Monday’s Motorcycle: Kawasaki KLR-650

I’ve been wanting one of these bikes for about 10 years now.  It’s the Two Wheel example of an SUV.  Go anywhere, do anything… if Jeep made a Motorcycle, it would be this.

You see them around town, passing through, usually overloaded with gear and stuff… going on Adventures… making me think about where they had been… where are they going… and wishing I was going too.  This has really put an Enduro type bike on my Radar.  While I keep looking at others, I always come back to the KLR-650.
It’s not just me.  The US Army and Marines have purchased hundreds of these KLR’s.  The Military versions are outfitted with Diesel engines and 8 gallon fuel tanks.  Go anywhere.  Do anything.  The KLR is that bike.  It’s not the best of the Enduros… the fastest… the easiest… whatever.  It’s a solid bike.  That’s what I want.  Sure, it looks like Crow T Robot, but come on… it’s a rig that gets you there and back again.  If Bilbo Baggins had one of these, The Hobbit would have been a Short Story.  One day I will own one of these, and I’ll ride the hell out of it.  I want a stable of different bikes… so wanting this one is not exactly me saying I don’t want another one like a Vstrom, Tiger or BMW enduro… I’ve just always wanted a KLR.

Four-stroke, DOHC, four-valve single
Maximum Torque
36.9lb-ft @ 5500 RPM
Bore x Stroke
100.0 x 83.0mm
Compression ratio
Cooling System
Keihin CVK40
Electric CDI
Final drive
O-Ring Chain
Frame Type
Semi-double cradle, high-tensile steel
28 degrees / 4.4 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel
41mm telescopic fork / 7.9 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel
Uni-Trak® single-shock system with 5-way preload and stepless rebound damping / 7.3 in.
Front Tire Size
Rear Tire Size
Front brakes / rear brakes
Single 280mm petal-type disc, two-piston caliper / Single 240mm disc, single-piston caliper
Overall length
90.4 in.
Overall width
37.8 in.
Overall height
53.1 in.
Ground clearance
8.3 in.
Seat height
35.0 in.
Curb weight
432 lbs.
Fuel capacity
6.1 gal.
58.3 in.
Color Choices
Metallic Flat Raw Graystone / Ebony, Candy Persimmon Red / Galaxy Silver, Metallic Imperial Blue / Pearl Stardust White
Good Times™ Protection Plan
12, 24, 36 or 48 months
12 Months
55 MPG

6 thoughts on “Monday’s Motorcycle: Kawasaki KLR-650”

  1. They do scratch a certain itch. If you’re like me and on the backside of your misspent youth the boy racer motocrossers don’t have so much appeal anymore. A good trail bike on the other hand is a very handy thing to have around.

  2. There is always a hard case that has 500,000 miles under their belt riding one of those. For certain uses thay are hard to beat, esp. for the money. Whitehorse Gear specailizes in KLR 650 enhancements, if you haven’t seen their website already…

  3. You’re killing me Ogre-san. Between last weeks post of the “McQueen” edition Bonneville, taking a ride on a friends Thruxton last week, standing 2 feet away from an olive drab Triumph Scrambler 900 this after noon and now a KLR(one of the best built adventure tourers out there) I’m finding it hard to justify ammo purchases. Please stop “Motorcycle Mondays”, I don’t know if I can handle being stuck on 4 wheels or more much longer.

  4. I took an RV trip to Alaska in 2008. Saw lots of motorcycles in Alaska and Canada, and I’d say 90% were either BMWs or Kaws like this. Harleys were generally limited to the locals.

  5. I had the previous edition (’07). That, and this new one are under-powered for it’s weight. The one I had felt unstable at 60 mph. The new one is more stable. My KLR was awful in the “sugar sand” but I could have improved it by putting knobby tires on it. The suspension on these bikes is too soft, IMO. This bike needs 10 more horsepower.

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