Depends somewhat on which generation bike you go with. The older Gen I bikes [pre-'08] have had some subframe bolt issues, that I believe are related to poor maintenance. In particular, checking torque settings on the subframe bolts with any regularity. The newer Gen II bikes ['08-] were produced with heavier subframe bolts, but, in my estimation, will still require ongoing observation to insure torque settings, otherwise, we will be seeing frame bolt problems here, too.
My own personal experience has been good carrying loads on the the Gen I bike. It is more about balancing the load than watching the weight. A tail pack may well be all you need to transport your day to day items. Mine is set up as my primary BOV. I just use it in between now and the time I may have to use it for its intended purpose. The CDI is the only thing that will fry if caught in an EMP situation. I have a spare in a faraday cage. 100 lbs +- with my tubby butt [190 + gear] is very doable, more with caution and reason. Hitting ruts at 60 with 400 lbs on board will raise hell with anything you ride with two wheels.
If the KLR 650 was a rifle, it would be an SKS, not a John Moses Browning masterpiece.
If it were a tractor, it would be a Ford 8N, not a latest, greatest Kubota.
If it were from the equine world, it would be a Mule, not a long legged Thoroughbred.
It is a good, simple utilitarian vehicle. It has its limitations. It ain't a dirt bike. It has some off road capabilities. It ain't a Gold Wing. It does have some long distance road capabilities. And no different than the SKS, the Mule, or the Ford 8N tractor, the skill and ability of the user will determine a lot of the limitations.
According to Kawasaki, the KLR 650, either version, is rated for a 401 lb payload.
Last edited by vatrader; 06-08-2010 at 02:53 PM.
Reason: speling is hard