Kawasaki KLR650 Project Bike: Part 7

Alfonse Palaima
by Alfonse Palaima

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By now you know we don’t do things the normal way around here. Most people start their project bikes with a pipe and some rubber before the cosmetic stuff gets bolted on. Of course we did it backwards.

Why mess with the OEM settings, right? They designed it to work best in stock form, some would say. But once you break something, upgrade. That’s my personal motto and this is our compromise.

"...we strapped on an aftermarket exhaust and took ‘er for a spin around the block."

Nothing was broken on our Project KLR, but after 10,000 miles on the motor we strapped on an aftermarket exhaust and took ‘er for a spin around the block.

Jardine’s RT5 in brushed aluminum retails for $407.

New for the bike this month is Jardine’s RT5 aluminum slip-on performance exhaust system ( Jardine #12-3001-524-02), designed to fit KLRs from 1984 to model year 2009 – all of ‘em basically.

With a history in road racing, Jardine applied its wares to the off-road market, offering amateurs and pro racers AMA noise-compliant 4-stroke exhaust systems that will not only pass decibel testing but also add power and torque. We felt these traits made a Jardine can a logical choice for a dual-purpose mount like the KLR.

"...it will look good even after a few scratches in the desert."

Featuring a hybrid mechanical/perforated core, stainless-steel mid-pipe and aluminum, stainless steel or carbon-fiber muffler assemblies with USFS green-type spark arrestors, the RT5 has an MSRP of $407 for the model you see here on our bike. We chose the brushed aluminum RT-5 so it will look good even after a few scratches in the desert.

Installation couldn’t be easier. Just remove the KLR’s side cover, the rear brake reservoir cover, the stock muffler clamp T-bolt, two more bolts holding the 12-pound stock exhaust pipe assembly to the subframe and you’re ready to slide in place a shiny new exhaust. For relatively low effort, you get a good increase in power.

Clean, brushed-aluminum can with an aluminum end cap and branding that just peeks out from behind the stock plastic side cover.

Jardine designed the RT5 to work with the stock jetting, so it’s a plug and play option for any KLR owner. We installed ours right there on the dyno in about 15 minutes. Ten minutes later we had a dyno chart that’ll surely put a smile the faces of KLR owners.

At the first crack of the throttle, the throaty exhaust note had both HyperCycle’s Carry Andrew and me grinning ear to ear. Rock and roll in a box! You’ll feel like a supermoto racer with the new braaaaps emanating from behind you!

"Rock and roll in a box!"

In its stock form, the 651cc (100.0 x 83.0mm) mill pumps out 37 horsepower at 6200 rpm and just over 33 ft-lbs of torque at 5000 rpm, nearly identical to when tested with just 2200 miles on the odometer. Strapping on the Jardine pipe, you’ll find an increase across the board and throughout the entire rev range, ultimately adding 3 horsepower and 3.5 ft-lbs at their peaks.

Jardine’s RT5 Slip-on exhaust adds more than 10% more performance from your KLR without any jetting adjustments.

With horsepower now peaking at 40.1 at the same rpm, only the peak torque of 36.9 ft-lbs. migrated, down 200 rpm to 4800. And on the street, the bike runs slightly cooler as well, as indicated by the dashboard temperature gauge. Check out a short video of the KLR on the dyno with and without the Jardine RT5.

Adding over 12% more HP and 9.5% more torque, now your KLR will have something to say -- even at 80 mph -- something like “move over, I’m coming through!”

The Single has always had the power to blaze through traffic, but now you can hear the girl sing while doing it!

Highs: Lows:
Designed to work with the stock jetting Easy to fit install (It’s a slip-on, silly!) Weight savings of about 6 pounds New throaty note makes the KLR tougherYour neighbors won’t like you returning home late at night anymore.

Related Reading
Kawasaki KLR650 Project Bike: Part 1
Kawasaki KLR650 Project Bike: Part 2
Kawasaki KLR650 Project Bike: Part 3
Kawasaki KLR650 Project Bike: Part 4
Kawasaki KLR650 Project Bike: Part 5
Kawasaki KLR650 Project Bike: Part 6
Kawasaki KLR650 Project Bike: Part 8

Alfonse Palaima
Alfonse Palaima

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