Kawasaki sells the KLE500 in Europe, which is basically the KLR650 but with the EX500 motor in it. They could put the Ninja 650 motor in that thing (it's actually lighter and more compact than the EX500) and that would be a hell of a bike...look how well Suzuki is doing with the wee-strom.
Come to think of it, why don't you just get a wee-strom?
The Kawasaki Europe website before I posted the last comment...it turns out there is a new model for 2007 called the "Versys". It's the Ninja 650 motor in a big enduro-styled chassis, but with 17" wheels and big brakes. It even looks a little like the Wee-storm.
I don't think Kawasaki has plans to bring it here, and that's too bad...but you can email Kawasaki and ask them why they don't bring it in. If they got 3,000 emails pledging to buy one, you would probably see it here in 2008.
I also ride a KLR 650 as a daily commuter and love the bike. Well, mostly I love the bike. I too think it should have another 25 ponies or so (read another cylinder) if soley for the ability to combat highway speed traffic during my commutes. Off the line it is quick enough, but at speeds over 65 mph, I find it very difficult to be able to "scoot away" from traffic as it closes in around me from behind. I hate that feeling and always try to ride with a large space cushion around me, but that is not always possible. Being able to get away from potential dangerous cagers (isn't that all of them?) is a necessity on a motorcycle I believe, and the KLR just cannot do this. I know I would feel much more comfortable on this bike had it more adequate power for highway driving if just for the limited times we HAVE to ride highways and freeways on a big dirtbike.
Ha, ha, ha, ha hee, hee, ha, hoo, ha, hee, hee, hee, ha, ha, ha - 36 - ha, ha, ha, ha, hoo, hoo, hoo - The years have rolled on - ha, ha, ha, ha, hee, hee, hee. The things kids say today just crack me up.
GO NO FURTHER! Kawasaki has released the bike you want and you can have one if you live in Europe. The Versys 650 is a huge hit and just the target for people that like smoothe power, sharp looking, do all and go every where bike. I was so disappointed when they didn't release it for the US. I own a touring bike, a sport bike for racing/ track days, a scooter for comuting duty and a dirt bike. I have no problem owning a Versys, go to www.kawasaki.co.uk to view the bike and draw your own conclusion.
Versys is sexxxy. More of a TDM/Multistrada pseudo trailie than any sort of dertbike. Weestrum looks more dert werthy than this Versys.
Not going to hold my breath for a Versys in USA. Unfortunately, a Vulcan or Eliminator 650 powered by the new ninjer motor is more likely......
Weestrum ABS looking like the bargain adventure tourer to beat all. Or wait and pay twice as much for a F800GS when it arrives here in 2112. A price justified by doodads such as electronic seat height adjustment and heated footpegs no doubt....
Mitctho you are right on the ball with everything. All we get are the crotch rockets or harley clones.
I posted something similar to this and you should've seen what it generated. 30 pages of discussion.
I got to the point of negotiating with my local dealer on the weestrom. Nice bike. He just wouldn't come down and I didn't feel like taking a long drive to the next town. I bought a used pc800 instead. I still look longingly at those weestroms. My cousin has the 1000 vstrom and loves it.
We get what we deserve in this country. People buy the crotch rockets, harley clones, and expensive bmw's. So, the manufacturer's keep producing more. Maybe if we stopped buying them, we could get the more practical bikes that Europe seems to get. I agree with one gentleman who believes everything hinges on how we in the US look at bikes. We tend to believe they are for recreation, whereas in Europe, they are transportation. He's right on the money!
I just took a look at the Versys on the Kawasaki UK site. Very nice, indeed! What a shame it isn't coming here, though it looks to me like it'd sell here. Slowly but surely I think American riders are starting to come around to intelligent bikes like the Versys. My email to Kawasaki will be on its way shortly.
I'm waiting for John Deere to come out with a line of cruisers.. because that is what they have become to me- 2 wheeled tractors. How is it possible that a modern motorcycle can weigh-in at 750+ lbs. Are the engine cases made of depleted uranium or something? If you have to have a forklift to get it off its side, I suggest that it is no longer a motorcycle.
I remember when I started riding (1st bike was a cruiser, in fact.. Honda Shadow 500 which weighed under 500 lbs.) I read in a cyke-mag that there was a Brazilian motorcycle with a V-8 engine.. and it weighed a staggering 950 lbs. I thought that was impossible. Fast forward 25 years and V-twins are creeping up to the weight.
I guess everything is just getting bigger... TV's, Big Gulps, Automobiles... Why can't the motorcycle industry follow the the example of the cell phone industry.
However, if Star Vulcan Harley comes out with a line of shredders/plows/cultivators- perhaps I'll give them a 2nd look.