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Kawasaki KLR650

Kawasaki KLR650

4.2 from 37 reviews

See the Best Trail Bikes in 2019 as rated by Australians on ProductReview.com.au.

A very nice all purpose motorcycle

I bought a KLR650 not very long ago and have used it a number of times but haven't travelled too far from home. I find the bike very easy to ride, easy on fuel and attractive. It turns heads. I love the electric start that my xl500 didn't have. The price was right and Kawasaki even gave me a tank bag and cover bonus! Im so glad I bought this motorcycle before the bike shops ran out of them since the klr will not be made after 2018. Way to go Kawasaki!

Purchased in April 2019.

Build Quality
Value for Money
Cleaning & Maintenance
Noise Level
Mileage 60 km
Acceleration / Power
Fuel Efficiency
Gear Shifting

Best all round fun reliable motorcycle out there

Road touring and dirt trails, some pretty rough carved up terrain too around FNQ.
2015 model restricted for Australia, (now de restricted ) SW Moto engine bars and bash plate added.
Take the top off the carb and block the two restriction holes in the top of slide ( JB weld steel stick from Jaycar ) and no more spluttering and a bucket load more grunt, 1 hour job including JB hardening time, very easy to do.
Does not burn any oil (7500kms)

Date PurchasedNov 2014

Oil burning

I have owned a klr for 4 years now and it is a fantastic bike its versatility is second to none. Many klrs have been known to be oil burners. It is my experience that this is largely caused by over gearing, which so many owners love to do. I have found the stock gearing to be far the best both on and off road and would never run a 16 tooth front sprocket, which overloads the engine. The klr has a weak piston design and over gearing causes fracturing between the rings and oil burning.

Date PurchasedNov 2013

The one bike for all tasks

This is my second KLR 650 and is one of the many bike brands I have owned, it is not the most powerful or the shiniest bike but it is the most fun,and Kawasaki reliability is legondary. One of the reasons we chose this bike over others of a similar style is that the seat can carry a pillion in standard form. My only gripe is that the standard gearing was a bit low for my intended use so l went up 1 tooth on the front sprocket and that made it more user friendly on the highway, 4000 revs = 100 K. If you can only have one bike in your life this is it a truly great all rounder.

Date PurchasedAug 2017

Four Month, Four Thousand Kilometre Review

I bought the brand new bike four months ago and I've traveled just under four thousand kilometres on it. It is under powered. Reviews that state you can sit on highway speeds and still have plenty of throttle left to over-take slow vehicles are false. There is very little left if you're travelling 100kph - 110kph. Twisting the throttle at 100kph has only a gradual effect on the speed of the bike. However, it does not rev real hard at these speeds. Only about 5000rpm. So I suppose it can sit on these speeds for extended periods of time, even though these speeds are very close to it's top end speed of 120kph to a reported 140kph. I've wound mine out to 119kph up a slight incline and it wouldn't do more.( I weigh about 95kg) I don't know if it's lack of go is due to a lack of power in the engine, or the mythical inbuilt restrictions. It is a good commuter. However, you won't be winning traffic light drags (if that is your thing) I enjoy my KLR. But it is gutless.

It is fairly nice to ride on dirt roads. It is not real good on very rough tracks. It's too heavy, the front wheel bounces around a lot and the low revving nature of the engine means it stalls fairly easily at slow speeds. It is a cheap bike to buy, but if you can afford better, then I advise you to buy better

Date PurchasedJun 2017

Pure and Simple

The Klr 650 is a fantastic bike due to it's incredible versatility. They are very simple, reliable, efficient. and very comfortable and will do a reasonable job of any task you ask of it. You can,t go wrong there a terrific bike., l personally would not ever ride anything else.

Date PurchasedNov 2013

Proven reliability and design..

I have an older 2005 model and 60K on the clock. Previous owner had set up for touring with adjustable preload on the rear shock and had radio coms arial fitted which I removed. Bike uses no oil and is strong, has great low down torque. Brakes are mediocre but they work well enough when squeezed hard. Fitted a Lexx muffler and 16 tooth front sprocket. Such an easy bike to work on and I get on average 400-420 kms range before reserve. Highly recommend this bike and the overall design hasn't changed in nearly 30 years except for slightly larger front shocks and a few cosmetic changes to the front end plastics and rear grab handles. Other than that, it's the same bike. The Kawasaki KLR650 makes a great hobby bike and excellent commuter. If you like tinkering in the garage and making little mods to the bike then this is a blast...I feel if anyone complains about this bike then they shouldn't be owning a motorbike at all. Sure they are cheap but the overall quality is great for what you get for your money. The American military have been using them for years though many are a diesel conversion of the petrol engine... Its sure no KTM but its worth its weight in gold and have read many previous owners regret selling their KLR650's. I highly recommend this bike as a good and reliable all rounder with a durable engine.

Date PurchasedSep 2014

The best possible bang for your buck

Yes, it's old school. It's been around almost unchanged for over a quarter of a century and if it had four wheels it would probably be a tractor... but it's as cheap as chips to buy, easy to maintain and bullet-proof reliable.
The current "New Edition" version has some very welcome improvements to the suspension as well as a redesigned seat but keeps all the features which has made it the benchmark for economical adventure motorcycling.
It is no exaggeration to say that you could jump on the bike at the showroom and ride it to the next town... or the next state... or the next continent!

I've owned and ridden everything from scooters and mopeds to old British clunkers to modern cruisers and I decided to go to a dual-adventure style bike because I was getting a bit tired of the "culture" that seems to accompany cruiser motorcycles. I thought the KLR wouldn't be as capable or comfortable as my previous cruiser. I was wrong! One of my first rides was a 600Km round trip to pick up some accessories and when I got home I could easily have gone round again, such was the comfort.
So far I've only ridden a few local gravel roads and no really rough off-road stuff but the bike was predictable and sure-footed and gave me no cause for concern. This is what I bought the bike for. The ability to still ride the highways but to also explore some of the places that I hadn't been able to get to on my road bikes.
I think I've made the right choice. This truly is an all-purpose bike and I can see I'm going to really enjoy it!

The more I ride it the more I love it:

Purchased the KLR new in 2013. It has done 16,000 klms to date. Made a few mods. Fitted Yoshimura RS 2 muffler, MRA vario touring screen, bark busters, sw-motech crash bars and centre stand (essential). The most significant was putting on a 16 tooth front sprocket (standard 15). Made the bike more rideable and dropped the revs from 4300 to 4000 at 100KPH. Softer hand grips are a good idea. Fitted Heidenau K 76 Scouts which are superb on bitumen. Not a lot of power but oh so much fun to ride. Basic, low tech but that can be an advantage. I really look forward to pushing the starter button and heading off. I have been down the sports bike and tourer scene but I suspect the KLR 650 will see me out. Returns between 21 to 23 kilometres per litre. Well done Kawasaki. Why change something that works.

A few mods to make a good reliable all rounder

I bought a 2008 model 8 years ago and have done 35,000kms on it. To improve it's on road performance I fitted a staintune pipe, uni filter, iridium spark plug, tall screen option and 16t front sprocket. To maintain reliability I've adjusted my valves and fitted a new stock spring to the doohickey balancer and adjusted it. Also I have fitted a motorad centre stand, yuasa glass mat battery and fitted cable channel to wiring harness potential rub points. The bike is now very reliable and can cruise all day at 100 to 115kmh which corresponds to 4,200 to 4,500rpm (sweet spot for this big single). At these highway speeds I get 19 to 20km per litre running 91 octane. In summary if you want a good basic dual purpose bike that can be optimised for highway riding and also dirt roads the klr650 is a good choice for the money.

value for money backroads cruiser

Bought me second used KLR 650 30,000km ago. Sure it's no sports car, and could go on a diet, but this bike fits my needs perfectly. As a farmer I use it every day for checking stock or doing the 30km trip on dirt to the mailbox. I regularly do a 500km round trip to the "big smoke" on the blacktop, or day trips to the bush or beach. Just keeps on going. The new version looks great. I have heated grips and taller screen for longer rides. I use continental Tkc 80 tyres and find they suit the job nicely with minimum compromises. I have other bikes too, but just about live on this one. Take a back road, take the long way, take your time-or not-enjoy the ride. Big tank is a plus. Big rack holds heaps. Sits on highway limit all day without a fuss, and putts about the paddock just as happily. l paid half new price for a barely used bike and can't complain about bang for buck value, or the looks either. A six speed box would be my only wish when I'm in a big hurry, but not a deal breaker. Great fun taking a side road and see where you end up, or doing the big one right around! Enjoy!

You get what you pay for

I've got a 2010 klr 650. 39000 km . Around 350 km to work each week plus a few longer trips. Just put new front and back springs on her which has made a big difference ( race tech ).
Sits on 110 km/h all day. Very easy to customise to individual taste. Friend has a bmw 1200 gs . Yep it's good but"..
Keep it simple !

Just buy one

Bought one of these bikes for the work commute of 130klm per day.
Geared the running gear to the max for highway running.
Put 140000 klm on the clock and didn't even have to reshim the valve clearances, as the bike looked like new and the odometer went right round and back to zero, I got an amazing trade in value for it, so I bought another one.
The only problem is that you have to remember to grease the speedo drive or it will seize up in the front hub, bit of lathe work and tig welding and all good again.
Don't go crazy buying oil from a motorbike shop, use Penrite HPR 15w40 semi synthetic and the motor will give years of faithful service.
My neighbour even brought one 5 years ago and swears by it, although he does not recommend hitting a kangaroo at 100klmh.

2010 KLR great bike

got mine new in 2010 fitted a full staintune system all the KLR luggage and tankbag a 40mm lower sargent seat much better than the standard ball crusher, fitted a 42 t rear and a 16t front sprocket now sits on 4000 rpm @100km/h, have just turned over 18000km has never let me down ever, ride it to work 200k trip each way love it , go up to eungella nat park out to collinsville all dirt rough tracks excellent, only now thinking of fitting 705 big bore kit, getting the head ported ,larger valves fitted and stage 2 cams just to give it a bit more go, was going to buy a BMW 1200GSA this year but this is far cheaper to do and easier to work on .
just a good simple bike no fuss
lacks a little bit of power

Great bike...but top speed?

I bought my KLR 650 in 2012 and have loved it...except for the top end...so a question I have actually is when I want to give her a flex is sitting on 6000 rpm at 130 km/h going to hurt the engine?...and what is the rpm level you don't want to go near?...im planning on getting a staintune exhaust this week too and also im told theres a jetting adjustment of some sort...do you think these would give her more top end speed or just lower to middle?...thanks guys.
Very powerful and handles great on the road an fun off the road too.
Top end speed and power is an issue.

Great value for money

Just completed 2000km on my bike. Went into a bike shop to buy a new road bike helmet for my ZX14 and ended up with a dual purpose helmet and a KLR!!! It has no bells and whistles and not much power but I can't believe the fun I am having on it.

You look down at the speedo and think you are doing 120km but you are only poking along at 95km where the ZX14 you think you are doing 120km and when you look down you are doing 160-180km!! Much better for the law!!

No mater what road surface you come across it doesn't matter, have to watch some of the loose stuff. New set of tyres will help. As I said no power plant but it hasn't let me down. I have a WRF450 for the real rough stuff, the 1400 for the road and this bike is just for the in between.

To sum it up its a new style of riding and I'm loving the change
Value for money
A fuel guage would be great

Happy with KLR

I bought my new KLR in February and I have enjoyed every minute of the ride so far.Its got loads of power in the lower gears and is very easy to handle. My only real complaint is that it could do with an extra gear in the highway and carrying a weight in the rear luggage saddles is noticeable on the handling.
Otherwise a great ride.

1 comment
Rodney, look into changing the front sprocket to a 16 tooth one, should give your bike a higher top speed. Also if you find the rear suspension sags when the bike's loaded up for touring consider exchanging the spring on the shock for a higher rated one. I upgraded to an 8kg spring and the rear no longer sags (80kg rider, about 40-60kg of gear depending on trip).

Fun fun fun, but.....

I love my new blacked out 2013 KLR 650. I bought it new and rode it off, literaly, into the sunset. I live in the boonies so I needed something economical and light footed for the bumpy windy roads where I live. This rig practically rides itself. First tank I filled, got 65 mpg...wow! It's nimble, comfortable and quiet. The only two things I don't like about it is that (like most Jap. bikes) it needs one more gear for the highway. Should be a 7 speed instead of six. Or at least a taller 6th gear. Also, the suspension travel is about 3 feet so it eats up the bumps and potholes like they weren't there but my other negative comment is that my feet barely touch the ground with my toes extended all the way. (I'm 5'9' tall) It was very dangerous until I got used to it. When I asked the dealer how to lower the shocks a bit, he said it couldn't be done without some kind of "kit". The dealer recommended an upholsterer who will shave an inch off the seat foam for $100. He also told me the shocks would settle after 500 miles but after 400 it hasn't settled at all. We'll see. I just bought some thick boots and that helps. But overall, so far, I dig the bajeezus out of it. Two thumbs up.
economical, plenty power, quiet, nimble, comfortable
too high in the air, needs higher 6th gear

1 comment
Buy some lowering links, easy to fit yourself. I had the same issues and they sorted it out perfectly

Midlife review

This is an update to my original review. After 40000klms i must say that the experience of owning a klr650 is tarnished by the poor quality of both design and manufacture of some aspects of this motorcycle. The 24000k major service revealed both roller corrosion and very little grease in the steering head bearings. The corrosion due to pressure washing by someone unknown and the lack of grease by the assembler in thailand. At 28000k the "doohickey" (look it up on you tube) failed. Talk about bad design. Couple this with ,probably, badly made springs and this bike starts to become a pain in the wallet. .I replaced the standard kawaski set-up with an american item and so far so good. Imagine my reaction when at 30000k the water pump pinion oil seal failed which meant having to replace both it and the water pump seal because you can't replace one without the other. If kawasaki made cars to this standard people would be stoning the dealers. I did change the rear tyre to 130/70-18. This makes it steer quicker and lowers the gearing a touch. Other additions include an aftermarket clock and thermometer and the taller kawasaki screen. The lack of a centerstand is ridiculous. The experience of this bike means, probably, kawasaki won't be getting another sale from me. That's about it. Keep the rubber side down.

poor design, quality of manufacture, reliability, lack of manufacturer response

The best fun

Simply put I am a self confessed motorcycle nut.I am one of those lucky guys who has a wife that rides along with our now grown up kids.Motorcycles have been and will always be part of my life, and there haven't been to many bikes I haven't ridden or owned at some stage.i am also fortunate enough to have several bikes at my disposal including the latest ZX14 which I purchased at Christmas just gone.

Last year something strange happened to me. I was tyre kicking down at my local Kawasaki dealer trying to mind my own business when I came across an all black 2012 KLR 650 displayed in all its glory. I have no idea what drew me to the bike but and hour later I was on my way home with it!!!

Since that fateful day and our chance meeting I have never been able to wipe the sale off my face. I don't know what it is about this bike but I just can't believe the fun I have on it. My wife now has one along with my best mate and my son in law is picking his new 2013 up in two weeks.

The KLR has really changed the way I have been looking at bikes for over 30years. Value for money is just crazy no matter what anyone says,The bikes are so versatile, no one notices you, police don't bother you and you can go anywhere with them depending on your skill level.The bare bones of the bike is the appeal along with the versatility. They are very capable on and off road,long or short rides with unquestioned reliability. Sure they rattle and roll but that's what they are suppose to do.I have never been one to consider fuel economy on a bike but if I was the KLR would win hands down.You can load them up with everything you need and head off into the sunset with a huge grin under your helmet.

If you want a great value fun dual sport don't hesitate go and take one for a test ride,you won't be disappointed.
Fun factor,looks,versatility,reliability,excellent fuel economy,go anywhere does everything well

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Questions & Answers

Is this a bike you can ride on the highway for a trip?
2 answers
Yes, absolutely. It is a dual purpose bike ... good both on and off road. You can use it as a daily commuter on the highway then go adventuring on the weekends! :)Thank you, I just bought a 2011 KLR 650 a month ago and I’m still getting used to it.

hi..i`m from Nicaragua and my english i`ts not so good. I have a kawasaki kl650, 1992 when i`ts running it has oil drop by the muffler rigth on the cylinder head. the smoke is white and the oil engine level drop quikly. i changed the valves oil seals and the gasket but it doesn't work. Any idea about what to do?
2 answers
I'm sorry but I'm not a mechanic and can't really offer a solution. Is there oil in your coolant or coolant in your oil? ... if so and you've changed the head gasket then perhaps it's a cracked head. I would suggest you try joining one or more of the many KLR owners Facebook groups around the World as members will probably be able to offer better advice than I can. I hope you get it fixed. Good luck.With any oil leak you need to degrease the entire area and run the engine until you find where the oil is coming from. Might take 10-15 minutes or sooner.

Hello !! Does any one know how I can find out what motor will bolt right up on my klr 650 1995? Do to the fact my other motor threw a rod and cracked the center case . I found several motors on ebay but want to make sure before I buy !! Thank you .and yes I called local dealer. And received no help !!! Thank you John c
1 answer
Slack dealer not giving you advice. Try contacting Kawasaki Australia. Surely the can provide an answer. As the KLR motor has been virtually untouched since it was introduced in the late 80's there shouldn't be any problems with any KLR 650 motor. But better to check with K A.


Kawasaki KLR650
CategoryTrail Bikes, Learner Approved Bikes and Adventure Touring Bikes
Engine Capacity651cc
Release dateMay 2007

Visit official website - Download manual

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