KLR650 “A” and “E” Horsepower

When Todd Vosper and I did our comparison test of the 2005 and 2008 KLR650s we were
surprised that the 2005 pulled the 2008 on an uphill roll-on test. We knew better than to 
believe Kawasaki’s propaganda, but still we expected improved power in the new model.  

Since our 2008 was burning a litre of oil every 850 miles and my 2005 was consuming a 
litre in 10,000 plus miles, we surmised that combustion efficiency might be better in an 
engine that was not forced to burn a fuel, air, and “oil” mixture.

In an article published in the early 1990s, “Cycle” magazine reported KLR650 rear wheel 
horsepower to be 37.1. Now fast forward to May 2009 and “Motorcyclist” magazine reports 
that the 2009 KLR650 registered only 33.7 rear wheel horsepower. Since certified dynos 
were involved in both tests, we think the results are reliable. Our 2008 with its new “never 
go oval” L.A. chrome moly sleeve and MMP lighter and stronger forged piston isn’t 
completely broken in yet but already it revs quicker and feels stronger. Kawasaki can’t fix 
every KLR oil burning problem with a piston and rings. If their cheap cylinder sleeve goes 
oval, which it can at any time, heavy oil consumption will result. Keep an eye on the oil 
window.

Todd’s Note – We are happy to report that our 2008 is living a carefree life in 
Southeastern Arizona now. Although we only had 700 miles since the new top end before 
it sold, the consumption rate had already improved to approximately 7000 miles per liter – 
and that during break-in. Ride safe Doug!