Did anyone think this day would actually come? There is a new and updated KLR650! I’ve got all the in depth details, including all the changes, models and prices. Let’s dig in and have a look!
Well, dual sport owners won’t know what to do with themselves. We are getting a new CRF300L, KLX300 and now a KLR650. And it’s not what a lot of people thought it would be. Everyone predicted it was going to be a twin cylinder, but they’ve kept with the tried and true thumper engine.
So I’ll give you the highlights first, then we’ll go in depth and talk about what the changes actually are.
The updated KLR650 has a “new” 652cc fuel injected engine, upgraded brakes, four different models, LED headlight, new bodywork, new fuel tank and increased carrying capacity. The four models are a standard version without ABS, another with ABS, an Adventure model with saddle bags, extra lighting and some accessories and a Traveller model that has a top case and some accessories installed.
So those are the major headlines, there are actually a ton more changes too.
We’ll start off with the engine. While Kawasaki is saying it’s a new engine, I would just call it an updated engine. The biggest change is fuel injection has been added, thank goodness. We all knew this was going to happen because it needed to for emissions. I personally am stoked about this, as while carbies are solid, there is no reason for a new motorcycle to have a carby. Fuel injection is simply better, especially in changing weather conditions.
There are a fair few other changes that have been made to the motor as well. The cam profiles have been changed to improve mid-range torque and there is stronger cam chain guide material to help with reliability. The exhaust pipe is 7.7mm narrower in diameter to help with midrange power and the pipe now has smoother bends, ohhhh. The clutch and gearbox have been updated. The clutch release bearings have been changed to thrust-needle bearings, the third gear dogs and the shift fork have been revised and they’ve improved the reliability of fourth and fifth gears by using a new shaving process.
The power output has been increased so you can run more electrical accessories. The amps have been upped from 17 to 26 and there is now 80 watts of power available. This is a great change, as the older KLR struggled with running heated grips, extra lights, USB chargers and a GPS.
Some other changes are there is a different battery (not lithium, boo), the starter been revised and the ignition coil and evap canister are lighter.
I don’t see any mention of the doohickey being revised, I’m sure that’ll piss a lot of people off if that’s the case.
The chassis has had a couple of big updates. Essentially the frame is exactly the same, but the sub-frame is now integrated, so it’s one piece. This will be why the bike has a greater carrying capacity. I was a bit critical of the CRF300L for getting the same treatment, but I have no issues with the KLR650 getting this as its more of a touring/adventure bike. Kawasaki has made the swingarm 30mm longer with a 2mm larger pivot shaft. They say this improves the handling at highway speeds.
In the suspension department, there have been some updates. It looks like Kawasaki have tried to fix the soggy suspension on the older KLR650’s by stiffing up the forks, increasing bottoming resistance and trying to accommodate heavy loads. On the press release, a lot of the wording appears to be fluff, so I’m not sure what has exactly changed here, but it’s safe to say the suspension will be firmer.
A definite change they’ve made is the front brake disk is now 300mm instead of 280mnm. Thank goodness, the old one was useless and definitely needed to be upgraded. The rear disk is now 1mm thicker and Kawasaki say this helps get rid of heat and maintain consistent performance.
You can now option the bike with ABS and it looks like it can’t be turned off. Usually not a great trait for off road, but we’ll see. The rear rim is now stronger and the bike has larger axles. The front is 2mm larger and the rear is 3mm larger. This is supposed to improve feel and handling.
While the bike looks pretty similar to the older model, there are actually a fair few ergonomic changes. The foot pegs have been moved out 10mm and are now rubber mounted. The handlebar is 10mm wider and rubber mounted too. Sadly it looks like the bars are still made of play dough. The seat has been changed so it is more comfortable and they’ve also added rubber dampers where it contacts the frame so your ass doesn’t vibrate as much (some people might not like this as much…). There are now pillion grab bars and the side stand is 30mm shorter.
Alright the fairing, this is probably the most noticeable change. The front cowling has been moved back several inches so there’s less weight on the front, we’ve now got an LED headlight, a 50mm taller wind screen that can go up a further 30mm, a revised fuel tank, shrouds and a different tail light. Phew, this is a ton of changes.
But wait, there is more. There is a new dash and instrument panel. The dash is now LCD and it has a fuel gauge (hell yeah), trip meters and a clock and a couple of other little things. The instrument panel now has a mounting bar for your GPS and phone, plus room for accessories.
They’ve gone all out here haven’t they? A lot of the changes and wording Kawasaki are using suggest they are making the KLR650 more of a mile eater. I think this is a good move as the Tenere 700 and Adventure 790 are definitely trying to be more off road focused.
Alright specs time then we’ll get into the model specifics and prices.
The fuel tank is a massive 6.1 gallons which is 23 litres. So she’s definitely going to have a fair bit of fuel range. The suspension travel is 7.9 inches (200mm) at the front and 7.3 inches (185mm) at the rear, ground clearance is 8.3 inches (210mm) and the seat height is 34.3 inches (871mm). And last but not least we have the curb weight. Not the best…but this is the ready to ride weight and you got to remember this bad boy has a massive fuel tank and a decent oil capacity. The non-abs model comes in at 456lbs (206kg), the ABS 460lbs (208kg), the Traveller 471lbs (213kg) and the Adventure 487lbs (221kg). So she’s a fat bitch. That’s nothing new for KLR owners though, they love their fatties. Let’s compare the bike to the Yamaha Tenere 700, it comes in at 452lbs wet with ABS, so the KLR isn’t too bad.
Ok let’s talk pricing. I only have US pricing, but I will put a sticky in the comments when I know others. The standard version is $6699 US, the ABS $6999, the Traveller $7399 and the Adventure $7999. That is some sharp pricing. Sure this doesn’t have the power of the Tenere or KTM 790, but that’s cheap for what you’re getting.
I’ll explain the two extra models for you. The Traveller has a 42 litre top case, USB and DC sockets. The top spec Adventure has 21 litre SHAD saddlebags, extra LED lights with what looks like crash protection, engine protection, camo colouring and DC and USB sockets. I’m digging the new colours too, there’s khaki, Lava Red and the camo I just mentioned.
So there you have it, the new KLR650! When I first saw the photos I thought, ‘WTF?! It’s the same!’ But when you have a proper look, there are actually a ton of changes. This is the kind of changes I wanted on the KLX300. I mean it wasn’t broke, but it certainly wasn’t perfect. They’ve done lots of subtle and not so subtle changes. The only real complaint I’ve got it is I wish the weight was lower. What do you all think?