Affordable, accessible, easy to keep and to maintain; for over 30 years, the Kawasaki KLR 650 has been the versatile go-to adventure seekers have been relying on. Despite little to no change during its three decade run, the model has been going strong and has become a favorite of travelers. If you’ve been wanting to get your hands on one, this might be your last chance to buy new: 2018 marks the end of the road for the KLR 650.
In fact, a letter from Kawasaki dated from September 14, 2018 addressed to the dealers implies that 2018 will be the last run for the KLR650.
“I can confirm that model year 2018 will be the final year for the iconic KLR650. There will not be a 2019 KLR650 in the line up for Canadian Kawasaki Motors, however there will be 2018 models available in limited quantities,” confirmed Brad Goodbody, Assistant PR and Marketing Manager at Kawasaki Canada.
The model’s aging design and fuel unfriendly performance have taken a strain on its popularity and though for ages, the KLR was the staple of dual-sport riding, aggressive and up-to-date competitors have started chopping away at the Kawi sales in the segment. It remains a capable bike, simply not that great by today’s standards. The KLR is a time capsule that takes us back to the rugged early days of adventure bikes. It never really left 1987.
Nowadays, the segment is more popular than ever, and with all the fancy new models brought to the market, the KLR has struggled to keep up—in 2018, the KLR isn’t even offered with ABS.
Though we can understand the business decision behind discontinuing the model, it is a sad thing to watch a loved one go. There will be a big dual-sport hole left within the Kawasaki lineup so now the fun part will be to try and guess what the manufacturer will come up with to fill the void. What’s your guess? A jacked-up version of the Versys? A brand-new model? A Ninja 650 with knobby tires?