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Since its introduction in 1987, the Kawasaki KLR650 has been a darling among off-road junkies who want one motorcycle that can do it all. It was a rare dual-sport that could behave itself everywhere with little to no compromise. This single-cylinder scamp has been loved by street riders, dirt riders, and even the U.S. military, but 2018 appears to be the end of the road (or trail) for the Kawasaki KLR650.
Rumors of the discontinuation of the KLR650 first popped up in a publication called Australian Dirt Bike. In an intercepted letter (supposedly) sent to American dealers, Kawasaki USA executive VP of sales Bill Jenkins specifically says that “model year 2018 will be the final year of the iconic motorcycle,” referring to the KLR650.
Now according to Canada MotoGuide, the KLR650 is officially dead in Canada. “I can confirm that model year 2018 will be the final year for the iconic KLR650,” said Kawasaki Canada representative Brad Goodbody in an official statement. “There will not be a 2019 KLR650 in the line up for Canadian Kawasaki Motors, however there will be 2018 models available in limited quantities.”
A rumor has turned into a fact for Canada, and we have a feeling that means it’s curtains for the KLR650 in the States as well. We’ve reached out to Kawasaki USA asking for confirmation of the bike’s availability and we’ll update this story if we hear back, but if you want to buy a brand new KLR650, you should head to your local dealer sooner than later.
With bigger adventure bikes getting more popular for riders who want one all-purpose bike, more traditional, simple dual-sports like the Kawasaki KLR650 have been shrinking in relevance. If the KLR650 is indeed dead, there's been no word on any sort of direct replacement or if the Versys line of more street-oriented ADVs will take its place. In any case, even if you’re not big into off-roading, it’s sad to see the demise of an icon.