Oh, the heck with them big rocket bikes I was talking about last week.

John Backlund

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My very, very, retro Kawasaki W800 is a beautiful bike, very well made, down to it's smallest details. The US spec W800's however, are only offered with the entirely painted fuel tanks, but it's still a stunningly good-looking bike (IMO), and I'm not at all complaining about it's appearance.
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But in some other markets, I think only Asian, they offer this bike as a 'Kawasaki Maguro K3' model that features a chrome-sided fuel tank...
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John Backlund

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That as a scrambler….

I think that I had heard that Mahindra is planning to eventually offer it in other configurations, possibly as a classic Gold Star Cafe Racer, which makes sense, and would go after the Royal Enfield Continental 650.

It's impossible to not feel that a classic 650 scrambler version would also be a natural development for this bike.
 

John Backlund

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Oh the fond memories of compression kick back.

Years ago, back in St. Paul, Trixie was limping about for at least a week after she had her Yamaha SRX600 kick back at her after attempting a clumsy cold start on the thing.

Her first mistake was to only have her toes on the kick lever, and not solidly centered in the arch of her boot, then she gave it a fairly feeble effort at a kick, and about halfway through her downstroke, the engine fired and jammed the kick lever up, with all of the impressive 'gusto' that a 600 cc single can muster. It banged the front of her foot up in an unnatural angle, and tore up some things in there that shouldn't be torn up. After that, I pretty much bump-started her at the race track.
 

johnnylaw

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Wow… The perils of the thumper.
As a youth, I was told, that when I could kick start a Velocette Clubman, I would be allowed to take her for a spin.
I was rail thin, and under 100 pounds at the age if thirteen years when I fired that mother up.
I think that was the only time the old man reneged.
 

John Backlund

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Wow… The perils of the thumper.
As a youth, I was told, that when I could kick start a Velocette Clubman, I would be allowed to take her for a spin.
I was rail thin, and under 100 pounds at the age if thirteen years when I fired that mother up.
I think that was the only time the old man reneged.

"Velocette"

I swear, that's THEEE coolest monicker ever slapped onto a motorcycle.
 

chris m.

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That looks like a blast. How much, I wonder? My first bike was a Honda CB450 Twin. My favorite bike of all time was probably my Suzuki DRZ400. Light weight, 400cc thumper, so much fun to go on and off road with it. I'm out of the bike game now, but I would probably buy this Yamaha WR250R if I were to get another bike just because I love the light weight and hooligan-ready suspension so much for just bopping around town and on fire roads--

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dogmeat

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470lbs?!
Way too heavy for a thumper. That 45hp is likely a crankshaft number too. I predict it's going to be a boring ride compared to a real gold star.

actually, the new Gen 3 KLR650 is pretty close to those numbers and is being well received. but as they say... it is what it is. used as intended its a blast. the KLR is a legendary Adventure bike more than a true dual sport. there is a difference. I owned 3, the last one I bought new in '04. I was a big time BSA guy and owned and restored maybe a dozen over the decades. there was a time I could build a unit single engine in my sleep. I'm still on the main Brit bike forum,,,, they don't think much of it. and yeah, compared with the real Goldie it will be a slug (but with better suspension)
 

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actually, the new Gen 3 KLR650 is pretty close to those numbers and is being well received. but as they say... it is what it is. used as intended its a blast. the KLR is a legendary Adventure bike more than a true dual sport. there is a difference. I owned 3, the last one I bought new in '04. I was a big time BSA guy and owned and restored maybe a dozen over the decades. there was a time I could build a unit single engine in my sleep. I'm still on the main Brit bike forum,,,, they don't think much of it. and yeah, compared with the real Goldie it will be a slug (but with better suspension)

The KLR is terrible. It was a dual sport, now it's an underpowered budget adv bike. They already ruined it in 08, so I wasn't surprised they made it even worse. It will get good reviews from people who feel they have to give it good reviews.
 

John Backlund

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I'm still on the main Brit bike forum,,,, they don't think much of it. and yeah, compared with the real Goldie it will be a slug (but with better suspension)

And! It will be priced at about one fifth of what an original Gold Star would, and almost certainly a better day-to-day machine...for those of us who are mechanically 'challenged'.

I just want a fun, relatively economical, great-looking, reliable, retro-flavored motorcycle that gives a BIG stylistic nod to the great 'Brit bikes' of the past, and this bike provides all of those things, in spades.

I would not at all expect the British bike purists to like this new interloper, but I don't live in that world, and was just a bystanding admirer of these bikes back in the 60's, because as a teenager, I couldn't begin to afford one.

I was in awe of, and worshipped, my older brother's '65 Bonneville, and good lord, that monster had around 50 hp, when my little Honda S90 had all of 8.
I couldn't even imagine having that kind of power at the twist of a throttle.
 

John Backlund

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The KLR is terrible. It was a dual sport, now it's an underpowered budget adv bike. They already ruined it in 08, so I wasn't surprised they made it even worse. It will get good reviews from people who feel they have to give it good reviews.

I genuinely liked both of my KLR'S, a '91, and later, a new 2011. I never used it off road, and just enjoyed it on pavement, which suited my uses for both bikes.

I guess my only complaint about either of my KLR's was the saddle they inflicted that poor thing with. I could barely ride either of them more than fifty miles at a sitting without a severe case of 'monkey butt' setting in.

I used my first one as an urban weapon in Minneapolis, and it excelled in that capacity (as did my '91 V-max), and it made a great commuter bike.
 

chris m.

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We are so spoiled. Go to somewhere like Vietnam where they are hauling pallets of grand pianos on a 100 cc bike with their family perched on the handlebars. Any of the bikes mentioned is a ton of fun and an amazing piece of technology.

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bottlenecker

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I genuinely liked both of my KLR'S, a '91, and later, a new 2011. I never used it off road, and just enjoyed it on pavement, which suited my uses for both bikes.

I guess my only complaint about either of my KLR's was the saddle they inflicted that poor thing with. I could barely ride either of them more than fifty miles at a sitting without a severe case of 'monkey butt' setting in.

I used my first one as an urban weapon in Minneapolis, and it excelled in that capacity (as did my '91 V-max), and it made a great commuter bike.

The KLR was a good choice in 91. The KLR is one of my very favorite category of motorcycle; big thumper dual sports I can travel on.
But it's my least favorite example of them, today in 2021.
The engine has been unchanged for 34 years, other than adding fi. No harley ever went as long without changes as the big japanese dual sports currently have. There are good and bad things about that, but for the KLR the bad news is that honda has been making a better choice since 94, and suzuki has been making a better choice since 96.
The DR650 makes more power and weighs 50 lbs less, with better brakes, better suspension, and a stronger frame.
Not that KLR owners care.

The KLR continues to sell on reputation. The 2008 changes and the new changes have been made based on the fact that KLRs sell primarily to street-only riders and commuters.
The new KLR bums me out, because something so much better should've taken it's place a long time ago. Kawasaki have basically taken a dual sport away without giving us a new one.
 

John Backlund

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Yep, I have zero interest in the latest gen KLR, mostly because I dislike it's appearance more than any tech 'improvements' it may have.

I'm done with that bike anyway, I've owned two of them, and although I considered my examples of that model as being good machines, there's just way too many other interesting bikes out there these days to even think of buying another.
 

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It's a bit of a nostalgia thing, but even without that as a factor, I simply find the general styling of bikes of the 60's more appealing visually than most contemporary machines. I also only use my bikes as rolling pleasure tools, I don't do any seriously long distance rides anymore, and mostly just run around the Black Hills on them at something less than 100% effort. They're just toys to me these days, and their performance only needs to be 'good enough' to provide a pleasurable experience.

I'm a pretty visual guy, and a bike's appearance is what initially attracts them to me, then I'll determine whether it's performance is at least adequate for my intended purposes.

That doesn't mean that I still don't occasionally lust over some 200 hp monster bike, though. I sometimes really miss the easy power and outrageous acceleration of a ZX14 or Hayabusa, but I can be pulled back from that edge by a visually stunning (to me) bike. That's how my Triumph Thruxton R, R18 BMW, and Kawasaki W800 found their way into my garage, I first just liked their looks, their performance was secondary.

‘Sounds like your next bike should be a Guzzi.
 
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John Backlund

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yeah, I'm on a couple motorcycle boards & its makin' the rounds. about 45 hp, 650cc, liquid cooled, fuel injected, decent suspension and ABS. about 470 pounds wet. I forget the wheel base but its not exactly a small bike either

the cylinder looks huge because its supposed to look like Goldie. it could be much smaller and doesn't need the fins either. they are claiming it gets over 70 mpg. it will be "sporty" but not a fireball by any means.... 45 hp isn't that much

The Gold Star's 45 hp single is claimed to give the bike a top speed of 100-105 mph. I can have both a lot of fun, and also get into a lot of trouble in that space between 1 and 105 mph.


At least the cylinder fins are functional, even if not totally necessary. If there are fins, they're dumping heat. It's pretty hard to include deep fins on an engine that don't actually do that. Besides, without the cylinder fins, the engine would look about as attractive as a sump pump.
 

John Backlund

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View attachment 927784

‘Sounds like your next bike should be a Guzzi.

Been there, done that....
IMG_20181028_175746454.jpg

My 2017 Moto-Guzzi V7 III Special. A great 750 that I miss a lot. I traded it in on my '17 Honda CB1100EX (also now gone).

Only 52 hp, but an absolute pleasure to ride the Black Hills on. A wonderful motor in these things, and it was just good to look at, too.

The Guzzi in your photo is the 900 'Roamer'. A Friend had one of those for a few seasons, his was a metallic yellow/gold. I much preferred the more classically styled V7's. The Guzzi 900 engine in the Roamer model only had a couple more hp than the 750, and probably just a tad more torque, so there was no practical advantage to go for that 900 over the 750.
 
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dogmeat

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without the cylinder fins, the engine would look about as attractive as a sump pump.


ha ha... kina like a KLR??? (I had 3). never had a Guzzi, but had 4 BMWs up to 1150cc. I've driven bigger but the biggest bike I ever actually owned was a KZ1300 6 cylinder. the first bike I owned was an Enfield in '68 (dad wouldn't let me have one as a kid). then a Triumph, then a BSA followed by a string of Bultaco and Huskvarna drit/enduro bikes. then more BSAs and Triumphs. I didn't own a Japanese bike until the late '90s. somewhere I have a picture of Elvin Bishop on my 1952 BMW R51. long story. I've down sized & have only 2, a KLX250 and a Versys 650. think I might dump the KLX for another DRZ, the Versys is a keeper. it tours, it does twisties and it does gravel & 2 track (2nd set of wheels)
 




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