Taking inspiration from the past is all the rage at the moment in the world of motorcycling. The Yamaha XT660Z was reborn as the Ténéré 700, the Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT has been given a touch of the DR Big, and even BMW has paid homage to the R 100 GS as it celebrates 40 years of the GS. And now, could we be about to see Kawasaki revive the cult classic KLR650?
With the season of new bike reveals upon us, expectant eyes are turning towards Kawasaki after the manufacturer teased the reveal of several new bikes on social media. Most exciting is the prospect of a new or updated adventure bike, and we’re hoping it could come in the shape of a successor to the KLR650.
Social media teasers
The video above, released by Kawasaki’s Canadian Youtube channel, teases the release of six new bikes, and there’s a suggestion that two off-road ready bikes are among the six.
The video shows a series of short teasers, showcasing the type of setting each bike would be at home in, while the bikes themselves remain firmly under black covers. However, the teasers for the two wire-spoked wheeled bikes are set in the backcountry, showing a bike turning off the tarmac and into the dirt, two settings that adventure bikes are built to thrive in.
Will a successor to the KLR650 be among them?
There are a few reasons to think that Kawasaki could be about to revive its iconic adventure bike which proved popular with riders looking a no frills, simple bike with bullet-proof reliability. The original, launched in 1987 and redesigned once in 2008, was taken out of production in 2018.
Kawasaki has kept the Versys 650 in its line-up and introduced the Versys-X 300 as their adventure touring offerings, but neither has captured the imagination of two-wheeled travellers worldwide quite like the KLR.
With the Versys 650 receiving little more than a lick of paint for 2021, many online are hoping that Kawasaki’s time and effort has been spent on another bike for the adventure sector instead. After all, the mid-capacity market is in rude health and it would be no surprise if the manufacturer was looking to get its slice of the pie.
It’s also worth noting that, due to European emission laws, the KLR650 wasn’t sold on this side of the pond and therefore never enjoyed the success it did in America. However, word spread quickly and, given the recent European sales success of another stripped-down, no-frills adventure bike, the Yamaha Ténéré 700, its likely there would be a market for a successor to the KLR650 in the UK and on the continent.
We’ll have to wait to find out officially, with Kawasaki scheduling two announcements on 12 October and 23 November. Keep an eye on the ABR website and social media pages to be the first to know, or subscribe to the ABR newsletter at the bottom of this webpage.
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