Kawasaki debuted its KLR650 bike some thirty-four years ago. The model became an icon among riders who were less interested in looks than they were in the thrill of the ride. It was never intended to be a showroom motorcycle, but its performance off-road was indisputable. The single headlight bike had its share of hiccups, but it was among the brand’s more popular dual-purpose models, partly due to its affordability. It was just as comfortable on dirt roads as on paved. Since its release in 1987, the bike has been a go-to for riders who enjoyed both modes of riding. It’s back for 2022 and there will be some changes.
The Kawasaki KLR650 is back for 2022
Cycle World0 confirms that the KLR650 will be back due to popular demand. The engineers went directly to consumers for feedback on what they wanted to see in a new iteration. Some told them not to change a thing, which is a good sign of pending success. Others asked for a few updates, which gave the design team an easy task in creating the original platform with a few upgrades that come naturally through evolution. They built the new bike with careful attention to its strengths and a few improvements on its outdated features. The result is a bike that is a lot like the last iteration with the requisite updates to bring it into modernity
What’s new for 2022?
The new 2022 Kawasaki KLR650 receives a raft of updates including fuel injection, firmer suspension damping settings, a larger diameter swingarm pivot, and larger axles. Expect to find a few modern updates such as charging ports installed in the dash to plug in your GPS or smartphone. The new model also features bigger brake rotors with the option of off-road-tuned ABS. It’s also getting a fuel gauge which is an accessory that was absent on the old models. We expected the use of some new aluminum alloy for the frame and various components of the bike to make it light but were surprised to learn that it’s not going to be an ultralight model. The dry weight of this model is 450 pounds before adding any of the options. If you go with the luggage compartments, optional lights, and ABS, the weight goes up to nearly 500 pounds. From an aesthetics standpoint, the cosmetics of the KLR650 will be different than what former owners were accustomed to. The team gave it new bodywork along with a digital dashboard. It also comes with a windscreen that can be adjusted in two positions. Optional fare is luggage in the form of a small set of side cases and a larger top case.
A closer look at the 2022 Kawasaki KLR650
Kawasaki is billing the new 2022 Kawasaki KLR650 as an adventure bike. A closer look at the specifications reveals that it’s powered by a 4-stroke single-cylinder DOHC 652cc engine with a 100 x 83 mm bore x stroke, and a compression ratio of 9.8:1. The revamped engine features a DFI w/40mm throttle body and CDI ignition with maximum torque of 39.1 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm with a sealed chain final drive. The engine is paired with a 5-speed return shift with a wet multi-disc manual clutch. Expect a similar performance with some notable improvements. The 2022 model received a 41 mm telescopic fork for the front suspension with a wheel travel of 7.9 inches with a Uni-Trak single shock with adjustable round damping with adjustable spring preload for the rear suspension and wheel travel of 7.3 inches. It’s equipped with a 90/90-21 tire in front and a 130/80-17 tire in the rear. For front brakes, they used a single 300mm disc with 2-piston calipers and optional ABS. On the rear, a single 240 mm disc with a single-piston caliper, and optional ABS. The frame is a tubular semi-double-cradle with a rake of 30 degrees and a trail of 4.8 inches. The overall length is 89.8 inches with a width of 38.2 inches, a height of 57.3 inches, and a ground clearance of 8.3 inches. The seat height is 34.3 inches and the wheelbase is 60.6 inches. The curb weight is 482.7 pounds dry. The fuel capacity is 6.1 gallons. Kawasaki has not yet disclosed the fuel efficiency ratings for this motorcycle.
Other information about the 2022 Kawasaki KLR650
The 2022 Kawasaki KLR650 is available in Cypher Camo gray only. It comes with a 12 months warranty with an optional Kawasaki Protection Plus optional plan in your choice of 12, 24, 36, or 48 months. The asking price for the non-ABS edition is $7,699. The ABS version starts at $7,999.
Kawasaki has revitalized the old KLR 650 from 1987 with a new look and a host of upgrades. Loyal owners of the old model asked that the engineers not change much about the iconic bike, but they were bound to follow the trends in consumer demand for the evolution of the species. They maintained the original strengths of the bike while adding modern conveniences and upgrades such as the new dashboard with its digital readings, a fuel gauge for the first time, and upgrades in the frame and suspension. The engineers at Kawasaki maintained the heaviness of the dual-purpose bike and made only the reasonable improvements that would help in creating an appeal to a new and modern audience. The aesthetics are completely changed, although it’s only available in one color choice. The price remains consistently affordable for a new adventure motorcycle, and it’s likely to pick up where it left off with both old fans from the past, and with a new group of riders who find the iconic model to be an affordable option that is fun to ride. It’s back after a two-year hiatus and from all appearances, it will be better than the previous generations.