For over the decade the Kawasaki 650KLR has earned a rep if not a cult following as a value per dollar dual sport bike. Around $5k new, and after a few years, if it broke down in the boonies, you just left it there. Welcome to the brave new world of motorcycle pricing… For 2013 Kawasaki jacked the KLR’s MSRP up to $6500, which means $7k by the time they add in freight and dealer “prep”, etc, never mind the ever spendy taxes, title, and license.

Now the economic recovery has been kinda slow, and some pundits suggest another recession is in the offing even though we haven’t recovered fully from the last. Europe may already be in a recession, and China is stalling. I don’t know where Kawasaki gets their economic model from- they do build passenger rail cars, which given that there’s only a handful of builders is something of a seller’s market.

This bad news follows Kawasaki’s earlier jacking of their 650 twin’s prices up into the $8k range. Suzuki has matched Kawasaki’s overprice, jacking the base Wee Strom up to $8300! The DR650 is still going for $6k or a bit less, and given Kawasaki’s price hike on the once near identically priced KLR, I suspect the DR will be selling a bit better.

Fortunately a bit of sanity remains in this weak market… Honda is offering their new NC700X twin for $7K, though the addition of a dual clutch automatic and ABS pushes the price to $9K, near BMW territory. Triumph Bonnies still go for under $7K, and Guzzi will be offering a basic version of the V7 with cast wheels for a few hundred under $9k. Yup, a Euro bike with shaft drive for about the same price as a Japanese 650!

If you’ve been coveting a new KLR for a while, might want to partake of the Costco offer soon, it applies to current model year only…