2022 Kawasaki KLR 650
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2022 Kawasaki KLR 650

After a two-year hiatus, the KLR 650 returns to the line-up more adventuresome than ever

LISTEN 08:36

Kawasaki leaps ahead to its 2022 model-year lineup with a new KLR 650 family. The base model comes with a number of improvements to the engine and electronics, all wrapped up under new bodywork. Fuel injection replaces the carburetor this year to modernize the powerplant along with a new instrument panel and updated lighting that does the same for the rest of the bike. If the base model isn’t exactly as adventure-tastic as you’d like, the factory put together an “Adventure” accessory pack and a touring “Traveler” trim package for a pair of bona fide adventure bikes that are good to go right off the showroom floor.

  • 2022 Kawasaki KLR 650
  • Year:
    2022
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    single cylinder
  • Displacement:
    652 cc
  • Top Speed:
    95 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    6699
  • Price:

2022 Kawasaki KLR 650 ABS Design

  • LED headlight
  • New body styling
  • LCD multi functional instrumentation with fuel gauge
  • Improved saddle comfort
2022 Kawasaki KLR 650
- image 979317
2022 Kawasaki KLR 650
- image 979309

All three of these new models are built around the KLR 650 ABS platform, so we’ll start with it. The bodywork is almost entirely new with an updated shroud, side cover, and tail cowling, all built around a bright new LED headlight and re-imagined taillight and blinkers. Taller mirror standoffs improve your visibility to the rear, and to finish off the package, a new LCD instrument panel bundles all of the pertinent metrics together in one well-visible, white-backlit screen.

The ergonomics were updated as well with tuned hand- and foot-control positions with rubber isolation mounts on same to lessen the vibes felt by the rider. Long-range comfort remains a front-burner issue in the saddle that rocks a new shape and comes covered by new material, plus a new set of pillion J.C. handles for your passenger’s comfort. A taller windshield increases the size of the wind pocket along with stock handguards for a final comfort boost.

Also new for this model-year is a larger, 6.1-gallon fuel tank that is sure to leave you passing more gas stations than you stop at, and is plenty for some fairly serious off-road adventures to boot. In profile, the KLR 650 range displays that adventure-typical flyline with undeniable off-road chops.

The factory builds on this platform for its “Adventure” submodel with stock foglights and hard panniers, and as an alternative, the “Traveler” that sports a top case instead with both DC and USB outlets to power/charge your mobile devices on the road. I call all three of them capable commuters, though a bike with both top case and side cases would be even better. Just sayin’ Kawi.

2022 Kawasaki KLR 650 ABS Chassis

  • Larger front disc
  • New rear frame and swingarm
  • Retuned suspension settings
  • Available ABS

<doc979333

2022 Kawasaki KLR 650
- image 979315
2022 Kawasaki KLR 650
- image 979325

The forward section of the KLR 650 frame remains the same as before with a semi-double cradle configuration in high-tensile steel tubing, but the rear frame section is new, and with it comes a new swingarm complete with a new larger-diameter swingarm pivot shaft. Laced wheels – ever the favorite of off-road riders – round out the rolling chassis with tougher metal making up the rims this year.

Rake and trail measure at 30 degrees and 4.8 inches over a 60.6-inch wheelbase for some steering stability and decent tracking. If you were wondering if this was the real deal or the bike equivalent of the soccer mom’s SUV, the suspension travel and knobby wheel sizes should tell the tale. The front hoop leads the way in a large, terrain-busting 90/90-21 ahead of a 130/80-17, and the suspension travel is reported at 7.9-inches and 7.3-inches on the front and rear respectively. Yeah, that’ll soak up some punishment to be sure, right along with the new large diameter axles.

The front brake disc diameter was increased to 300 mm for even more stopping power where it matters most. A twin-piston caliper bites the front disc with a single-pot anchor and 240 mm disc out back and ABS protection all around on the models with ABS.

Frame: Tubular, Semi-Double Cradle
Front Suspension/Travel: 41 mm Leading Axle Hydraulic Telescopic Fork/ 7.9 in.
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Uni-Trak® with 5-Way Adjustable Preload and Stepless Rebound Damping/ 7.3 in.
Rake/Trail: 30°/4.8 in.
Front Tire: 90/90-21
Rear Tire: 130/80-17
Front Brake: Single 300 mm disc with 2-piston calipers, (ABS model w/ABS)
Rear Brake: Single 240 mm disc with single-piston caliper, (ABS model w/ABS)

2022 Kawasaki KLR 650 ABS Drivetrain

  • Now fuel injected
  • 652 cc thumper
  • 39.1 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
  • Updated clutch

<doc979331

Power on the KLR 650 comes from a liquid-cooled single-cylinder plant to the tune of 39.1 pound-feet of torque that comes on fully by 4,500 rpm. It has a 100 mm bore and 83 mm stroke for a total displacement of 652 cc and mild 9.8-to-1 compression ratio. That’s kind of big for a thumper, but it does put out some respectable torque because of it.

Out with the old and in with the new, the carburetor surrenders its spot to a 40 mm throttle body and its electronic fuel injection for the induction control. The injector tips have ten holes for effective fuel atomization; 60 microns to be exact. Dual over-head cams time the poppets with new grinds on both the intake and exhaust lobes to improve the mid-range. As for emissions, an oxygen sensor and exhaust catalyst take care of business to meet U.S. requirements.

An updated clutch couples engine power to the five-speed transmission that trades its ball bearings for tougher roller bearings this year. The overall drive ratio in top gear turns out a top speed around 95 mph.

Engine: 4-Stroke, Liquid-Cooled, DOHC, 4-Valve, Single cylinder
Displacement: 652 cc
Bore x Stroke: 100 mm x 83 mm
Compression Ratio: 9.8:1
Maximum Torque: 39.1 lb.-ft. @ 4,500 rpm
Fuel System: DFI with 40 mm Throttle Body
Ignition: TCBI
Transmission: 5-speed, return shift with wet multi-disc manual clutch
Final Drive: Sealed Chain

2022 Kawasaki KLR 650 ABS Price

<doc979332

The price range is as varied as the lineup. At the bottom of the list is the base-model KLR 650 non-ABS that rolls for $6,699 with an ABS version for just three Benjamins more. The topcase-equipped Traveler fetches $7,399 MSRP while the pannier-equipped Adventure model gets the top ticket at $7,999.

Warranty: 12 months with optional Kawasaki Protection Plus™ 12, 24, 36 or 48 months
Color:
└ KLR650: Pearl Sand Khaki, Pearl Lava Orange
└ KLR650 ABS: Pearl Sand Khaki
└ KLR650 Adventure: Cypher Camo Gray
└ KLR650 Traveler: Pearl Lava Orange.
Price:
└ KLR650: $6,699
└ KLR650 ABS: $6,999
└ KLR650 Traveler: $7,399
└ KLR650 Adventure: $7,999

2022 Kawasaki KLR 650 ABS Competitors

The ADV bike field is crowded nowadays, but I think the V-Strom 650 from domestic competitor Suzuki makes a good match, so let’s get to it.

Suzuki V-Strom 650

<doc776782

Looks matter, even in a performance-driven genre like this one, and Suzuki puts together a nice looking ride with an aggressively pointed visage leading the way ahead of the typical fuel-tank hump. A vented windscreen makes for a small wind pocket but the V-Strom rolls without handguards so it falls behind in that respect.

Suzuki gets some back with its preload and rebound-damping features. It relies on a 645 cc V-twin engine instead of a thumper, and is arguably a smoother engine as far as engine vibration goes, but the trade off leaves Kawi the torquier of the two. It gets worse for Suzuki at the checkout. The V-Strom 650 rolls with ABS for $8,849, a price that leaves a lot of cheddar on the table against the KLR 650 ABS.

Read our full review of the Suzuki V-Strom 650/650 XT.

He Said

“The rebuild seems to be sufficient to call it a “new” model even though most of the newness is located under the hood. I’m digging the various trim models as well, though again, I’d want both the hard bags and the top case for my adventure riding and grocery-getting missions. I could do without the dirtbike-style front fender, but what’cha gonna’ do?”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “It was sad when Kawasaki dropped the KLR 650 from the lineup two years ago. It was a reliable, capable dual-sport that people either loved or hated, it seemed. It was virtually unchanged for decades, which isn’t always a bad thing. Fuel-injection haters were happy to still have a carbureted model out there, though it was thought of more as a commuter than a proper off-roader. This update shows that Kawi realized people want more than a commuter and steered the updates more toward an adventure bike. The new model has a bigger front brake, fatter rear brake, bigger fuel tank, retuned suspension, bigger windscreen, more comfortable seat, and a host of other little tweaks and changes that make it more tour-tastic than it was before. Yeah, we’re finally getting beyond a commuter dual-sport into a proper adventure-esque ride.”

2022 Kawasaki KLR 650 ABS Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 4-Stroke, Liquid-Cooled, DOHC, 4-Valve, Single cylinder
Displacement: 652 cc
Bore x Stroke: 100 mm x 83 mm
Compression Ratio: 9.8:1
Maximum Torque: 39.1 lb.-ft. @ 4,500 rpm
Fuel System: DFI with 40 mm Throttle Body
Ignition: TCBI
Transmission: 5-speed, return shift with wet multi-disc manual clutch
Final Drive: Sealed Chain
Chassis:
Frame: Tubular, Semi-Double Cradle
Front Suspension/Travel: 41 mm Leading Axle Hydraulic Telescopic Fork/ 7.9 in.
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Uni-Trak® with 5-Way Adjustable Preload and Stepless Rebound Damping/ 7.3 in.
Rake/Trail: 30°/4.8 in.
Front Tire: 90/90-21
Rear Tire: 130/80-17
Front Brake: Single 300 mm disc with 2-piston calipers, (ABS model w/ABS)
Rear Brake: Single 240 mm disc with single-piston caliper, (ABS model w/ABS)
Dimensions & Capacities:
Overall Length: 89.8 in
Overall Width: 38.2 in
Overall Height: 57.7/56.3 in (screen hi/lo)
Wheelbase: 60.6 in.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 6.1 gal.
Ground Clearance: 8.3 in.
Seat Height: 34.3 in.
Curb Weight:
└ KLR650: 456.2 lb.
└ KLR650 ABS: 460.6 lb.
└ KLR650 Traveler: 471.7 lb.
└ KLR650 Adventure: 487.1 lb.
Details:
Warranty: 12 months with optional Kawasaki Protection Plus™ 12, 24, 36 or 48 months
Color:
└ KLR650: Pearl Sand Khaki, Pearl Lava Orange
└ KLR650 ABS: Pearl Sand Khaki
└ KLR650 Adventure: Cypher Camo Gray
└ KLR650 Traveler: Pearl Lava Orange.
Price:
└ KLR650: $6,699
└ KLR650 ABS: $6,999
└ KLR650 Traveler: $7,399
└ KLR650 Adventure: $7,999

Further Reading

Kawasaki

Read more Kawasaki news.

Source: The All-New 2022 Kawasaki KLR650 | Escape. Explore. Envy.

TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
About the author

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: kawasaki.com, suzukicycles.com

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