As some know, I have an 05 Kawasaki KLR650. It has more than a few mods in it and it's got now 21,000 miles on it.
Recently I purchased a new set of sprockets, a chain and a couple Pirelli MT21 RallyCross tires for it. Having run Metzler Karoos for ever on this thing, I thought I'd go with a new brand and different rear tire size. Stock is 120/90-17 and I chose 130/90-17 which is visibly taller but of the same width and roughly the same pattern as the Karoo. It is about 90% dirt and 10% street.
Quite sometime back I switched counter shaft sprockets and went with one tooth up at 16 rather than stock 15. Reasoning being that at highway speeds, I wanted to drop the motor RPM some and did so to the tune of about 6%.
Now, with the higher profile rear, I made a calculation of the theoretical top speed of the bike. At 5000 RPM, the speed was indicated at 80. With a redline of 7500, the indicated top speed would be 120 if it had enough power to pull it which it doesn't. Given that the speedo is about 10% off, the true top would be 108.
This bike of mine is lowered 1" in the interest of making it less of a 'sail' in crosswinds. This has worked out perfectly and I have one of the best testing areas for this 15 miles up the California coast from my house at this place called Gaviota. I was there just yesterday trying the bike out with the new skins. These Pirellis are super slick when new. They do feel excellent on the slab at 75 to 80 actual. This is very good because I want to stay with this type of tire even when I hit longer distances on the street.
I did have to modify the chain guard on the bandsaw in order to have this knobby profile not interfere but it came out excellent.
The following are the mods I have on this bike:
1) K&N air filter, drilled out airbox
2) Oversized front rotor
3) Progressive fork springs
4) Progressive 420 rear shock
5) Dual Star lowering links, shortened side stand, anti puncture shift lever(saved the case already on 1 occasion but destroyed the shift lever so yup, I bought another!)
Radiator guard(saved the radiator, still in great shape, plastic rad/side cover bit the bag)
billet rear brake pedal mount(will not crack or shatter on impact), water pump guard, and rear master cylinder guard.
6)Galfer SS lines front and rear.
Now..........thoughts on the future:
I think the Kwak KLR could very well be the perfect adventure bike with the right approach. This approach for me would be as follows:
I would start with a brand spanking new KLR 650. I would break it in as I did this one: FAST. During this time I'd evaluate the new forks and front brake along with the rear shock capability. If I found the improvements to be satisfactory, great! I'll have more money for the motor. If not, same treatment as my current bike above.......new rear shock, lowering links, progressive springs and oversized rotor. (This mother foiker really does stop, massively!)
Next, I'm looking at this 705 big bore kit.
Performance Projects: Kawasaki KLR 685 & 705 Kits
To this I'd couple a complet exhaust system/air filter with a dyno-tuned re-jet. Yes, I'd dyno it first. Can't lose the opportunity to really cover these mods.
Then, I'd add the ruggedizing features above to the radiator, side cases, shift lever etc.
Next would be the rear luggage rack and quick remove fasteners. A larger wind shield is a must.
Finally, I'd definitely add the higher profile rear tire (130/70), the 16 tooth front and a two tooth smaller rear.
Now, this bike would be happy all day long at a true 80 mph.
I am actually seriously considering this, bouncing it back and forth in my head. I've got to do some more research on the big bore kit. Somewhere stuck in my mind is this desire to pull the crank and have it balanced and welded. This would add a huge measure of reliability to the bottom end.
Thoughts, ideas, observations welcomed.