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The Kawasaki KLR650. The bike I rode until the Summer of 2009 (above) was manufactured in 2001, and is designated as an "A15". The KLR650-A series enjoyed twenty-one years of production, with the last model series being the 2007-A21 model. The 2008 model introduction has had enough significant changes to consider it a new generation model, as it will no longer share 100% parts interchangeability with the A-1 through A-21 series. The newer models are designated as the KLR650-E series.
Purchased new, rode the KLR nine seasons of backroads riding and accumulated over 37,000 miles on it. The bike consistently achieved 52-54 mpg highway, started with first stab of the button, and never missed a beat on the road or trail. Made the following mods to the KLR:
Recommendations for owners of the "A" Series KLR ....
The 1987-2007 "A" series KLR650 is practically bulletproof, although there is one internal component weakness that should be of concern to all owners, the counterbalancer chain tensioning system. The adjustment lever, a two piece weldment (aka: doohickey) self-destructed in my engine, and has on many other KLRs of all vintages ..... despite scores of reports, the manufacturer will not acknowledge that this problem exists (are they pleading .... "plausible deniability"?).
1.) Pay a little extra to have the part inspected by your trusted dealership/mechanic.
2.) Newer or older model: Don't depend on the stock part. The odds are very high that it will fail at some point and require an expensive engine "tear down". Replace the "doohickey" & tensioning spring with a billet part by Eagle Manufacturing. For additional background information on this issue, click here.
Overall, the KLR650 has been one of the most enjoyable, dependable and versatile bikes that I've owned .... and there have been many through the years. Would I buy another one? You bet!
The 2007 KLX250S .... The lightweight adventure touring machine
The KLX250 is a new design introduced in 2006. The 2007 season will be my first with this model. So far, the only upgrades I've made has been to add Acerbis Rally Pro handguards and a Flatland Racing bash plate.
On my long range adventure tours ... have noted the following:
Less susceptible to crosswinds than the KLR650.
Much lighter feel to the bike, eighty pounds less than the KLR dry, one-hundred and ten pounds lighter fully fueled. In technical situations ... a comfortable, nimble, and predictable mount.
Excellent suspension and brake systems.
Six speed transmision ... a real advantage in slow, highly technical situations.
The KLX250 comes with a sealed battery, standard .... what's not to like about that?
1.9 gallons of fuel with the stock tank ... be prepared to start looking for gas every 85-95 miles. Carrying extra fuel bottles is prudent. Riding at moderate speeds, have recorded fuel economies in the 65-70 mpg range.
Practically no vibration at low to medium engine speeds.
11" of ground clearance is very reassuring when riding rough terrain.
Stiff headwinds on highways will definitely slow the forward momentum of this bike.
So far, am very pleased with this model, and would recommend it to someone who wants a very well designed dualsport without the "heft" typically found in a 650-class machine.
Roger Baugh, webmaster - Backroads Touring - Kansas