Kawasaki KLR650 Product Peek

January 7, 2009
JC Hilderbrand
JC Hilderbrand
Off-Road Editor|Articles|Articles RSS|Blog |Blog Posts |Blog RSS

Hilde is holding down the fort at MotoUSA's Southern Oregon HQ. With world-class dirt bike and ATV trails just minutes away, the hardest part is getting him to focus on the keyboard. Two wheels or four, it doesn't matter to our Off-Road Editor so long as it goes like hell in the dirt.

Kawasaki KLR650 Happy Trails Bag
We found another maker and distributor of Kawasaki KLR650 and other dual-sport motorcycle aftermarket goodies. Happy Trails Products is based out of Boise, ID.

We recently reviewed a set of Diamond Back Dual Sport Heavy Duty Saddlebags during our 2008 Suzuki DR-Z400S test. The beauty of it was, during our test we rode alongside a 2008 Kawasaki KLR650 equipped with the same setup and were able to pick the owner’s brain about how they worked on his larger machine. The Diamond Back Dual Sport cases are manufactured and distributed in conjunction with our local purveyor of orange, OMA-KTM, and we shared most of the same likes and dislikes as our riding companion.

We’ve noted throughout the years that our dual-sport audience has an insatiable appetite for new innovations and product evaluation. Since the Kawasaki KLR has historically been one of the best-selling DS machines, we wanted to take a look at some of the products available out there for the popular multi-purpose traveler. It’s easy to get caught up surfing around on the Internet simply looking at all the information and products that are available. We recently were introduced to Tim Bernard, owner of Happy Trails Products, a dual-sport company based out of Boise, ID. After talking with Bernard about some of his upcoming KLR projects, which he treated with a certain level of secrecy, we dug deeper into his website to find out what he might have in store.

There is plenty of adventure riding in the USA, and the KLR 650 is a good way to do it.
There is plenty of adventure riding in the USA, and the KLR 650 is a good way to do it.

As it turns out, Happy-Trail.com has an entire slew of add-ons for the KLR650, not to mention models and offerings from other OEMs, like the Honda XR650L, Buell Ulysses and Suzuki DR-Z400S, to name a few. Happy Trails not only produces its own product, but has combined aftermarket offerings from multiple companies that range from skidplates to panniers and suspension upgrades.

Our own world traveler extraordinaire, Dr. Greg Frazier, has been involved with Bernard during his expeditions. The very same ones he reports about in his monthly MotoUSA column, Dr. Frazier Rides.  World explorers are a unique breed, often preferring the solitary life on the road and the hum of quasi-knobbies to the hustle and bustle of the city or the quiet reverence of sedentary rural life. Each has their own version of which machine is the best tool for the job. As perhaps the most extensively versed world traveler today, Frazier has given his endorsement of the KLR650 by using it for a circumnavigation as well as other intra- and intercontinental rides.

California’s coast makes for a terrific ride on the KLR with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore.
California’s coast makes for a terrific ride on the KLR with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore.

We had several of the new-model KLR test bikes and they saw action across Southern California, up the coast and into the mountains of southern Oregon. We also trucked it to Colorado for some high-altitude abuse and mobbed it through the deserts of Mexico. With 2009 glistening new and dual-sport riding gaining in popularity, we’re certain that the new year will bring another wave and generation of hardy travelers – and that the KLR650 will be a prime choice for many.

Here are a few KLR650 websites you diehards might want to peruse, and probably already do. If you can’t find an answer to your questions on these forums, it must not exist! 


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