Kawasaki KLR650 Reviews from Canada

1987 Kawasaki KLR650

Model year1987
Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2010
Acceleration marks 6 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 6 / 10
Handling marks 8 / 10
Braking marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.7 / 10
Distance when acquired25000 kilometres
Most recent distance26300 kilometres
Previous motorcycleHarley-Davidson Sportster XL 1200R

Summary:

Fun, fun, fun, and did I mention fun

Faults:

I bought this bike when it was 22 years old, but in great condition. Nothing has gone wrong with the bike, the only expenses being maintenance. A set of tires and tubes, a clutch, and chain and sprockets. I also did the doohickey and upgraded the front fork springs and replaced the fork seals.

The parts are very cheap for this bike and maintenance is easy, and after freshening up the bike, it runs like it is brand new.

After a few longer rides, I realized the seat needed some attention as the foam was collapsing, so I went to the foam store and rebuilt the seat. No complaints now.

General Comments:

This bike is definitely a Swiss Army knife bike. It is fun and easy to ride, although it is a little top heavy with a full tank of fuel.

The braking and suspension is much improved with the upgraded Progressive springs, which removed the mushy brake dive that was present with the original springs. For the $90 Canadian it costs for the springs and the two hours to do the job, the improvement is well worth it.

As for riding, I would say the bike is fantastic at any posted speed limit, it will commute or travel the highway with ease. I have had it on some abandoned use at own risk roads and the bike is quite at home on them, but you know you are not riding a dirt bike.

This is not my only motorcycle, but it is the most fun bike I own. It is easy to see why people love the KLR650.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd April, 2010

2005 Kawasaki KLR650

Model year2005
Year of manufacture2005
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2005
Acceleration marks 7 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 8 / 10
Handling marks 8 / 10
Braking marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.1 / 10
Distance when acquired0 kilometres
Most recent distance4000 kilometres
Previous motorcycleKawasaki Vulcan 1500SE

Summary:

Effective, efficient well executed and timeless

Faults:

Nothing went wrong with the bike. Resolved the handlebar vibes with the "Bar Snake" and gel grips.

Replaced the windshield with a taller one. Also a Corbin seat for comfort/range.

General Comments:

Of the fifteen or so rides I have owned, this one is the most versatile and forgiving.

Best improvement is to replace the original seat with aftermarket. (Corbin around $230.00 -- well worth it).

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th August, 2005

2001 Kawasaki KLR650

Model year2001
Year of manufacture2001
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2005
Acceleration marks 5 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 5 / 10
Handling marks 10 / 10
Braking marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired7000 kilometres
Most recent distance16000 kilometres
Previous motorcycleYamaha XT350

Summary:

A simple good all round bike I plan to keep.

Faults:

Nothing.

General Comments:

I have had 6 bikes prior to this one and it is a good machine for highway and dirt roads, and a rider at least 6 feet tall.

It is too heavy for doing donuts in the dirt, but that pastime is more for kids who can't afford insurance anyway.

It is something of a naked bike, so it is easy to work on, and the design has not changed in a decade so used parts exist.

For a liquid cooled dual purpose bike, it is about $2K less than Honda, and air cooled engines can't have the tolerances liquid cooling affords.

From new, the cam chain tensioner adjuster ought to be replaced with an aftermarket one-piece version, and the tools and part will cost about $100.

The handlebar vibration is so extreme it will numb a rider's hands, but lead weights on the ends or in the bar cheaply solves this problem.

The windshield dumps wind directly on your helmet for a noisy ride. I found no windshield worked and simple removal worked well.

The rear swingarm could do with grease nipples to make a two hour lube job into a two minute one.

There are a few start-defeat mechanism that are easily disabled. The engine is dual valve and crude in the sense that it does not have hydraulic lifters. Doing a valve shim adjustment is a hassle the first time, but easier subsequently, and shims may last 20000km. Even more expensive bikes have cheap non-weatherproof connectors, so I had go over the entire bike and pack each connector with trailer contact grease.

The bike's electric start and handlebar mounted choke are convenient, and even at 3 Celsius I find it starts and warms in the time it takes for me to get my earplugs in and helmet on. Adding an LED taillight frees up current for the heat grips I added so the regulator won't burn out. The hand protectors, coupled with the heated grips allow me to ride in cold weather with warm hands.

I find the ride on pavement and dirt to be very solid and I can routinely go 100kmh on dirt. The tank is large and I can go over 400km on a fill.

This bike provides a reliable and good motorcycle experience at near minimum cost, and to pay more brings marginal return. It is also cheap to insure.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th March, 2005

31st Dec 2005, 03:31

I had a 1992 KLR 650. I bought it used and only put 3-4,000 miles on it. I had a CBR 900 at the same time and found it too hard to justify both bikes. I've since sold the 900 and miss the KLR more.

It had about 28,000 miles when I sold it, and for the 1 1/2 year I had it, the KLR 650 was a great bike. Although it's very capable, for me it was better suited for 60-70 trips or commutes. If you are tall or otherwise large, it is also a great bike.

It has over 200 mile tank range, extreamly cheap to maintain and will do all you ask of it.

31st Mar 2007, 05:38

Adding additional loads will not affect the regulator. This is a common misconception based on automotive type alternators, but does no apply to permanent magnet alternators as used by the KLR and most motorcycles.

This kind of alternator delivers 100% output (subject to RPM) at all times and voltage is limited (regulated) as required by shunting (loading) power to ground. In short, the regulator drains off any unneeded current to ground so adding loads will simply reduce the work of the regulator.

Average review marks: 7.4 / 10, based on 3 reviews