Good news, dual sports fans; the Kawasaki KLR650 is back. One of Kawasaki’s most popular models since its introduction in 1987, the return of the KLR650 for model year 2022 (to be released in calendar year 2021, yes, we know it’s confusing) is sure to bring a big smile to the faces of those. who are intrigued by the rise of adventure bikes lately, but want something more … utilitarian.
We wonder what would replace the KLR after it was excluded from the Green Team lineup following the 2018 model year. Originally introduced in 1987 with its only significant update in 2008, the KLR650 lasted for another decade before Kawi went offline, building on its cult popularity throughout this time. An iteration of the Versys 650 seemed like an obvious successor, but it turned out that Kawi decided early on that the KLR wasn’t going anywhere. It was just cooling off.
KLR fans will instantly recognize the motorcycle’s silhouette, but underneath the modified appearance (which we’ll get to later) is another recognizable relic – the engine. The 652cc liquid-cooled Single has proven to be as reliable as a stone, due in part to its simplicity, including the Keihin CVK-40 carburettor rumored to have been developed by Fred Flintstone.
Old Reliable is back, kawasaki klr 650 2022
Times change, of course, and that means the carb is gone, in favor of modern electronic fuel injection with a 10-hole injector. Roll this change all you want, but the absolute superiority of EFI is hard to argue, especially when it’s cold or at a high altitude. Having an O2 sensor as a result of the EFI change is also hard to beat if you are tasked with meeting strict emissions regulations.
Aside from the switch to EFI, the basic bones of the venerable DOHC Single are all there. Revised intake and exhaust cam profiles improve mid-range power and torque characteristics, while stronger cam chain guide material and shape increase reliability. The diameter of the exhaust pipe has been reduced by 7.7 mm to improve the characteristics of the mid-range torque and better adapt to daily driving.
Several updates have been made to improve shift feel and reduce weight. In the clutch and transmission, the clutch release bearings were changed from ball to thrust needle bearings, gear teeth and shift fork have been overhauled in 3rd gear and now a new finishing treatment is used for the fourth and fifth gear.
Because KLR riders tend to power a large number of accessories on their motorcycle, including heated grips, fog lights, and navigation products, Kawasaki has increased the generator output from 17 amps to 26. Since the new LED headlight draws less power, there is now a total capacity of 80 watts available to power basically whatever you want. A new sealed battery adds to the convenience and is significantly lighter than the old battery. The starter motor, ignition coil and evaporator canister have been revised and are now lighter than previous models.
Structure, suspension and wheels; klr650 2022
The subframe is integrated into the main frame, as always, for increased torsional rigidity. The swingarm is 30mm longer than before, while the swingarm pivot axis is 2mm more in diameter, which should lead to a smoother ride.
On the suspension side you will recognize the conventional 41mm fork from the outside. On the inside, Kawi says that “the firm springs in the fork provide excellent resistance to impacts and bottoming out, while reducing frontal dive under hard braking.” Overall suspension travel hasn’t changed since before, remaining at 7.9 inches. The shock also retains the same travel as before (7.3 inches) with revised settings to resist bottom and handle heavy loads.
The KLR was never known to be …