Since it was introduced way back in 1987 (not a typo), the KLR650 has stood the test of time as other brands, even Kawasaki itself, built more focused models for every siloed aspect of adventure riding. ADV riding wasn’t even a thing back in ‘87, but over the years the KLR650 has grown from a bike perfect for everything from backroad exploring to touring to much, much more.
KLR650 buyers have resisted change for years, and one could argue that there was little reason for a newfangled design with shiny embellishments. At the same time, progress has to eventually march on. In the case of the 2022 KLR650, the team at Kawasaki focused on refining a trusted friend. The basic core remains very much a KLR, with a liquid-cooled 652cc single pumping out predictable, manageable torque and providing good traction through a heavy flywheel. The gearbox is still a five-speed unit, although tweaks have been made for better reliability.
As before, the KLR650 is a bit on the hefty side, weighing in at a claimed 483 pounds. But that steel frame, hung with suspension that provides supple damping, will help you pick your way through the rough stuff. Just don’t expect to charge into a rock garden like you’re on a competition enduro model.