KLR650 Pannier Width
Why I recommend 7.5" panniers for the 08+(E) Bikes:
The “A” model KLR (07 and older) works great with 9” wide Teton panniers at a total width of 36”, but the “E” model presented new issues when it came out in 2008.
The changes included a new tail rack and new rear side covers. Both of these contributed to making the 08+ KLR wider at the rear. With 9” panniers, this "E" Model is 37.75” wide, making it 1.75” wider at the rear than the KLRA.
This might not seem like a big difference, but it’s what I call “being in the bug line”. This simply means if the bugs are hitting the panniers then so is the wind, which means more wind drag on the bike. The KLR 650 is a single cylinder bike putting out about 30 HP at the rear wheel, so every bit of drag at the rear is important.
The other issue is clearance around obstacles on the trail. Sooner or later there becomes a “NO ZONE”, and I have adopted the 36” rear width as my acceptable standard.
For these reasons I recommend 7.5” panniers for the KLR650E. Nothing scientific here or fiercely debatable just my seat of the pants opinion derived from experience.