The Kawasaki KLR650's suspension is soft and, typical of most trail-style motorcycles, colossal fork dive buggers up the braking. It’s nothing that can’t be assuaged with some stiffer fork springs and/or thicker oil, but fundamentally the suspension/braking package is budget that works better off-road. The Kawasaki KLR650's rear brake’s not quite ineffectual.
There’s nothing particularly special about the Kawasaki KLR650's 4v DOHC motor; it feels lazy and doesn’t particularly care for speeds above 85mph. But the Kawasaki KLR650 is torquey, flexible, reasonably free of intrusive vibration and dependable. The ratios in five-speed gearbox are well-spaced, the action is smooth and it wears well.
Kawasaki KLR650 clutches are a bit weak and you’ll need to keep the switches doused in WD40 to prevent them corroding. Chain tensioners on the Kawasaki KLR650 are fragile and have been known to break – the aftermarket can supply more reliable kit. If you use the KLR650 to carry heavy luggage it’s worth replacing the subframe mountingbolts with high tensile steel items – the stock stuff is of very poor quality.
The Kawasaki KLR650 is excellent value and much cheaper than BMW’s comparable BMW F650GS. Find a Kawasaki KLR650 for sale.
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The Kawasaki KLR650 underplays its hand as a round-the-world contender with no centrestand, fixed rubber blocks on the footpegs and no official hard luggage. All of which can be fixed on the aftermarket thankfully along with colossal 30-litre tanks. The Kawasaki KLR650's charging system is a bit weedy, throwing out around 12 amps, which will limit your ability to plumb in heated vests and a GPS.