I just received the October copy of Motorcycle Consumer News (the American bike publication, not the British "MCN"). The cover story is a shootout between the '07 G650 Xcountry, the '08 XR650L, the '07 DR650SE, and the '08 KLR650.
The KLR won big.
Specifically, it came in first in the following categories:
* Chassis & Suspension
* Riding Impressions
* Instruments & Controls
* Attention to Detail
It only managed a third place in both "Engine & Performance" and "Brakes, Wheels & Tires," and they rated all bikes as tied in the "Handling" category. In the conclusion of the article they took care to point out that the other bikes may excel beyond the KLR in specific conditions, but for all-around versatility the KLR was the best.
Why do I care? Well, I ride a '99 KLR650, and while the new '08 model has some significant improvements over the previous years, there's still a strong shared heritage between them. I'm glad that Kawasaki finally updated the bike, and I look forward to buying one after I put another 40,000 miles on my current bike.
(BTW, MCN is a really terrific magazine. No advertising, so it's a little spendy, but well worth it IMHO.)