KLR-650 Upper Chain-Wheel Kit

Price: $39.95

Manufacture: Top Gun

Application: KLR650 1987+


You know we are big fans of the KLR-650 and we think it’s one of the two finest big-bore multisurface motorcycles on the market. For some reason though, the folks at Kawasaki have produced a motorcycle for off-road use with minimal lower, and absolutely NO upper, chain run control. Look at any other off-road bike, like the DR-650, and you’ll find some sort of chain control, most commonly rollers. Elden noticed this problem more than ten years ago and installed his own chain roller. The only problem with Elden’s method was that it required some nifty handiwork to drill precisely through the sub-frame to provide a location for installation. Fast forward to 2006, and we asked Old Top Gun to take another look to find an easier solution. What you see here is the culmination of a lot of research, a lot of time with a KLR-650 up on the lift, some fine work by the good folks at MacDonald Products in San Diego, and another tangible example of Elden’s innovative problem solving ability.

A view of the Chain Master roller  in position above the upper chain  run.

A view of the Chain Master roller in position above the upper chain run.

This is our first “neccessory” for the KLR-650. A great term coined by Elden, it describes those items that may be aftermarket upgrades, but are vital to the long-term health of your ride. In our minds, there are four neccessories for the KLR-650: upgraded balancer lever & tensioner spring with an inspection port ; a properly sized and heavier straight-wound rear spring; a MacDonald Products upgraded shift lever; and now the Chain Master. All of these products share one thing in common – Elden conceived or collaborated on every one – and the spring, shift lever, and Chain Master can be found at MMP.

Why do you need a Chain Master?

There are three main reasons that any KLR-650 rider needs a Chain Master:

  • Protect airbox vent
  • Reduce chain slack at full rear suspension compression
  • Allows better engagement of the counter-sprocket by the chain during rear suspension compression
Airbox vent-tube cover damaged  by chain.

Airbox vent-tube cover damaged by chain.

On the KLR-650, the airbox vent tube lies directly above the chain and bears the brunt of this omission. In the picture to the upper right, the airbox vent-tube cover has been torn by the chain. This damage obviously defeats the purpose of the vent cover by creating a larger opening for dirt and dust to enter the airbox.

Over time, the damage is more dramatic, as evidenced by the picture to the right. Here, the cover for the vent tube has been completely torn away, and the abrasion damage from the chain to the tube itself is easy to see.

The Top Gun Chain Master is designed to take advantage of existing frame fittings to place a chain roller in the proper position to control the upper-chain run. The Chain Master comes with simple to follow instructions, as well as all hardware necessary to complete installation. It is made with only high quality components; even the fasteners included are significantly stronger than those installed by the factory. By installing the Chain Master, you will effectively upgrade your lower left subframe bolt!

Airbox vent tube taking a lot of  abuse.

Airbox vent tube taking a lot of abuse.

Many KLR-650 riders are unaware of this problem, but even street-only riders will benefit from this protection. We gave a Chain Master to an experienced rider associated with a major motorcycle publication for testing. During a stop, he struck up a conversation with a fellow rider who happened by on another KLR-650. The conversation soon turned to our product, and the other rider commented that he didn’t think the KLR needed a chain roller. After a quick explanation of its benefits by our test rider, they walked over to the other rider’s KLR, only to find that the vent-tube cover had already been torn off!

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