Which Kawasaki KLR 650 Years To Avoid & Why?

Does the Kawasaki KLR 650 excite you? Honestly, it excites us a lot, considering how good the bike is for touring and adventuring. But there were some years when the Kawasaki KLR 650 failed to deliver quality.

Now, if you are looking for one in the market, you must know which Kawasaki KLR650 years to avoid. And that’s where we chime in with our extensive research on the matter.

So, buckle up, and let’s find out which years you should avoid with the Kawasaki KLR650.  

Which Kawasaki KLR 650 year you should Avoid?

From the start of its journey in 1987, Kawasaki KLR650 came in three editions with significant changes. The first generation was from 1987 to 2007. The second-gen went on from 2008 to 2018. And the third-gen started in 2022.

Among all these years 2008 turned out to be the worst one for the Kawasaki KLR650. There were lots of complaints regarding the bike from the KLR community. Other than that, we think most of the KLR650 years were pretty decent in terms of performance and quality. 

Why avoid the 2008 Kawasaki KLR 650?

2008 Kawasaki KLR 650
2008 Kawasaki KLR 650

First of all, we went ahead and tried out the Kawasaki KLR650 2008 variant. We had to verify whether it’s actually as bad as we got to know from the previous user’s feedback

Unfortunately, all the claims of burning too much oil turned out to be true for the bike. When we rode it a couple of times, we could clearly see the oil consumption on the bike was quite abnormal. It gets pretty bad around the 10000 miles mark.

Based on that, we took the KLR650 apart to check its components. As it turns out, the piston rings they used in the bike were pretty bad of low quality. And because of that, the bike failed to deliver proper oil consumption.

We found all these allegations to be true when we were surfing subreddit regarding the KLR650, the problem seems annoying for some users. Sounds like the issue persisted in the bike until late 2009. In around 2010, they started working on the issue and fixes came.

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Which Year Kawasaki KLR 650 is worth buying?

As for the best years of KLR 650, you will get plenty of options for it. But here, we would like to specifically highlight two models worth checking out. Let’s take a look at those –

2004 Kawasaki KLR 650

2004 Kawasaki KLR 650
2004 Kawasaki KLR 650

After a lot of research, we can tell you any Gen1 bike from 1996 to 2004 would be a great choice for a Kawasaki KLR650. Especially the 2004 models, because they don’t have oil-burning issues or any major concerns.

Things started to shift towards 2005 when the production moved to Thailand. Because of this, the quality started falling on the KLR 650s with cheaper components.

So, if you want a GEN1 KLR650, we suggest getting 2004 as the last high-quality production of Gen1 KLR650s.

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2022 Kawasaki KLR 650

2022 Kawasaki KLR 650
2022 Kawasaki KLR 650

Well, if you can afford a newer generation of KLR650, go with 2022 without any second thoughts. 2022 is the beginning of the 3rd generation of Kawasaki KLR650, and it’s the best one.

There are plenty of changes in the 3rd Generation of KLR650 compared to the other years and generations. This is one of the first KLR650 to have fuel injection, naturally making it a better choice than any other year.

Aside from that, the build quality of the frame, the fuel range, the comfort, and ABS inclusion, are notable changes in the model.

For a detailed breakdown of why it’s the best choice, you can check out the following video –

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Tips for Buying a Used Kawasaki KLR 650?

Used Kawasaki KLR650s will always appeal more to people for their low prices. Also, it’s a beginner-friendly bike, so many people want a used one for their first bike.

Here are some tips from us for buying a used Kawasaki KLR650 –

  • Check if the previous owner modded the bike correctly or not.
  • Look out for the air box, carb, and exhaust modification. You can lower the price even more if the OEM parts are missing.
  • See if the KLR650 has a replaced Doohicky. It’s a compulsory replacement for a KLR650.
  • Inspect for any kind of rusty chain, flat spots, worn sprocket, or scraps on the side panel of the bike.
  • If possible, then get a test ride. Otherwise, just start the bike and hear if it makes any noise.
  • Look for issues with the battery or the air cleaner, as many people don’t emphasize them.
  • It’s better to get a KLR650 with LED bulbs than stock ones.
  • For the 1st Gen models, check out the KLR650 FAQ created by its user community.
  • Models from the same generation are similar, so compare prices based on years.

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Frequently Ask Questions

It’s high to get through some questions that people frequently ask regarding a Kawasaki KLR650. We highly recommend checking these out for some extra information if you are considering getting one. Let’s get going.

Is The Kawasaki KLR 650 Engine Reliable?

A Kawasaki KLR650 engine is pretty reliable for an entry-level dual sport bike. You can easily expect to get more than 50000 miles without getting into trouble with the engine. With proper maintenance, the reliability just gets better and better.

What Is The Average Life Of A Kawasaki KLR 650?

The average life of a Kawasaki KLR650 can go from 40,000 miles to 60,000 miles. However, if you go through proper maintenance regularly, you can expect to get 100k miles on it.

How Often Does A Kawasaki KLR 650 Need An Oil Change?

Mostly, it’s better to change the oil in your Kawasaki KLR650 every 3000 to 4000 miles. If it’s too much for you, you can opt for an oil change every 6000 miles. Anything more than that can be problematic.

What Years Of Kawasaki KLR 650 Are More Fuel Efficient?

The most fuel-efficient Kawasaki KLR650 years have to be 1994, 1998, 2003 – 2005. In these years, the average MPG was around 50. In 1998, it had the highest average MPG of 54.6.

How Much Does It Cost To Maintain A Kawasaki KLR 650?

Usually, maintaining a Kawasaki KLR650 can cost somewhere around $70 to $250. For the first maintenance, you have to do it within 500 miles. After that, regular maintenance is necessary every 4000 miles. And it costs the same amount every time for a regular check.

Final words

Concluding the whole discussion, most of the Kawasaki KLR650 is pretty good in quality. As you can see, there aren’t many years that you should avoid the KLR650 bikes.

Overall, it’s a great bike to have for a variety of purposes. Whether riding it on the road or using it as a dirt bike, it’s just perfect.

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