Gen 1 Brake Upgrade Path - 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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Old 11-12-2019, 07:13 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Nov 2019
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Gen 1 Brake Upgrade Path

Hey Guys,

Finally have time and space to put my klr back together. Been apart for 5 years.

Before it became a project I had swapped the front master cylinder to the cbr1000 with a ss line. Huge improvement. Really liked the longer handle and the adjustable reach as my hands aren't very big.

Somehow between moves I misplaced the front caliper all together. So I'm in the market for a new caliper. Just found out about the sv650 caliper.

Currently have michilin t63 tires so don't need/want super grabby/touchy brakes. Living in an area where I can finally start getting some off road time.

I do not want to go back to the factory master so my question is would the sv caliper and 320mm rotor plus my already existing cbr master be too much?

Out of all the research I've done so far I can't find any info on this specifically. I know people recommend the sv and 320mm and ss combo all the time but only read about people using the cbr master with the stock caliper.

Sorry for the long post. Just want to be thorough with my explanation.

Thanks
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Old 11-12-2019, 10:46 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
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I know of one guy that uses the CBR master (not sure if it's the same one you have or not) with the SV and 320mm rotor; he likes it. Personally, I find the stock master to work well with the SV caliper, EBC 320mm rotor, russel ss lines and the dime mod.

Basically, the master can change the feel, the fluid ratio and leverage (effort) required but it does absolutely nothing for braking power like the larger rotor (increased leverage due to the larger diameter rotor) and the SV caliper (larger friction surface). Feel is a bit of a personal preference but I certainly wouldn't worry about the brakes being too powerful - I don't believe that's an issue.

I say go ahead and if you don't like the feel then swap back in the stock MC. I strongly recommend getting the SV caliper adaptor and EBC rotor from Eaglemike as there are more than one EBC 320 listed for the KLR and the wrong one has had fitment issues.

regards,
Dave
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Old 11-12-2019, 10:53 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lander, Wyoming
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I can only suggest that your intended set up should work fine. If you install organic or kevlar based brake pads they may give a softer 'bite' than sintered brake pads.

I can pretty easily adapt from bikes with whimpy, whole hand brake to one finger braking. I like a 2 finger front brake.
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pdwestman
Modify at "YOUR OWN RISK"!

Still riding my 1987 KL650-A1. 85,000+ miles & counting
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Old 11-13-2019, 05:01 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Nov 2019
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Thanks for the input guys.

Haven't owned a bike with better brakes than the klr so wasn't sure if there was such a thing as too much brakes especially off road which I'm also extremely new to.

I did plan on getting some galfer greens possibly to lessen the initial "bite" like you stated. Also wanted them to keep my rotor in decent condition considering their cost. Made the mistake of using some hh ebc pads last time on the stock rotor which tore it up.
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Old 11-13-2019, 09:15 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Granger, Indiana
Posts: 40
Wow, never better brakes than the KLR? That's amazing.

KLR

Gen 1 = life threatening.
Gen 2 = Slightly less life threatening.

Gen 1 320mm rotor and double piston upgrade are required in my mind.

Now I'm a bit porky. Which no doubt adds to my issues but man, the original brakes are not good.
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Old 11-13-2019, 09:56 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 187
Ive never ridden my KLR on stock brakes so can’t say how bad they might be, but I have stock rotors & calipers. Mine does have Gafler SS braided lines. Not sure of the pads.

However, the combination I have is amazing. Firm brakes with a serious bite. Even with the stock 21” front wheel. My 19” front wheel puts a bigger tire patch on the ground and does work better.

I would suggest to anyone that has a lack of confidence in their brakes to first - before pad, rotor, etc. changes - install SS braided lines.

All stock rubber lines have the same problem. They swell as pressure is applied. That lessens the effectiveness of the caliper’s ability to push the pads together and actually slow you down.


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Old 11-13-2019, 10:50 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syndicatex93 View Post

Haven't owned a bike with better brakes than the klr so wasn't sure if there was such a thing as too much brakes especially off road which I'm also extremely new to.
There isn't; some people that have little offroad experience sometimes suggest otherwise but having good brakes offroad is extremely important and the thought that weak brakes are some sort of benefit offroad is in serious error. I've ridden and raced offroad since 1975.

Dave
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Old 11-13-2019, 10:54 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILove2Ride2Wheels View Post
Ive never ridden my KLR on stock brakes so can’t say how bad they might be, but I have stock rotors & calipers. Mine does have Gafler SS braided lines. Not sure of the pads.

However, the combination I have is amazing. Firm brakes with a serious bite. Even with the stock 21” front wheel. My 19” front wheel puts a bigger tire patch on the ground and does work better.

I would suggest to anyone that has a lack of confidence in their brakes to first - before pad, rotor, etc. changes - install SS braided lines.

All stock rubber lines have the same problem. They swell as pressure is applied. That lessens the effectiveness of the caliper’s ability to push the pads together and actually slow you down.


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you are right on the swelling of the stock lines and the benefits of the SS lines but they only affect feel and lever effort/travel.....well unless you can bottom the piston or lever before locking up the brakes. For the OP's benefit when he's reading your post, I'll point out that you have a Gen2 which has better brakes than a Gen1 though I'm with Mr. Zappo; stock Gen2 brakes are marginally OK, stock Gen1 front is dangerously weak. The SV caliper is even better than the stock Gen2 caliper but not enough for most to bother with a swap.

Dave
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:00 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Granger, Indiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPelletier View Post
you are right on the swelling of the stock lines and the benefits of the SS lines but they only affect feel and lever effort/travel.....well unless you can bottom the piston or lever before locking up the brakes. For the OP's benefit when he's reading your post, I'll point out that you have a Gen2 which has better brakes than a Gen1 though I'm with Mr. Zappo; stock Gen2 brakes are marginally OK, stock Gen1 front is dangerously weak. The SV caliper is even better than the stock Gen2 caliper but not enough for most to bother with a swap.

Dave

"Not enough for most to bother with a swap"

This is sadly correct from what I have seen ... Ill reiterate though ... On a gen 1, if you dont call eagle mike and get a 320mm rotor AND a SV650 caliper AND SS lines (IMHO) you are taking your life into your hands). There is really no need to install a larger reservoir.

Gen 1 front brakes are laughable ...

Seems silly given the robustness of many of the other components ... This thing is a tank in a lot of ways ... And then they put on this single piston caliper on a dainty little rotor... I've seen bicycles with as much braking ability ...
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:19 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
Posts: 2,453
Back in 1987 the Gen1 brakes were just as bad but they SEEMED better 'cause disk brakes were a relatively new thing. After a few decades of bikes with decent brakes, the KLR's sad brakes haven't stood the test of time.

Pretty sure if I could throw a leg over my 1982 RM250Z race bike again, I'd be shocked with how bad those drum brakes are.....but back then, we didn't know any better!

Dave
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