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Old 02-07-2013, 07:39 AM   #1
misterjack OP
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KLR highway speeds

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?

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Old 02-07-2013, 09:40 AM   #2
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What is the highest speed to comfortably cruise on a KLR without doing any harm to the bike? Ive got an '89 KLR 650
Well, on my 2008 I regularly cruise at an indicated 75-80.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:43 AM   #3
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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.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:50 AM   #4
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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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Old 02-07-2013, 09:51 AM   #5
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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.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:54 AM   #6
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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.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:24 AM   #7
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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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Old 02-07-2013, 11:50 AM   #8
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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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Old 02-07-2013, 02:50 PM   #9
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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 ride it under 5000 rpm, get a 16 or 17 tooth front sprocket
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by KickStart1 View Post
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 ride it under 5000 rpm, get a 16 or 17 tooth front sprocket
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.
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by CA Stu View Post

The KLR is not built for superslab mile munching, I reckon.

I bet Alan Leduc would disagree with ya.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:06 PM   #12
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I bet Alan Leduc would disagree with ya.
Yabbut, he has a big windscreen on his.

It's like eating a bicycle. I wouldn't do it, but I'm pretty sure someone could.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:11 PM   #13
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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....

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Old 02-07-2013, 04:17 PM   #14
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Yabbut, he has a big windscreen on his.

It's like eating a bicycle. I wouldn't do it, but I'm pretty sure someone could.
Damn it, now I'm hungry!
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:17 PM   #15
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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.
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