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.

1 Response

  1. Andre Wasserman
    Have owned one for 4x months now; long ago had DT125LC and XJ750LC. Joined KLRClan.co.za; there's near unlimited support 7 servicing available for these, even inthe 'non formal' sector. many master tuners, spares locally & upgrades/mods available from overseas. Sure, there are more powerful bikes, but also heavier, way heavier on fuel and as the write up top says for 'a more affluent buyer.' In my opinion these have become classics will remain value & bang for the buck bikes. Some riders report easily 420 to 460km / tank : BEFORE hitting that 4L reserve only using the 18L mains; meaning it can give up to 25+ km/l. That's huge range compared to many others considered 'more elite'. And another strong selling point for many riders.

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