For a long time we’ve been preaching about spending your money wisely on aftermarket
items for the KLR650. We often find that owners are way too willing to fork-out big bucks
on parts that do nothing more than look good and often simply add unwanted extra
weight to the already heavy KLR. In fact, we’ve found that some of the added parts that
are suppose to protect vital areas in the “inevitable” fall down actually contribute to the
fall because of the added extra weight, especially up front.
Most KLR650 owners already know or soon realize that the rear suspension on the KLR
is very inadequate when it comes to doing the job. Replacing the shock with an
aftermarket unit is an expensive venture to say the least, with all too often disappointing
results. There are other more economical options available for improving the stock rear
The main weakness of the stock rear shock is the wimpy 5.05 kg spring. It won’t maintain
proper ride height (for most riders) and usually bottoms out when hitting even mediocre
dips and bumps. Add a passenger, a bag or two, tools, lowering links, and some un-
needed aftermarket items and now you’re in for a real treat.
Top Gun Motorcycle Products developed three different aftermarket rear shock springs
for the KLR650 that have solved the wimpy spring problem once and for all.
The springs are as follows (add approx. 20lbs if you ride a 2008):
- 6.6 kg (yellow) for 160-230 lbs
- 7.4 kg (white) for 230-280 lbs
- 8.0 kg (gray) for 280 and beyond
These springs are made of the highest quality steel available and are specifically
designed for the KLR650 stock shock. A recent customer e-mail commented that the
spring was the best purchase he had made for his KLR.
These springs are sold by Multisurface Motorcycle Products (MMP) on the Top Gun
website along with other KLR650 and DR650 products designed by and manufactured to
Top Gun specifications.
Hemispheric KLR650 Traveler Melyvn Clark on the Move Again, by Elden Carl
When it comes to foreign travel on a KLR650, probably no one compares to Mel Clark
As we reported earlier, Pauline and I first met him in Mulege, Baja (600 miles below the
border) some four years ago while on a ride. At the time, his 04 KLR650 had a few
thousand miles on it. It now is parked in my storage shed pretty much worn out and with
90,040 miles on the clock.
Earlier this year Mel purchased a new 07 KLR650 which Top Gun and MMP prepped for
him. Set up included mostly break-in service and adjustment. Valves were adjusted and
the balancer system up graded with an 08 lever, MMP spring and the all important
Wexman/Carl inspection port.
Top Gun recently again serviced Mel’s KLR before he crossed the Mexican border. The
clock on the 07 now reads 18,264 miles as a result of traveling for 6 months in the
western U.S. and British Columbia.
On 09/17/08 Mel Clark crossed our southern border at Tecate B.C. Mexico headed
ultimately for Argentina and other countries in South America.
We doubt if anyone can match Mel’s 108,300 mile KLR North American odyssey and now
he will be adding greatly to the total. His first KLR650 only stopped running once with a
failed stator. Will the 07 do as well? We’ll see, keep posted (by the way Mel, I looked for
you at the Hostel in Ensenada a couple of days after your departure but to no avail. I
owe you a trip to Mariscos de Bahia de Ensenada when you return. Good luck.
2008 KLR650 Parts Availability, by Elden Carl
Top Gun has already suffered an electrical failure on the 08 KLR650 with 3000 miles on
the clock. In the process of diagnosing the problem, Todd checked on the availability of
two parts. One was a starter relay and the other a starter. Both items were back ordered.
Two weeks later we are still waiting for the starter relay. I don’t remember any back
orders on the pre-08s. Makes one wonder if Thailand is up to the job. We know they
aren’t when it comes to assembling the bike in the first place. With poorer quality parts,
faulty assembly procedures, and less availability, one must wonder how far Kawasaki
can go with this model. Maybe a long way, as long as there are folks who believe less
than 1,000 miles per litre of oil is normal!