I have only ridden my KLR 250.I do not know how representative of KLR 250's my one is. But my bike background is KMX 125 & KMX200, KLR 650, BMW GS 650 Dakar.
I downsized from the big bikes for better mpg. Having had the two stroke KMX 200 I know Kawasaki can produce pocket rockets. However I did not want to go 2 stroke again because I was sick of my clothes stinking of 2 stroke oil after 2 hours in the saddle. So the KLR 250 (I thought) was the way to go.
The article is not accurate. ( I am writing this 27th July 2012, a previous poster says mistakes in the article have been rectified... they have not). There are mistakes. The KLR 250 does *not* have electric start. The engine (well my one which is old so I do not know how "normal" it is)..is straining by 8000rpm.It is not happy and balanced before the 8000 indicated. The absolute max rpm achieved on my one between gear shifts is 8,800rpm indicated. At this rpm it really is rough. (early valve bounce?) So why do Kawasaki redline it much higher than this?
Maximum rpm (not blipping between gears)seems to be 8000rpm and maybe just up to 8500rpm downhill if you are lucky. As mine is the only KLR250 I have ridden I am not sure how representative this is generally. I think my one is not the best and tired.
I like the (totally accurately recorded) 79.4mpg achieved riding all around Cornwall and Devon. Mixture of riding across Dartmoor (on the roads), A roads, and town centres (proper touring).
With sections of flat out dual carriageway this was reduced to 62.4mpg. (Figures are imperial UK gallons)
starts easily (1st, 2nd or 3rd kick). Although I do triathlon training, and after all day training, kicking it then is the only time I have found it laboured.
I find comfort reasonable. I have been in the saddle for 10 hours sometimes with stops for fuel and sandwiches. Sure it is not as comfortable as the BMW GS 650 Dakar where I can sit in the saddle all day and feel totally fresh at the end of it. It does feel more comfortable than my KMX's to be in the saddle for long periods.
64.2-79.4 mpg on open touring is the main plus point.
Good analogue dials.
Too low geared in top gear or needs more gears. It does not rev and on my one is too easy to sit at max rpm in top gear.
Even on country lanes I often want another gear or two more than what I have.
Does not rev to my satisfaction. Really 6500-7400 on mine feels the optimal sustained limit. Although I have sat at 8000rpm for sustained periods, but that does not feel "sweet".
Sometimes indicator switch needs to be triple check its turned off, as sometimes hard to centralise on mine.
Brakes could be sharper.
The big brother KLR 650 was not that fast and too heavy. Hence I went for this 250 having owned 650's before. However now I want to check out the Suzuki DR 350 maybe as an "in between" that may have what I want.
The lack of top end rpm and the need of additional top gears are the reasons why my rating is 3 stars across the board. If it revved and had more gears it would have ticked all my boxes.
Summary good comfortable run about for short trips only. Great mpg. Needs to rev and have more gears though.