K&N Air filter and dirt roads - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
1987 to 2007 Wrenching & Mods For maintaining, repair or modifications of Generation 1 KLR's. 2007 and earlier.

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post #1 of 14 Old 09-09-2013, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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K&N Air filter and dirt roads

I read on some other list that a K&N air filter is NOT good if you ride a lot of dirt roads. I had a K&N on my KLR when I got it, and did have to recharge it recently (not sure how long since the last time, since I haven't had the bike long), but was looking for feedback from others. I do ride MOSTLY dirt roads in the area.

Any input? Do you have a K&N, and have problems riding a lot of dirt roads? Is there another kind (even the stocker) that is better for a lot of dirt road riding? It is no big deal to "recharge it" (clean and re-oil - nice to have a bike that is easy to work on), but if I have to do it A LOT, maybe there is a better alternative.

Thanks!
Randy
'07 KLR650 - and loving it!
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post #2 of 14 Old 09-09-2013, 12:54 PM
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I have K&N air filters on all my vehicles--auto, ATV, street bike, KLR, etc. Never had a problem but you do need to monitor and maintain them appropriately.

I have returned from 3 days in Baja--almost all dirt/sand--and the filter looked fine. I've returned from a day riding San Diego's east county trails and it was filthy. Just depends.

Some say used motor oil is fine--I stick with the recommended cleaner/oil. It's been a really great product for me over the past decade.
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post #3 of 14 Old 09-09-2013, 04:59 PM
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I have K&N in my truck but not on the KLR. I haven't searched it out, but I heard from others that the stock filter flows better than the K&N.
I put a UNI in mine.

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post #4 of 14 Old 09-27-2013, 11:30 PM
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My KLR had a K&N on it when I bought it. Dirt roads do make up a significant percentage of it's use and it seemed to clog up very quickly In fact I mistakenly thought I had a carb problem early on when it began running poorly and I had just cleaned it very shortly before. My symptoms were misfiring under load at higher rpms. After checking the carb float levels, etc, it just seemed like it was running on the edge of being too rich most of the time, even after cleaning the air filter. I decided to order a klx jet/needle kit from Eagle. Since I wanted jets in the kit biased for Colorado altitude, I called and spoke with Mike about what he recommended. I mentioned that it had a K&N. He told me that from his experience it could be some of the problem. In fact he had test results on the various available air filters for the KLR (done by the late Cary Aspy) that showed it to be one of the worst for airflow, testing worse than the stock filter. I ordered the UNI air filter along with the jet kit. The result is that I changed the filter and the bike immediately ran noticeably better. No more of the above mentioned misfiring/breaking down under load. I still intend to install the jet kit, but there is no urgency since I have no apparent performance issues to solve. Now I do have a K&N on my Goldwing and also my Jeep. I have no complaints on either of those, but at least for MY particular KLR, it seemed to be a poor match. Your mileage may vary, as they say.
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post #5 of 14 Old 09-28-2013, 04:15 PM
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That's weird how the Baja 500 and 1000 winners consistently use K&N filters...and rarely change them out throughout the race.

In this year's SCORE Baja 1000, Roger Norman, trough the entire race, never needed to change out the K&N air filter on his 850-HP trophy truck, despite constant jockeying through dirt roads.

Those crazy Baja riders don't know anything!

You can google "winners who use K&N filters" for more info.

Or better yet, just use what you want to use.
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post #6 of 14 Old 09-28-2013, 04:27 PM
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I don't know, but I'm guessing they get paid big $$ by K&N to promote their product.
I don't know about the Baja but I think the Dakar racers are allowed 3 bikes for the race. Run the snot out of there KTM, blow the engine, get a new bike and continue on.
Either way, I'm content with the stock air filter or the UNI I'm running.

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post #7 of 14 Old 09-28-2013, 04:55 PM
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That's a good point. They prolly pay them big bucks to say that. I've always suspected that the winning MX track bikes are actually KTMs disguised as Hondas.

I don't get paid by K&N and I have used them for years. I ride a lot of dirt...prolly more than most riders on this site. I haven't ridden all of the Baja 1000 route yet but have ridden a lot of it and all of the Baja 500 route. All with bikes sporting K&N filters.

Draw what conclusions you will.

I use K&N air filters for 3 main reasons:

1) Value. I can re-use my K&N filter indefinitely with proper maintenance. 1 million miles, here I come! No need to buy a new filter every 3500 miles (the conditions I ride in).
2) Performance. I notice improved performance and MPG.
3) Dependabiliy. They have a great reputation and my personal experience over the years has been overwhelmingly positive.

Hey, maybe they should be paying me for such glowing endorsements!

Go with what you know, brother. It's your bike.

(But I really do ride my KLR in more dirt than the average rider.)
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post #8 of 14 Old 09-28-2013, 06:59 PM
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This is all the proof I need but just looking at a K&N tells me I don't want one.
http://www.nicoclub.com/archives/kn-vs-oem-filter.html

I love to ride, shoot and eat, what else is there at 60?
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post #9 of 14 Old 09-28-2013, 11:21 PM
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I'm aware that K&N filters are successfully used in all sorts of racing as well as other applications (including my other vehicles). I believe they make good products, but that seems of little relevance to me in this discussion.

The original post asked for input based on experience with the K&N specifically on the KLR650. For what it's worth, mine was not positive. That is all.
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post #10 of 14 Old 09-29-2013, 06:08 AM
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I am betting that the off road racers also have a foam filter over the K&N.

I love to ride, shoot and eat, what else is there at 60?
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