Why does the KLR engine suck in HP

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by beergut, Nov 30, 2012.

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  1. beergut

    beergut Thumper

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    KTM 640adv:
    625cc, 54hp

    KLR 650
    649cc, 20hp

    Honda XR650
    644cc, 30-35hp

    Suzuki DR650
    644cc, 43hp

    All of these are estimated and from QUICK google searches and are unmodified engine ratings. One thread said the XR can hit the 45-50hp target pretty easily, the DR isnt far off and the KTM makes everyone laugh.

    WHy does the KLR suck so bad? What can make serious improvements?
    #1
  2. Echo1

    Echo1 Been here awhile

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    I think the info you have is wrong. Here are some MCN dyno tested rear wheel HP specs from the 2012 edition of the MCN performance index:

    '10 KTM 690 Enduro R, 46HP

    '08 KLR650, 36HP

    '07 Honda XR650L, 33HP

    '07 Suzuki DR650, 35.6HP

    http://www.mcnews.com/mcn/technical/2012JanPerfIndx.pdf
    #2
  3. beergut

    beergut Thumper

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    it still sucks.

    :freaky

    I own one and am trying to make it suck less
    #3
  4. jtw000

    jtw000 Survivor

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    Sell it and buy a bike...:rofl
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  5. beergut

    beergut Thumper

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    yeah that option is looking very slim at the moment. I had intentions but they are slipping away and if I am going to make it half way not suck, now is the time.
    #5
  6. ParaMud

    ParaMud Been here awhile

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    You guys bought a klr to go fast??


    lol
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  7. beergut

    beergut Thumper

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    no
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  8. SloMo228

    SloMo228 World Class Cheapass

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    Not specifically about the KLR, but I have wondered along these lines - what is the reason for dirt-oriented bikes having these relatively low power outputs? I mean, just about any 650cc road bike has at least 20hp more than these numbers. I'm honestly not trying to start an argument here, just honestly wondering about what I perceive as an odd discrepancy. For instance, an 80s CB650 has at least 60HP at the crank, why would a Honda 650 dirt bike almost 30 years newer have just barely more than half that HP?
    #8
  9. oldxr

    oldxr Long timer

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    My Honda xr650r on the dyno.Top trace is the oem carb rejetted.Bottem is an edelbrock carb with a 21e needle.Most of the weak/poor driveability is from carbs jetted for emissions so the bike can be imported.The oem carb has poor throttle response at low rpms.I have since found a 20e needle for the eldo and pulled 43 mpg on combined highway/dirt road touring with a giant loop pack on back.I forget but I found a company that can build a 50hp klr motor some where on the net.Its is a modern dohc 4 valve engine.Problem is most klr riders dont want to drop $2k in the engine.Usually you deduct %20 for the difference between rwhp and crankshaft hp [​IMG]
    #9
  10. Tosh Togo

    Tosh Togo Long timer

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    Because the singles (1) don't have the ability to rev in order to make the horsepower that a similar-sized four-cylinder is capable of producing. It will, however, produce more torque than the multi, and have a broader spread of torque. (2) Singles don't have the valve area that an inline does. Same effect. :deal

    Fyi, I've ridden a few early 80's CB650... they're nice little streetbikes, if you don't mind a medium-bore that needs revs like a 250 Ninja does. It's the opposite of a KLR's powerband, and there's a very good reason for that. :1drink

    Engines produce torque, not hp. The torque curve is what a dyno measures, and the shape of it is what your butt feels when you whack the throttle.

    Mid-range rules, even if you don't have enough of it.
    #10
  11. Off the grid

    Off the grid Seeker of the Unf

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    The KTM 690 makes 61hp stock.
    #11
  12. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fotografist

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    It's slightly faster in the 1/4 mile than a new Dodge Durango.... and a 2009+ KLR is 37 hp, not 20......

    Your "fast google search" was not on task I am afraid. :deal

    The KLR will easily haul three times it's own weight. It's a donkey, not a racehorse.
    #12
  13. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    I think you've exceeded its GVWR.:(:

    The engine is VERY similar to the KLR600. When people say the bike has been around since '87, it is only warmed over from '84. It was a modest engine then.

    As for improvements: I REALLY like the 705 piston. I didn't put it in expecting it to be like an inline 4 or even my revvy twin, but it does make the bike more willing. And fun. I'll admit it, I have fun on an underpowered old design.

    I am not even considering hot cams, but there's more help there. Total cost of piston, sleeve, boring, and cams would be more than buying a different bike.
    #13
  14. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    I think you may be a candidate for a FCR PUMPER carb.
    That will give you that initial hit from the accelerator pump when you twist the throttle that you are probably longing for.
    #14
  15. Wallachian Spikes

    Wallachian Spikes Long timer

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    The KLR is still early '80s technology & it was designed with a "utilitarian" purpose, not as a race bike. When I got my first KLR an '00 in Marine Corps green I was shocked by it's lack of power & very dissapointed...... At first. The bike slowly grew on me & out of twenty different bikes the KLR is the only one I bought a second time.

    As a KLR owner I'm painfully aware of it's short commings & lack of H.P. is way up there on my list. When I heard Kawasaki was finally going to upgrade the KLR in '08, I was thrilled to death. However the end result was a heavier bike that looked (IMO) bulbus & silly. It still had the Doohicky & Thermobob problems, it is still only a five speed & cranks out basically the same underwhelming power. I wish they had left it alone, as I prefer the old look & it was already too heavy from the start.

    The appeal of the KLR is that it is the ultimate "Bargan bike" & I never fail to enjoy a ride on it. Sure other bikes are more fun at single purpose uses or at a much (KTM 690) higher price. Perhaps the Husqvarna 650 Terra will change that & hopefully Kick Kawasaki in the butt & be the inspiration to build the KLR I'd hopped for in '08.

    As it stands now, you either "get" the KLR or you don't but, it's the guys that "don't" get it that keep so many low milage KLRs on the used market at bargan prices that make guys like me love them so much. Still after 25 years, a modernized KLR with improvements on the flaws that actually matter to me would be nice.
    #15
  16. Dino de Laurentiis

    Dino de Laurentiis Working on it

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    As has been stated in the thread already, the DR and KLR has comparable power levels, as do a few other dual sport bikes like the XT 660. The reason is reliability and economy. They are designed to be affordable, so they don't use much exotic materials, and most have engines dating back to the 90s or even 80s in original form. They are also built to last, they really only need an oil change at specified intervals to make them last for tens of thousands of miles without issues.

    You can spend the money the factory didn't want to spend to increase performance, but usually the cost outweighs the gains. Not familiar with prices abroad, but just reflowing the head costs like 1/6-1/8 of the cost a used bike. A new carb, a few hundred dollars. Lightening the crank for faster throttle response, like a 1/4 of the cost of a used bike. A new exhaust system and carb jet, again, several hundred dollars (which will add 2-3 hp at most). Boring the cylinder, upwards of 700-800 dollars. This assumes that you can do all the mechanical work yourself.

    Having spent all that money, you'll end up with a bike that still doesn't come close to a KTM 690, for either power, weight o chassis components (brakes, suspension, wheels). Bascially, you're paying a lot more than it's worth, and it's also an investment you won't recoup when selling the bike.

    -edit- well, the poster above basically said the same thing as me. Serves me for not reading the thread properly.
    #16
  17. beergut

    beergut Thumper

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    Hey Wallachian Spikes, I rode the ole USMC 650 on Okinawa in 2006-2008.

    Lets face it, truth is I cant afford or get a new bike unless the absolute right deal comes along. I dont see that happening so I have to resort to plan B which is make this KLR to my desires and hang on to it. Because I dont putt around town at 50mph, I have an oil burner.

    I am willing to spend about $1000 to make this engine half way decent. If I could address what makes it suck so bad, I will head those challenges.

    Im thinking the 685 kit, porting and some valves. Maybe later this summer I will add some cams.

    ...now to go to the Harley shop to see if I can strap my beast wanna-be to their dyno.
    #17
  18. Wallachian Spikes

    Wallachian Spikes Long timer

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    Semper Fi Beergut. I was at Camp Schwab for a few months in '89. Had a blast in Okinawa. I didn't get to ride KLRs in the Corps but, we were using the 250 when I was in & I couldn't understand why we didn't use the 650. I heard the 250 couldn't handle the sand in Desert Storm & that was why we finally switched to the 650. The 650 is a heavy pig in the sand but, if you give it enough gas it will tractor your a$$ right through it.

    A buddy of mine has an '09 oil burner & the 685 kit fixed that problem but, he didn't get everything ported & polished so he only feels a minor power upgrade. They say you gotta do all the porting & polishing to get everything the 685 can deliver but, NOTHING will turn it into a KTM 690. He says the 685 actually lowers vibes though.

    Many times in the past money has been tight for me & the KLR was the difference between having a motorcycle & not having one. There are better bikes out there but, a KLR beats the hell out of not riding at all & the versitility of it is hard to beat. I have a 450 KTM for serrious dirt & it's WAAAAY more fun than my KLR but, if I could only have one bike I'd keep the KLR cuz it's just too practicle.

    If power is your main concern & you don't care about off road ability, I'd sell the KLR & pick up a good used Suzuki SV 650. You can probably find one for what you'll get out of your KLR & if you've got another $1,000 for engine work, you'll surely find an SV in your price range. Good luck with what ever you decide.
    #18
  19. Gone14s

    Gone14s Been here awhile

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    The story of the rabbit and the hare comes to mind here. KLR my not be fast but it will still be going when the higher end bikes are sitting it the shops for there tune ups. That and it will carry all your gear to boot.

    The KLR has been around for a long time and will be when most of the other bikes have faded away to the shadows. That's just a plan fact.
    #19
  20. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    Definatly, the 685 kit is all about smoothing out the engine and oil consumption.

    Beergut,
    Don't for a minute think it is going to solve your hp problem.
    The Klr will always be a Klr.You have to accept that and dedicate to it for what it is(if the bike can't adapt to your expectations, then maybe you need to adapt your expectations to the bike, improvise, overcome, adapt)or move on.
    Most of engine mods done are subtle and mostly address better driveability, not top power numbers.

    Like I said earlier, an accelerator pump is the only thing that is going to give you that "hit" feeling.All the fast bikes have an accelerator pump.

    But hey, just relax and refine your Klr and just thump around and enjoy life, your 60 now !! LOL !!
    #20
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