Gen I front end vs Gen II front end - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-25-2011, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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Gen I front end vs Gen II front end

Looking for some input on the major performance differences between the two front ends. A rider I know is putting a dirt bike front end on his Gen II KLR 650. I am toying with the idea of putting his '08 front end on my Gen I bike. One gain [maybe] would be with the newer brake system. I would lose the air adjustment I use on the Gen I. I just haven't put enough miles on a Gen II to appreciate the difference in the newer front end. Anyone else rode both bikes enough to define the gains or loses by upgrading to the newer fork system?

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post #2 of 12 Old 02-25-2011, 05:23 PM
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Great question: MCN stated the gen2 bumper was a + as it kept bike on road better and took the wind off your helmet.?

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post #3 of 12 Old 02-25-2011, 05:45 PM
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I think Gen. II fork tubes are larger in diameter . . . also, men say the later suspension has less travel (by about an inch, IIRC), but . . . this reduction in travel is accommodated by pre-load and valving considerations, offering a better suspension . . .

Maybe not exactly "Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee," but--how much performance improvement might be gained?

A two-piston caliper, vs. a one-piston caliper appears an advantage, but--day and night?

Build your own decision tree; how much improvement is worth how much effort?

Unfamiliar with the Gen. II ride, I don't feel I've exhausted the capability of my Gen. I, so far; sincerely, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).

By all means tell us what you've done, and how it worked out.
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post #4 of 12 Old 02-25-2011, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Great question: MCN stated the gen2 bumper was a + as it kept bike on road better and took the wind off your helmet.?
Gonna keep the Gen I fairing. I'm only interested in the forks and from the triple tree down. The Gen II brakes might be an improvement. The suspension is my concern. If there isn't any significant improvement, it would be lateral move. The current stock fork system is working OK. Sag is at 2.5 inches in front. Fork fluid filled to 190mm below top of fork. Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF for suspension fluid, with 8 pounds of air pressure usually. My altitudes of travel vary from about 600 foot to about 5400 feet above sea level. The objective is to keep the front wheel in contact with terra firma, while still maintaining my born with dental work.

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post #5 of 12 Old 02-25-2011, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by vatrader View Post
Gonna keep the Gen I fairing. I'm only interested in the forks and from the triple tree down. The Gen II brakes might be an improvement. The suspension is my concern. If there isn't any significant improvement, it would be lateral move. The current stock fork system is working OK. Sag is at 2.5 inches in front. Fork fluid filled to 190mm below top of fork. Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF for suspension fluid, with 8 pounds of air pressure usually. My altitudes of travel vary from about 600 foot to about 5400 feet above sea level. The objective is to keep the front wheel in contact with terra firma, while still maintaining my born with dental work.

The Gen 2 front wheel has beefier spokes which should contribute to the more solid feel vs. the Gen 1.

From what I've read the actual suspension travel is about the same between the 2 versions. The Gen 1 has more sag so you loose more travel.

IMHO I don't think you would gain much by just swapping the forks (and clamps).

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Cor 2:9
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-25-2011, 08:16 PM
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I have to agree with Spec that the swap really wouldn't be worth all the trouble. The forks while larger in diameter aret stiffer, but they still use the same suspension technology and are an inch shorter. The dual piston caliper would be a definate + but that can also be easily upgraded on the forks you have. I think EagleMike is working on an adapter to put a dual piston caliper on the Gen1 bikes. The shorter Gen2 forks are also going to steepen the steering angle of a Gen1 KLR making the steering a little too quick.
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-26-2011, 01:04 AM
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I have only ridden one Gen2 KLR and really liked the feel of the front forks. The Gen2 was stock, very stable and predictable. The cost to change forks could be cost prohibitive but then you can think of the cost of Race Tech valving.

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post #8 of 12 Old 02-26-2011, 11:14 AM
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The cost to change forks could be cost prohibitive but then you can think of the cost of Race Tech valving.
I was thinking the same. I never did the Race Tech valving, but I did add Larry Roesler Progressive Springs, a fork brace, and in each leg I run 14 oz. of ATF Type F fluid (which is 7.5w)

Those three things made a huge change in the stability of the front end of my bike..
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post #9 of 12 Old 02-26-2011, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Just something I was considering, as the front end is available to me.

Now I'm really confused. The drive train is basically the same between the two generations of KLR 650. The Gen II has a few electronic changes. Some suspension and brake changes, but neither worth the time or effort to convert to use on the Gen I bike. What I'm confused about is what is it that makes the Gen II superior to the Gen I? Not drive train, not suspension or braking. Must be the Tupper Ware fairing?

Growing up, the neighborhood ladies based the pecking order on their Tupper Ware collection. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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post #10 of 12 Old 02-26-2011, 11:45 AM
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Not having ridden a Gen1, my understanding is that the braking on the Gen2 is quite a bit better, so that might be a good gain.

As to the forks, there is no difference between the two insofar as a leap in technology. They are both completely state of the art for 1978. A few millimeters difference in diameter does not a better fork make. Either fork really needs some help to make them work better, be that preloading, oil weight, emulators, or springs.

Could you ride your buddy's bike and vigorously test the front braking capabilities? If the front end is to be had for free it might be a worthwhile swap for the brake alone.

Oh, and if the Gen2 were truly superior it wouldn't need farkeling....

T

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Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 02-26-2011 at 11:47 AM.
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