REJOICE KAWASAKI'S KLX650R THUMPER
G'day Clubby, Dr Phil, Russ and the rest of the TRAIL ZONE team: Thanks for making a great magazine. You guys are the best in the business when it comes to the "ZONE". No doubt about it. Reading about Clubby's old Yamaha Tenere Project Bike got me thinking. I needed an 'adventure bike' to do dirt roads, back tracks and highway work. The DR-Z400 just isn't built for the long hauls, so its gonna be converted back to my 'trail bike'. I looked in the local Trading Post, newspapers and so on and found myself what could turn out to be an interesting and enjoyable learning curve: a 1996 Kawasaki KLX650R D1. I did my research on the Net, talked to bike mechanics and jumped on the forum at www.advrider.com to find out a little bit more about it. It turned out to be the love-child of a KLR and KX. From all reports it was the match in its day for the Honda XR650R? With only about 1,500km on the clock and a good price for its age and condition, I think it's going to be a great little project. I'll let you know how it's going with some before and after photos. Thanks for being a fair dinkum Aussie magazine.-- Dominic via www.trailzone.com.au
Thanks for your email, Dominic, and keep enjoying the magazine. We know the mighty KLX650R all too well and can remember test-riding it back in the day. It was a thundering green beast back then and we're sure it still is these days. Now, here's a funny story about the big KLX: eons ago I did a ride with Tom and Reeksy when we were working at ADB and we decided to do a trip to the top of Cape York on three of the smallest trail bikes around back then: Honda's XL250 Degree, Suzuki's DR200 and Yamaha's XT225 Serow. It was the ultimate torture-test of the little bikes, as we hooked up with Roy Kunda from Cape York Motorcycle Adventures and did the trip from Cairns up to the Tip and back again all in seven days -- the usual one-way customer trip to the Tip these days takes eight days! So yeah, we were motoring on the little trailies – and they came through it with flying colours! But what's this got to do with the KLX650R? Ahh, nothing, except for the fact a bloke named Phil who worked at Wayne Leonard Motorcycles in Cairns decided to tag along on the ride with us, and he was riding a KLX650R. The big green banger did the trip to the tip real easy -- although Tommy, Reeksy and me all still get nightmares when we remember crossing Spear Creek on the Telegraph Track on the way back south. It was the worst, filthiest, ugliest snotty piece of quicksand we had ever seen, and all of us hucked a lung up just getting the little trail bikes across. When we had finally made it, we lay there on the southern bank near-exhausted, when we realised, 'Uh oh, what about Phil and the whopping big KLX?!' We still had to help carry the big green meanie across the swamp, and loaded as it was with a big tank and a heap of camping gear, it was a mission! But we got it across, we all saved the veins popping from our foreheads (just!) and Phil got to keep on motoring south with us on the KLX. Enjoy your KLX and yep, make sure you send us a couple of Before and After photos. Ride on!
-- Clubby, www.trailzone.com.au