The KLR 250 was in production for 20 years with almost no signifacant changes. In
this day and age this is almost unheard of for any product, but perhaps some of this production longevity
can be attributed to its use by the United States Military. Uncle Sam wouldn't be happy making a
quantity purchase of a motorcycle if half of the parts are going to be different in three years time (as
they often are on motocross bikes). They may well have made a large enough purchase that they could dictate
that there be little or no changes to a product they deemed suitable for the assignment. This may also be the
case for the KLR650 as well, which although popular, is also getting a bit long in the tooth. It now seems as though
the 650 will replace the 250 in military service as there has actually been a diesel conversion designed for the KLR650
(reducing dispacement to about 600cc), so that it shares fuel commonality with the vast majority of combat vehicles.
It is also a remote possibility that the KLR's military service also explains the colour schemes for the last few years, which
would have required far less preparation for battle field use than some of the paint schemes of the past, such
as the Purple and Teal "Ken and Barbie Special" of the mid '90s.
The venerable little 250 has been used by a variety of personnel for duties as mundane as domestic base courier services, all the way to in-theatre communications, scouting, special forces use, and even airborn troops.
Photographs showing both the early type "stepped" clutch cover, and the latter type "three bump" covers
indicate that there have been at least two rounds of orders of KLR250s from Kawasaki, likely even more. Possible model years in
U.S. Military use include 1986, replacing the two-stroke KL250 (Some European forces still use two-stoke KTMs),
also 1991, and 1996. The KLR250 has been used by the Marines, Army Rangers, and the Air Force.
The KLR250 has been in use by the Canadian military, though they are also phasing them out of service.
Send me your photos, or links to photos of KLR250s in military garb/action, personal recollections, defense contract production numbers, etc.
This picture of a watercolor by DJ Neary came in from Dennis (upon whom the painting is based), who was the NCOIC (Non Commissioned Officer in Charge) of the
1st Marine Division Motorcycle Couriers in Desert Storm, with Cpl. Dowdle. Dennis's KLR eventually went on display at the Command Museum at the Marine Corps Recuit Depot in San Diego.
The bikes in the first two photos feature the "Water Buffalo Horn" handguards, military headlight box thingie, tubular engine case guard, rear rack, and what seems to be a larger capacity gas tank.
This next photos shows a much earlier model bike (possibly an '86) with only the military headlight and rear rack.
Marine KLR in Bosnia
Marine KLR250 fact sheet, note the outdated photo of the bike the KLR250 REPLACED.
Three small photos, including one from Desert Storm.
Military vehicle info.Look in the motorcycle catagory on the Military Vehicle ID page.
Info on the military KLR650.
Special Ops vehicles The motorcycle section is at the very bottom of this links page.
MMOC Military Motorcycle Operators Course article.
Military Sidecar for the KLR250; I need one of these.