When I heard the news that Kawasaki had discontinued the venerable KLR650, I was pretty bummed. As a KLR rider myself, I was always a big fan of the platform but it seemed that time and emissions standards had finally caught up with my favorite old school thumper. Honestly, it had been in production virtually unchanged since 1987 (with a mid-lifecycle refresh in 2008) so an overhaul and redesign was long overdue in my opinion.
Thankfully, after a two year hiatus, they’ve redesigned it and much to my surprise, they didn’t ruin the original recipe. Luddites will malign changes like EFI, ABS and heated grips, but it’s still a basic, affordable adventure bike with a reliable 652cc thumper engine – and that’s a GOOD thing.
Changes are numerous in this redesign, while mostly subtle and well thought out. But make no mistake, this bike is still all about durability and ease of maintenance in the field...