While many were expecting Kawasaki to unveil a replacement for the 32 year old KLR650 at EICMA, many were left disappointed. However, it's not all bad news, as Kawasaki NZ has confirmed that the KLR650 isn't dead in the NZ market just yet.
About a month ago news broke that Kawasaki USA was killing off the long-lived and equally loved KLR650 from its lineup. The news was a shock to many in the Dual Sport community, as the KLR650, while old, is on the the best beginner platforms to get into adventure riding.
Luckily for us in New Zealand, the KLR isn't dead. At least not yet. Speaking with Kawasaki NZ's Alarn Young, he commented that while the North American's have sent the KLR650 out to pasture, Kawasaki New Zealand currently has no intentions to get rid of the model here - or to be more specific "Kawasaki NZ has nothing confirmed regarding the KLR."
Similarly to the story with the Yamaha WR250R, which was reputedly killed off last year only to be continued in the Australasian marketplace, the KLR650's lifespan will continue here for the foreseeable future according to Young.
He did note however that while Kawasaki NZ has two more KLR650 shipments already on the way, they will no longer be able to get the same specification of bike for the NZ marketplace going forward. Currently, the NZ KLR650 is the same as the Canadian model. With the Canadian KLR no longer an option, Kawasaki New Zealand will replenish their KLR stocks going forward with the Australian specification KLR650.
With that said, the aging KLR does have a lot of competition for adventure riders. While it's main competitor - the Suzuki DR650 - appears to be hanging around also, new models in the mid-sized adventure segment will certainly put a strain on sales. With the likes of Yamaha's Tenere 700 and KTM's 790 Adventure due mid-late next year, the saving grace for the basic KLR will be its low price which currently sits at $9,990. With the expectation that the newer, more technology heavy bikes will sell for in excess of $16,000, the no frills nature of the KLR is a true asset.