Technical Insights
by Elden Carl
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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

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!
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