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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..
I'll agree with you on 6th I would love to have an OD I rode mine from cali to Texas and back and let me tell you I was begging for 6th.
But........
There are easy cheap solutions to both of your problems change out your sprockets. I can't tell you the perfect tooth set-up but just ask and someone will be able to give you the right sprocket set up for any type of riding you want.

Backcountry Bob
It's a KLR man it'll do you right

Sent from my SM-S327VL using Tapatalk
 

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One only needs to find a very good machinist to build a rear sprocket set like Kawasaki used on several of its small trail bikes, back in the 1960's!

See here, https://www.ebay.com/itm/1966-kawas...ash=item43d103fad5:g:BCYAAOSwPe1UL0--&vxp=mtr

The small Highway sprocket was bolted to the hub, in proper alignment with the engine sprocket. The large trail sprocket was 'dished' and was spring loaded and mounted on the backside of the highway sprocket, sort of like a clutch pressure plate is mounted inside of our engines. When the chain was dis-connected and the bolts were turned to bring the large sprocket into alignment with the front sprocket, a length of chain could be connected and the chain slack properly re-set.

Be the first to re-produce this for the KLR650 and you might just make your 1st Million dollars! :)
 

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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.

:)
The difference is that a carburetor can provide the optimum air/fuel ratio only in a few optimum conditions. Fuel injection can provide nearly the optimum A/F ratio under a wide range of conditions. Unfortunately, this does come at some additional complexity in sensors, high pressure fuel pump and ECU. There’s no free lunch.
 

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Correct!! And KLR riders are 'Cheap, cheap, cheap', including me, me, me!
 

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The difference is that a carburetor can provide the optimum air/fuel ratio only in a few optimum conditions. Fuel injection can provide nearly the optimum A/F ratio under a wide range of conditions. Unfortunately, this does come at some additional complexity in sensors, high pressure fuel pump and ECU. There’s no free lunch.
Expanding on pdwestman's content in his post above, Voyager, HOW MUCH additional money would you (and other KLR customers) pay for a fuel-injection system (including sensors, injector, high-pressure fuel pump and filters, and ECU)?
 

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Expanding on pdwestman's content in his post above, Voyager, HOW MUCH additional money would you (and other KLR customers) pay for a fuel-injection system (including sensors, injector, high-pressure fuel pump and filters, and ECU)?
I thought I had answered a question like this already, but I can’t find it now. I would pay $300 for sure and might go as high as $500 for a well-designed system. I would easily get that back in fuel savings and not having to clean stale ethanol gas grunge from a carburetor. My FI bike sits ready to run all winter and even if I don’t get to ride all winter will fire up instantly in the spring. No winterization required such as draining float bowls, etc. Add in the fuss free cold weather starts and $300-500 is a bargain. I’d pay another $500 for ABS. Once you’ve had that, going back is not ideal.
 

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I would pay $300 for sure and might go as high as $500 for a well-designed system. I would easily get that back in fuel savings and not having to clean stale ethanol gas grunge from a carburetor. My FI bike sits ready to run all winter and even if I don’t get to ride all winter will fire up instantly in the spring. No winterization required such as draining float bowls, etc. Add in the fuss free cold weather starts and $300-500 is a bargain. I’d pay another $500 for ABS. Once you’ve had that, going back is not ideal.
As a counterpoint; I've had up to 9 bikes in the garage that typically sit for 6 months over the off season; a couple were fuel injected but most were not and I've never had any issues with them in the spring, nor did I start them up in the winter. I do, however, use non-ethanol fuel.

Last winter I got caught with ethanol laced fuel in both KLR's; I did drain the float bowls (1 screw - 10 seconds each) and add some Stabil. Locked them in the container and didn't hit the start button for 6 months - they started up perfectly and just like always this spring.

...ABS? I've had it on several bikes but have no desire for it on a dual sport; extra weight, expense and complexity for something I'd turn off anyhow.

YMMV,
Dave
 

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As a counterpoint; I've had up to 9 bikes in the garage that typically sit for 6 months over the off season; a couple were fuel injected but most were not and I've never had any issues with them in the spring, nor did I start them up in the winter. I do, however, use non-ethanol fuel.

Last winter I got caught with ethanol laced fuel in both KLR's; I did drain the float bowls (1 screw - 10 seconds each) and add some Stabil. Locked them in the container and didn't hit the start button for 6 months - they started up perfectly and just like always this spring.

...ABS? I've had it on several bikes but have no desire for it on a dual sport; extra weight, expense and complexity for something I'd turn off anyhow.

YMMV,
Dave
I had a bad experience many years ago with a Kawasaki KH400. For reasons I won’t go into, I was unable to ride it one summer and it ended up sitting close to 18 months with no storage preparation. I spent days getting it to run again. The carbs literally had algae growing in them, and this was even back when we had real gas. I didn’t know algae could grow in gasoline, but turns out it can and it is immune to almost all solvents. I tried petroleum solvents, alcohols, acetone, etc., and nothing would cut the stuff. Plain old Dawn did the best along with mostly mechanical removal. It was a long time before I got all the nooks and crannies clean enough to get the bike to run right again.

Non-ethanol fuel is more readily available now since a new Sunoco station opened up about 10 miles from my house and they have one non-ethanol pump. I run avgas in my lawn equipment, but can’t do that with a street bike. Prior to the Sunoco station, I had to go 25 miles to get non-ethanol gasoline so it just wasn’t easy to get.

I think ABS is even more important on a dual sport. The semi-knobby tires have much less grip than good street tires and are harder to modulate at the threshold. I certainly would want a disable switch as many adventure bikes have so it could be disabled off-road, but on-road, ABS is a real life-saver. I’ve never (knock on wood) had a street crash, but the folks I know who have had one would pay $500 for ABS in a NY minute. $500 doesn’t even cover the ambulance ride anymore...
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Simple ethanol solution: Move to Southern California and ride year round.
:grin2:
Storage? What's that all about?
>:)
You couldn't pay me enough to move to Commifornia. My sister lives there. She complains of high taxes AND is a flaming liberal which is strange to me as I always thought liberals loved "other people's" money.. I'd rather ride yr round here somewhere in the US vs New, New Mexico.
 
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Simple ethanol solution: Move to Southern California and ride year round.
:grin2:
Storage? What's that all about?
>:)
It would be cheaper to just buy a new KLR each spring and throw it away in the fall! >:)

As for storage, I don’t store my bikes as I can often sneak in a winter ride or two. That makes FI even more attractive. They fire up instantly whether they have sat for a week or 4 months. That just isn’t true for carbureted bikes. And my FI bike runs virtually the same at 20 degrees as at 110 degrees and at sea level and at the top of Pike’s peak. I’ve yet to see the carburetor that could do that.

I definitely get the stone axe simplicity of the KLR as being one of its key features and I appreciate that also. However, things like FI and ABS are simply no longer new and unproven technologies. I think after 25 years, even a KLR could still be considered a simple bike even so equipped. I certainly would not advocate adding bleeding edge technology to a bike like the KLR, but I don’t think FI and even ABS are in that category at this stage of their maturity
 

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I think ABS is even more important on a dual sport. The semi-knobby tires have much less grip than good street tires and are harder to modulate at the threshold. I certainly would want a disable switch as many adventure bikes have so it could be disabled off-road, but on-road, ABS is a real life-saver. I’ve never (knock on wood) had a street crash, but the folks I know who have had one would pay $500 for ABS in a NY minute. $500 doesn’t even cover the ambulance ride anymore...
Again, my usage is heavily offroad biased and I've been riding bikes without ABS for a looooooooooooong time. For offroad use ABS is completely useless. I get the value on road, particularly for less experienced riders but for what i do, it's heavy and complicates the braking system for something I'd turn off 99% of the time anyhow. I'd rather carry 10lbs of food, water, gas or tools.

There are more dual sport and ADV bikes available with FI and ABS these days than there are those without them......I'm not looking forward to the day I'm forced to have those items.


Dave
 

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Again, my usage is heavily offroad biased and I've been riding bikes without ABS for a looooooooooooong time. For offroad use ABS is completely useless. I get the value on road, particularly for less experienced riders but for what i do, it's heavy and complicates the braking system for something I'd turn off 99% of the time anyhow. I'd rather carry 10lbs of food, water, gas or tools.

There are more dual sport and ADV bikes available with FI and ABS these days than there are those without them......I'm not looking forward to the day I'm forced to have those items.


Dave
I absolutely agree for off-road use. Then again, if I was going to ride mostly off-road, a KLR650 would be low on my list of bikes to ride. I bought mine mainly because I ride 60% highway, 30% dirt road, where ABS is still generally useful, and less than 10% off-road where it is a handicap.
 

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We have crap gas here in Cali I guess. My Goldwing sat just 2 months with gas in the bowls that clogged the idle jets. The KLR hasn’t sat long enough to be a problem but I still turn the petcock off and run it dry if it’s going to sit more than a week.
 

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I absolutely agree for off-road use. Then again, if I was going to ride mostly off-road, a KLR650 would be low on my list of bikes to ride. .
The KLR is no 500EXC but properly equipped it does much better than most people think and unlike the "dirtbikes with lights" the KLR has unmatched reliability and longevity. Even though my pavement use is usually limited to connecting roads and trails, it's enough to discount the more serious offroad mounts. Dual Sports are a collection of compromises and only you can decide which one best fits your particular needs.

Cheers,
Dave
 

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The KLR is no 500EXC but properly equipped it does much better than most people think and unlike the "dirtbikes with lights" the KLR has unmatched reliability and longevity. Even though my pavement use is usually limited to connecting roads and trails, it's enough to discount the more serious offroad mounts. Dual Sports are a collection of compromises and only you can decide which one best fits your particular needs.

Cheers,
Dave
Yes, it is all about your mission. If Kawasaki had a Versys-X 450 or 500, I would have bought it in a heartbeat. I looked hard at the 300 before buying the KLR, but it simply is too small an engine and the passenger seat is just too small. If Kawasaki decides to make a larger bike similarly equipped to the 300, I will be wishing I had waited on the KLR purchase. :smile2:
 

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Yes, it is all about your mission. If Kawasaki had a Versys-X 450 or 500, I would have bought it in a heartbeat. I looked hard at the 300 before buying the KLR, but it simply is too small an engine and the passenger seat is just too small. If Kawasaki decides to make a larger bike similarly equipped to the 300, I will be wishing I had waited on the KLR purchase. :smile2:
Indeed; the Versys X is too street biased for me. I sure liked my Versys 650 but it wasn't offroad worthy IMO. I thought long and hard about going orange again and getting KTM690R's instead; they are far more capable stock to stock and it's taken me quite the pile of parts to get my KLR's within striking distance but the KTM's weird ergos (to me) and small fuel capacity held me back......and I think the KLR's longevity is unmatched in the segment at any price.

Funny thing is that I had nine bikes in the garage when I bought my 1st KLR and the KLR is the only bike left (well, except it spawned another KLR). Not great at anything but capable of going almost anywhere. Once my dedicated offroad bikes were gone, then the upgrades (mainly suspension) were required to raise the KLR's bar.



Cheers,
Dave
 
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