2022 Kawasaki KLR650 ABS First Ride | On & Off Road Thoughts | And Life Update


I’ve been dorment for a while on the website (I’ve been very busy on Youtube though), and figured it is time I went ahead and gave everyone an update on what I’ve been up too. I recently moved back to Australia from the USA and and purchased myself the new generation Kawasaki KLR650. I had the opportunity to take the new gen KLR on a test ride and do a one day review, but I’ve wanted an adventure bike for a while. So what did I do? I went ahead and bought one. On top of that, I’ll be able to create a heap of content on it.

First impressions are very positive. The engine is fun and the fueling great.

My garage now consists of a KTM 1290 Superduke and a 2022 KLR650, a great combination if you ask me. If I want to go mental, I can have a blat on the Superduke and soil my undies, and if I want to hit up some trails or do some longer adventure rides, I can take the mighty KLR.

So how is the new generation KLR650? I have to say I’m really impressed. The bike is incredibly comfortable, smooth and a doddle to ride. The new fuel injection is faultless and the bike glides on the road. Off road, it is way more capable than I thought it would be. Yes, it is no enduro bike, but you can do a lot more than you think on the big girl. The main limiting factor off road is the tyres. They are great on road and for basic trails, but once the going gets rough they let you down.

The engine is a grunty, fun and willing, but don’t expect your hair to be blown back. At the end of the day, she’s only got 40hp. But I tell you what, that 40hp is used fantastically well. I initially found myself searching a 6th gear, but once I got used to that, she cruises along nicely at highway speeds. First gear could be slightly shorter for off-road work, but then the highway performance would suffer.

The brakes are good. Not amazing, but good. On basic off road trails the ABS is not an issue, but I will further investigate that. On the street you won’t have any issues at all and both the front and rear offer solid performance.

The suspension is smooth on the road and soaks up the bumps well. Off road I like it. When you push hard, it will blow through and probably needs some harder springs. I’ll have to guage that over time.

I rode the KLR through Samford, Dayboro and off-road at Mt Mee.

Things I don’t like so far? The foot pegs are great on the road, but woeful off it. They are too small and as soon as they get wet, they become incredibly slippery. The mirrors provide good visibility but come loose easily. The hand guards are more for wind deflection than anything else.

The build quality is great all round and it seems like everything on the bike is over built. Speaking of which, the extra weight on the new KLR has been much talked (*whined*) about. The bike does feel heavy to push around the garage, but when you ride it, there is no noticeable difference compared to the prior models. In fact it feels light and flickable on the road and fire trails. Only in the tigher riding do you realise you’re on a 200kg adventure bike.

If you are keen for more info, I’ve done a 20 minute first ride video on my YouTube. I’m also doing a KLR650 series where I’ll be modding the bike and more, so feel free to check that out.

If you’ve got any questions, just put them in the comments and I’ll get back to you.

Keep it OnTheBackWheel.

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