Has anyone tried the hotcam in their KLR? - 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 13 Old 09-09-2009, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Has anyone tried the hotcam in their KLR?

A guy at the local Kawasaki dealership was telling me about a guy who put a hotcam in his KLR and it added a great deal of power in the midrange and top end. Has anyone else tried this? If so can you give a review? What is the potential downside? Its expensive but no extra parts are needed and it appears to be easier than a 385 kit.
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post #2 of 13 Old 09-09-2009, 08:39 PM
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Dwell -

I have not tried such a thing, of course, but I'll offer up an opinion anyfrickinway.

I looked into a revised grind and came away with the thought that, as you say, it is really expensive (on the order of the 685 kit) and that it bumps the power curve at the least desirable point.

The KLR is not a go-fast machine. It really has no business being north of about 80mph. Bumping the midrange and, especially, the top end, might be a good goal for a sport bike but it has no real benefit for the KLR. Even if youíre building a hill climber, you picked the wrong machine.

A bump stick that increase power in the low to midrange would be more useful, as that's where the KLR shines and where more power might be a desirable objective.

I also firmly believe that you don't get something for nothing. Bumping the mid to upper range could well come at the expense of low end torque. You might offset that with larger valves, but now you're on that $lippery $lopeÖ.

I wonít say that going for considerably more power in the KLR is a foolís errand, but it can be a mighty expensive errand.

The limiting factor to what kind of power the KLR will make may very well be in the flow characteristics of the head and the 7500 rpm redline. You can put big valves in, a radical cam, a 685 kit, and a pipe, but youíre never going to see 100hp/liter. The head wonít flow that much, and she wonít turn over fast enough.

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post #3 of 13 Old 09-09-2009, 09:25 PM
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Jesus, Tom. Good answer. +1 (At least the parts I understood)

"In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV." R. Pirsig

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post #4 of 13 Old 09-09-2009, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input Tom. I am not looking to go faster per se but I ride two up sometimes and a little more power on the top end would help me get up to speed and stay there. Most of my driving is just me and the great outdoors but my wife likes to ride with me from time to time. I have two in college and cant afford two bikes.
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post #5 of 13 Old 09-09-2009, 11:44 PM
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I don't know what you may have done to your bike, but you can make some rather noticeable improvements for next to no money, up to a max of maybe $300.

First, the 22 cent mod can be done for, uh, 22 cents and an hour of work. This will give you a noticeable improvement, especially if coupled with the snorkel and L-Mod.

The low-speed screw can often be adjusted to give better off-idle performance, and the Mercedes valve mod give you a bit of a boost. I did both and noticed small, though likely immeasurable, improvements.

For about $25 you can install a KLX needle, which might require a smaller jet. The KLX needle is a whole lot richer in profile than the stock needle.

Add another $300 and you can install an after market pipe, which will allow running a richer jet. It will have the double effect of removing about 7-8 pounds of weight.

I'm running with the snorkel out, L-Mod done, and IDS2 with four disks, KLX needle at the top clip, and a stock jet at an AFR that averages 13.5. Under full throttle the AFR drops to 12.5. All of this gives me maybe a 10% improvement, but 4 ponies is 4 ponies.This weekend I will be switching to a smaller jet and raising the needle, shooting for an AFR of about 14 with a WOT AFR of 13.5.

The IDS2 with four disks is about as loud as stock; I had eight disks and it was way too loud.

If any of these options sound good, you can search the forum for info, or we'll be glad to talk you through them in more detail.

My thoughts on engine performance mods for the KLR is that you want to preserve the nice, broad power and torque curves. All of the above will do that. Adding a 685 kit will also do that, but you've got to answer for yourself if you're still in the right ballpark with respect to bang for yer buck.

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post #6 of 13 Old 09-10-2009, 08:41 AM
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Tom's got it. From what I've learned with this bike (and many previous
ones) is that about 10% extra power can be Cheaply wrung out of a
stock powerplant be taking back what the EPA stole. Other than
that yer gettin' into bigger pistons, headwork, and a buncha pricey
alternatives that don't give a huge return on the investment.

I did the carb mods, opened the airbox, and cored the baffle.
She can breathe, and breathe well. Still working on tweaking
WOT mixture. (needles n' mains)

Enjoy your bike, and post many stories,
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post #7 of 13 Old 09-10-2009, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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Sounds like I need to quit beating around the bush and just do the 685. It may actually be cheaper than the hotcams anyway. My wrenching abilities ar not that extensive but it seems like plenty on people are willing to help. I love my KLR but just wish it had a little more on top end.

It would probably be fine if my wife and I still weighed what we did when we got married 24 years ago. (Good thing she doesn't read the forums)

Thanks for all the good info.
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post #8 of 13 Old 09-10-2009, 10:15 PM
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I guess I should count my blessings.. My fiance hates to be on my KLR.. Always has, and she's hard headed, so I'm guessing she always will..
Since I'm happy with the power it makes for one up riding, I'm stock on the engine.. Every 10K miles or so, I stick a new plug in it, whether it needs it or not, and I clean the air filter when I remember to do so..

When the occasion happens that she wants to ride, we grab the Wing.. I don't notice her on the back of it, so I'm happy, and she's comfortable, so she's happy..

This weekend we're headed to a BMW rally, and I'm taking the trusty ol' R80.. She's never been on the back of it, so this'll be the test on if she likes it or not.. (and I'm hoping she doesn't).
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post #9 of 13 Old 09-11-2009, 02:30 PM
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The KLR is what it is a thumper no speed deamon here just a good dependable take you on all the adventures you can imagine. i personaly run the KLX needle #2 slot (i think) 142.5 main jardine r4 and snorkle removed and i think 2 1/4 on the fuil - air mix 16 tooth front sproket for highway. it is the perfect bike for us oler guys that like to sill have an adventure.

And my wife would not get on mine with me ither but was wanting to ride so i got her an 09 500 vulcan now she is happy to go.

up grade's 2008 green,
Cee Baily tinted wind shield, studibaker skid plate, one inch length added to shifter, highway pegs, steel pegs,Jardine pipe, trunk, head light rock gard, , 12 volt power outlet, 16 tooth front sprocket, Progressive front springs, studibaker master cylender guard, PVC mod,Doo Hickey, one wheel offroad trailer, night vision ammo cans for side bags my oun tank gards.


Last edited by maprimm; 09-11-2009 at 02:33 PM.
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post #10 of 13 Old 09-11-2009, 03:51 PM
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Yah, I've done the cheap performance mods....22 cent, snorkle out, MB valve and surgery on the stock pipe. All for some noted gain, not much but you can feel it. I started on the path that Dwell is considering also......705 kit, bigger valves/springs, cams, porting, aftermarket exhaust, the whole bit. Added up I was looking at $2,500 + on a 5K bike. I would have had one of the baddest KLR's around for sure but at the end of the day it would still have been a KLR you know? Kinda like putting lipstick on a pig.

Please don't take that wrong, I love the bike but it is what it is and no more.

Gray-haired riders donít get that way from pure luck.

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