2001 Kawasaki KLR650 from United States of America


Fun on short trips and camping



General Comments:

I sold the bike last summer, and sometimes I really miss its easy handling. After owning 50 odd bikes over a lifetime, I found this to be one of the most enjoyable to ride. I could throw it into the curves and muscle it out with no problems. Exploring gravel roads and trails was what this bike was made for.

Longer rides were too much work though. The handlebar vibration numbed my fingers. I had a hard time keeping up with fellow riders on bigger bikes. Highway speeds of 70-75 mph for any great length of time was tiring on me and the bike.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th November, 2011

2001 Kawasaki KLR650 from Canada


A simple good all round bike I plan to keep.



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.