2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 / 650 LT - story fullscreen Fullscreen

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 / 650 LT

Updated bodywork and new electronics make for a hot mid-displacement ADV

LISTEN 10:21

Kawasaki buffed up the road-adventure chops of its mid-range, base-model Versys 650 ABS platform and its tour-tastic sibling, the 650 LT. New bodywork encapsulates the innards, and protects the new instrumentation along with a new LED headlight arrangement to set this model apart from its forebears. To help you keep it all under control, a new electronic Rider Aid package delivers the goods.

  • 2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 / 650 LT
  • Year:
    2022
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Parallel Twin
  • Displacement:
    649 L
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph
  • Price:
    8899
  • Price:

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 Design

  • Brushed-up styling
  • New twin-beam LED lighting
  • New adjustable windscreen
  • New 4.3-inch color TFT display
2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 / 650 LT
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2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 / 650 LT
- image 1041243
From the start, Kawasaki's Versys family rocked a certain grace and flow, and that still shines through in the newly-refreshed cowling and cockpit area on the new '22 Versys 650.

From the start, Kawasaki’s Versys family rocked a certain grace and flow, and that still shines through in the newly-refreshed cowling and cockpit area on the new ’22 Versys 650. A cut-down and vented front fender leads the way under a trim front fairing that carries the new LED headlights in a dual-beam configuration.

Up top, the clear windscreen plows a groove in the wind for the pilot’s comfort. It’s well-vented, so the head-buffet effect at the top of the pocket is minimized, and this year, it’s adjustable with four positions from which to choose.

The blunt-but-broad front fairing extends this protection down to well below the knee when you tuck in nice and tight. Not to be outdone by the base model, the “LT” variant comes with stock hand protectors, so you have a reasonable chance of not freezing your hamburger shovels off on a wintry ride.

Behind the glass, the cockpit is built around the new 4.3-inch color TFT display that combines all of the traditional instrumentation with the ride-quality controls. Plus, it comes with Bluetooth connectivity to pull your smartphone into the information loop and display all the pertinent ride metrics through the “RIDEOLOGY: THE APP” feature so you can also monitor for incoming calls and emails while under way.

In profile, the 650 siblings display the classic adventure-bike flyline with a deep swale behind a large, 5.5-gallon fuel tank that places the rider’s butt at 33.3 inches off the deck, a height that will be tip-toe territory for shorter riders. You can use the elevated pillion pad and J.C. rails to bungee some cargo in a pinch. But, if you need more storage than that and would like it to be secure as well, then the LT is your Huckleberry with dual, stock, 28-Liter panniers that come with Kawi’s proprietary quick-release hardware. No matter which model you choose, you can spring for the optional top case to max out the 650’s touring/commuting/grocery-getting chops.

The taillight is safely ensconced within the tip of the tail, while the rest of the gear in the rear is mounted to the mudguard and should be okay in the event of a drop. Too bad the same can’t be said for the cowl-mount front blinkers as they are in an exposed position and likely will be damaged if you drop it in the parking lot.

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 Chassis

  • Showa suspension
  • Sporty in the curves
  • Ninja® ZX™-6R and ZX™-10R derived wheels
  • Standard-equipped ABS
2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 / 650 LT
- image 1068640
2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 / 650 LT
- image 1041241
The Versys 650 and 650 LT have a lithe nature that's very sporty in the curves.

Steel tubing makes up the double-pipe diamond-style frame on the Versys 650. It uses the engine as a structural member that displaces a large chunk of the frame to reduce overall weight.

At the steering head, a 25-degree rake combines with the 17-inch cast wheels that are similar to the ones found on Ninja® ZX™-6R and ZX™-10R to turn in 4.3 inches of trail, and together, this grants the Versys bros a lithe nature that’s very sporty in the curves. Z-rated Dunlop Sportmax D222 rubber that’s sure to be able to handle everything you can dish out makes the connection to terra firma in a 120/70 ahead of a 160/60.

Showa provides the suspension components. Up front, split-function forks take care of business with damping duties on one side and the support spring on the other, to the benefit of both, and since travel measures in at 5.9 inches and 5.7 inches at the front and rear respectively, you can count on a fairly plush ride through your favorite urban jungle.

A coil-over Showa monoshock completes the package with remote preload adjustment that lets you quickly dial in for changes in lading and preference. Dual, twin-pot calipers bite 300 mm front discs with a single-piston anchor and 220 mm disc out back in a petal-style cut that disperses waste heat and resists warpage under heavy-duty use. ABS comes stock across the board for your safety and peace of mind.

Frame: Double pipe diamond frame constructed from high-tensile steel
Front Suspension / Wheel Travel: 41mm hydraulic telescopic fork with stepless adjustable rebound and preload/5.9 in
Rear Suspension / Wheel Travel: Single offset laydown shock with remote adjustable spring preload/5.7 in
Rake/Trail: 25°/4.3 in
Front Tire: 120/70 ZR-17
Rear Tire: 160/60 ZR-17
Front Brakes: Dual 300 mm petal-style discs with 2-piston calipers, ABS
Rear Brakes: Single 250 mm petal-style disc with single-piston caliper, ABS

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 Drivetrain

  • Liquid-cooled 649 cc parallel twin
  • Tuned for low- to mid-range power
  • Broad powerband and tractable nature
  • New traction control
2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 / 650 LT
- image 1068641
2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 / 650 LT
- image 1041240
Kawasaki Traction Control makes the transition to the mid-range Versys models here in MY22, and provides 9 levels of intervention so you can dial it in and out as you please.

Power for the Versys 650 comes from a torquey parallel-twin plant that has a broad powerband and tractable nature with 44.8 pound-feet of torque on tap for your riding pleasure. While the electronics are largely new for this year, the mechanicals remain the same.

Vastly oversquare, it runs an 83 mm bore with a short, 60 mm stroke for a 649 cc total displacement, and relatively mild 10.8-to-1 compression ratio that’ll require at least mid-grade fuel to run properly. Since it’s liquid cooled, the apparent heat felt by the pilot is diminished somewhat, and the mechanical threshing noises inside the cases have a tendency to stay there to make it easy on the ears as well.

Each jug comes topped with a quartet of poppets with dual over-head cams to time the lot of ’em for efficient aspiration. Mechanical and electronics start to merge at the intake tract, namely the Dual Throttle Valve feature that runs with a secondary, computer-controlled throttle plate behind the rider-controlled butterfly. This little marvel reconciles the difference between rider demand and what the mill can smoothly deliver for smooth transitions and stutter-free takeoffs.

The fandanglery continues with the Kawasaki Traction Control that makes the transition to the mid-range Versys models here in MY22, and provides 9 levels of intervention so you can dial it in and out as you please. A cassette-style, six-speed transmission sends power down a sealed, O-ring chain with an overall drive ratio that turns out an estimated top speed around 125 mph.

Engine: 4-stroke, 2-cylinder, DOHC, liquid-cooled, 4 valves per cylinder parallel twin
Displacement: 649 cc
Maximum Torque: 44.8 lb-ft
Bore x Stroke: 83.0 mm x 60.0 mm
Compression Ratio: 10.8:1
Fuel System: DFI® with 38 mm Keihin throttle bodies (2)
Ignition: TCBI with electronic advance
Transmission: 6-speed with positive neutral finder
Final Drive: Sealed chain

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 Price

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 / 650 LT
- image 1041246
2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 / 650 LT
- image 1041244
MSRP starts at $8.9k for the base model and $10k for the 650 LT.

The base Versys 650 ABS comes in a choice between Candy Lime Green / Metallic Flat Spark or Black / Metallic Spark Black that starts at $8,899. If you fancy the tour-tastic LT, you’ll be constrained to a single paint package in the Metallic Spark Black / Metallic Flat Spark Black for $9,999.

Engine Management Technology: Dual Throttle Valves, Economical Riding Indicator, KTRC (Kawasaki Traction Control), Smartphone Connectivity
Chassis Management Technology: ABS (Anti-Lock Brake System)
Warranty: 12 month limited warranty (optional Kawasaki Protection Plus™ 12, 24, 36 or 48 months
Color: Candy Lime Green/Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Spark Black, Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Flat Spark Black, LT: Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Flat Spark Black
Price: $8,899, LT: $9,999

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 Competitors

2022 Triumph Tiger Sport 660
- image 1040520
2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 / 650 LT
- image 1041235

The ADV-bike market continues to evolve to meet increasing demand, and Triumph Motorcycles goes all-in by expanding its Tiger footprint downward into the mid-range proper with its new Tiger Sport 660.

Triumph Tiger Sport 660

2022 Triumph Tiger Sport 660
- image 1040522
As for electronics, Triumph packs on the goodies with switchable traction control, a pair of ride modes, and ride-by-wire throttle control to meet the Kawi on even ground.

Built as a street-centric ADV model, the “Sport” pushes a blunt front fairing complete with windshield and short lowers to more-or-less match the Versys’ mug and provide comparable levels of rider protection. Cast aluminum rims abound in a standard, 17-inch diameter, and Showa gets a win again on the Brit with separate-function forks and an RSU monoshock out back.

Braking is likewise similar with dual front discs and all-around ABS protection, though the Trumpet does pick up 10 mm in its front disc diameter for a razor-thin advantage. Triumph goes its own way in the drivetrain with a 660 cc triple that claims 47.2 pounds o’ grunt against 44.8 pounds from the Kawi, but honestly, that isn’t enough to be a dealbreaker at the end of the day.

As for electronics, Triumph packs on the goodies with switchable traction control, a pair of ride modes, and ride-by-wire throttle control to meet the Kawi on even ground. At the checkout, the Tiger Sport 660 rolls for a little more cheese at $9,295 MSRP, but it does come with a third paint package from which to choose, all at the same price.

Read our full review of the Triumph Tiger Sport 660.

He Said

“Kawi is starting to blur the lines between sport-touring and paved-road ADV machines, which is okay with me. I don’t find adventure bikes to be particularly aesthetically pleasing, with the notable exception of Ducati’s Multistrada family, but I do like the sportbike elements that are creeping into the Versys’ looks. Don’t get me wrong, I do like a solid rally bike, but I don’t want my road bike to look like one.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The updated look on the 2022 Versys 650 takes its cue from its stablemate, the 1000. Traction control has trickled down to the mid-range, but I’d really like to see cruise control to make a more complete package. It’s a big bike without being a heavy bike and performance and handling make it a sporty tourer or a very capable commuter.”

2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 4-stroke, 2-cylinder, DOHC, liquid-cooled, 4 valves per cylinder parallel twin
Displacement: 649 cc
Maximum Torque: 44.8 lb-ft
Bore x Stroke: 83.0 mm x 60.0 mm
Compression Ratio: 10.8:1
Fuel System: DFI® with 38 mm Keihin throttle bodies (2)
Ignition: TCBI with electronic advance
Transmission: 6-speed with positive neutral finder
Final Drive: Sealed chain
Chassis:
Frame: Double pipe diamond frame constructed from high-tensile steel
Front Suspension / Wheel Travel: 41mm hydraulic telescopic fork with stepless adjustable rebound and preload/5.9 in
Rear Suspension / Wheel Travel: Single offset laydown shock with remote adjustable spring preload/5.7 in
Rake/Trail: 25°/4.3 in
Front Tire: 120/70 ZR-17
Rear Tire: 160/60 ZR-17
Front Brakes: Dual 300 mm petal-style discs with 2-piston calipers, ABS
Rear Brakes: Single 250 mm petal-style disc with single-piston caliper, ABS
Dimensions & Capacities:
Overall Length: 85.2 in
Overall Width: 33.1 in
Overall Height: 53.5 in/55.9 in (windshield down/up)
Ground Clearance: 6.7 in
Seat Height: 33.3 in
Curb Weight: 482.9 lb (LT: 502.6 lb)
Fuel Capacity: 5.5 gal
Wheelbase: 55.7 in
Details:
Engine Management Technology: Dual Throttle Valves, Economical Riding Indicator, KTRC (Kawasaki Traction Control), Smartphone Connectivity
Chassis Management Technology: ABS (Anti-Lock Brake System)
Warranty: 12 month limited warranty (optional Kawasaki Protection Plus™ 12, 24, 36 or 48 months
Color: Candy Lime Green/Metallic Flat Spark Black/Metallic Spark Black, Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Flat Spark Black, LT: Metallic Spark Black/Metallic Flat Spark Black
Price: $8,899, LT: $9,999

Further Reading

Kawasaki

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Read more Kawasaki news.

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
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