K&N air filter any good or a problem? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 11 Old 01-07-2013, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Eastern US
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K&N air filter any good or a problem?

Advice, opinions please.

Just recently sold a K12 Beemer and bought the '07 Wee.
I heard once K&N filters are not all that good.

Besides the fact that the OEM filter is merely a few dollars cheaper than the K&N, there do not appear to be many other manufacturers that make filters for the Wee.

Any thoughts on this, is K&N filters really worth it?

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Last edited by greywolf; 01-07-2013 at 11:30 AM. Reason: Oil brand references deleted
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post #2 of 11 Old 01-07-2013, 11:49 AM
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I use to think K&N Filters were great..........until someone explained that their media sizing was larger than the OEM filter, thus allowing "more air flow", but with the penalty of NOT trapping as much dirt (i.e. smaller granules) in the filter. I'm not sure how the media oil comes into play......maybe it traps the smaller particles in the K&N unit??? Regardless, the washing/re-oiling hassle is not worth it to me.........guess I'm getting old and cranky.

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post #3 of 11 Old 01-07-2013, 12:29 PM
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K&N air filter

Used a K&N for a year or two, mechanics at my local shop thought so little of them (based on their observations, i.e. poor filtration), I got paranoid and went back to OEM.
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post #4 of 11 Old 01-07-2013, 01:22 PM
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Some discussion of 3 brands here:


I've used K&N on cars and bikes with no problem. I've got about 70K mi on a Pipercross on the Wee. Was a tight fit in the housing...have to be careful to get it all snugged up and not have a leak that will bypass the fileter.

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post #5 of 11 Old 01-07-2013, 01:37 PM
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The idea behind oiled foam or oiled gauze air filters is they have freer flow from larger openings but the flow pattern is convoluted. Air has to turn to get through the passages. Particulates, being heavier, don't corner as well and stick to the oiled surface as they go wide when cornering. Oiled filters are popular with dirt bike riders as they don't clog as fast and actually shake off dirt accumulations as the oil causes the dirt to cake and drop off. Oiled filters last a very long time as they can be cleaned and re-oiled. Proper oiling is important as too much hinders air flow and may actually harm air sensors as the intakes get oil coated. Too little and the filter passes too much dirt.

Tests on K&N filters indicate they do allow more air and more dust to pass early on but filter better as they trap dust. They require cleaning and oiling less often than non oiled filters need replacement as the small pores clog faster and are not self cleaning.

It's a personal choice but the tendency is for off road riders to prefer oiled and street riders to prefer dry filters. Back in the 1970s, I put K&Ns in my street bikes and forgot about them. I never had a problem. Now I use stock filters. There is a lot of theory getting bandied about but I don't see a clear practical winner.

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post #6 of 11 Old 01-07-2013, 01:38 PM
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There seems to be mixed results with K&N air filters depending on the vehicle. Some report no problems after many miles. Others report dirt in the downstream side of the air box or high silicon in the oil lab test (a sign of dirt passing the piston rings). K&N air filters seem to be OK in stroms. I used a K&N in my Volvo and had dust in the clean side of the air box. Don't expect any benefit from any of these aftermarket so-called high performance air filters. If there is any benefit, it only occurs at wide open throttle and high rpm, and there is little evidence that air flow is improved. One excellent test of Chev diesel engine air filters (Spicer) showed that the OEM filter both allowed more air flow and cleaned the air better than a K&N--but that's not a strom.

Whatever air filter you choose, be sure it has a good gasket. The earlier stroms required re-use of the gasket, but many were tossed out in error. Later stroms came with the same filter plus a new gasket in the same box. K&N has a built in gasket on the filter assembly.

Hiflo makes an OEM-type air filter that is similar to the stock filter, and a bit cheaper. They have two catalog listings, one for older bikes that comes without a gasket, and the same filter with a gasket for $4 more that is listed for newer bikes.

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post #7 of 11 Old 01-07-2013, 02:06 PM
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7 yrs. and 90k on my K&N filter. works ok for me.
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post #8 of 11 Old 01-15-2013, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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As expected from such such a discussion, there really is no winner when it comes to air filters.
Strangely that there are so little options to choose from.
Only 4 choices to choose from, either stock, K&N, Hi-Flo or BMC.
I just discovered that my Wee had a K&N already in when I bought her at 11K miles.
Standing on 16K now, I'm not gonna bother replacing but just clean and oil the K&N.
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post #9 of 11 Old 01-16-2013, 09:28 AM
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My experience has been similar to the "they pass dirt" comments. I worked in a motorcycle shop for a while and we hated them due to the time required to clean and dry and reoil (and charged more labor time for them). But as a personal owner cleaning time meant less to me so I tried them in my Harley and Toyota. The Harley self oiled its filter (probably not by design) and did Ok in the filtration department. In my Toyota work truck (subject to lots of construction site dirt), the K&N obviously passed more dirt. I expiramented a little by letting the K&N get dirtier (in an attempt to trap more dust) and would wipe out my air box to see if dirt passage changed after the filter had been in service for a while....it did not.

In a nut shell, my opinion is K&N will flow a little better and I could feel it in both the bike and truck. They pass more fine dust, no matter how they are cleaned, oiled, or run longer. The cleaning regimine is a pain...but this is small since I clean oiled foam filters in my dirt bike and ATV all the time and keep clean spares.

For the strom, I just use OEM and run them a long time. Typically 15,000 to 20,000 miles. When removed they are full of dirt and bugs and the intake side of the air box is spotless.

Cost and/or flow rate was never in the equation for me. Only the air cleaning ability.

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post #10 of 11 Old 01-16-2013, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by odhinswarrior View Post
As expected from such such a discussion, there really is no winner when it comes to air filters.
Strangely that there are so little options to choose from.
Only 4 choices to choose from, either stock, K&N, Hi-Flo or BMC.
I just discovered that my Wee had a K&N already in when I bought her at 11K miles.
Standing on 16K now, I'm not gonna bother replacing but just clean and oil the K&N.

One more...I have a Pipercross. It's oiled foam and I have had no dirt pass through; at least none that leaves the inside of the air box dirty. I have K&Ns in all my other bikes plus a Ram truck and a Mustang with no issues either. Maybe I'm just not doing it right.

The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not represent that of any other humanoid past, present or future on this or any other planet.

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