balancer lever/system was in order. Problems with the balancer system were first identified
back in 1984 on the KLR600. The first aftermarket copy was produced by the late Jake
Jakeman. Elden saw that although Jake’s lever was better than the stock lever, there were
still improvements to be made. He contacted Eagle Manufacturing and requested a better
fitting and tougher lever be made. Since then, the Eagle lever has probably become the
standard replacement for the Kawasaki part. Elden, with Scott Wexman, also designed the
inspection hole which allows the rider to check the tensioner spring prior to making an
adjustment. We still believe the inspection hole is a critical addition to any KLR, even with
Kawasaki’s new lever upgrade because, among other things, it allows you to monitor the
balancer chain and sprocket wear. Now, on to Elden’s good stuff!
at Mely’s in Mulege, Mr. Kurt Grife. True, we didn’t get the preferred gear-driven balancer
system, but we did get an improved balancer system. How do we know? Todd Vosper
researched the 2008 parts diagram then ordered a new balancer adjustment lever and
new spring – which had differing parts numbers (last four digits) indicating changes.
the older models. At last Kawasaki went “one piece and tough” instead of “two welded
pieces and wimpy.”
The spring is a perplexing part because although it looks beefy and high quality like
the one in the DR650SE shift mechanism, it appears to be too long at 46.4mm. The
rumor has been that Kawasaki was withholding release of the 2008 because of
an internal engine problem; we can’t help but wonder inf this spring is the problem.
However, there appear to be other modified parts – the crankcase among others – which
may in time yield some answers on whether or not some type of change has been made
to use a longer spring. Only time will tell, and you can be sure that as soon as we get our
2008 we’ll crack it open and take a look.
Not only have they fixed the lever once and for all, but there is a new front balancer shaft,
and some bearings in the system with new part numbers (hopefully) indicating
improvements. More on that in a later issue when we have the bike in hand.
Interestingly, the new, tough-looking balancer adjustment lever (or lever, idler shaft) was
made in Japan, while the spring was produced in Thailand.
At last you will be able to buy a KLR650 that doesn’t have to be fixed before you feel safe
running the engine. Furthermore, you can upgrade your pre-2008 with factory-backed
parts. We plan on continuing to install our inspection hole so we can tell when the
system needs servicing.
Top Gun Motorcycles has a 2008 KLR650 on order and we plan on studying it very closely.
We will be reporting back to you, our readers, with our findings.
We will install the new 2008 factory lever in Elden’s 2005 KLR650 at the next oil change.
There will be pictures and commentary on this website following the operation.
Update on Subframe Bolts (by TV)