on a bumper as you're threading your way through traffic. 

I think this is the perfect setup for commuters that need a little extra room to haul stuff to and from work or for heading out on a weekend trip.

Here is a rear view with the Cortech bags installed-

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and a side view-

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I've had the Sequoia Rack mounted on my KLR with the Cortech Sport bags for three months now without a single problem to report.

So what's left to fuss about?

I think my rack will be getting a coat of black paint because while the silver does match the frame, it just looks out of place up high on the bike.  That is just my opinion. 

My other nit pick would be to have OEM connectors on the wire extensions so that you would not have to alter the bikes wiring and the rack would be removable with out snipping the wires again.  I spoke with Tom at Turbo City and he said they are working on a source for those connectors but they are a little unusual, so at the time of this writing he had not found a supplier. 

My only other problem is that since I have more room, I have more stuff, and now I need the big rack with the larger bags for more room!

Here are a few more views of the Sequoia Rack installed, without and with the Cortech small bags installed-

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There you have it, a fine product that accomlishes its goal, built by a company that is striving to improve their product for the customer. 

The Sequoia Rack is a keeper for me unless of course I decide I gotta have the Denali rack so I can haul more stuff.

I give the Sequoia Rack a 9 out of 10 rating!

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