Highway crusing speeds - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 05-21-2011, 07:48 AM Thread Starter
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Highway crusing speeds

For you guys traveling on road whats your max crusing speed? My 2011 at 70mph is cranking out 5200 rpm and seems like its pushing it. Wish I had another gear to pull the RPM's down a bit. I like to cruse around 65 to get where I'm going, seems like a lot of engine speed on this new DLR. Planning a 2 up 2500 mile trip late July..Thanks Walt
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post #2 of 28 Old 05-21-2011, 09:27 AM
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A popular "sixth gear alternative" is to switch out the 15 tooth front [counter shaft] sprocket for a larger 16 tooth sprocket. This lowers your highway speed RPM's by about 300. Running a taller tire than factory stock, such as a 130/90-17 as apposed to a 130/80-17 will lower your RPM's a little, although I've never investigated how much.

This change to a 16 tooth sprocket has a few trade offs. You may find yourself working the clutch harder, and finding taking off from a dead stop on a fully loaded, two up bike something that might require developing a technique to pull off. I'd experiment a bit before I headed out on a journey with that sprocket combo. The stock gearing offers a pretty good compromise.

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post #3 of 28 Old 05-21-2011, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by waltsuz View Post
For you guys traveling on road whats your max crusing speed? My 2011 at 70mph is cranking out 5200 rpm and seems like its pushing it. Wish I had another gear to pull the RPM's down a bit. I like to cruse around 65 to get where I'm going, seems like a lot of engine speed on this new DLR. Planning a 2 up 2500 mile trip late July..Thanks Walt

Installing a 16 tooth front sprocket will help, OEM is 15. You'll drop about 400 rpm @ 65 mph. Do you know that the speedo is 8-10% optimistic? Mine is exactly 10% high.

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 #4 of 28 Old 05-21-2011, 10:14 AM
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I cruise 55-60, which runs me about 3800-4000 rpm.
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post #5 of 28 Old 05-21-2011, 10:46 AM
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where'd that post go where someone said they had their case split and said they found a switch to change from 5 gears to 6? i couldnt find it. thought it was a senior member, but we need some followup!

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post #6 of 28 Old 05-21-2011, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by doc3toes View Post
where'd that post go where someone said they had their case split and said they found a switch to change from 5 gears to 6? i couldnt find it. thought it was a senior member, but we need some followup!
I keep tugging on the shifter hoping there's another one stuffed in there but I haven't found it yet. I'll probably just get use to the RPM's, sounds like the motor will handle it just fine
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post #7 of 28 Old 05-21-2011, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by waltsuz View Post
I keep tugging on the shifter hoping there's another one stuffed in there but I haven't found it yet. I'll probably just get use to the RPM's, sounds like the motor will handle it just fine
"Looking for 6th gear" could probably be in every KLRista's signature line.

The motor will handle highway speeds all day long.

Make sure you check your oil level at every gas stop.

"If you simply take up the attitude of defending a mistake, there will be no hope of improvement."
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Oh, and I ran two quarts of hot oil through before filling her up cause I'm anal.
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post #8 of 28 Old 05-21-2011, 04:40 PM
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I did the 16 tooth change years ago and it gives me comfortable driving on the open roads. I also have a rear sprocket that I'll try next time I change tires, it will drop a tooth on the back and lower the rpm even more. Problem is that if you gear up too much there isn't enough toque left.

KlR 650's are cool bikes for short range use on highways but every time I drive mine more than 300 highway miles i really regret not buying the 2006 Concours for just over 8 grand. For road riding where you gotta do 65 - 75 mph just to keep pace with traffic the KLR is not the ticket. The option is to not be in a hurry, then you can do 60. If you're in a hurry you need something different for highway use.

Then there's the tire wear issue. I tried a pair of quality street style tread and yes they wore great. Problem was that when I took off on a trail in the Hatcher Pass area here in Alaska the tires were pretty much useless. I took them off and put on a pair of Mefo Explorers. These tires seem to be the best of both worlds in that they will stand hardtop use and you still have some grip when you get into mud.

What I have done is to realize that the KLR is what it is. I do not want to own several motorcycles anymore so I use the bike when it makes sense. I am no longer planning long road trips for it although they sometimes happen without plan. It seems that there is always several hundred miles of pavement between me and any dirt road that I want to explore here. The Haul Road to Prudhoe Bay is a classic example. It is dirt / gravel surface but it is also a 500 mile ride on pavement before I hit the dirt.

Long story at its end; if you are living and riding on paved roads you might want to consider a dedicated street ride. Granted the KLR gives that 'Devil May Care' appearance of an adventurer but in reality they are not an optimum touring machine. I've owned a few bikes that you could take off on a 6+ thousand mile ride on and no doubt this KLR I have now would do it if I left tomorrow. It's just not the perfect ride if I were headed down the Trans Alaska road to the lower 48. Reason; the road is now paved all the way from here to the Montana border. When I first came here in 1989 there was still about 90 miles in BC that were not paved but that has changed.

Try the 16 tooth sprocket,

Ard

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Last edited by Hardyreels; 05-21-2011 at 04:42 PM.
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post #9 of 28 Old 05-21-2011, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
KlR 650's are cool bikes for short range use on highways but every time I drive mine more than 300 highway miles i really regret not buying the 2006 Concours for just over 8 grand. For road riding where you gotta do 65 - 75 mph just to keep pace with traffic the KLR is not the ticket. The option is to not be in a hurry, then you can do 60. If you're in a hurry you need something different for highway use.
Different strokes for different folks.

I've done 900 mile days on a KLR, maintaining the speed limit or better, and was excited about hitting the road again the next day.

My Gold Wing sits a lot since I bought a KLR. I should just sell the GL.

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Oh, and I ran two quarts of hot oil through before filling her up cause I'm anal.
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post #10 of 28 Old 05-21-2011, 06:46 PM
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where'd that post go where someone said they had their case split and said they found a switch to change from 5 gears to 6? i couldnt find it. thought it was a senior member, but we need some followup!
/shame on/
I did that.
/shame off/

It's in the Jokers Lounge....

T

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