Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kawasaki KLR650 still makes a compelling

“The engine could certainly do with an update and a move to fuel injection would certainly help matters, but overall the Kawasaki KLR650 still makes a compelling case in its favour. A jack of all trades but master of none, the KLR650 is a reliable and versatile machine that out of the box is ready for any adventure and suitable for all skill levels.” – mcnews

"With the high seating position and mucho leverage offered by the dirt-style handlebars, the KLR carves through corners with minimal input. Thankfully, the dual-sport tires offer a surprising amount of grip." – amadirectlink

"They’re genuinely horrifying for anything but relaxed skidding around in the dirt, which is no great hardship considering "432-pound dirtbike" is the same potentially painful oxymoron it was 20 years ago." – motorcyclistonline

"On the street, handling is about as neutral as Switzerland. The KLR is a wonderfully intuitive bike, which put me in the position I found myself at the beginning of this story—daydreaming about my surroundings, rather than concentrating on the task of riding."

But was it always that way? Not quite, because the first ever Kawasaki KLR 650 was introduced back in 1987 as a heavy duty piece of machinery powered by the same liquid-cooled, four-stroke, DOHC, 4 valves engine that developed 44bhp. The fork was a 38mm unit and there was also the Uni-Trak swingarm. Looks weren’t that important and yet, wind protection was sufficiently good to ensure comfortable riding conditions even at a top speed of 108 mph.

The bike was highly reliable and dependable, so it carried on being produced with no significant change for no more or less than two decades. Last time I checked, the previous generation model was still going strong on and off the road and appreciation from riders didn’t lack at all.

Kawasaki updated the KLR 650 for 2008 and the new generation model is overall more refined and offering different power and torque figures (37bhp at 6,200rpm and 45.3 Nm of torque at 4,950rpm). The bike’s exterior appearance was totally renewed by a new half fairing, headlight and windscreen. This makes it more adequate for street riding and, as we mentioned, it helps hide that very low MSRP.

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