Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Where was I yesterday?

Well, at their dealer show, Kawasaki introduced the first update to their venerable KLR-650 in *TWENTY YEARS*.

Naturally I spent most of the day tracking down details. Here is what I found:

The biggest change, from a Kawasaki R&D point of view, is a new cylinder head and a new piston and a new ignition module, and some new plastics molds. Everything else is parts bin. The front forks and new dual-pot brake calipers (no, that's how many cylinders the calipers have, nothing to do with Willie Nelson!), for example, appear to be off of the KLE500 sold in Europe, as is the fairing. The new brake rotors are off one of their small Ninjas, as is the "new" radiator. The gas tank, muffler, frame, wheels, and engine bottom end are the same as the old KLR (they probably adjusted the counterweights to deal with the lighter-weight new piston and that's it). They changed the length of the links in the back in order to lower it to match the new KLE500 front end (which is an inch shorter than the old KLR front end). And that's pretty much it.

All in all, it's an evolution, not an all-new bike. Current KLR owners are unlikely to flock to upgrade to it -- other than the engine improvements (which should give it about 10% more power), you can equal everything else out of the existing KLR accessory bin (I have a massive 320mm front brake rotor that gives the same braking power as the new dual-pot front brakes, for example). Still, when I retire my KLR from active duty in another 25000 miles (around 60000 miles the current KLR typically needs a new liner and rings due to a poor oil ring design), it's nice to know that they have an update to the old gal that'll let me slide right in to yet another one of these reliable old beasts. She may still have a 20 year old engine design (albeit with a new head) and a 20 year old rear suspension design and a pig-heavy steel frame instead of one of those new-fangled aluminum or alloy whatizts, but it's reliable as a tractor (and about the same power band and top speed even with the new head), and will go anywhere.

So that's what I was doing yesterday -- getting the poop on that new big fat green bike. Hey, a penguin can dream, eh?!

-- Badtux the Dreamin' Penguin

Posted by: BadTux / 9/26/2006 01:23:00 PM  


Dreaming is good.
Mine is of a '59 Impala Convertible. Red with a white top and white leather interior.
Of course, gas guzzling guilt would require me to convert it to an alternative fuel.
# posted by cornfield jane : 27/9/06 2:23 PM  

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I am a black and white and yellow multicolored penguin making his way as best he can in a world of monochromic monkeys.

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