If you’re familiar with or have been following blogs of motorcycle world travelers, chances are, you’ll notice a common denominator: a lot of them ride a Kawasaki KLR 650 adventure bike.
Their likely reason for choosing the KLR over newer and more powerful adventure bikes is its simplicity. The KLR doesn't use any complicated electronic control unics (ECUs) or require a lot of sensors. It's carbureted. It can run even on low-octane gasoline, and is pretty much indestructible.
Unfortunately, after 31 years of continuous production, Kawasaki stopped rolling out the KLR, likely due to tightening emissions regulations.
For model year 2022, however, Team Green has just announced that they’ll be bringing back the new and improved KLR 650.
KLR 650 Adventure
For the 2022 model year KLR 650, the single-cylinder, 652cc engine is now equipped with electronic fuel injection (EFI). While this is not a welcome development to purists and adventurers, it's necessary to meet the tighter emissions standards around the globe. The KLR is known to have been capable of traveling very long distances without refueling. Fitting EFI will definitely make that distance between fuel stops even farther.
Also new is the upgrade of the analog panel to a fully digital one. The lights are also updated to LEDs.
KLR 650 Traveler
The KLR’s electrical system has also been updated by Kawasaki. First of all, its generator (that only produces a meager 17 amperes) is now capable of producing 26 amperes. It is also coupled with a new and lighter battery. Then there’s the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).
Kawasaki did retain some aspects, like its old 5-speed gearbox.
The new KLR 650 will be made available in three model variants: KLR 650 ABS (base model), KLR 650 Traveler equipped with a top case (with an optional 1-key system) and USB charging sockets; and KLR 650 Adventure that's equipped with additional side panniers, fog lights, crash bars, tank pad and a special cypher camo gray livery.
KLR 650 ABS
These are relatively few light updates compared to what adventure bikes from other brands received. And while its truly hard core fan base may be quite disappointed, Kawasaki has endeavored to keep the KLR 650 as simple and reliable as it always has been.
At the very least, it's good to hear that Kawasaki has opted to keep the KLR rather than discontinue it altogether.