I am the proud owner of a 1989 Kawasaki KLR 650. I purchased it from Brian Siegrist, my brother in law who is also a KLR 650 fan for $2,000 on July 4th 2007 with 27,000 miles on it.
Why the KLR 650???
A couple reasons. The biggest being its dual sport ability. I can cruise the freeway, back roads, gravel roads, and dirt single track trails. Exactly the type of rig I was looking for. I was seriously looking at the KLR 250, but I changed my mind when I found it struggles to go 50+ MPH on the highway.
The KLR will do 65 MPH without any problems. In my teen and college years, I have been riding lots of old dirt bikes. My brother and I pulled them from junk yards, barns, and several other places. When we brought them home, none of them worked. All of them had to be fixed up to get in running condition. We did al sorts of things to these bikes, swapped heads, 2nd and 3rd oversize pistons, carb rebuilds. Doing this taught me alot about small motors and dirt bikes in general. For example Honda requires alot more time and special tools to do the same job on say a Yamaha. A 4 stroke motor puts out alot more torque and usually requires less head rebuilts then a 2 stroke. I learned lots of little things like that educated me on purchasing the KLR 650.
In fact, this bike replaced my old 1979 KLX 250 that I pulled out of a barn. It leaked a quart of oil every ride, shocks were shot, sprockets were shot, and a long way from street legal. This is a huge upgrade!
Since I have purchased this bike from Bryon, I have logged alot of miles on it and ride it alot. Its my daily commuter to and from work during the summer and my weekand toy to ride up in the mountains exporing.
KLR 650 Pros
Lots of low end torque, a single cylinder diesel is the best way to describe how much torque
The KLR 650 has stayed the same for 20 something years, almost no changes to the bike at all, leaving LOTS of parts available.
12 volt electrical system, I can run all sorts of toys off of that
Reasonable price tag
KLR 650 Cons
Heavey (500 lbs)
A bit tall for me, have to lower it for offroading
Not as nimble as I would like for off roading
I added rear cargo cans or panniers for camping trips
I had to do replace the cylinder, piston and rings, read about that project here
Within a week of owning the bike, I have covered well over 300 miles of county roads. There is alot of country to ride around here, now I finally have a rig that can do it all without slowing down.
The bike will also server as my Pikes
Peak rig, it can go up the mountain much quicker and easier then my old
Nissan Pickup. Recently I had to make a maintenance run up Pikes to reset the
webcam. I made it to the top, no problem. Unlocked the gate, went to drive the
bike inside and the bike was dead. No start, no lights, no nothin. Its then
I really wished I was with a bikin buddy.
Luckily, I had my tools in the ammo cans and was able to take the bike apart, after taking the seat off I found the ground terminal on the battery had fallen off, so the bike was getting no power. After using myleatherman to tighten the bolts back down I was back in business. Gotta love this bike!
I finally did arrive at the shack and did the maintenance.
Boise to Walla Walla - 200 miles - 10 hours on bike
ADVrider.com ride - Tour of the blues
Spokane ride and Lori's Endorsement
Michael and I headed up to see the windmills
Riding up to Tollgate
Riding to Lyons Ferry
Riding to Tollgate2
I ride this bike, EVERYWHERE! Here are a couple recent rides
55 MPG from Walla to Waitsburg and back to Walla Walla, 55 MPH, no cargo
On 2/19/2011 I sold my KLR 650 to a WSU college student who wanted transportation that got better mileage then his mustang. Sold her for $1,000, here is a picture the day I sold it:
I sold the bike with 39,217 miles on the odometer and it has served me extremely well. I have logged roughly 12,000 miles on the KLR and explored lots of back roads.
Overall, I think the KLR is the ultimate gravel road exploring bike. Great gas milage, great fuel economy. Its a little bit heavey and tall for myself, but a great do it all bike. Someday, I might buy another KLR, but for now I have a XT 350 to handle the off road riding and a TDM 850 to handle the on road trips. I got the best of both worlds with the new Yamaha bikes and I don't have a single complaint. The wife got after me with 4 motorcycles in the driveway, so I had to sell one of them. The KLR hasn't been ridden in a while, so I had to sell the old girl.
Months after selling the old KLR, I am starting to miss it. The TDM will
go much faster and is alot more comfortable to ride long distances, but it
doesn't do well on gravel roads. The XT does much better in the dirt and gravel
roads, but does is not as comfortable as the KLR on long trips.
Also, the KLR got better gas mileage then the TDM, the TDM is typically getting 35-42 MPG. The KLR typically got 45-50.
I have found myself shopping for another KLR simply because I liked the ruggedness of the do it all bike, but I have to convince the wife first before I can consider purchasing another motorcycle.