BMW G 650 GS vs. Kawasaki KLR650 | Salsa and Sensibility

Affordable dual-sports are a matter of taste

By Jamie Elvidge, Photography by Jamie Elvidge, Kevin Wing

BMW G650GS

Tech Spec
Price: $7670Front brake: Brembo two-piston caliper, 300mm discsTop-gear roll-on:5.25 sec.
Engine type: l-c singleRear brake: Brembo single-piston caliper, 240mm discFuel mileage (high/low/avg.): 51/59/53 mpg
Valve train: DOHC, 4vFront tire: 100/90H-19 Michelin AnakeeColors: Black, red
Displacement: 652ccRear tire: 130/80R-17 Michelin AnakeeAvailability: Now
Bore x stroke: 100.0 x 83.0mmRake/trail: 60.5 deg./4.5 in.Warranty: 3 years, unlimited mi.
Compression: 11.5: 1Seat height: 29.5-32.2 in.Contact:
BMW of North America
P.O. Box 1227
Westwood, NJ 07575
201.307.4000
www.bmwmotorcycles.com
Fuel system: EFIWheelbase: 58.2 in.
Clutch: Wet, multi-plateFuel capacity: 4.0 gal.
Transmission: 5-speedWeight (tank full/empty): 451/427 lbs.
Frame: Steel twin-sparMeasured horsepower: 42.5 bhp @ 7250 rpm
Front suspension: 41mm Showa telescopic forkMeasured torque: 36.9 lb.-ft. @ 4750 rpm
Rear suspension: Single Showa shock with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping.Corrected 1/4-mile: 13.77 sec. @ 94.41 mph

Dyno
Fuel injection is the obvious advantage here. Despite identical bore and stroke figures, the G650 stomps the KLR, pumping out 9 more horsepower in a smoother, friendlier manner. Torque is up substantially as well.

Ergos
Despite its dual-sport intentions, the GS's ergonomics are street-biased, with a short peg-to-seat distance and long seat-to-bars reach. If you're vertically challenged, the GS is for you: Its seat is 5 inches lower than the KLR's.

Kawasaki KLR650

Tech Spec
Price: $5599Front brake: Nissin two-piston caliper, 280mm discTop-gear roll-on: 7.06 sec.
Engine type: l-c singleRear brake: Nissin single-piston caliper, 240mm discFuel mileage (high/low/avg.): 49/39/44 mpg
Valve train: DOHC, 4vFront tire: 90/90-21 Dunlop K750Colors: Black, red, blue
Displacement: 651ccRear tire: 130/80-17 Dunlop K750Availability: Now
Bore x stroke: 100.0 x 83.0mmRake/trail: 28.0 deg. /4.4 in.Warranty: 1 year, unlimited mi.
Compression: 9.8:1Seat height: 35.0 in.Contact:
Kawasaki Motor Corp.
9950 Jeronimo Rd.
Irvine, CA 92618
949.770.0400
www.kawasaki.com
Fuel system: 40mm KeihinWheelbase: 58.3 in.
Clutch: Wet, multi-plateFuel capacity: 6.1 gal.
Transmission: 5-speedWeight (tank full/empty): 435/399 lbs.
Frame: Steel semi-double cradleMeasured horsepower: 33.7 bhp @ 6250 rpm
Front suspension: 41mm Kayaba telescopic forkMeasured torque: 31.7 lb.-ft. @ 3000 rpm
Rear suspension: Single Kayaba shock with adjustable spring preload and rebound dampingCorrected 1/4-mile: 14.48 sec. @ 83.21 mph

Dyno
Power isn't the KLR's forte, but it is sufficient to get the job done. Kawasaki's tried-and-true single has been in production for more than 20 years, and what it lacks in brute force it makes up for in reliability.

Ergos
An upright seating position with a commanding view of the trail ahead-that's what you want from a dual-sport. The KLR delivers with a lofty 35-inch-high seat and high, wide handlebar. If you're shorter than 5-foot-10, you'll need a stepladder.

By Jamie Elvidge
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