For 2004 Kawasaki continued with its popular off-road dirt bike KLR line releasing both a ""junior"" model known as the KLR 250 and the heavy-duty, full-size KLR 650. Both KLR designs came in an Aztek Red color that year combined with the sportier design of all the dirt bikes Kawasaki produced for 2004 the KLR certainly aimed to appeal to riders who wanted to have the functionality of a dirt bike in the form of a sport bike. Both perform more than adequately on the open road though this bike can go places sport bikes and power cruisers cannot.
The KLR has always been a durable, steady line for Kawasaki. The smaller KLR line was so impressively built that for a time the military used these bikes, though mostly for reconnaissance and correspondence tasks. Still if it's good enough to be used in military operations that should speak volumes about how tough and reliable this line of motorbikes is. It's not uncommon to hear owners praise it for holding up like a tank, although a more appropriate comparison would to the durability of a Jeep.
Kawasaki decided to use a four-stroke over the usual two-stroke engine found in most comparable bikes of this size and class. The compression ratio of the KLR 250 at 11:1 provides very reliable torque and horsepower remains fairly consistent even when pushing the upper rpm limits. The maximum torque might not be quite as high as other motorbikes of the same class; however it won't bottom out as others tend to do on the low- or high-end revolutions. This sturdy motor combined with the impressive steady fuel distribution of the 34mm Keihin Carburetor helps give the bike more balanced fuel efficiency throughout the different gear speeds.
It's a nice break for the wallets of KLR 250 owners. The tank holds just shy of three gallons worth of fuel which is enough to get in 200 miles of dirt bike exploration before another refuel is necessary. Fitted with an air adjustable shock system in the front and the dependable UNI-Trak shock system in the rear, the motorcycle provides a very smooth ride which is needed when hitting the trails. The front hydraulic disc and rear drum disc braking system have no trouble stopping the motorbike even when in the highest gear. This great all-terrain dirt bike has a cult following that many other dirt bikes never attain.
Not forgetting the larger version of the KLR, it has great functionality as both an off-road motorbike as well as being more than capable for around town riding. The KLR 650 has no trouble on the freeway either, as the 649cc engine doesn't feel any stress while cruising at top highway speed limits. This bike easily enjoys a fuel efficiency over 50 mpg whether the bike is trail blazing or cruising city streets getting slightly lower gas mileage than the junior model enjoys. It can go a bit further on one tank than the KLR 250 thanks to a larger fuel tank with nearly double the capacity. The simplistic approach to design reduces overall maintenance requiring little more than regular oil changes that most owners feel comfortable doing themselves. The bike handles corners like a pro with easy access to both the preload spring and rebound suspension in the rear that riders can adjust for their needs which would likely depend upon whether the KLR is mainly used for off-road trails or everyday travel. The front suspension is just as easily adjusted and can be done simply by adding or decreasing the air pressure to the suspension. It will take some time but eventually the oil in the front suspension forks will need to be refreshed, though again the low-maintenance design of the bike allows for draining the old oil then adding the new oil without ever having to remove the forks from the bike.