Lost Key - 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 7 Old 02-25-2017, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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Lost Key

If you have lost the key to your bike there are three ways to get a new one. Depending on your tolerance for pain, only one is easy and inexpensive.

To start, though, a couple of ideas need to be debunked.

1) Your key is not coded to your VIN number and the dealers don't have access to, or even keep, records of key numbers.

2) You can't take the helmet lock down to the locksmith and have him make an ignition key from it; gas caps and helmet locks only use about half the key, so there's no information in the helmet lock about half the lock pins.

The only easy and inexpensive way to get a new key is from the key tag that is provided with the bike when the original keys are provided with the sale. Unfortunately, those usually don't make it into the second owner's possession.

Now, a good locksmith can probably make a key with the ignition lock on the bike. Like everybody, they have shop rates. Shop rates usually run about $100/hr. The more work the guy has to do the more expensive the solution becomes.

The lock has to come off of the bike. This isn't too hard. It is held on with two bolts. They are (were) security bolts. The head breaks off when they are torqued down, leaving what looks like the head of a rivet. Drill the head off and the lock comes free. Unplug it from the harness.

On the base of the lock there will be a sticker with a key code.


The locksmith can cut a key from that code. The blank is usually an ILCO KW14R. In very rare (I haven't seen one; they might have been limited to foreign models) it might be an ILCO KW14. The two blanks are mirror images. Every time I've gone to a locksmith they have had lots of 14s and only one or two 14Rs. Quite a few Kawasakis use the 14R blank.

If your key code is Axxxxxx it will use the 14R. If it is Bxxxxxx it will be the 14.

Now, if the locksmith is confused by the code, let him know that it is not a blind code, it is a bitting code. Well, if he's confused perhaps you should find a different guy, but I digress.

The code is quite straightforward. ;^)


This is going to cost you about $25, as the key has to be hand cut so it takes a bit more time than a straight copy. (The fourth position from the left on the bottom half of the key was a bit troublesome. It had to be cut to almost a '4' to get the wafer flush. The topside follows the bitting code pretty well.)

What if the sticker is gone or illegible?

Not too worry, disassembly of the lock is pretty straight forward. No special tools are required, you can take it apart with a Philips screwdriver. The screws are JIS, so just be careful not to booger the heads up. They aren't in tight.


Pay attention to the order of things for reassembly. In the picture above the parts aren't necessarily in order, and the fork lock is taken apart. You don't have to take the fork lock apart unless you want to lube it (a bit of lube on all the moving parts when you put it back together will make the lock happy).

The cylinder comes out by pressing a brass tab into the cylinder and pushing the cylinder out from the back side. Before extracting the cylinder, put a mark next to the "On" position. The cylinder can go back in two ways and only one way works. Be especially careful once the cylinder is out. The wafers and the springs behind them can fall out of the cylinder.

With the cylinder in hand, the locksmith can create a key. It might cost a bit more than $25 as he has to take a bit more time with it.

Reassembly is straightforward if you've marked the cylinder, as everything pretty much goes back only one way. Getting the cylinder started is a bit tricky, as that brass tab has to be pushed in to get it started.

You may find it easier to install the cylinder with the key in, but make sure the key is not fully inserted into the cylinder. When it is, it locks that brass tab in place and it can't be pushed into the cylinder. Get the cylinder started, then insert the key if it makes it easier for you to handle.

A couple of side notes:

A) If you are fairly handy with a file you can make your own key from a blank. It takes about an hour of careful filing and checking.

B) You only have to cut one side of the key to have a workable key.

C) If you have two KLRs you can have one side cut for one bike and the other cut for the second bike. One key will work both bikes.

4) If you are especially brave and frugal, you can remove all but one wafer and file just one notch in the blank to set that wafer flush with the outside of the cylinder. The lock will still 'lock'. If you are extremely brave and down right cheap, you can take all the wafers out and put it back together. The lock will operate with anything you can stick in it and turn it with.
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-26-2017, 05:53 AM
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Truly excellent treatise!

The, "All You Always Wanted To Know About KLRs, But Were Afraid To Ask" website (KLR650 FAQ) I think lists commercial key blanks available. Didn't know the population distribution of "left" and "right" keys; I think I have one of each for the KLR650 and the KLR250 in my stable.

As to key codes, Kawasaki keeps no collated VIN records, nor are dealers obligated to. HOWEVER, I know of at least one dealer who, of his own volition, files key codes with his sales records. Researching original buyer-seller data may be useful, in some cases.

I inscribe the key code on my titles; also, scan and archive a computer image of each key profile, in hopes such a record MAY be useful to a locksmith-to-be-named later.
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post #3 of 7 Old 05-06-2017, 10:20 AM
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Now, I know!
Thank you.

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post #4 of 7 Old 05-06-2017, 12:03 PM
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Nice. This is good to know info.

A last, but expensive choice would be to replace the whole assemble.

The first thing I do when I buy a vehicle is to have several copies of the keys made. I keep the originals with the titles and only drive/ride with the copies. When traveling, I keep a spare in my shaving kit.
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post #5 of 7 Old 05-06-2017, 07:38 PM
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I keep a spare, stuck with RTV silicone in the *** or on the bike or car or truck somewhere!
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post #6 of 7 Old 05-06-2017, 08:55 PM
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Excellent write-up . . . .

That said; for some strange reason, I suddenly have this overpowering urge to have a third and fourth spare key cut.

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post #7 of 7 Old 05-07-2017, 04:09 AM
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The guy I bought my bike from swore up and down replacement keys were only available through a kawi stealership.
Only having one key (not the original) with the bike I rode out to the Kawi shop. The guy told me
he doesnt cut keys and just go to any locksmith.
While I was there I looked around the showroom and found a new KLR. Nice bike but there was a strange peg that came off the bottom of the foot pegs that looked dangerous if they caught something on the ground.

Anyway, $21. dollars later I walked out with 2 spare keys.
Thought that was pretty expensive (until the day I need them).
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