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Old 31 Jan 2011
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KLE 500 questions

Hi to all. I have just bought a 2007 KLE500. Only 3,500kms on the clock and looks like new. I love the thing. Nice cheap reliable way to see if I like this adventure stuff after 30 plus years of trail riding. It has enough power to keep me happy for now and its great for zipping to work on. I thought about the KLR 650 and I know that bike is much more popular but I dont like the look of the KLR compared to the KLE. You have to like what you see when you walk into that garage. I have a list of questions for any KLE owners out there.

1. Does that rimfire airbox mod actually do anything and does it only work when you change the pipe as well? Will probably fit a Staintune pipe one day as easy to get in Australia. Not sure if there are any other brands available in Oz for the KLE. I like the nice quiet sound of the standard pipe but if the above mods give substaintial more power I will do it. Also has anyone fitted a Staintune pipe without changing jetting or needle settings? Staintune claim this is not needed. I have my doubts.

2. Whats the opinion on a different screen. Being a trail rider wind has never bothered me. The KLE wind buffeting seems Ok to me but if I was to fit something like an Eagle Wide Touring or similiar does it make a big difference?

3. Panniers? Is there anyone out there in Australia with a KLE that has fitted panniers and if so which ones. I saw some nice Oxford soft ones at MCAS in Sydney but no frame. Is this something you have to fabricate yourself?

4. High Front guard? What is the reason for for these ridiculous tyre hugging mud guards they fit to so called adventure bikes? The first bit of thick mud and that thing is going to stop the front wheel in its tracks. Has anyone fitted a high front guard and if so was it just a universal fit or a specific model?

5. Last is the seat. I cant decide if I like it or not. Im 6'3" and the position the dip forces you in feels unnatural to me. Again coming from a flat dirt bike seat where you can move anywhere is what I am used to so maybe I just have to get used to it. Whats the go with numb bum? I get this really bad after only about half hour in the saddle. Do all road bike seats do this? Has anyone out there modified a KLE seat or is something like the Airhawk the way to go?

Any help appreciated especially from Aussies who can point me in the direction of local parts and accessories. I love the bike and for $5200 for what is basically a "As new" bike Ive got a grin from ear to ear each time I ride it. It may not be in the same league as a KTM 990 or BMW 800 and the like but it will do me for now.

Thanks again.

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Old 31 Jan 2011
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Congratulations on purchasing one of the best general purpose bikes ever made.

Not that I am biased - grin, but have one as well from new with about the same
mileage. In answer to your questions from my point of view.

1) Never really wanted more power for my style of riding - I am an old f*rt
and it has a pretty good spread of power from lugging at low revs in the bush
(despite being a twin) on fire trails, and still able to cruise well on the highway
keeping out of the way of semi's. Fuel consumption is pretty constant at
60mpg (told you I was an old f*rt) from slow speed work on the tracks
to cruising at 100 - 110kph.

2) I fitted an Eagle screen from WA- the wide touring one - best thing I
have done as the windblast used to collect the helmet at speed and make
my eyeballs vibrate, not now with the new screen.

3) Not seen a frame for panniers, picked up some soft ones from a bike shop
in Sydney on special (near Central Stn) and they work wonderfully. No effect
on bike handling at all even when heavily loaded. On the other hand
when I used the heavy duty vinyl ones designed for Minsk bikes in Vietnam
the bike wandered all over the road when hit by wind gusts - BUT
it can carry a heck of a lot of camping gear, it just limits your speed to
80 - 90kph when a southerly hits.

4) No idea - have not been in real muddy conditions - yet, most of the
tracks down here have a sandy base and junk gets flung off as you ride.

5) SEAT - Hah - same effect of numb bum here, if you are over 5'8"
you seem to hit the rear of the padding and it is AGONY. I had a local upholsterer
move the hollow further back with no effect, picked up a sheepskin cover
from Berry, now able to ride for 6-7 hours before the derrière gets sore.
Abt $60 for a generic one that fits, ~ $160 for a custom one for the KLE.

6) Tyres - the standard ones were OK in the dirt but had me all over the
place when on tight tar twisties on Macquarie pass - dangerous, so replaced
them with 80% road oriented ones from Mitas, MUCH better for cruising
but a bit of a handful when in deep sand. Depends on what you want from
the bike.

Good luck with your bike and hope you have fun riding on it.

If you want a few ideas on rides and locations, check out the trip
reports by " Lonestar " on the Aussie Kawaski forum
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Old 1 Feb 2011
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hi shireboy,

congrats on the bike.

i've had mine for about 3 months and although i'm not as tall as you (5'7") i found the dip in the seat to be awkward as i tend to prefer riding futher back on the bike.

to fix this i removed the cover and cut out the foam to lengthen the dip, works a treat!

as for comfort get a sheepskin, warm and comfortable...just watch out when it rains.
Leading cause of motor accidents:
1) Speeding 2) Texting 3) Turtle Shells...?
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Old 5 Feb 2011
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Location: Australia
Posts: 38
Welcome Shireboy. With a tag like that you are probably close to my location.

I bought my KLE in 07. The bike was bought mainly to commute and being another old fart a sports bike wasn’t on the agenda. I have fitted an Eagle Wide Touring screen, keeps the wind off you and is especially great in the wet and Oxford heated grips. They make a big difference on those cold winter mornings. I also have a cheap top box to carry wet weather gear etc.

Mine is mainly used for commuting (70km per day) and the occasional weekend escape. The guys I ride with all have sports bikes so trail riding isn't on my list. I fitted a set of Metzler Lasertecs. Road handling is vastly improved as is the wear (5k from the old standard trailwings to 15k on the Metzlers).

Only problem with the Eagle screen has been in the last few days with the heatwave (35+). I have resorted to hanging off to the side to get some air.

We did a week end run to Mudgee just before Christmas (900km). I cruised all day at 120, no problem. You get used to the seat. Although I would like to have it modified I haven’t worked out what I want to do to improve it. I feel the problem for me is that the dip slopes forward and you end up sliding onto the tank. I may have it flattened and the rise moved back an inch.

I have read reports on this site and others that the airbox mod alone will improve performance but I haven’t seen any real proof (dyno sheets). One report here showed that with a DNA filter, Staintune pipe and opening up the airbox resulted rear wheel power going from from 34 to 39hp.

Anyway, enjoy the bike and welcome to the site.
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Old 9 Feb 2011
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Hi poppykle

I live in the Sutherland Shire ( Gods Country ) Caringbah South to be exact. I also use mine for commuting at this stage ( 50km a day ). Once it cools down a bit I will be doing a few adventure rides with guys I now trail ride with from the Batemans Bay area. They all have BMW's and KTM 990"s and such. Nice bikes Im sure but ones I cant afford and a bit big for the trails they do go on. Dropping a $20,000 bike and scratching it is not my idea of fun. Thats why I settled on the KLE. Cheap, look good, reliable and light. Pity they are not popular here but, because the after market accessory situation is pretty grim. Which brings me to the screen first off. If you say it made a big difference I might get one. Is yours the one with the curved lip at the top or the straight up one? Not being a road bike rider as such I am not sure what is acceptable wind buffeting on a road bike. I will go with heated grips but probably by the do it yourself kit from Ballards so that you can use whatever grip you like the best. I think a fair bit cheaper than Oxford as well. Tyres I will change for a better type once these wear out. OK at the moment. I agree with you on the seat. I cant decide what to do either. I think it needs the part where you sit flattened, made wider and the pillion section moved back about 2 to 3 inches. I sent Australian Cumfy Motorcycle Seats an email asking them but got no reply. Will try again one day. Have you seen the website Top Sellerie - Deluxe seats for motorcycles, petrol tank covers, tank bags and scooter leg covers [Rates for an order from : UNITED STATES] ? They look to do great seats. They have a listing for the KLE. I contacted Delkevic Australia the other day and they can sell me a full Stainless muffler can for $239 delivered to my door. Sure sounds better than $700 for a Staintune. The Delkevic gets good write ups and lots of people seem to say they are OK. If I do I will probably do the rimfire airbox mod and air filter and probably change jetting and needle settings. The bike to me feels very restricted out on the open road. I think a bit more air in and faster out is just what the KLE needs. Also the gearing seems wrong. You dont travel to far in each gear so I think it could go one bigger on the front or one smaller on the rear. I think it would just let it sit at a better rev range once up over 100kph or so. I bought a little digital clock from Dick Smith yesterday. Probably mount it in the middle just above the gauges. Cant believe how many times I have needed to know the time whilst out on the road. One last thing. Is your gearbox what I would call clunky? I might be just used to a trail bike gearbox but my KLE feels like a tractor. It clunks into each gear. Thanks again and also thanks to Paul and Alex for your replys. Once I get the KLE sorted it will make a great little adventure bike. Bye.
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Old 12 Mar 2011
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Hi there all,

I also have a KLE 500, for about 2 1/2 years now. It is a geat little allrounder and like most bikes reviewed in the various mags, is made even better with a few mods.
A pannier rack is available from Hepco Becker, agent in QLD. Around $400 from memory, then a choice of cases to fit (plastic or aluminium).
As for mods, as recommended by other owners, have fitted: HEL braided brake lines, front HH sintered brake pad, progressive fork springs, bar risers, Eagle Screen wide touring with windlip (still looking at another alternative as at highway speed I still get the head jitters from the wind.) An Aerotrim deflector mounted to top of screen. Headlight protector, acrylic. Pivot pegs. Airhawk cushion for that uncomfortable seat, still gets uncomfortable after a while, but fuel range demands regular breaks. Unifilter air filter. Large top box. Better chain.
Replaced original deathwings for Mitas E07's almost straight away. They were good allrounders. Went to Pirelli Scorpion Trail, great on road in dry and wet, lousy on gravel. Changed to Pirelli MT90 after the Trails started cracking very early on. Brisbane distributor changed FOC, except freight, as they may have been a bad batch of rubber, MT90's turn in quicker on road and are more slippery in the wet, have yet to try on gravel roads.
Would be interested in the Delkevic exhaust results, as this is on the wish list.
Other points are the brake pedal gets bent when you drop it on RHS, requires a vice to straighten out again. Watch the surface angle when you park it or the wind can knock it over!
Wish list includes new bars, Barkbusters, Oxford heated grips, exhaust, rimfire mod and re-jet. Maybe a Honda XL 600 rear spring (??).
Should be about it by then. Not much different to mods done on most bikes from straight off the showroom floor by the mags on long term test bikes.
Handles lots of luggage on long trips easily. Have taken it from Gold Coast to Melbourne, then GC to Tassie with no problems encountered. Except for the winds accross central NSW, but then a Harley rider had the same problem, so didn't feel so bad.
Overall a good, reliable, cheap, easy machine to live with. As they say, it's not a trail bike or a tourer, but it does a damn good job at most things thrown at it. Only wish the aftermarket parts were available. Can't win them all.
Hope you all continue to enjoy the left out allrounder.
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Old 28 Mar 2011
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Screen info

Hi shaunh. I was wondering what your thoughts are on the screen situation. I was just about to order one from Eagle. I was thinking of the wide touring but without the wind lip. I am really scared to order as Im reading from a few people that you still get buffeting. There must be something on the market that works better than the useless standard thing. About to throw a Delekevic pipe on mine and do the rimfire mod. Trying to get the jetting from someoene who has done both mods so I dont have to stuff around experimenting. Great bike regardless. Thanks
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Old 15 May 2011
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Screen info

Hi there,

I have the Eaglescreens' wide touring with wind lip. I found the buffeting at anything above 80 KPH gave me a headache almost instantly. Fitted an Aeortrim and it is now good up to 120 ish. Still get buffeted above 90 but it is liveable. The helmet has a lot to do with this, as I use a Zuess 2100B dual sport type (with a peak and visor). I was talking with someone over the weekend who suggested the win lip creates more turbulance then a straight screen of the same size. Keeter has a straight screen and ewckons it is good (he is 6'2" or so though). Eaglescreens were more than happy to discuss making a variation to their screen, but I never followed through, as for the most part the Aeotrim does the job. Strong side winds on long trips require removing the peak off the helmet, to be more comfortable. An enquiry to Eaglescreens should resolve what measures they consider would solve the problem, just not sure of any bracing which may be required. I have replaced the lightweight screen holder already (with another original), as it bent and broke under the forces encountered thru western NSW. A wider base and slightly wider screen would be nice, again the additional bracing may be required. There was a posting somewhere of a guy in England who made his own with 3mm plexiglass, used aluminium bracing and hangs a GPS on it. Think screens are like tyres, have to cough up the coin, then suck it and see.
Posted on another site about the exhaust. Have you fitted yet?

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Old 16 May 2011
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Location: Aberdeenshire
Posts: 28
Seat mod

Hi there shireboy

1. I haven't done the rimfire airbox mod but have discovered the following: You will need to change jetting as soon as you change anything on the airbox - I tried the larger airbox snorkel and it ran way too lean. I've changed my silencer for a straight through unrestrictive KTM SXF silencer and that hasn't made the bike unrideable with the standard jetting. I do have a K&N airfilter also. I'm trying to get some larger jets to see how they work with the larger snorkel. Do look up the KLE 500 jetting thread: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...ing-carb-41935

5. Wrt the seat: I'm 6'3" and I found the dip in my KLE seat a real pain. The seat was also on the softy side. I scrapped the original seat cover, bought a block (300mm X 700mm X 150mm) of stiff chip foam, softer 1" thick foam, and some tough vinyl from a local upholsterer.
I removed as much of the original foam as possible, just leaving enough to glue the new foam onto. I then covered the hardish chip foam with the inch thick foam and used the new vinyl to cover that all. I used an electric carving knife and marker pen to in shaping the foam.
Here's the result - a flat, high, hardish seat. I weigh about 80kg. I did about 600km on Saturday with not too much discomfort - I'm able to sit further back along the seat now, and also move up and down.

Check out the attached pic:

Hope you come right. Let me know if you'd like any further detail.
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Old 5 Days Ago
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Kle mods

Ive read a lot of posts here and there about the KLE500 and mods to liberate the stifled ponies.

Here is what Ive found along the way in the course of discovery, research, testing and trial and error.

The first thing I tried to do was modify the stock exhaust and fiddle with stock carb settings. In short, there's very little to be had from this. I tried gradual more and more severe, non reversible mods to existing muffler, in the end, having both ends of the original removable with riveted caps and a "core" packed with glass wool. The sound is pretty good, nothing harsh and certainly much quieter than aftermarket mufflers of this type. (and basically free!) But by the time you have suitably packed a bucketful of glass wool (the really fine stuff) into the muffler combined with the original steel walls of the original muffler casing, which by the way, have an inner perforated "lining" bonded to the inside of the walls, the weight is substantial. There is however, a noticeable improvement in response and low down torque. It is smoother off idle and easier to start. I removed the tiny snorkel, raised the needle with some very small washers and adjusted the idle mixture screws.
Encouraged by this, I decided to go a bit deeper. There's a ton of info out there about modifying the airbox but when all is said and done, basically they all revolve around getting more air into the airbox and ultimately the cylinders. You cant have too much air.. only not enough fuel. I bypassed all the hole drilling etc and went straight for a larger inlet hole. I removed the screen completely and installed a DNA filter. Next I used a heat gun to modify a 3" PVC plumbing fitting to shape into a new Oval shaped bell mouth. This does smooth airflow into the airbox and increases air in by a significant amount. (you can research this on the net)
I then installed a Dynojet stage 3 carb kit. You can work downwards from the supplied jetting with the stage 3 kit. I currently have 130 mains installed and this works very nicely. This yielded a bigger improvement again. Of course there's a bit of testing and I wont go into all that - needle clip position etc - but in short, much better everywhere.
But the nagging issue of header pipe compromise is still there. That was the next challenge. I tried cutting the pipe into smaller sections that could be joined with temporary clamps for refit and testing so that I could find these much talked about "cat cons" fitted to some models. I determined that mine had something of this type inside since when the pipe was off the bike (prior to cutting it up) I slid a tube down it to find the position of the cat con. Sure enough, there's one in each header near the Y junction and one also in the throat of the muffler. I duly cut the pipe, pried these out, (not easy!) and refitted with temp clamps..tested. .. a further improvement.
But still, the pipes themselves are a very poor design, left header being longer than right and the junction very much less than ideal, more like TEE than a Y and certainly not conducive to flow. So a bold decision was made to fit a dual exhaust.
This entails moving the side stand bracket which sounds like a big job but in reality is probably the easiest part of the whole deal. The KLE has an unusual footpeg design which lends itself very well to welding the cut off sidestand bracket to the lower side of the footpeg bracket. Add a bit of additional bracing here and there and you're good to go. Best part is you can do all this off the bike then simply bolt it on.
For me, living in Brunei (Borneo), having pipe bent to suit was a much bigger problem and as it turned out there isnt anyone in this country that could do that. In the end I used flexible washing machine drain hose (which so happens to be about 32mm correct size) and taped four peices of 1/8" fencing wire along its length spaced around the pipe equally ie at 12oclock 3 oclock 6 and 9.. This allows you to bend the flexible tubing and have it retain the shape you wish it to be. Then you can go find someone with a 32mm mandrel bender. In my case I took the left and right pipe sections to Australia on next visit and had them bent. No probs. Fitting was a bit of a fiddle. I had some little brackets made up in stainless here and there etc but all came together eventually. I found some elcheapo Chinese made SS car mufflers for $50 each and modified the inlets down and made up inserts for the tip. I installed a balance tube at front to distribute exiting flow into both pipes... smooths out minor differences, better flow and less noise. (also research on net)

Result is much smoother bike all round. Instant starting, perfect idle, great low down grunt in 6th gear from 1900rpm, strong middle 3500 to 5500 and mad top end. I usually sign off around 7500 since I dont see much point in gong higher but you could I guess.
The low end is where I wanted it. Its great uphills.. that little 500 can up those devils at ridiculously low rpms now with nice chunky thumper type torque pulses from very low down in tall gears! Impressive!

cheers from
Borneo doug
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