KLR 650 Upgrades: Mods That Are ACTUALLY Value Your Cash

There are numerous KLR 650 upgrades that you are able to do to switch its efficiency and luxury, however not all of them are literally price your cash. Whether or not you need extra energy, higher suspension, or higher general consolation in your KLR, you’re in the best place!

On this article, I’ll present you:

  • The most effective upgrades & mods for efficiency, consolation, and safety based mostly in your particular wants
  • Why every mod might or is probably not best for you based mostly on the place you’ll be driving & your price range
  • The way to get essentially the most efficiency and luxury by combining the best mods

Earlier than you begin modifying your twin sport bike…

It’s straightforward to start out throwing components at your grime bike or bike to improve the efficiency, after which if you go to experience it, you discover that it doesn’t really feel or experience the identical. That’s as a result of it’s straightforward to make the error of doing too many mods directly or not correctly planning which of them work properly collectively.

You see, simply upgrading the suspension or tires may give it extra efficiency, but it surely actually depends upon the place you’re going to be driving and what your preferences are. Most inventory bikes already work very properly, so if you happen to don’t need to blow out your financial savings account, selecting the best mods can prevent some huge cash whereas nonetheless supplying you with a greater or extra comfy KLR 650.

2008 Kawasaki KLR 650 KLR 650 Upgrades: Mods That Are ACTUALLY Worth Your Money
A evenly modded Gen2 KLR650

The place do you experience most?

The KLR 650 is a reasonably versatile bike, so it may be safely ridden on many kinds of terrain. Earlier than shopping for and upgrading, you could work out what kind of terrain you’ll be driving on essentially the most.

If you happen to plan to do extra freeway miles on the pavement, then you definitely’ll need the most effective mods for driving on the road to make it extra comfy on long-distance journeys.
However if you happen to’re principally driving off-road, then you definitely’ll need path driving mods in order that you’ll have extra confidence within the grime.

Which era KLR650 do you’ve gotten?

Yet one more factor earlier than getting began is realizing which era Kawasaki KLR 650 you’ve gotten. When shopping for an aftermarket half, some issues might not match all the mannequin years, so please preserve this in thoughts so that you don’t purchase the improper half after which yell at customer support on the telephone or by e-mail!

Listed below are the three totally different KLR650 generations by their mannequin 12 months:

  • 1st gen: 87-07 (Carb)
  • 2nd gen: 08-18 (Carb)
  • third gen: 2022+ (EFI)
2022 Kawasaki KLR 650 1 KLR 650 Upgrades: Mods That Are ACTUALLY Worth Your Money
third Gen KLR650

Airbox/Consumption mod

One small cause why the KLR650 is so sturdy and dependable is that it retains loads of grime and particles out of the air field. The cleaner the air that goes by the consumption, the longer the engine will final as a result of grime eats away on the metallic components, sporting them out a lot faster, which results in needing a rebuild.

Nevertheless, for the reason that Consumption is so restricted, you’re lacking out on some potential energy and higher throttle response – particularly if you happen to improve the exhaust and/or engine. So, you take away the snorkel in case your KLR air field has one, or you may lower an “L” form opening on the highest of the air field for a giant potential improve within the air coming in.

KLR 650 air box modified by cutting an
Modified Air Field

This additionally will increase the prospect of extra grime and water coming in, but it surely’s unlikely until you’re driving by a deep mud gap. 

You can even add a number of 1” Uni air field vents (Amazon) for higher airflow with out a a lot greater threat of sucking in grime by the carburetor.

Will you could re-jet after an air field mod?

Typically, you have to to regulate the jetting after uncorking (opening up) the air field. Once you improve the quantity of air going to the carb, it will typically create a lean air-fuel combination. A fast gasoline screw adjustment can probably repair this subject. You additionally won’t really feel a lot, if any, horsepower improve after this mod till you correctly regulate the jetting.

Carb Jetting – extra advantages than you assume

A inventory Kawasaki KLR 650 (1st & 2nd gen) runs fairly properly if you happen to depart them fully inventory, however you may be capable to get some extra efficiency after some slight jet tuning, in addition to a greater operating bike.

Inventory jetting:

Advisable jetting for 1000’ ft. @ 70F deg (uncorked):

  • Pilot: 45
  • Essential: 155
  • Needle: 2 shims below clip (or use KLX needle)
  • Gas screw: 1.5-2.0 seems

You should buy the person jets pretty low-cost, or if you happen to simply desire a package, you will get the 6 Sigma Jet Equipment (Amazon) for an inexpensive worth and it comes with all the pieces you could improve the consumption and carb efficiency on any KLR 650 from 1987-2018.

The “22 Cent” mod – what’s it?

It requires utilizing two #4 Chrome steel washers (Amazon), which usually price 22 cents for a pair of them if you happen to go to your native ironmongery shop. You merely set up them below the inventory needle clip on the carburetor throttle slide.

This raises the needle, just like adjusting the needle clip place on an adjustable needle. It makes the air-fuel combination barely richer, supplying you with a greater throttle response as a result of the inventory jetting is commonly tuned too lean – particularly if you happen to modify the consumption or exhaust.

KLR 650 Suspension improve

You need to perceive that the KLR 650 is a giant and heavy twin sport bike, so don’t count on it to EVER deal with properly off-road like a path bike that weighs below 300 lbs. With that stated, the most effective first suspension improve is setting it up in your weight and driving type.

The inventory suspension is smooth and plush, which is nice if you happen to’re a newbie and driving on the road or gravel roads. However if you happen to begin including weight (gear – or to your stomach!) or experience extra aggressively, the suspension will really feel “wallowy” (bouncing) and can backside out extra simply – totally compress (you’ll really feel/hear a “clunk!”)


If you happen to’re a heavy man that weighs over 200 lbs, you’re packing a heavy load, otherwise you simply need extra efficiency, then you definitely’ll need to improve to some stiffer progressive fork springs (Amazon).

It will assist stop the entrance finish from diving below braking or simply blowing by the stroke and feely too “springy” like a pogo-stick.

Poor man’s re-valve

You can even use heavier-weight fork oil (Amazon) to make it really feel stiffer. Heavier oil slows down the compression and rebound, so it’s like a poor man’s re-valve. 

One other easy trick is rising the fork oil peak. Since oil is more durable to compress than air, having extra oil will assist stiffen it up, particularly because the forks get nearer to bottoming,

Simply watch out to not add an excessive amount of oil or else you may blow the seals. Please consult with your OEM service handbook for optimum oil peak (minimal air hole).

DIY customized re-valve for reasonable

The inventory forks are fairly fundamental in terms of the valving know-how, however including some Race Tech Gold Valve Emulators (Amazon) is a reasonably reasonably priced method to really feel some actual efficiency improve. You’ll be capable to push more durable and experience sooner with out bottoming out the forks.
If you happen to don’t thoughts taking the forks aside, it’s bang in your buck fork improve.

Bracing the fork

If the inventory forks nonetheless really feel too mushy to you, then they may simply be flexing an excessive amount of. Once you’re driving aggressively or have loads of weight on a motorbike, the forks will flex and bend because it compresses and rebounds – typically an excessive amount of to be comfy.

Putting in a CNC machined fork brace (Amazon)  offers the entrance forks extra rigidity, supplying you with extra stability, particularly at excessive speeds or if you happen to’re doing loads of off-road driving.

Shock improve

You should buy a full aftermarket shock (Procycle) that offers you a lot better efficiency, however at a excessive price ($500-1500). In case your funds are tight, then a easy shock spring improve (Amazon) may be executed for about 100 {dollars} if you happen to do it your self, which takes about an hour to do.

Are you able to decrease the seat peak?

Sure, a easy and reasonably priced set of decreasing hyperlinks (Amazon) may be put in in your KLR650 rear shock linkage. This lowers the rear of the bike about 2”, making it simpler to get on, experience, and are available to a cease – particularly if in case you have quick legs like me!

Two points with a decreasing hyperlink that may be resolved

One drawback is that you simply may need to shorten the inventory kickstand in order that it doesn’t stand upright an excessive amount of – it would tip over if you happen to don’t place it in a spot the place it’s leaned over far sufficient.

The opposite subject is that with the rear finish decrease, your KLR 650 received’t deal with as properly. You will want to steadiness the suspension by decreasing the entrance, which may be executed by decreasing the forks within the triple clamps – simply mark or report the unique spot in case you need to put it again.

The excellent news is that if you happen to improve your driving talent and steadiness so that you simply don’t want a decrease seat peak, you may simply set up the inventory linkage again onto your bike.

Gearing – low-cost efficiency improve

The inventory KLR 650 sprocket gearing is a fairly good compromise between acceleration and prime velocity or cruising velocity. However, if you need extra of 1 or the opposite, then a easy gearing swap can actually make a distinction in how your bike runs – and it’s one of many most cost-effective mods!

Higher acceleration for off-road driving

Altering the gearing doesn’t change the torque or the horsepower, however you may have faster acceleration as a result of the gears really feel nearer collectively in order that the RPM (energy) doesn’t drop as a lot if you shift up.

If you’d like a decrease 1st gear and higher acceleration for off-road or path driving so that you don’t have to make use of the clutch as a lot, happening to a 14T entrance sprocket (Amazon) is tremendous low-cost and pretty straightforward to do. 

You’ll simply have to regulate the chain stress as a result of it is going to be too unfastened with a smaller countershaft sprocket.

2005 Kawasaki KLR250 KLR 650 Upgrades: Mods That Are ACTUALLY Worth Your Money

Excessive prime velocity & cruising for the freeway

On the flip aspect, if you happen to’re doing extra long-distance driving on the freeway or freeway, your 650cc Kawasaki engine will likely be buzzing fairly properly at 65-70 mph with inventory gearing. Some individuals complain of getting numb fingers from these vibrations, which make it arduous to hold on and use the controls.

Going as much as a 16T entrance sprocket (Amazon) is a straightforward method to carry the cruising RPM down for a number of causes. It reduces put on and tear in your engine, vibrates much less, and you may probably get higher gasoline financial system if you happen to’re cruising at excessive speeds.


The 650cc 4-stroke KLR engine is liquid-cooled, which usually produces extra energy in comparison with an air-cooled engine, however that’s not what makes this engine nice. It’s nice as a result of it’s clean, straightforward to experience, and tremendous dependable – however that doesn’t imply you may’t improve it!

Large bore package

Putting in a giant bore package isn’t solely a great way so as to add energy, however a high quality huge bore piston package (Schnitz) may repair an oil burning subject, in addition to scale back engine vibration. The one downside is that you must bore the cylinder out, so I like to recommend taking it to a machinist you belief and giving them the brand new piston in order that they match for correct clearance.

A 685cc huge bore will work on any KLR650 1996 or newer. The older engines have a cylinder wall that’s too skinny to securely bore out, however you should use a ‘96 or newer cylinder in your older KLR as a result of they’re interchangeable.

You can even go as much as a 692cc, 705cc, or 719cc huge bore piston (EagleMike), however you’ll want an aftermarket cylinder liner for the 705 and 719 cc huge bore piston kits.


Upgrading to a Scorching Cams Consumption camshaft (Amazon) is nice if you happen to already modified the consumption, engine, and exhaust. It’s possible you’ll not see an enormous energy improve with a camshaft improve by itself, however the inventory cam will likely be choking your engine down if you happen to’ve executed all the pieces else.

A top quality porting job on the cylinder can also be essential if you need all the pieces to work properly collectively. You possibly can simply get 20-30% extra horsepower with all these mods when executed proper.

Auto clutch

Uninterested in utilizing the clutch or simply need to degree up your low-speed talent? A Rekluse RadiusX clutch package (Amazon) isn’t low-cost, however it is going to remodel your KLR650 if you happen to usually use the clutch typically.

You possibly can nonetheless use the clutch lever to slide the clutch, however you don’t want to the touch it if you put your bike in gear or shift it.

Rekluse RadiusCX Clutch Kit KLR 650 Upgrades: Mods That Are ACTUALLY Worth Your Money
Rekluse RadiusX Clutch package from Motosport 


If you happen to don’t want extra energy and don’t care about sound, appears, or weight, then there’s no level in upgrading to an aftermarket exhaust in your Kawasaki KLR650. However, if you happen to DO need to improve one in all these, then there are fairly a number of choices, from head pipes to mufflers.

All of them will improve the sound output, however some may have the next decibel ranking than others if you happen to’re involved about having an obnoxiously loud bike.

Listed below are your prime KLR650 exhaust pipe choices:

Do you must re-jet the carb after putting in an aftermarket exhaust?

Typically, sure, you’ll have to make a jetting adjustment. It might be so simple as turning the gasoline screw, which solely takes a couple of minutes. If you happen to don’t correctly tune the jetting, you’ll have points, similar to:


Tires are upkeep gadgets, so you could change them on occasion, however you too can FEEL an enormous acquire in efficiency and confidence if you happen to use the proper of tires for the driving you’ll be doing. The inventory KLR 650 tires are an honest 50/50 combo, which means they’re neither biased for the grime nor the pavement, in order that they’re not nice at both.

  • Greatest KLR 650 tires for off-road: Kenda Large Block (Amazon) – Jimmy Lewis recommends operating it within the “Arduous” route
  • Greatest KLR 650 tires for freeway/pavement: Pirelli Scorpion rear (Amazon)

Only for reference, listed below are the inventory KLR650 tire sizes:

  • Entrance: 90/90×21
  • Rear: 130/80×17

Seat improve

Whether or not you desire a decrease seat peak otherwise you simply need extra consolation for lengthy rides, there’s a easy (though considerably costly) choice to improve out of your inventory seat. The Kawasaki OEM low seat (Amazon) is an effective alternative if you happen to simply desire a decrease seat peak of about 1.5 inches to be able to contact the bottom extra simply when beginning and stopping.

For a extra custom-made and cozy seat, you may improve to the Sargent low seat (Amazon) which can also be decrease to the bottom however offers you higher consolation as a result of it’s formed correctly and makes use of higher-quality supplies.

How a lot is it price to you to have a butt that’s not so sore after an extended experience?

Skid plate

Are you going to be gliding over logs or smashing into rocks? Then you definately’ll desire a high quality skid plate to guard your body cradle and engine.

The very last thing you need is a rock or impediment punching a gap by your engine case, leaving you stranded in the midst of nowhere. This skid plate is for 1st gen (87-07), and this one (Amazon) is for a 2nd gen (08-18)

Crash safety

If you realize you’re going to be falling over otherwise you simply need some additional insurance coverage, including some metal crash bars is one other easy mod to guard your engine, radiator, and fuel tank.
These are the highest picks on Amazon based mostly on which mannequin 12 months you’ve gotten:

Wind safety

The inventory windscreen isn’t very efficient on the KLR 650. You’ll get overwhelmed up from loads of “buffeting” if you happen to cruise on the freeway, which will get exhausting if you happen to’re driving long-distance.

By putting in an aftermarket windshield/display screen, you may significantly scale back the quantity of turbulent air in order that your chest and head received’t get pushed round such as you’re a bobblehead. There are a number of totally different display screen peak choices, relying on the way you need it to perform and look.

Listed below are the highest KLR 650 windshield upgrades on Amazon:

Hand safety

There are a number of various kinds of handguards that may assist roughly, relying on the place you’re driving. If you happen to’re driving off-road and count on to hit your bars on the bushes or fall on some rocks, including some bark-buster handguards (Amazon) is a few additional insurance coverage.

It not solely protects your treasured fingers and fingers, however it may well additionally stop your brake and clutch levers from breaking off, making it arduous or unattainable to make use of the entrance brake and clutch.

Headlight improve

If you happen to’re driving at night time, rising the sunshine output is not going to solely make it simpler so that you can see what’s developing on the path however you’ll even be seen extra simply by oncoming drivers on the highway. The inventory headlight is okay, however you may undoubtedly improve the lighting for reasonable lately with out having to improve the stator.

Listed below are some reasonably priced LED bulb upgrades based mostly on which 12 months KLR650 you’ve gotten:

GPS Speedo sprint improve

Whether or not you desire a extra fashionable look or extra options, upgrading to a Path Tech Voyager Professional GPS (Motosport) is one ‘farkle’ (mod) that will or is probably not best for you. It’s not low-cost, however if you need a speedo dashboard that may do nearly something, together with GPS and “buddy monitoring”, it is a good improve.

Trail Tech Universal Voyager Pro GPS Kit KLR 650 Upgrades: Mods That Are ACTUALLY Worth Your Money

The buddy-tracking system makes use of your GPS location and leaves a “monitor” in your map, exhibiting your driving buddies the place you’ve ridden and are presently situated so that you simply don’t get misplaced in the midst of nowhere! The one downside is that you must persuade your “mates” to get the Voyager Professional GPS as properly.

Placing all of the mods collectively

Once you mix the best mods, you may have a totally totally different (and higher) operating and dealing with grime bike. That additionally means you may spoil its dealing with, reliability, and efficiency if you happen to aren’t correctly planning forward.

That’s why I made a fast listing of the highest upgrades based mostly in your particular wants and the place you’ll be driving most. I additionally added an inventory on the finish that provides a number of cheaper equipment that may be helpful in your KLR650 if you happen to do loads of driving.

Greatest KLR 650 upgrades for path driving:

  • Jetting
  • Shorter gearing
  • Off-road tires
  • Skid plate
  • Crash bars
  • Hand safety

Greatest KLR 650 upgrades for twin sport & ADV driving:

  • Jetting
  • Taller gearing
  • Tires
  • Crash bars
  • Windshield

High low-cost & useful mods in your KLR 650:

The most effective mod to make you a greater rider

There are numerous mods to make your KLR 650 sooner and extra comfy, however there’s one mod that many individuals skip as a result of they don’t assume they want it. The most effective mod is a brand new rider – YOU, and a standard mistake is simply driving and making an attempt to determine it out by yourself. I need to present you easy methods to stop crashes that may result in damage or injury to your treasured bike – click on right here to learn the way.