YEARS SOLD: 2008–present
BASIC SPECS: Introduced as the KLR600 in 1984 with a displacement bump to 651cc three years later,Kawasaki’s KLR has enjoyed amazing longevity. The simplicity of this dual-counterbalancer-equipped, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-valve, four-stroke single has made this bike appeal to adventurers the world over. Significant performance and styling and comfort updates applied in 2008 reinvigorated Kawi’s warhorse, a machine that even served in the US military. A durable double-cradle steel frame, 43mm conventional fork, adjustable Uni-Trak rear suspension, and semi-knobbed bias-ply tires provide good capability on highways and cow trails alike.
WHY IT’S DESIRABLE: The adventure bike segment has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade as riders discover the comfort, convenience, and versatility such motorcycles offer. Unfortunately for some riders, the complexity and resultant cost of many modern ADV bikes has escalated out of reach. Plentiful on the used market, the KLR650 is a refreshing and affordable throwback to an era when roadside repair didn’t require computer diagnostics.
THE COMPETITION: Other staples of the big dual-sport single scene include the Honda XR650L and SuzukiDR650E, both of which are powered by air-cooled, four-stroke singles. KTM’s 690 Enduro R and BMW’s F650GS target a more affluent buyer.