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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been breaking in my new 2018 KLR and I wish a couple things on it were different. Great bike for what I mostly do ( gravel roads), but I wish Kawasaki would make two changes..
First change, give me a lower 1st gear for in the woods and deep sand, etc. I find negotiating obstacles with this ratio taxes the clutch and drive train too much.
Second, GIVE IT A 6th GEAR!! With all that torque on tap there's no reason why it won't handle an overdrive gear for the highway.. I think if Kawasaki did this they would then have the near perfect motorcycle..
 

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There's a reason most people refer to them as Pigs. The KLX carb kit allows the engine to run as it should and not as the EPA mandates. The Eagle Mike prevailing torque nut allows 15 minute sprocket swaps. A 14 tooth for offroad gives plenty of bottom end and a 16 tooth is the magical 6th gear.
 

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I did a coast to coast ride with some trail rides in between right after switching to 16 tooth countershaft sprocket, it made a huge difference. I could only imagine the awesome lower end torque you'd get from the 14.
 

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The change in drive ratios from changing countershaft sprockets is linear and easily calculated:

With a 16-tooth countershaft sprocket, you get 15/16 the rpm at the same ground speed; 15/16 the torque multiplication at stock rpm.

With a 14-tooth countershaft sprocket, you get 15/14 the rpm at the same ground speed; 15/14 the torque multiplication at stock rpm.

Example: Stock gearing, 5000 rpm. With 16-tooth sprocket, 4688 rpm; with 14-tooth sprocket, 5357 rpm.

Lets say you're at 20 ft-lb rear wheel torque; with a 16-tooth sprocket you'll get 18.75 ft-lb; with a 14-tooth sprocket, you'll get 21.4 ft-lb torque.

Deltas (changes) worth changing sprockets? Only your own riding style and environment applies!

FULL DISCLOSURE: 15-tooth KLR650 countershaft sprocket hasn't failed me; I have a 14-tooth on my KLR250; works great (the 250 has a six-speed transmission).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sprockets would help but who wants to bother?? I think a true dual purpose trail / hwy bike should have what Honda used to put in their trail bikes. which was a high low range lever.. Hell even the CB900 had a hi/low trans..
 

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Sprockets would help but who wants to bother?? I think a true dual purpose trail / hwy bike should have what Honda used to put in their trail bikes. which was a high low range lever.. Hell even the CB900 had a hi/low trans..
A HI/LOW transfer case won't pass EPA testing, therefore all Hi/Low cases were discontinued. Cause you might ride in LOW all the Time!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A HI/LOW transfer case won't pass EPA testing, therefore all Hi/Low cases were discontinued. Cause you might ride in LOW all the Time!
So, since someone "could" ride in only 1st gear why not outlaw all low gears?? That EPA stuff makes zero sense to me.
 
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I have a 2012 and went to the 16 tooth sprocket to make true highway speeds a little easier on the motor. This does mean I spend way more time in first gear when off road than I did previously, but it's a good compromise for me. I take mine out in the desert and have never needed more power/torque than the bike will produce even in the really deep silty sand. I do have a jet kit and performance exhaust installed though both of which do seem to increase power/torque across all low and mid rpm ranges. I get that a sixth gear would seem ideal, but it's not something that bothers me at all given the low price and high reliability of the bike.

The KLR just is not a fast or powerful motorcycle that does any one thing particularly well. I can cruise comfortably at 80mph at slightly over 5k rpm without losing/burning any oil though and I can follow most of my motocross dirt bike loving friends wherever they go. I am not saying I can keep up with them, but I can go where they go even if I have to go slower, put in more effort, and be more intentional about it. They have to load their bikes up in their trucks when they leave while I hop directly on the highway from the trail head, catch up to car traffic doing 75-80mph, and ride all the way home.

That feels like a lot of capability for an inexpensive and reliable motorcycle to me! :)
 

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6th gear

Complete newb here, just bought my first used bike. Was learning how to ride the thing the other day ripping around town, and was totally miffed where my 6th gear was. Only to find holy shit this thing i just bought was a five speed? I'm already looking for a sixth gear around town let along highway riding.
 

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Try zipping around town in 3rd gear. The engine likes a little revs, and it provides nice engine break and a good power snap around traffic.
 

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Hue and cry aside, there's nothing magic about a 6th gear.

Well-chosen gear ratios (and final drive ratio), 6th gear ain't that big a thang, IMHO.

YMMV.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I have two motorcycles with 6 gears; KLR250 and KTM690. Won't junk my KLR650 because it has "only" five speeds.

P.S. Fuel injection isn't necessarily the be-all and end-all either, by the way, IMHO! A carburetor (in my opinion) can deliver a close approximation of optimum air/fuel ratio; even fuel injection can't improve over optimum.

:)
 

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Complete newb here, just bought my first used bike. Was learning how to ride the thing the other day ripping around town, and was totally miffed where my 6th gear was. Only to find holy shit this thing i just bought was a five speed? I'm already looking for a sixth gear around town let along highway riding.

6th isn't a deal breaker by far. My wife's NC700x has 6 but 6th is almost useless unless your strolling down the interstate at 80 and need zero get up and go.

I have 6 on my Versys 1000 and could take a few out. I can go from 1 to 3 then 6 without any problem.
 

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Hue and cry aside, there's nothing magic about a 6th gear.

Well-chosen gear ratios (and final drive ratio), 6th gear ain't that big a thang, IMHO.

YMMV.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I have two motorcycles with 6 gears; KLR250 and KTM690. Won't junk my KLR650 because it has "only" five speeds.

P.S. Fuel injection isn't necessarily the be-all and end-all either, by the way, IMHO! A carburetor (in my opinion) can deliver a close approximation of optimum air/fuel ratio; even fuel injection can't improve over optimum.

:)

Agreed on both points.

Dave
 

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6th isn't a deal breaker by far. My wife's NC700x has 6 but 6th is almost useless unless your strolling down the interstate at 80 and need zero get up and go.

I have 6 on my Versys 1000 and could take a few out. I can go from 1 to 3 then 6 without any problem.
My ZX6R was a 6 spd and with a 16,500 rpm redline, you could break every local speed limit in 1st gear!

Cheers,
Dave
 

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Tell me about it; my first vehicle was a manual (3 on the tree) 3 spd, then 4....5, 6. My automatics have been even more dramatic with my 1967 Impala having a 2 spd. powerglide and my new Jag having a ZF 8 speed.

Dave
 

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Yeah my sons new F150 has 10 speeds. Our new Honda CRV has CVT with virtually infinite gears. The advancements are cool. Coupled with turbo they sure are squeezing power out of these small engines. The Honda has just a 1.5 liter. My wife and I just did a 1300 mile trip with it. I was very impressed on the grades with its ability to keep up, with acceleration to spare.
 
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I believe one of the reasons the klr has its following is because of its price, I can only imagine that a 6th gear ect would drive the price up. Klrs have offered pretty much the same stock motorcycle experience for 32 years (I understand there are many differences between gens 1-2 but I believe an deceny rider can do anything with either) always achieving enough sales for continued production. If the price goes up the market gets a lot more competitive.
 
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