(not Thai related) Kawasaki Bikes KLE500-KLR650

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by daewoo, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    I have no idea about Kawasaki bikes... In my search for a Japanese equivalent of a BMW F650GS Dakar, about the closest I have some are these two...

    Are Kawasaki bikes OK... comparable to Honda for instance??? Reliable??? Equivalent resale value???

    I guess it is hard to compare a 650 single with a 500 twin, but, am I going to miss the 150cc for touring with the missus on the back??? 70% sealed, 30% good dirt roads???

    I have little experience with biggish bikes, and am looking for something I can squeeze through the traffic Mon - Fri, and go exploring on weekends???

    As usual in my endless search for a good, japanese, dirt orientated dual-sport, all comments appreciated...

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  3. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Hi Darryl,
    I have been looking into a Good Adventure Bike Myself (a Usable one) And Dr G. passed the following info on to me. He also lent me a couple of magazines that compared the Kawasaki KLR650 to others and it always came out overall on top!!! :D Don't expect to take it where you take an XR250 but it will cover most Terrain. I had the Yamaha XT 500, 550 & 600 New back in NZ when i was young and took them everywhere we could so depends how much effort you want to put in :?: The KLR650 is the Top Selling in it's Class and over $2000 cheaper than a XT660 in NZ.
    For KLR stuff and which adventure riding bike is best, click on http://tinyurl.com/23vs6t which just went up on the Net in the magazine, www.motorcycle-usa.com. For KLR Extras Check; www.dual-star.com ; www.happy-trail.com
  4. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    Cheers Ian... you really are trying to single-handedly overcome all of that Aussie-Kiwi rivalry aren't you...

    I have been toying with the idea of getting a Suzuki DL650 (Vstrom) which are a big seller here, but they are THB130,000 more here than the KLR, and much more road orientated... and VERY big (like comparing an Africa Twin to an XR)...

    I have only ridden a big bike (a DL) for a day... all of my other riding has been on XR250s, and I like the small bike for parking and cutting through traffic...

    I now only have to decide betwixt the KLR and the KLE... I'll check out those links...

  5. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Don't Rule out the Suzuki DR650? Silverhawk brought a New one and Swears by it, done a Fair mileage on it already and i have ridden with him it fair steps along! Air Cooled Single Cylinder so much simpler and User Friendly than a V-Strom, also cheaper in our Countries than the DRZ400 !!! This is really the only other option available to the KLR650 for Price and Capability. The other Brands are more High Tech or one use orientated and also more Expensive. Let use know what you end up with?
  6. Hoghead

    Hoghead Ol'Timer

    I too am thinking of buying a biggish dual sport bike, so where can one buy a new one in Thailand with book?
  7. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    Thanks Ian... I did look at the DRs, but they are too far the other way... pretty much an enduro bike that you can put a rack on... I will go to the dealer today and look at a KLR and a KLE and decide... at least that much is easier to do here than in Thailand... the only problem is that once you have the bike, the riding is about 10% as much fun...

    Good news is I have landed a good job with Nokia, which Aussies in the industry call 'The International Travel Club', so I look forward to some all expenses paid trips to Thailand soon... hopefully I will be back up north in less than the usual 12 months...

    Sorry Hoghead... Ian and I are talking about buying bikes in Aus, which is as simple as looking at the online classifieds and spending a small amount of Baht... In Thailand it is usually about waiting until something that you are almost satisfied with comes along... sometimes a long wait...

    If you have a Thai reader you might have some success with www.bahtsold.com or http://bangkok.craigslist.co.th/mcy/ but there is not much supply, and a lot of demand...


  8. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Robert, Yamaha will start selling New Dirt Bikes the end of the Year XT660 and Tenere included. Their New Showroom is beside Central. Only Street Bikes at Present. Other Big Bike Manufacturers are about to follow Suit. Rhodie saw a New KLR650 in a Showroom in Bangkok but didn't have time to investigate. Expect Major announcements and Displays at the Bangkok International Motorshow end of March, Can't wait!!! :D Fingers Crossed.
  9. [quote quote=daewoo]Cheers Ian... you really are trying to single-handedly overcome all of that Aussie-Kiwi rivalry aren't you...
    Well there isnt ansnt any rivaly between us and the ozies.
    All the same when we travell overseas,
    Spent a bit of time with john ,,from jonadas
    couldnt of met a more helpfull guy.
    been out all day looking at bikes,,,,
    yam 660 is still $8000 here.
    some nice bmw and KTm but getting up there.not short of $15000
    adventure bikes are fun......KEV
  10. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Ivan Where can you Get a New XT660 for NZ$8000 ? If so i will take one Yesterday!!!! I was Quoted in Person and Via Web Sites for the Lowest Price available XT660R $11700, KLR650 $9600. New Zealand Dollars of Course :roll: In America you can Buy a KLR650 for Under US$5500 :shock: Cheap Eh!!! So let me know where as i will be back for a few Weeks in June but i can always send one of the Family to Pick it up now before i get there :wink:
  11. tropicaljohno

    tropicaljohno Ol'Timer

    Ian any idea of address in Bangkok of KLR, Peter Warbo, Dean, and I are off to Bangkok in Feb to check out a few bike shops
  12. Sorry Ian these bikes wernt new..
    About 2005 models..
    Still looked in pretty good nick and reasonal ks..
    Kia Ora
  13. HIKO

    HIKO Ol'Timer


    Even if they were 2005 models where did you see them?

  14. tropicaljohno

    tropicaljohno Ol'Timer


    Ivan is in New Zealand
  15. HIKO

    HIKO Ol'Timer


    I think nobody actually answered your questions. Does Kawasaki have a good resale value/reliability compared to Honda etc and what are the difference between the bikes. I will try to do.

    In most countries Honda and Yamaha are regarded as the "number ones" . Being much bigger factories for motorcycles than Kawasaki and Suzuki they have the resources to put up complete product lines and maybe avoid technical failures.

    Kawasaki and Suzuki realized this a few years ago and teamed up together to make engines at common factories and doing RD together. For some reason this co-operation ended two years ago.

    For this reason I think that world wide Honda and Yamaha have a better resale value than Kawasaki, But in Australia it may be different.

    The KLE500 is a hybrid. It started with the EN450LTD which was a chopper with a "half" GPZ900 engine. Many of the parts inside were the same. The En450LTD was upgraded to 500 cc and a sister model with the same engine the GPZ500s was launched. Both models were selling quite good and for a long time. Then Kawasaki decided that they need an small enduro bike and put the same engine in a "street enduro" chassis and the KLE500 was born. This must have been something like 1988. At this time Kawasaki had a product line with one "chopper" one "street bike" and one "enduro bike" all with the same engine derived from the GPZ900.... It is quite amazing how they succeeded with it but from a economic point it must have been a success. The customers who bought them wasn't very "enlightened", they couldn't demand a different kind of engine in a "custom" as well as a different kind of engine in a "enduro". The engine was and still is a street engine.

    Later Kawasaki made a naked version of the GPZ500s called ER5 with the same engine, the engine know getting a small overhaul on the outside. The ER5 was priced very competitively (maybe the account men at kawasaki realized that they didn't have to take the engine development costs into the calculations because it was paid off long time ago) and the ER5 was a huge success and Kawasaki sold this model in huge amounts despite that it was an very old construction.

    Nowadays the ER6 is a spin off of this old model.

    The KLE500 has continued it's life in some countries but it is an very old construction and in most countries it is not for sale anymore.
    And it is still a Hybrid, you cannot get a Enduro bike by placing a street bike engine in the frame. But maybe you can get a nice bike to travel on the good roads at a reasonable speed and you can even turn in on some gravel roads that are not to bad.

    On the other hand the engine is probably the most manufactured 500 cc in the world so the baby problems are probably fixed. The problems I remember from the first models were valve problems (a typical Kawasaki problems on many models at that time) and camshaft tensioner problems.

    The KLR650 started it's life in 1986 without an electrical start. The kick starting procedure was a big event with the foot pegs placed in the wrong plkce so that when it backfired you were left with some broken toes (personal experience) The starting procedure had to be made with MX-boots. Next year Kawasaki realized this and it came with a Electrical starter and a half compression level which made starting more easy.

    I bought a new one in 1999 and flew it to Sidney from where I and my friend drove it to Thailand through the Indonesia Archipelago. Myself I was driving a DR750 S Suzuki. My friend drove it South from Sidney and then North from Adelaide to Darwin along the Stuart Highway. In Adelaide the water pump seal broke down but we got it quickly from Sidney in two days from Sidney. Otherwise we had no problems with it except damages from falling down.

    In Thailand it falls in the hand of another friend and we made tens of thousands kilometers in Thailand and Cambodia already in the 1993. No big problems as far as I remember.

    In the last years of this bike (it made at least 100.000 km in south east Asia) it needed a new piston (because of bad/damaged air filter) together with a new camchain and was fitted with a KTM carburetor (the reason why is a too long story to tell here) and in the last years it needed a fire extinguisher when starting....

    The main problems on the earlier models were the cam tensioner, the valves (bad quality) the starting mechanism ( the bendix breaking down) and more serious the counter balance axle which break down easily and was expensive to change.

    The "new" KLR650 is manufactured in Rayong Thailand and hopefully all the old problems are fixed. It has got good critics at least in the US were it is sold at a very good price. Still old fashioned but quite a good enduro bike very much alike the DR650 Suzuki. But if you look to "new" enduro bikes there is a big development leap....

    Both are good choices if you like an old fashioned but probably reliable construction The KLE500 if you prefer the goad roads and the KLR 650 if you want to do it the dirt...anyhow none of them are for serious use.

    Quite a diplomatic answer isn't is???

  16. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer


    An A+ for you in this exam... thanks heaps for you detailed response...

    Over here, the KLE and the KLR are exactly the same price $Au7,990 +rego (THB 220K +rego). It seems it really is a choice between the more dirt orientated KLR, 5 speed thumper 35 kW/51.98 Nm, or the road orientated KLE, 6 speed twin 33kW/41 Nm.

    2 years old, low Km, they get about the same price, 30% of the new price.

    By comparison, a Suzuki DL650 (Vstrom) is $Au10,490 + rego (THB 290K) and at 2 years get about 25% of the new price.

    There was an article in the free motorcycle magazine about the KLR recently, so consequently they are all sold out, and I might have to go searching to find on in the flesh... they do look like a good thing, and are probably they way I will go... just gotta decide if I want to wear the 15% per year depreciation...

    Thanks for your input...

  17. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    Just in case anyone is interested, photos from the manufacturers websites (their copyright)





    DR650 (a bit too much of a dirt bike for what I want, but apparently the duck's nuts otherwise)


  18. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    Just an update in case anyone is interested...

    I picked up an '05 KLR650 last night...

    Got it for a good price, so I figured if I decide I don't like it, I should be able to sell it for what I payed...

    Look forward to doing some touring on something that does more than 80, and more than 200 on a tank...

  19. Pikey

    Pikey www.tbbtours.com


    Congrats on the new bike and I hope it serves you well. Looking at the torque figures that you posted, I would have not thought twice and definitely chosen the KLR. Mind you, that KLE does look pretty.....

    Enjoy it mate ;)


  20. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer


    Love your Avatar

  21. Pikey

    Pikey www.tbbtours.com

    Unfortunately my avatar depicts an all-too-frequent occurance when riding offroad descents. I'm OK on the flat and uphill, but show me a loosely surfaced steep downhill track and you can pretty much bet on seeing me dump it and end up with a mouthful of jungle ;)



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