The Mule of Motorcycles is BACK for 2022: Kawasaki’s new KLR650

Some of the longest range, most storied overland motorcyclists have trusted their round-the-world journeys to Kawasaki’s KLR650. With nicknames like “The Mule” and “The Tractor,” it’s not surprising that this machine is synonymous with reliability and go-ability. So it seems apropos that the model Kawasaki is releasing for 2022 will be available in two special editions: KLR650 Traveler and KLR650 Adventure. This re-release of this model isn’t the only thing Kawa fans will have to rejoice about: the new KLR650 comes with a bevy of updates and upgrades. 

To address one of the main issues with the KLR, Kawasaki has replaced the carburetor with a fuel injection system. That system, along with an oxygen sensor, and a pump that extracts fuel from the bottom of the gas tank, will promise greater fuel efficiency and range while lowering emissions over previous models. The frame, fuel tank, adjustable (two-position) windscreen, and farings have been re-designed to offer greater durability, rider comfort, and wind protection. 


Image: Kawasaki

Image: Kawasaki

The cockpit features a new LCD screen and digital instrument cluster. An LED headlight will make it easier for the rider to see what is ahead, while the new mirror design with longer arms will make it easier to see what’s behind.


Image: Kawasaki

Image: Kawasaki

Boasting a Uni-Trak shock with adjustable rebound damping and spring preload in the rear and a heftier disc brake system in the front and rear, riders can likely expect a more responsive and personalized riding experience. 

READ MORE: HAVE MORE FUN THAN EVERYONE ELSE ON THE NEW 2021 KAWASAKI KLX300

The 2022 KLR650 is still a single-cylinder motorcycle, so some vibration is to be expected. But Kawasaki has apparently combated this issue by adding vibration dampening designs and materials to the seat, footpegs, and handlebars. The only other complaint we can imagine from veteran KLR riders is the increased weight. Despite some strides that Kawasaki made to eliminate weight from some areas of the bike, the 2022 model will still be 24 pounds heavier (wet) than the previous model. At 456 pounds, it’s still a competitive weight in the dual-sport / overland motorcycle market. 

The Kawasaki KLR650 (without ABS) starts at $6,699 and reaches $7,999 for the Adventure edition. 


Header Image: Kawasaki

Photo by Brett Willhelm

THE WORLD IS WAITING.

We keep our fingers on the pulse of the Overlanding world. Join the Overland News community and get our email on all things overland—including Overland Expo show updates, offers, and overland-specific articles.