Join Date: May 2009
Location: Indiana/ Michigan line at the Lake
Bunches of us have '09's and love 'em.
Some of the old-schoolers feel the KLR should have never changed, ever.
After all, a 21 year production run with almost no changes shows how well generation
one was designed. All the while, Suzuki, Honda's XLR family, and Yamaha's XT line
changed year after year. Yamaha even cancelled the XT a few years back.
Kawasaki changed color schemes, added or took off decals and kept on outselling
everyone else with an unchanged machine.
I had an XL600R, then later a DR650S and both were great bikes in their own respects.
But I drooled heavily on the generation 2 KLR !! What few complaints over the years
were taken into account with the new design. There was some wheel flex so they
went with fatter spokes. The high speed lift and wobble with all dualsports was
addressed with the angled fender to spoil lift. Mine's very stable at warp speed.
The "doohickey" or balancer chain tensioner was failing or breaking completely so they
addressed that with a stronger unit. (It still needs a better spring.) There was some
fork flex but nothing a fork brace couldn't cure but Kaw went with larger diameter forks.
Much of that reason was behind the added weight of the fixed fairing and cowl that
was added with the new design. The fairing is what hooked me right at first glance!
I'm a street guy/ highway rider who loves to shred dirt roads so a motocrosser was not
necessary. That's why I got tired of the two previous dualsports too. Too cold and
wobbly at 85+ mph. There were some complaints of the rear shock showing its
age and not having enough beef. The rear clip is stronger now with a 5 setting rear
shock that I have not been able to bottom out yet. The swingarm is slightly stronger
with curved edges unlike it's uni-trac predecessor. (The old swingarm was fine.) The
main difference was to make it look like a new design on this generation of KLR.
I wanted an '08 right off the showroom floor but never buy a first year model. I let
them tweak out the mistakes first. Picked up a black '09 and couldn't be happier.
With both factory and aftermarket support, this scooter can last a lifetime.
Parts and upgrades, luggage and other add-ons will be available until our children
die of old age. No need to second guess your purchase unless you are heavy into
dirt riding. The new generation is a few pounds more, but it's all up front making
steering more sluggish than the 87-07 design. They are both excellent machines.
The older is more dirt oriented, the newer is more street friendly, and both still
do each other's jobs very well. I put on a full knobby up front to steer stronger
off road and have a more predictable track. Most cops never know the difference
anyway. They look for a headlite n' plate. lol
The only thing to steer clear of is color choices. LOLOL Black is the fastest color.