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Thread: Retirement of the KLR 650

  1. #1
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Retirement of the KLR 650

    Looks like the old standby, the venerable KLR 650 is headed for retirement-

    I have never owned one.....came close a few times. They have been a workhorse and the stories of riders that have taken them everywhere were always interesting. White Horse Gear in NH (now also gone) was a fan of the KLR.

    31 years is quite a run

    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
    Mod Squad
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  2. #2
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Nibley, UT USA
    31 years is indeed a good run. And I note the way in which Kawasaki achieved that run, namely by producing a good, solid, well-designed piece that didnít do any one thing superbly but was functional enough in all applications to be acceptable to a wide audience of buyers. Kawasaki stuck with a good basic design, made minor changes and improvements through the years, and didnít load up the machines with complicated and failure-prone electronics.

    I know another manufacturer that had an even longer model run, following that same philosophy until recently and largely abandoning it...

    1983 R80ST ó 1984 R80 G/S PD ó 1993 R100GS ó 2004 K1200GT w/Hannigan S/C ó 2010 K1300GT
    BMWMOA#52184, AMA#271542, IBA#138

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Near Lynchburg, VA
    There may be more ďKLRsĒ used for round the world or transcontinental travel than any other model on this planet.
    Past or present day (like today).

    Wonder what the follow up model will be ?

    Probably not one with latest whiz bang or bling, though Iím glad I donít have to guess the future bike market for a living.


  4. #4
    Itís too bad they had to go. I wish they could stay in the lineup forever. I hear sales have been low for a while, and they wonít be able to meet future emissions standards without a big investment. I donít know anything about solving the emissions problem, but it is a bit hard for people to justify buying a new one when there are plenty of used ones with low miles for 2/3 the price and the only change is the color- maybe. They are their own worst enemy in that respect.

    Iíve wanted one since it was the KLR600, but never could quite do it. Last year I was sorta shopping but didnít think my back could handle a thumper. Due to surgeries from injuries, I have a bunch of tiny wires in my back that are subject to damage from vibration. Thatís a $110k gamble.

    I do like them, though. I am pretty sure I will succumb to the call and get one yet. It canít hurt that much to ride one now and then, can it? Just a little. In the evening. Weekends.

    The KLR650ís relative simplicity always makes me think of how two-cylinder John Deeres stuck around. I just checked, and guess how long JD made those? Yep, 31 years.

    I am VERY curious what Kawasaki will replace it with. I doubt they will go with the Versys alone.

  5. #5
    I put around 10,000 miles on gen1 and gen2 KLRs.
    They have a comfortable riding position but do vibrate, not as bad as the original Funduro but certainly more than a DR650.

    Fuel injection and possibly a minor head/piston mod would likely fix the emissions issue.
    I wouldn’t be surprised to see the KLR return next year with those changes.

    Simple is good.
    -Don't cry because it's over-
    -Smile because it happened-

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Bridport Vermont
    Quote Originally Posted by 72r60/7 View Post
    There may be more ďKLRsĒ used for round the world or transcontinental travel than any other model on this planet.
    Past or present day (like today).

    Wonder what the follow up model will be ?

    Probably not one with latest whiz bang or bling, though Iím glad I donít have to guess the future bike market for a living.


    +1 on that

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Northern WV
    Thank goodness, now if Kawasaki will only bring out a modern replacement while keeping the good attributes of the KLR650 (ergonomics, comfortable seat, rack, big tank). I'd love to see a new version built around a 500-600cc twin with a *wide* ratio 6-speed and 21/18" tubeless wheels, weighing less (or certainly no more) than the outgoing one which is about 425#.
    16 R1200RS, 93 R100R, 17 Versys x300, 16 Africa Twin DCT, 15 Road King, 16 V7 Stone No car is as fun to drive as any motorcycle is to ride.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2018

    KLR vs the GTL

    I just bought a 2018 KLR650 and love it. When I park it next to my GTL I laugh about the vast technological differences. The KLR is as basic as you can get. No gas gauge, an old fashion choke, no radio, bells or whistles. Just a simple motorcycle that is fun to ride. If you drop it, just pick it up and smile. You can park it on the sidewalk, in the grass or on the side of a building. Parts and add-ons are cheap. An oil filter is a few dollars. Use standard old cheap dino oil, wash out the air filter and that's the maintenace...$15.00. No computer to reset. All of the tools that you need to work on the bike fits in one little bag that KLR give you. Youtube gives you all of the fixes, add-ons and insight you need to keep the bike going.

    If you really want to appreciate your GTL, get a KLR a have some fun and then hop on your GTL and cruise with all the technology of a BMW.

  9. #9
    I've owned & ridden a KLR650 for years, and I hate to see them go for all the reasons stated. I have always ridden mine where I didn't want to take my BMW . I love going off the beaten path, but I can tell you that KLR has left my short self on the ground too many times, not to mention nearly drowning me once ! Going lighter & lower from here on, so I may sell mine. This will probably be good for the Africa Twin.
    Gail Thorne
    2017 F700GS

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