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2008 klr650
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
i can't believe how many threads i am seeing where people want to increase the size of their front sprocket.... do they live in perpetual "downhill land"? i can't wait to get a 14 tooth on there myself.... maybe because i'm about 240lbs, and live in the catskill mtns, so it seems i'm always pointing up a hill on takoff, lol!
 

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For each their own but I’m interested in a 14 front eventually. I’ve seen it said in many places that many end up using their KLR on pavement much more than imagined. I’m pleased that that is not the case for me. I’m also not in a state with long, long distances to cover. 65 is pretty fast on most Maine roads and I see zero RPM issues with the stock ratio at that speed. Frankly, I don’t see RPM issues at 75 with the stock sprockets on the gen 3.

I spend a lot of time in second gear on pretty tight trails. Does the 14 sprocket make first gear taller, make it possible to go slower in second gear???? Second gear taller????
 

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KLRs: 2013, 2005, 1998; 2017 HD Electraglide Ultra
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90% of my riding is 65-75mph on the freeway, to and from work. Higher final drive ratio is really helpful at those speeds.

Changing a front sprocket is not a big deal. At some point I'll pick up both a 14 and a 16 tooth front, just so I can switch back and forth.
Lowering the front sprocket has the result of lowering all the gears. Makes it easier to climb hills in 1st and 2nd, but makes highway speed run higher RPM too. This is why we think the gear spacing in the KLR gearbox sucks.
 

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2008 klr650
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What @2BallCane said. Plus, I'm a big guy and have had zero issues climbing hills or chugging through gravel with the larger gear. Even with the larger gear I still keep checking for 6th gear on state highways.
For each their own but I’m interested in a 14 front eventually. I’ve seen it said in many places that many end up using their KLR on pavement much more than imagined. I’m pleased that that is not the case for me. I’m also not in a state with long, long distances to cover. 65 is pretty fast on most Maine roads and I see zero RPM issues with the stock ratio at that speed. Frankly, I don’t see RPM issues at 75 with the stock sprockets on the gen 3.

I spend a lot of time in second gear on pretty tight trails. Does the 14 sprocket make first gear taller, make it possible to go slower in second gear???? Second gear taller????
the 14 tooth gives you more torque at slower speeds, and essentially slows the bike down for the same rpm.... maybe i should buy a tractor, as i like being able to have that low end power as it gives me what i consider to be more control, lol!
 

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My bike came with 16T from PO. Learning in a sandy environment, getting to 2nd took to much speed and 1st needed a bit more. The 15 made a big difference. Added about 500 more RPMs at speed on paved. No doubt a 14 in the woods would work well and on paved under 50 mph in hilly areas. It might make 1st pretty short though. I think I'm right around 4k rpms at 60 mph. So I guess a 14 would be around 4500 rpms at 60 mph. It's all a trade off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My bike came with 16T from PO. Learning in a sandy environment, getting to 2nd took to much speed and 1st needed a bit more. The 15 made a big difference. Added about 500 more RPMs at speed on paved. No doubt a 14 in the woods would work well and on paved under 50 mph in hilly areas. It might make 1st pretty short though. I think I'm right around 4k rpms at 60 mph. So I guess a 14 would be around 4500 rpms at 60 mph. It's all a trade off.
yes, right now i'm right at 55 at 4000 rpm, and i calculated 51 at the same with a 14t, or about 4675 for 60mph... a little higher than i would like, but i think on the trails it will pay off! like someone else said, i can always change it back!
 

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Rider wt and local conditions are the determinant; that plus a willingness to abuse the admittedly stout clutch.
I’m only 150# these days, so a 16 is a good compromise for my needs. Of course, if Kawasaki had a proper wide ratio five speed gearbox, we probably wouldn’t be having these discussions. Oh well…
It is a paradox that the KLR is DOHC, a design suitable for continuous high RPMs, but coupled with a cylinder which causes oil consumption when run consistently over 5000.
Oh well #2…
 

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2022 KLR650
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I think the stock gearing is a happy medium for on & off-road operation, especially on the gen 3 KLR.
The 16T sprocket made my gen 3 gutless up in the Sierras. I quickly swapped it back to the stock 15T.

Having said this, I’m running a 16T on my 2005 KLR and that sucker rips in the sierras. It cruises at 75mph very comfortably as well.
I swear that bike feels like it has so much more power than my gen 3. Fun bike
 

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Well this is what I want in the next KLR should I buy another. I want a lower first gear ratio and a higher 5 gear, but to up the ratio desired in 5th, I will be needing more HP and torque and those two things, while achievavle, are too expensive for the gains. I think for the next KLR, I would like to see the cooling system wattmanized from the factory along with Kawasaki contracting with E.M. for the doohicky done during assembly. I can't believe Kawasaki is still, in 2022 with an over cooling engine and the same poorly designed tension assy in the balancer.
 

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Well this is what I want in the next KLR should I buy another. I want a lower first gear ratio and a higher 5 gear, but to up the ratio desired in 5th, I will be needing more HP and torque and those two things, while achievavle, are too expensive for the gains. I think for the next KLR, I would like to see the cooling system wattmanized from the factory along with Kawasaki contracting with E.M. for the doohicky done during assembly. I can't believe Kawasaki is still, in 2022 with an over cooling engine and the same poorly designed tension assy in the balancer.
Keep on dreamin :LOL:
 

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I think the stock gearing is a happy medium for on & off-road operation, especially on the gen 3 KLR.
The 16T sprocket made my gen 3 gutless up in the Sierras. I quickly swapped it back to the stock 15T.

Having said this, I’m running a 16T on my 2005 KLR and that sucker rips in the sierras. It cruises at 75mph very comfortably as well.
I swear that bike feels like it has so much more power than my gen 3. Fun bike
It has more power to weight.
It weighs at least 40 lbs less.
Gen 1 with Cogent and EM engine bolt ons!!!
Would be the most fun to ride!
 

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“I can't believe Kawasaki is still, in 2022 with an over cooling engine and the same poorly designed tension assy in the balancer.”
Me too. It seems that my radiator is twice the size it needs to be.
But more puzzling than that is the fact that the engine balance is better with a lighter piston (like 685 kit) which, by the way, is about the same weight as the original KLR 600 piston. In other words, they threw off the balance factor when they went to the 650 and have never bothered to change that.
On one hand I love the “relaxed“ power character of my Gen 2 old pig, but on the other hand I disrespect the KMC engineers who continue to ignore some basic facts
 

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On one hand I love the “relaxed“ power character of my Gen 2 old pig, but on the other hand I disrespect the KMC engineers who continue to ignore some basic facts
Yeah, they changed the valve cover & installed a 'must be un-bolted' steel upper chain guide between the cam sprockets, which New 'mechanics' drop the short middle bolt down the chain tunnel!
They altered the wrong transmission gear ratios!
They eliminated the easy possibility of installing a kickstarter!
They have changed clutch packs 2 or 3 times to keep everyone confused!
They replaced the off-road oriented, magneto powered CDI ignition with a 'battery-dependant' ignition system!
Etc, etc...

And they still come with a fallible engine balancer chain tensioner spring!!
 

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Yeah, they changed the valve cover & installed a 'must be un-bolted' steel upper chain guide between the cam sprockets, which New 'mechanics' drop the short middle bolt down the chain tunnel!
They altered the wrong transmission gear ratios!
They eliminated the easy possibility of installing a kickstarter!
They have changed clutch packs 2 or 3 times to keep everyone confused!
They replaced the off-road oriented, magneto powered CDI ignition with a 'battery-dependant' ignition system!
Etc, etc...

And they still come with a fallible engine balancer chain tensioner spring!!
Couldn't agree more...dang greedy board members....🧐

IMHO- I'd love to see the balancer system converted to 'gear drive' as it would take the engine from 'bullet proof' status on up to 'bomb proof'.. just .02 (Long live the legendary KLR!)
 
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They replaced the off-road oriented, magneto powered CDI ignition with a 'battery-dependant' ignition system!
I never understood why this is a good idea. Why would I want to depend on the battery? My 1980 Honda XL250s has CDI and a magneto. In fact, I don't even remember the last time I checked the battery. But I know I can count on it whether the battery is dead or not.
 
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