Kawasaki KLR Forum banner

The KLR is so slow...

2924 Views 80 Replies 36 Participants Last post by  KLR-Mule
How slow is it?

I had to run to town today in the middle of an oil change since Walmart sold me the wrong oil filter.

It was blustery and stormy but about 60 degrees, so I figured I'd take the KLR on the 30 mile round trip to town and back.

On the way back in a 60 mph zone, I got stuck behind some jerk going 55 mph. Rural 2-lane highway with lots of traffic and few passing zones.

There is a small mountain pass halfway home where the road splits into 4 lanes going up a 7% grade for about a mile.

So I just remained patient, knowing that I would be able to pass safely in a few minutes.

When we finally got to the 4 lane section, the jerk started increasing his speed. He sped up to 68 mph.

I couldn't pass him. The KLR didn't have enough power to go over 68 mph up the grade. 馃ズ

I may need more power. I have soft panniers and stock windscreen. Maybe 20lbs of gear in panniers. I was tucked down close to the tank to reduce wind drag.

But, I am 6'2" and 302lbs.

I have ridden many bikes and never encountered a situation in which I couldn't make a safe and efficient pass on the highway.

It was alarming.

I can't imagine how slow it will be this summer with all of my camping gear on it.
  • Like
  • Wow
Reactions: 3
21 - 40 of 81 Posts
Not trying to be rude, but, at 302lbs you鈥檙e offensive lineman size. Eddie Hall is only 30lbs heavier and deadlifts 900+lbs. I鈥檓 215lbs and considered way too heavy for my 1299 and it鈥檚 188hp.
IMO, sell the KLR and look into a KTM 1190 or BMW 1200. It鈥檚 just basic physics bro.
That's harsh. ;)

Aerodynamics make a big difference on a bike like the KLR. Shed the bags and keep it low profile. Knobby tires are the next one that makes a difference. Shinko 705's are great on pavement.
I woke up in a cold sweat the other night...dreamt I was passing a Shelby Mustang on my '09 KLR. Told my wife the problem and she said, being a Montana girl, "Dream on Cowboy"! Went back to sleep and never did get around that Mustang.
  • Haha
  • Like
Reactions: 4
I woke up in a cold sweat the other night...dreamt I was passing a Shelby Mustang on my '09 KLR.
Must have been a tourist admiring the scenery. :)
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Your post, and my experience going from a DRZ to a KLR and feeling a pretty noticeable downgrade in power, made me want to analyze the difference more.
Dyno graphs can be misleading due to differences in primary drive ratio, transmission gearing ratio, final drive ratio, wheel diameter, etc. When you take into account all of those things the KLR puts less torque to the rear wheel than the DRZ, in most situations. And it gets especially bad when you take into account the additional weight of the KLR.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
The KLR easily out torques the DRZ400. A good example would be a DRZ400 versus a DR650. Stock for stock the DR650 will easily walk away from a DRZ400. Both will hit about 95 mph top speed. A DR650 isn't that much faster than a stock Gen3 KLR650.

I do agree that weight plays a big part, especially when you consider additional stuff owners love to slap on to their KLR's. Full coverage crash bars, bigger windshields, big panniers, top cases, and so on. Add to that, knobby tires. All of these sap power especially on the highway. The fastest Gen3 KLR will be the base model with very few add-ons, wearing stock tires or similar tires like Shinko 705's. Even my VStrom 650 will feel a bit more sluggish with big block knobby tires, and weighed downed with travel luggage. When unladen, wearing Dunlop Trailmax Mission Tires, the bike feels very lively and fast. I lose about 5 mph of top speed when bike is fully loaded.

On my day rides on my KLR, lightly loaded, just a lower crash bars, my bike is a lot of fun to ride in the twisties, and very responsive on the highway. I could easily hit 95 mph on it. Stock bike with stock tires. As soon as I put the Heidenau K60 Ranger Big Block knobbies, I immediately felt less power, less acceleration, and lower top speed.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 2
2022 DRZ 400S rear wheel hp - 31.8hp, rear wheel torque - 29 ft lbs. 2022 Suzuki DR-Z400S Dyno Test

2022 KLR 650 rwhp - 34.6hp, rear wheel torque - 33.5 ft lbs. 2022 Kawasaki KLR650 Dyno Test

...but yeah, the 125 lb weight difference is significant; KLR = 13.44 ft lbs/lb DRZ = 11.11 ft lbs/lb


Dave
  • Like
Reactions: 1
...and just for giggles; the 2022 DR650S rear wheel hp - 35.1hp, rear wheel torque - 32.2 ft lbs. 2022 Suzuki DR650S Dyno Test

There have been rumors for years that the DR650 has more power than a KLR, but as you can see, that isn't true.......but the DR650 has a 80 lb weight advantage (that shrinks slightly if they are both carrying the same amount of fuel)

Wet weights; DRZ = 322lbs, DR650S = 367 lbs, Gen3 KLR = 450 - 487 lbs depending on ABS and factory luggage.

Dave
  • Like
Reactions: 1
I know it's been a while, but, I swear that I am not able to tell if my KLR is slow than my DR650. Stock or modified. If memory serves, they're about the same. The DR650 though makes the rider into a wind sock at highway speeds. So doing 75 mph on a DR650 feels like it's doing 100 with the rider holding on for dear life!
  • Like
Reactions: 3
2
The KLR easily out torques the DRZ400. A good example would be a DRZ400 versus a DR650. Stock for stock the DR650 will easily walk away from a DRZ400. Both will hit about 95 mph top speed. A DR650 isn't that much faster than a stock Gen3 KLR650.

I do agree that weight plays a big part, especially when you consider additional stuff owners love to slap on to their KLR's. Full coverage crash bars, bigger windshields, big panniers, top cases, and so on. Add to that, knobby tires. All of these sap power especially on the highway. The fastest Gen3 KLR will be the base model with very few add-ons, wearing stock tires or similar tires like Shinko 705's. Even my VStrom 650 will feel a bit more sluggish with big block knobby tires, and weighed downed with travel luggage. When unladen, wearing Dunlop Trailmax Mission Tires, the bike feels very lively and fast. I lose about 5 mph of top speed when bike is fully loaded.

On my day rides on my KLR, lightly loaded, just a lower crash bars, my bike is a lot of fun to ride in the twisties, and very responsive on the highway. I could easily hit 95 mph on it. Stock bike with stock tires. As soon as I put the Heidenau K60 Ranger Big Block knobbies, I immediately felt less power, less acceleration, and lower top speed.
I found a bug in my analysis that skewed the results towards the DRZ a bit so my previous statement isn't correct. But even with the analysis corrected the KLR and DRZ are not as far off as you would expect.

The graph below shows WOT rear wheel torque (Vertical Axis) vs Speed (Horizontal Axis) for each gear. For the KLR650 (Red) and DRZ400S (Blue). It's a bit crowded but the top left curves that look really "peaky" are the torque curves for 1st gear. And then they step down to 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and ultimately 5th which are the long flat curves at the bottom.

This analysis takes into account the different primary drive ratios, transmission ratios, and final drive ratios of the different bikes. And gives you the torque that is actually acting on the rear wheel.

Now the KLR definitely has more torque in first gear, but the brutal gap between the 1st and 2nd gear ratios on the KLR means that the DRZ has more rear wheel torque (at a given speed) for the first 2/3rds of the RPM range when in 2nd and 3rd gear compared to the KLR. It starts to get closer in 4th with the DRZ only having more torque in the middle 3rd of the RPM range. And 5th gear is relatively even.

Again, the KLR650 is Red and the DRZ400S is Blue.
Rectangle Slope Plot Line Font


However, rear wheel torque isn't the best comparison as it doesn't take into consideration differing wheel sizes and the weight of the rider and bike. What you would want to do is calculate acceleration, which is just a few more steps to do. Newtons second law tells us Force = Mass * Acceleration, or rearranged to solve for acceleration that is Acceleration = Force / Mass. So you need to know the mass of the thing you are trying to move (bike + rider) and the force pushing you forward, (rear wheel torque divided by the radius of the wheel).

This is what this graph shows. Again KLR650 = Red and DRZ400S = Blue. Horizontal axis is still speed, but the vertical axis is now acceleration. Disregard the numbers on this axis, I didn't actual convert this to an actual standard unit like G's of acceleration, or m/s^2, or ft/s^2. Just know that higher means more acceleration and lower means less. This will allow us to compare the 2 bikes now taking ALL of the drivetrain gear ratios, weight of the rider/bike, and wheel diameter into consideration. Notice how the DRZ400S gives you more acceleration in nearly every speed and every gear. Except for the the first few thousand RPM in 1st gear.

Rectangle Slope Plot Line Font
See less See more
Sorta exactly what you'd expect given the power and weight differences...馃榿

Dave
Here鈥檚 my non-mathematical comparison between the DRZ400 & KLR650.
The KLR has 250cc more than the DRZ鈥apeesh.
Nuff said 馃槀
  • Haha
Reactions: 2
2022 DRZ 400S rear wheel hp - 31.8hp, rear wheel torque - 29 ft lbs. 2022 Suzuki DR-Z400S Dyno Test

2022 KLR 650 rwhp - 34.6hp, rear wheel torque - 33.5 ft lbs. 2022 Kawasaki KLR650 Dyno Test

...but yeah, the 125 lb weight difference is significant; KLR = 13.44 ft lbs/lb DRZ = 11.11 ft lbs/lb


Dave
This is where I believe it gets confusing for a lot of people, because when 3rd parties test a motorcycle (or car) on a chassis dyno they always say "HP at the rear wheel" or "TQ at the rear wheel". But this is a bit of a misnomer, because while the chassis dyno is technically measuring HP/torque at the rear wheel that's not actually what the dyno chart is showing you. The torque data at the dyno drum gets modified by the software to take into account the various gear ratios between the wheel and the engine (this includes the final drive, transmission gear, primary drive ratios, and the relationship between the rear wheel diameter and the dyno drum diameter). Now they don't need to know those exact ratios, they just need to know engine RPM and dyno drum RPM and they can figure it out from there. It's a relatively simple equation to get the total drivetrain ratio when you have those 2 RPMs.

I pulled this passage from DynoJet's software user guide. As you can see they are doing some calculations from what they are measuring at the drum to what they are displaying in the dyno graph.
View attachment 42303
Source: https://www.dynojet.com/amfile/file/download/file/138/category/290/

The dyno software will also perform other modification such as atmospheric corrections and smoothing. But that's not important for this discussion.

This is why I believe the "HP/TQ at the rear wheels" expression is a bit of a misnomer. It would be more accurate to say "Engine HP/TQ as measured at the rear wheel".
And is also why comparing dyno graphs or peak HP/TQ numbers isn't the best indication of how the bike will actually accelerate or "feel". As you are not taking into consideration the weight, or various gear ratios, or tire diameters of the different bikes. You're really just comparing the engine as a standalone unit. Which can still give you some indication of the bike will feel, it just won't give the whole picture. And in reality the analysis done in the post above this one is still not taking into account things like wind resistance, friction, rotational inertia, power loss due to knobby tires, etc.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
This is where I believe it gets confusing for a lot of people, because when 3rd parties test a motorcycle (or car) on a chassis dyno they always say "HP at the rear wheel" or "TQ at the rear wheel". But this is a bit of a misnomer, because while the chassis dyno is technically measuring HP/torque at the rear wheel that's not actually what the dyno chart is showing you. The torque data at the dyno drum gets modified by the software to take into account the various gear ratios between the wheel and the engine (this includes the final drive, transmission gear, primary drive ratios, and the relationship between the rear wheel diameter and the dyno drum diameter). Now they don't need to know those exact ratios, they just need to know engine RPM and dyno drum RPM and they can figure it out from there. It's a relatively simple equation to get the total drivetrain ratio when you have those 2 RPMs.

I pulled this passage from DynoJet's software user guide. As you can see they are doing some calculations from what they are measuring at the drum to what they are displaying in the dyno graph.
View attachment 42303
Source: https://www.dynojet.com/amfile/file/download/file/138/category/290/

The dyno software will also perform other modification such as atmospheric corrections and smoothing. But that's not important for this discussion.

This is why I believe the "HP/TQ at the rear wheels" expression is a bit of a misnomer. It would be more accurate to say "Engine HP/TQ as measured at the rear wheel".
And is also why comparing dyno graphs or peak HP/TQ numbers isn't the best indication of how the bike will actually accelerate or "feel". As you are not taking into consideration the weight, or various gear ratios, or tire diameters of the different bikes. You're really just comparing the engine as a standalone unit. Which can still give you some indication of the bike will feel, it just won't give the whole picture. And in reality the analysis done in the post above this one is still not taking into account things like wind resistance, friction, rotational inertia, power loss due to knobby tires, etc.
Yes, certainly "as measured" is a more accurate statement. Before I went to all the trouble of trying to account for the plethora of individual items that need to be taken into consideration, I think I'd just drag race the two bikes and see for myself but kudos to you for going to all the effort.

Honestly, since they are both 5spds and have approximately the same type and size of wheels/tires, etc. etc. you can get "close enough" by simply comparing the "as measured" power and measured weight, those are the two biggest things affecting performance by a large margin.

Cheers,
Dave
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Here鈥檚 my non-mathematical comparison between the DRZ400 & KLR650.
The KLR has 250cc more than the DRZ鈥apeesh.
Nuff said 馃槀
And unfortunately those extra 250cc don't translate into more acceleration or speed. Which is the TLDR of the wall of text I wrote above.

It's probably best that most don't follow me down these rabbit holes I get myself in to. My sanity barely survives, and I wouldn't want to take down others.

Ride on! 馃弽
  • Haha
  • Like
Reactions: 3
And unfortunately those extra 250cc don't translate into more acceleration or speed. Which is the TLDR of the wall of text I wrote above.

It's probably best that most don't follow me down these rabbit holes I get myself in to. My sanity barely survives, and I wouldn't want to take down others.

Ride on! 馃弽
There鈥檚 no replacement for displacement!
Keepin things simple is how I roll 馃憤
  • Haha
Reactions: 1
Well this is my first klr. Coming from a scrambler, vtx 1800 and 1300, R1 and R6, and a v92c..... the klr is slow. No doubt. I'm 200lb though and unless someone just floors it i think it's got enough to pass.

There鈥檚 no replacement for displacement!
Keepin things simple is how I roll 馃憤

Except when a new ecoboost 4 cylinder mustang just decimates my old fox body mustangs......my 4.6l 03 mustang is considerably faster than my 93 5.0l.......

My r6 600 makes my 1800 and 1500 bikes look foolish. Not just in a race but on the dyno as well. There is definitely replacements for displacement.
With modifications I am able to comfortably ride my gen KLR 2 all day. Im could not do that with a DR650 or a DR400. I've had DR 650's and they are just oriented to a smaller person ( im 6'2" and over 300 pounds). My KLR is able to stretch out with seat and peg and handlebar mods to a comfortable position with decent wind protection and yes I have the subframe reinforced.
I roll with my KLR, well, because it's a KLR.
  • Like
Reactions: 2
When playing off road, or in the twisties, which would you prefer, riding a fast bike slow, or riding a slow bike fast?
@ymracing Hmmm, some of the best memories of riding are winding out my Kawasaki 90 (maybe I鈥檇 break 60 downhill) when I was a kid of a boy in fifth grade. Here鈥檚 a stock photo. I鈥檇 take out the spark arrester, put it back, take off the exhaust, tinker with the carb, and swore any changes I made were improvements 馃ぃ. This green beast was my first, so I think I鈥檇 say a slow bike fast, because who wants to ride slow that much 馃槈
Tire Wheel Fuel tank Automotive fuel system Vehicle
See less See more
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 3
21 - 40 of 81 Posts
Top