KLR highway speeds

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by misterjack, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. misterjack

    misterjack Universal

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    What is the highest speed to comfortably cruise on a KLR without doing any harm to the bike?

    Ive got and '89 KLR 650 running the stock sprockets right now. If i were to upgrade, what size would you recommend?
    #1
  2. fierostetz

    fierostetz Been here awhile

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    Well, on my 2008 I regularly cruise at an indicated 75-80.
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  3. NewHampWoodsRider

    NewHampWoodsRider Tag Captor

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    Depends on gearing...
    I run a 16t front sprocket on my 09'
    Can comfortably cruise at 70-75mph
    80mph vibrations get strong and rpms are a bit high for my liking for extended time.
    #3
  4. Canuman

    Canuman Crusty & Unobliging

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    I run a 14 t front, so I'm limited to about 65-70 comfortably. With the 15 t, 75 was pretty comfortable. KLRs can use oil when cruising at above 5500 rpm for extended periods. Keep tabs on your oil when slabbing it.
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  5. Wallachian Spikes

    Wallachian Spikes Long timer

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    With stock gearing I have held 80 MPH for extended miles without any noticable damage/problems. However, for maximum life expectency I think 70 MPH is the max "ride all day" highway speed for an unloaded KLR. If you're loaded for RTW, cut that down to 60 MPH. Just my opinion, I'm sure someone will dissagree.
    #5
  6. OaklandStrom

    OaklandStrom Long timer

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    75 or so.

    - not exactly related to your question -
    I sold my KLR and got a Wee when my commute added more freeway. It was a fun bike, but I hated it on the slab. I fell into the "I'm gonna ride a bunch of dirt" fantasy that sells a lot of adventure bikes. Once I figured out that I wasn't, I changed my expectations and the bike. I'm happier now, and my Wee has seen more dirt than the KLR, because I'm willing to go for much longer rides on the Wee than the KLR.
    #6
  7. SkiBumBrian

    SkiBumBrian DualSport Crazy !!

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    I say 5K rpm. I know lots of guys run them harder but I think the bike is not comfortable running faster for long periods.
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  8. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    there used to be a guy named Carl that did a lot with the KLR, I believe his operation was turned into Top Gun when he retired. anyway, as I recall he recommended the engine stay below 5500 RPM for long runs. if I remember it right, front balancer shaft bearings are a bit under engineered for long periods of high RPM. this shaft also drives the water pump. he used to have a very well done "how to" on repairing/replacing everything on the KLR including the bearings (step by step with pix) but it is no longer on the web. also, the older KLRs have springs in the balance weights that wear out & can dump parts into the engine. they can be replaced with the newer solid weights. I have seen some of the older ones look pretty crappy & replaced them just because.

    16 tooth C/S sprocket makes 75 a breeze. between the 14,15,16, each tooth is about 500 rpm up/down at highway speeds
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  9. KickStart1

    KickStart1 Lurking,with intent

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    I own an 06 KLR 650 it is a good bike/tractor,not a good bike for a heavy throttle hand.I would carry a quart of Oil or 2 if planning to ride at 75+ get AMA Towing Ins for your bike cause if you fail to check your Oil at every gas stop it will lock up tight from NO OIL :norton ride it under 5000 rpm, get a 16 or 17 tooth front sprocket
    #9
  10. CA Stu

    CA Stu Tremendous slouch Super Moderator

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    Sorry, this is incorrect.
    A KLR won't "lock up tight" from a lack of oil, it will get louder and lose power and then you will need a new head.
    DAMHIK.

    I reckon a decent, comfortable cruise with a 14t is 70, 15t is 75.

    If you want to go faster for long periods of time, I would get a different bike.

    The KLR is not built for superslab mile munching, I reckon.
    #10
  11. RandoCommando

    RandoCommando Wannabe

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    I bet Alan Leduc would disagree with ya. :evil
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  12. CA Stu

    CA Stu Tremendous slouch Super Moderator

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    Yabbut, he has a big windscreen on his. :lol3

    It's like eating a bicycle. I wouldn't do it, but I'm pretty sure someone could.
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  13. NesquikNinja

    NesquikNinja Long timer

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    You people are wayyyy too damn spoiled!

    Just cruise at 60-65, enjoy the "not being in a hurry" feeling. Ive grown to love it on my 250!


    And if I get in a hurry..well....

    [​IMG]
    #13
  14. RandoCommando

    RandoCommando Wannabe

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    Damn it, now I'm hungry!
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  15. Aprilia

    Aprilia Long timer

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    My 92 has over 35K on it. Most of that mileage was blasting 80mph (GPS) or in the case of a KLR WOT lol. Still runs perfectly and no not a drop of oil used between its 2K change intervals. During summer months (over 105F) I'd have to slow down a bit as the needle would reach the red zone maintaining those speeds. Its never puked but If I'd put my left hand down by the radiator and help 'scoop' air towards the radiator temps would quickly come down...just poor design by Kawi. Probably much of that is caused by the large factory front fender.
    #15
  16. bobobob

    bobobob IN HOC SIGNO VINCES

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    75 with a 16 was great for me.
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  17. Canuman

    Canuman Crusty & Unobliging

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    You can slab a KLR, but eventually, you end up asking "what's the point?" The Kaw is way more fun winding through the boonies.

    I've found that I can have a far better time and make almost as good speed off the slab. My KLR is the one bike that I'm going to ride into the ground.

    Someone here recommended the Wee as a slab maggot. That's good advice. If you intend to run any serious dirt, the Wee is a liability. The KLR ain't exactly the sharpest tool in the off-road shed, but with careful riding, it will go some amazing places. The Wee is a splendid gravel tourer and a very sweet road machine, but is a pig-cow when things get greasy. It makes a very expensive sound when dropped. Operating costs for the two are so close as not to enter into the debate.

    You need to define your parameters, and get the correct bike to fill your needs.
    #17
  18. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    ya... dropping the fender down made mine run cooler. also, I made a rubber seal to fill the big gap between the shroud & core

    and when I said 75mph with the 16 I meant GPS miles not Kawi speedo miles

    as for oil... with the stock piston I used about a qt every 1000 (year 2005), the 685 and 705 have used far less
    #18