Kawasaki’s popular dual-sport KLR650 is back heavily updated from the ground up

Following a 3-year hiatus, the legendary adventure bike returns for 2022 flossing big changes - here's a closer look.

Kawasaki is a motorcycle giant whose brand is synonymous with many positive words you’d want to hear when picking a bike — reliability, power, speed, enjoyment, thrills and many others. They continue this tradition with their redesigned KLR650, all-new for 2022 but also a resurrection project as this third generation replaces the outgoing model discontinued back in 2018 after three decades.

The 2022 offerings include:

  1. 2022 Kawasaki KLR650 ($6,699 MSRP)
  2. 2022 Kawasaki KLR650 ABS ($6,999 MSRP)
  3. 2022 Kawasaki KLR650 Traveler ($7,399 MSRP)
  4. 2022 Kawasaki KLR650 Adventure ($7,999 MSRP)

Below, look at the outgoing 2018 KLR650 compared to the new 2022 model:

2022 Kawasaki KLR650
Left: 2018 Kawasaki KLR650 Vs Right: 2022 Kawasaki KLR650 (Photos: Kawasaki)

KLR650 Main features – what’s new for 2022?

Power and performance

The first thing to note about the new-design KLR650 for 2022 is its 652cc fuel-injection four-stroke Kawasaki engine. The Japanese motorcycle giant is known for its superlative engines with pleasing acceleration and long-term mechanical reliability.

This engine features a compression ratio of 9.8:1 and is paired with a 5-speed return-shift manual transmission with a wet multi-disc clutch and sealed train for the final drive. It will get up to 39.1lb-ft of torque at just 4,500rpm for great performance on every kind of terrain.

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Here’s a quick look at key performance specs:

Engine4-Stroke, single cylinder, DOHC
Bore x Stroke100.0 x 83.0mm
Compression Ratio9.8:1
Fuel SystemDFI w/40mm Throttle Body
Transmission5-speed, return shift with wet multi-disc manual clutch
Final DriveSealed Chain
Maximum Torque39.1 lb.-ft. @ 4,500rpm
Front Suspension / Wheel Travel41mm telescopic fork/ 7.9 in
Rear Suspension / Wheel TravelUni-Trak, single shock with adjustable rebound damping and adjustable spring preload / 7.3 in
Front Tire90/90-21
Rear Tire130/80-17
Front BrakesSingle 300mm disc with 2-piston calipers, ABS
Rear BrakesSingle 240mm disc with single-piston caliper, ABS

As a dual-sport bike, the KLR650 needs to be as comfortable off-road as it is on the road. To help with this, Kawasaki have delivered a 41mm telescopic fork front suspension with 7.9” wheel travel (20cm), paired with a Uni-Trak single shock rear suspension with adjustable rebound damping and adjustable spring preload and 7.3” wheel travel (18.5cm).

Finally, and also to serve the dual on- and off-road purposes, Kawasaki have installed a large windscreen at the front of the bike for increased protection and comfort.

Safety addition: ABS as standard

2022 Kawasaki KLR650
2022 KLR650. Photo: Kawasaki

Adding anti-lock brake systems (ABS) as a standard feature is actually relatively new to the world of Kawasaki bikes. There are still many bikes available in markets around the world that don’t come with ABS because it is not a legal requirement. In North America, an increasing number of bikes now offer it as standard.

The 2022 KLR650 comes with Kawasaki’s ABS, which not only better protects the rider and allows them to retain control when having to brake hard or suddenly, but also better protects the bike itself by keeping the wheels moving and thus the rider more firmly in control.

Stunning Yet Simple Design in Two Colours

When you get past the pleasing mechanics, the KLR650 is also an attractive unit with Kawasaki’s signature angular design DNA. The 2022 KLR650 comes in two colours, namely Pearl Lava Orange or Pearl Sand Khaki. Both look very well suited to off- and on-road riding, and add an air of simplicity and elegance to the overall design.

Starting MSRP is $6,699

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This is a relatively simple offering for riders of different levels. It has straightforward, elegant and yet also athletic and dynamic looks, a suitably powerful yet accessible engine both for newer and more experienced riders, and great safety features to help all users feel secure and comfortable. Beginners needn’t be intimidated by the 652cc engine displacement. The strong suspension and reliable drive systems make learning on the KLR650 more possible than you think.

The Non-ABS model starts at $6,699 and the model with ABS starts at $6,999. The 2022 Kawasaki KLR650 is available now at many Kawasaki dealerships. You can locate one and secure yours right away.

2022 KLR650 pictures