2016 Kawasaki KLR650 Review - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-19-2016, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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2016 Kawasaki KLR650 Review


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The last time I rode a Kawasaki KLR650 was fifteen years ago, in San Francisco as a photo op for a story about the Motorcycle Emergency Response Corps. MERC was a non-profit organization composed of motorcyclists volunteering their skills to provide mobility, rescue, and communications during a disaster. Sadly, the MERC website now leads to a health blog, and any search I conducted didn’t turn up recent MERC information, so I must assume the organization has disbanded. But, the threat of disaster looms as large now as it did back then. Whether it be an earthquake, tornado, tsunami or zombie apocalypse the KLR650 remains the ultimate get-the-hell-outta-Dodge machine.

For much of its existence (1987-2007) the KLR650 reappeared annually with minimal, if any, changes. When the 2008 model KLR arrived it did so in style, flaunting new bodywork with dual headlights, a more powerful 651cc single-cylinder engine, improved braking performance, increased fork diameter, a new swingarm and a variety of other improvements. In 2014, the “New Addition” KLR650 boasted a fork with 40% firmer springs and 27% firmer rebound damping. At the rear, the Uni-Trak linkage suspension offered a 63% higher spring rate while the rebound damping settings were 83% firmer. The KLR’s seat was narrowed at the tank juncture, and widened in the passenger area.

The 2016 KLR650 is the motorcycle equivalent of your grandfather’s 20-year-old recliner – a relic of incredible comfort and familiarity. The carbureted Single requires a choke to get running when cold, and the occasional switching of the petcock from On to Reserve when fuel is running low. Its power output is modest, at best, while handling resides somewhere between deliberate and truckish. The KLR won’t get you anywhere fast, but it will get you there. When Mommy Nature renders paved roadways impassable, Macchu Picchu is beckoning, or you’re fleeing the living dead, you’re gonna reach for the multi-tool that’ll surmount unforeseen obstacles of both the on- and off-road varieties.

The longevity of KLR and its minimal changes over the years ensures parts availability is universal, and for the parts that aren’t, chances are you can fix the problem with the correct application of duct tape or WD-40. We averaged 38 miles per gallon from the KLR’s 6.1-gallon fuel tank, giving the KLR a range in excess of 200 miles between fill-ups. A low compression ratio of 9.8:1 allows the KLR to run on fuel unfit for more high-performance engines.

Under the correct circumstances of low fuel, engine heat and because of the fuel tank’s tight seal, vapor locking becomes very real at very inopportune times (an issue resounded among KLR forums). For me, it happened thrice with around 180 miles on the trip meter, at continuously fast freeway speeds. The worst occurrence happened at night on my way home from Roland Sands Design.
Read more about the 2016 Kawasaki KLR650 Review at Motorcycle.com.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-19-2016, 10:29 AM
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That review makes me not want to buy one even more!!!!!
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-19-2016, 11:51 AM
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That review makes me not want to buy one even more!!!!!
it was some of the best sounding backhanded complements I've ever read.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-19-2016, 01:19 PM
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it was some of the best sounding backhanded complements I've ever read.
I don't get why the article has been posted, l mean, what's it supposed to achieve???
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-22-2016, 06:24 AM
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I don't get why the article has been posted, l mean, what's it supposed to achieve???
no idea, either someone actually thinks its a good apocalypse bike or someone finding an entertaining way to insult the klr.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-27-2016, 04:31 PM
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I didn't find it overly insulting. I still want one in my garage again. I sold mine to get the versys, and happy I did. BUT...now that the v is in the stable and paid off, I want a KLR again. Just something about them.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-27-2016, 07:20 PM
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I didn't find it overly insulting. I still want one in my garage again. I sold mine to get the versys, and happy I did. BUT...now that the v is in the stable and paid off, I want a KLR again. Just something about them.
I don't want a KLR again, I want my KLR again. It would cost me too much to build what I was able to acquire already perfected.
- cogent moab suspension
- thermo-bob
- updated do-hicky
- caribou luggage system
- HID lighting
- fork brace
- SW Motech engine guards
- aluminum skid plate
- Dunlop 606s
Sure I am forgetting some things.


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Last edited by twowheeladdict; 04-27-2016 at 07:28 PM.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-28-2016, 06:45 AM
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Mine was close to the same. I had everything done. but just was not comfortable enough for me and the wife. So, the versys is much better. BUT. I would love to have the KLR as well. something about it. I have a list of bikes I need to aquire, ha ha. its on there. I am collecting a few bikes as a showcase for my business. but all will be used regularly.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-12-2016, 04:54 PM
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The writer apparantly has never owned many dual sports. I have owned 2 KLRs, 2 GSs, have a Versys, and had a KTM 520. The current fad in the press that everything orange is wonderful is written by the unknowing. Each of the above rode well, and when done, were parked and forgotten until the next time, then rode hard again. The KTM was worse than any high maintenance woman. Always needing oil and filter changes and ongoing tinkering that takes the fun out of the hobby. In short, they suck to own, though 95% of the owners refuse to admit it, because they would then be admitting they overpaid for a high maint. pain in the butt vehicle.
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