The Ultimate Build: KLV650 - a 2009 KLR with 650cc Parallel Twin - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
2008+ KLR650 Wrenching & Mod Questions For repair, maintaining or modifying discussions related to the newly updated 2008 and beyond, Generation 2 KLR650 Motorcycle.

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post #1 of 52 Old 03-26-2010, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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The Ultimate Build: KLV650 - a 2009 KLR with 650cc Parallel Twin

It has been thought of on other forums. Its been brought up to Kawasaki designers. And I'm sure i'm probably bringing up an old thread on this forum (though i tried to do a search for it), but I've been so infactuated with this concept that I did a little more digging into the subject.

With the new BMW 800cc engines, the VSTROMS twin engine, and pretty much every adventure bike competing with the KLR, Kawasaki STILL has an amazing machine with the KLR 650 being the most off road oriented Adventure bike (under $10k perspectively) and yet still uses a carborated SINGLE!

But what if...and i mean IF.. Kawasaki was to take a mostly street version of the KLR (the Versys) which makes great power being a Parallel Twin and throw that engine into the KLR 650? Lets call it the KLV650 cause i need a distinctive name for it and it fits

I live in San Diego and made just 1 phonecall to a cycle place and they said that they would call me no later than tuesday but they are confident that they could get the full set up (engine, trans, clutch, electical, etc..) of a 650R engine for me. Which is the same engine the Versys uses, just tuned differently.

Do i have your attention?

Forget cost here. I dont care about that. Lets look at what we could possibly have here! We have practically the same weight engine (maybe at most 15 lbs heavier) with around 20 HP MORE than the stock KLR650, a 6 speed gear box, fuel injected which is more efficient and needs less to maintain, and the ability to pull out even more impressive hp and torque numbers from the engine. Not to mention one mean sounding KLR!!

The big question... Will the 650cc Parallel Twin actually FIT in the KLR frame? and thats the deciding factor here. I'm confident that with mild chassis tweeking and motor mount adjustments, this is very very plausable. Agree?

Now the next thing that will be a huge concern, the suspension. I honestly dont know if the suspension can handle that kind of load. The suspension is already soft and has a lot of un needed travel so just to be safe (and more custom) a heavily modified suspension would be needed. Agree?

I've looked all over the web to see if anyone has ever done this swap or even attempted it and cant find any sound results. I would like to know some expert opinions on this. Do i have something here or is it just too good of an idea to be true? Again forget cost estimates (its obviously a prototype so ya gotta spend some cash to see an advancemnt).

So, what say you?

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post #2 of 52 Old 03-26-2010, 02:57 PM
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Well, this is just a thought, but you say that cost shouldn't be considered here... I would think that as a privateer, it would be cheaper (and easier) to go buy a BMW F 800 GS. It's an outstanding bike.

I'm no expert, but I would think the the upfront costs, and then the cost to make it work would just give you a bike that's not what it should be.

Now, if I was Kawasaki, a company who has a lot of capitol and the engineering staff and experience to design something like this, it would be a different story.

As a privateer I don't think I'd want to invest time and money into making something that's already available under a different brand name.

Sorry if that's not what you wanted to hear. If you have the money, time, expertise, and desire, go for it and let us all know how it went. It is indeed an interesting idea.

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post #3 of 52 Old 03-26-2010, 04:52 PM
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Might be easier to modify a Versys. Off road wheels, tires & suspension, re-route the exhaust for starters. But what do I know?? Not much, actually.
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post #4 of 52 Old 03-26-2010, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Well I already have a 2009 KLR 650. Still breaking it in correctly.

All i was saying was that Kawasaki is all about the bottom dollor. They are so cost concerned that its not funny. That is there marketing ploy and has been for years. Thats why you can have a bike that right out of the crate can pretty much do and compete with bikes like the F800GS for $5000 CHEAPER if not more. Now it might not be as pretty or get you there as fast, but it will get the job you want done.

If Kawasaki is already makes a twin in the same dementions (almost), all i'm saying is that for relatively similar costs (maybe a a grand or so more) you could simply keep the already capable KLR and make it OUTSTANDING! I finaly got to ride a Versys today and boy its a whole different animal. I sit INTO the bike and not on TOP of it like the KLR. And the engine just pulls you constantly which is great. Now the rake of the front of the Versys just isnt long enough to put a 21" tire on it and be comperable to the KLR. Thats making a bike do something totaly different.

I'm not saying that about the KLR. I want the kLR to do exactly what its been doing for the past 2 decades plus. Instead of KLR hanging around the scene cause of cost alone, it would still be the cheapest bike (if done my way) and yet have a SCREAMING engine that you would just HAVE to get. Not because you cant afford anything else, but just for the fact that you are putting up numbers on paper comperable to a BMW or KTM for 150% cheaper. AND in reality you have an actual capable off road bike that has parts and service everywhere, compared to the German and Austrian catagory leaders.

Now i said forget about the money to do the swap, not so much as forget money in general. Hell I would have got a 990 Adventure R if i had that kind of cash to throw around. I just didnt want the money factor to be a denouncing factor. Just sheer bike, would the KLR650 with the Versys and 650R's parallel twin engine in it be such a revolution to the industry? I mean sure you can get this, but you'll have to fork out thousands more. I'm just supporting the idea that it CAN be done for cheaper and i dont see why someone would pay $5999 for a 2010 KLR650 when they could pay $6499 for the KLV650. I think the $1500 extra is worth it (since most people would put an exhaust (up to $450), spend the extra time on thes smaller "jet" and ".22c" mods...when you can have already an entirely different beast between your legs with more future potential in a bike without sacraficing its purpose "to be a comuter by day and XCountry touring bike by night" so to speak.

I'm very happy with my 2009 KLR650 BUT i'm always looking for the extra edge. The beauty of being in your mid 20's i suppose haha.
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post #5 of 52 Old 03-26-2010, 05:59 PM
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Don't get me wrong dude, I applaud your vision. And I would like also to see a KLR with more power. I'm just skeptical by nature and a little more conservative... make that lazy!

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post #6 of 52 Old 03-26-2010, 06:10 PM
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I agree it's suprizing Kawasaki haven't taken on KTM/BMW head on.
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post #7 of 52 Old 03-26-2010, 07:58 PM
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I am all for more power, but in a down economy and declining motorcycle sales, I doubt that any manufacturer will be bringing out many new products.
But, if it happens, I will be first in line to purchase such a bike.
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post #8 of 52 Old 03-26-2010, 08:31 PM
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The KLE Versys is also used as a DS. Actually it came to the USA as a DS. The riders are now easily modifying the front wheel with a V-Strom 19" wheel, raising the front fender, and adding protective plates for the inverted fork tubes. Now for a larger fuel tank.


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post #9 of 52 Old 03-27-2010, 04:44 AM
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Great concept overall. Small flaws, but nothing that can't be overcome with a litle thinking and $$.

I'm happy with the torquey beast as-is (after basic mods) since bottom end will suffer a bit but also not too badly.

We take our KLR's for what they are, and not what they can't do. The simplicity (carb) and single cylinder make breakdowns almost unheard of in day to day situations.

A new model sounds like a blast, and there could be a decent market for it, but I hope they leave this generation KLR as-is for 20 years.

Yer onto something cool, tho, Hawk!
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post #10 of 52 Old 03-27-2010, 07:45 AM
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Yamaha has released a new DS machine that (for now) is only going to be sold in Europe. I venture to say it will make it's way to the US but from what I've seen it is going head to head with the BMW GSA in both engine size (1200) and price. The US equivalant price looks to be around 18K. That's still out of my reach for a DS. I already have a Honda ST1300 for long distance touring and scaring old ladies. If something like that Yammy ends up crossing our shores I will certainly look at it, but dooubt I would buy one considering the price. BMW already has a proven machine for the same price and if I ever get to that point I would get rid of both bikes and that one would be THE bike for everything.

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