Rec. Mods - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 04-30-2020, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2020
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Question Rec. Mods

Hi i just got a 06 klr. Its bone stock. What 3 to 5 mods would you guys suggest? It will be my weekly commuter and something to trail ride on the weekends. I have herd bar risers help with comfort. Also have seen stuff about the dohickey fix and klx mod.
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-30-2020, 12:32 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
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I'm probably approaching 100 mods on each of my Gen1 KLR's.... I would suggest that desireablity depends on the individual, thier wants, needs, expectation, usage and budget. For ME, my KLR's are toys for exploring and due to my offroad racing background, I enjoy mild to moderate single track riding the most. I don't do multiday trips, nor do I ride on the highway much if I can avoid it.....accordingly my mods are different than people with a different mission.

To go further, I'd say mods can be broken down into a few catagories; 1) reliability 2) protection 3) comfort/ergos and 4) functionality.......not necessarily in that order.

- the doohickey is a "must do" on a Gen1 is far easier to do before it breaks into little bits than after so there is no better time than the present
- other than that, there is regular maintenance, checking shim clearance etc.
- I have removed some known failure points but that's up to each rider and their comfort level....I've removed the sidestand and clutch safety switches, the vacuum petcock and gas cap vent seals (I run an IMS tank).
- I have swapped to ATO style fuses
- I have replaced the upper subframe bolts with Eaglemike kits (particularly desireable if you are going to carry heavy panniers or ride 2 up often)
- T-mod on the carb vent to prevent rain or a creek crossing from halting your ride
- a Thermobob improves cooling system operation and will enhance longevity.

- replacement of the factory plastic skidplate is fairly important for offroad use; I use the Ricochet but the JNS is also highly recommended
- decent bars (this is also a comfort/ergo issue) as the stockers are very weak IME
- hand guards - a necessity in the trails around here
- crash bars or equivalent - I use an IMS 6.6 gallon tank and a set of JNS rad guards for protection without the weight.
- I run Eaglemike's choke/mirror relocation kit as it's only a matter of time before a fall brakes the mirror mount on the switchgear
- I replace the rear brake master bracket with a billet pce from Eaglemike as the stocker is known to be brittle
- I run low profile magnetic drain plugs so as not to damage the case on a rock.

- aftermarket bars - the stockers have way too much pullback. I use Renthal RC-Hi's
- drop pegs or peg relocation brackets - the stock pegs are too far forward and too high which gets worse when you replace the footpegs with proper offroad worthy footpegs. People often get longer shift levers instead but they stick out farther and increase the risk of case damage
- proper offroad style footpegs with springs (see above)
- bar risers - people use them more often than they should IMO. One issue to be aware of is that the bar mounts on a KLR are tilted backwards and so fixed risers bring the bars towards your body which is a bad thing.....adjustable risers such as Rox Risers pivot away to help with this issue.

- suspension is the biggest weakness of a stock KLR, especially for offroad use. Suspension is a whole other involved topic so all I'll say here is that out of all the mods I've done, suspension upgrades have made the single biggest functional improvement by an entire order of magnitude. I run Cogent Dynamics DDC kits in my forks and one of their three shock choices in the rear. I can expand on the whole topic in greater detail if you wish. Stock Gen1 KLR suspension is old tech damper rod forks and a budget emulsion shock set up for the (largly mythical) 160lb rider.
- front brake - I find the stock KLR front brake to be dismal at best - I run 320mm rotors and SV calipers/adaptors along with a SS line which vastly improves the bikes braking power
- visablity/lighting; stock lighting is poor - I run JNS LED headlights and WOW LED taillights which work much better, take less electrical power and are way safer and brighter
- tires - last, but not least, the stock dunlops are poor - I run Pirelli MT21's on the front and Dunlop D606 rears for what I do.....big improvement

I'm sure I've forgotten some stuff and I've done a ton of other mods to make my bikes better but I wouldn't consider them priorities;
- KLX jet kits correct the factory lean jetting
- LiFePo4 batteries save 9 lbs
- aftermarket silencers, save another 5 lbs (beware that some are way too loud and you need to make sure it still has a USFS spark arrestor)
- 685 kit; reduces vibes, fixes oil consumption issues and boosts power
- IMS tanks; improves ergos, range, reduces weight compared to crashbars

Anyhow, I've probably scared you off but that's my 2 cents FWIW.......I will say that other than the Gen1 doohickey replacement, ALL these mods are optional and the desireablity of them will depend on you and what you do. If I had to limit my pics to three; it would probably be a skidplate, bars and footpegs......after that suspension, tires and handguards....and then.....

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post #3 of 6 Old 04-30-2020, 12:34 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Kelowna, B.C.
Posts: 2,849 after all that, I'd say; do the "doohickey" and regular maintenance and ride it for awhile to see what mods you may want to do.

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post #4 of 6 Old 04-30-2020, 12:35 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
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Since your new; here's my "Top New KLR Owner Mistakes to Avoid" list (developed with assistance from the regulars here)

1) Oil drain plug overtightening: it is relatively common for people to overtighten the oil drain plug.....usually to stop a leak after the gasket/washer has inadvertently fallen into the used oil or left stuck to the bottom of the engine! best case is stripped threads, worst is a cracked case. Make sure the washer is in place and use a torque wrench Note; my manual says 17 ft lbs, Eaglemike recommends 15 ft lbs with his low profile drain plug which is what I use. Some Gen2 manuals specify 21 ft lbs but there has been no change in the plug or case which would affect the drain plug torque and people have stripped their drain plugs at this setting: beware!

- 2) Chain tension: many owners and some shops overtighten the KLR's drive chain; due to the long travel suspension and geometry the KLR needs more slack than other bikes people may be used to. If the chain is too tight you risk damaging the countershaft seal and bearing as well as possibly the wheel bearings along with premature wear of the drive chain and sprockets. Quick check; with the bike on the sidestand, you should be able to touch the chain to the bottom rearmost portion of the chain slipper but not the metal swingarm itself.

- 3) Speedo drive: it is common for people to post problems with their speedo after they've had the front wheel off. If you don't make sure the drive slots in the hub are aligned with the speedo drive tangs you risk bending the drive tangs and worse, breaking the hub. Time consuming to repair, expensive to replace, easy to avoid!

- 4) Oil Level: the factory KLR oil level sight glass is arguably too low....additionally some KLR's burn oil at various rates so it is imperative that the oil level is constantly checked. Luckily the sight glass makes this very easy to do. My suggestion is to keep the oil level at the very top of the sight glass with the bike level and to check it before every ride and at every fuel stop. The first failure from low oil levels is likely to be the cam bores in the head......and used KLR heads are getting difficult to find and are expensive. Keep an eye on that oil level!

- 5) Overtightening of other fasteners; similar to the oil drain plug there are a few other fasteners that cause significant problems if overtightened; the valve cover bolts are one such fastener - the manual calls up 69 inch lbs (NOT ft. lbs!) but Eaglemike suggests 55 in lbs which is a safer value. Another problem fastener is the footpeg mounting bolts; the factory nuts welded in the frame box are very thin with only 3 or 4 threads catching......these often strip out necessitating a repair. To avoid the problem, consider not using accessories that bolt to the bike using these bolts (i.e. centerstands) and torque them properly. I've heard that some manuals show 45NM (33 ft lbs) and some versions show 25 Nm (18 ft lbs)......I will suggest that the 33 ft lbs is a mistake and too much; I go with the 18 to avoid stripping the nuts and because this value falls in line with the recommended torque for generic 8mm fasteners in the manual. Safety wiring the bolt heads is also a wise precaution as loose bolts take the threads out quickly.

- 6) Throwing away the tube when changing the oil filter. People often mistakenly toss the metal tube that is inserted in the oil filter when they throw the old filter in the trash....make sure it's there and put it back in the right way.

- 7) attempting a counterbalance lever (doohickey) adjusting bolt adjustment without first ensuring the lever and spring are both intact and the spring has tension. Failure to do so can introduce a catastrophic amount of play into the counterbalance chain system.

-8) Not checking fasteners for proper torque at least at every oil change. Especially foot pegs and sub-frame bolts. The fasteners that Kawasaki put in place are adequate, but once torque falls below spec vibration can loosen the fastener. A loose fastener will quickly fail if it is under load.

-9) Not properly oiling your air filter. I prefer foam filter oil but regardless of what you choose to use, ensure your foam filter is thoroughly oiled and seated or dust will destroy your engine.

- 10) Not checking to make sure your clean side airbox drain tube and plug are present and accounted for; This tube often gets pulled off (some people shorten it to help with this) and if it does your engine will ingest non-filtered air which can dust out and destroy your engine. ….while you’re in the area, also check to make sure your header to mid pipe junction is tight otherwise you can melt your airbox causing much the same problem.
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post #5 of 6 Old 04-30-2020, 02:42 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Chaska MN
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Not sure if this was mentioned above, but now in my 50's and a bit long legged, the highway pegs for forward foot position have been a god send. And if you want to ride gravel or woods trails the stock dunlop up front should be discarded. Youll find out in a hurry if the trails get wet. the Pirelli Mt21 is a great choice. I have liked Kenda trackmaster II and or K270 have worked well. There are lots of good choices but I always errored on the side of aggressive off road tread works on the highway better than highway tread working on slippery trail.
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-30-2020, 03:21 PM
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Location: Sylva NC
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1st comes riding gear. Got that?
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The feeling of the wind in your face can lift your heart.
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