Kawasaki’s KLR650 is dead some 32 years after its initial launch. The big thumper just couldn’t economically meet emissions standards anymore, and other new bike designs are a bit better at, well, everything. It’s an old design that soldiered on well past its use-by date, but served competently for the price. The market finally killed the KLR, but can the elements?
“The KLR feels like an anvil at everything, but it will keep doing those things forever.”
In order to find out, the dudes at FortNine decided to treat an original high-kilometer 1987 example of the pack mule bike to a torture test.
For hours, it was subjected to standing starts and quarter-mile drag race runs. A full fuel tank’s worth of quarter mile runs. This should have been taxing on not only the engine, but the clutch, the transmission, the hubs, the chain, any number of components.
It was used to tow hundreds of pounds. It was left in a lake overnight. It was crashed. It was jumped. It was treated like it owed Ryan F9 a not insubstantial quantity of money.
Sure, it burned oil. Sure, it fell over a lot. Sure, it was hardly comfortable. But it came back wanting more. Even after a crash that should have been debilitating, well, you’ll see.