Review on the Adventure Bike Kawasaki KLR650

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Revised for The 2022 model year is Kawasaki KLR650 Adventure. This is an original adventure touring motorcycle from Kawasaki Motors Corporation of Japan, adopted for the 2023 model year (read the overview of the Kawasaki KLR2023 at first glance 650). The KLR650 is manufactured in Kawasaki’s Thai factory and has been manufactured since the mid-80s. Fast forward to today and the KLR650 has undergone a major redesign for the last time last year, described in The article 2022 Kawasaki KLR650 First Look Preview.

During this update, Kawasaki engineers focused on improving the already familiar durability of the motorcycle and increasing the comfort of the creatures. It receives new LED headlights, a body, thicker axles and the brake disc is also thicker. There is a longer swing arm and an improved frame with an integrated subframe. Speed stability has always been a weak link in the previous version of the KLR650, so it’s nice that Kawasaki is talking about it.

The KLR is powered by Kawasaki’s liquid-cooled 652 cm3 single-cylinder engine. It now benefits from a digital fuel injection which replaces the mechanical carburetor. The digital fuel injection is so neat because it allows the engine to work optimally, regardless of the altitude and the climate in which you are driving.

This particular KLR650 is an adventure model that requires a recharge compared to the basic KLR650. For those extra thousands of dollars, you get bright fog lights that are manipulated via an integrated fog light button. It also includes easily removable hard matters, protective bars, an additional USB powered port and a tank pad to avoid scratching the fuel tank with a belt buckle. There is also a handy tool set with some basic tools to repair your motorcycle or make adjustments, including the height of the windshield. This windshield is adjustable in two positions, but you will have to remove four 6mm Allen bolts to do this. A mechanical adjustment on the fly would have been better.

It is worth mentioning that this ADV goes against the grain, at least in the modern world of adventure tourism bicycles, with the use of a 21-inch front and a 17-inch rear. This is a combination that we don’t see too often on new bikes (apart from the finely tuned R 1250 GS / Adventure from BMW Motorrad. Obviously, a 21-inch tire is what you want to overcome off-road obstacles. Although the 17-inch wheel is more road-friendly, given the limited power of this vehicle and its high tire sidewall, it is a formula that Kawasaki knows well.

For our evaluation, we went to Baja, California. When traveling to Mexico, it is important to have a valid U.S. passport. You will also need a valid driver’s license with motorcycle registration and car insurance. It is also advisable to carry the vehicle registration.

We crossed the border with Tecate, Mexico, which is just outside Dulzura, California. This border is usually less crowded than, for example, Tijuana. If you don’t have to declare anything, you usually get away with it.

Given the heavy rainy season in the American southwest and Baja, the road surfaces are particularly dilapidated. So it is certainly nice to be on a robust and adventurous horse like this KLR650 Adventure 2023 (more on that after).

When driving on the highway, there is no tachometer, but the engine does not feel like it is running too high at 75 mph. Despite the double counterweights of the engine, you feel the vibrations of the engine through the rubber-covered footrests and handlebars, but we wouldn’t say that they are excessive. However, it is definitely there and the KLR is not as vibration-free as the other ADV bikes we have used. To be fair, these platforms cost two and a half times or more than the Kawi.

In terms of performance, the fuel-injected Single feels more dynamic than before. At the commercial end of the Dunlop tire, it produces nearly 37 horsepower and 35 pounds.- foot. Couple. It certainly won’t impress spec connoisseurs, especially since it weighs 483 pounds with a full tank of gas, but you’d be surprised how efficient this powertrain is.

Of course, with slower traffic, you will have to plan overtaking compared to a multi-cylinder wheel, but you would be surprised at how efficient this power band is. It is capable of driving at 90 mph, and with its updated chassis, it feels much less wobbly than the KLR of old. We just wish it had cruise control (available as an OE accessory).

Ergonomically, the KLR is well configured for highway driving. The footrests are a little more forward than you would expect from an ADV or a traditional road bike. They are not quite in the middle of the controls, but they are also not traditionally placed footrests-but they are good for highway driving. Off-road, however, that’s another story, but we’ll get to that in a moment…

Despite a generous capacity of 6.1 gallons, the fuel tank is well formed and blocks the wind well. It would have been nice if Kawasaki had installed a Renthal or ProTaper-style aluminum handlebar against the inexpensive steel bar… I have to leave something for the secondary market, right?

As a rule, Kawasaki attaches great importance to customizable ergonomics and it would have been neat if it had included an upper fork bridge with handlebar position adjustment. Instead, the adjustment is limited to rolling the handlebar forward or backward via the 10 mm hexagon socket bolts.

In addition to a 12-volt power socket, the KLR650 Adventure is equipped with a USB port with an additional cavity so that you can wrap the cable well and store it neatly. The problem is that the cover does not fit very well.

The LCD instrumentation is simple and it would have been nice if there had been a gear position indicator. We would also like to see a mile per gallon and a measurement of the ambient air temperature. But we appreciate the clock and that it includes a fuel gauge so you can keep an eye on the fuel capacity of the 6.1-gallon tank. Another review is that the fuel gauge tends to record “little fuel” even if there are a few gallons left. A more accurate fuel gauge would be a nice improvement.

For a nearly 500-pound bike, the KLR is very agile, but we’d be lying if we didn’t notice that the tires and overall suspension have a slushy feel when leaning into a corner. On the other hand, the suspension does a good job of absorbing road bumps and generally provides a comfortable ride, especially on congested roads. That’s the beauty of the KLR: although it doesn’t have the precise handling of a high-performance ADV, it gets the job done and is able to take you to the same places as you would with a more powerful ADV. You just get there a little slower.

The KLR is happy to be driven through rough stuff while sitting. Due to the strangely forward-facing pedals and the slippery footrests, it is almost easier to drive sitting than standing. We like the Japanese-made high-performance wheelset of the KLR, which looks more upscale than some bikes that cost more than double!

As for maintenance after the initial 600-mile service, Kawasaki says the engine oil should be replaced every 7,600 miles. Kawasaki says you should also check the air filter. The valve adjustment interval is 15,200 miles. It’s a little short, especially compared to the modern multi-cylinder wheels of the Diapason brand.

During our journey, we recorded an average of 43 mpg. It’s low in the KLR community, but to be fair, we traveled highway miles faster than most.

Aside from the strangely forward-facing footrests (and slippery for off-road footrests) and the often low-reading fuel gauge if you’re in the mood for an adventure and don’t want to spend a lot of money, the KLR650 Adventure is money well spent. With its tourist-friendly features, the Adventure specification is definitely worth loading. But if you’re looking to save money, the KLR is still a solid option with a base.