Kawasaki KLR 650 and the Kawasaki Versys 650 are amazing motorcycles that are popular among riders who enjoy long-distance touring and off-roading. Both these bikes have a lot to offer, but they also have their own advantages and disadvantages.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the Kawasaki KLR 650 and the Versys 650, compare their key features, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each bike.
The Kawasaki KLR 650 and the Versys 650 are well-known adventure motorcycles that have been around for many years. The KLR 650 has been in production since 1987, while the Versys 650 was introduced in 2006.
These two bikes are built for long-distance touring and off-road adventures, and are popular among riders who enjoy exploring the great outdoors on two wheels.
Before we start the comparison let’s look at the basic specs of both these adventure motorcycles:
|Specs||Kawasaki KLR 650||Kawasaki Versys 650|
|Engine||652cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine||649cc, liquid cooled, 4-stroke, parallel twin|
|Power||40 hp||65.7 hp|
|Torque||39 lb-ft||44.8 lb-ft|
|Fuel System||Fuel Injection||Fuel injection|
|Suspension||Front: Telescopic fork 41mm / 7.9 in, Rear: Uni-Trak®, single shock, adjustable rebound damping, adjustable spring preload / 8.0 in||Front: 41mm hydraulic telescopic fork with stepless adjustable rebound and preload/5.9 in Rear: Single offset laydown shock with remote adjustable spring preload/5.7 in|
|Brakes||Front: single 300mm disc, Rear: single 240mm disc||Front: dual 300mm petal discs, Rear: single 250mm petal disc|
|Wheel Size||Front: 21 inches, Rear: 17 inches||Front: 17 inches, Rear: 17 inches|
|Tire Size||Front: 90/90-21, Rear: 130/80-17||Front: 120/70 ZR-17, Rear: 160/60 ZR-17|
|Seat Height||34.3 inches||33.3 inches|
|Ground Clearance||8.3 inches||6.7 inches|
|Fuel Capacity||6.1 gallons||5.5 gallons|
|Weight||460.6 lbs||482.9 lbs|
Now that we know the basic specs of the Kawasaki KLR 650 and Kawasaki Versys 650 let’s compare them in different aspects such as design, performance, price, reliability, tires, technology, comfort, etc.
When it comes to the design both these adventure motorcycles are designed to cater to different types of riders. The KLR 650 has a rugged, straightforward design, which is well-suited for off-road. The Versys 650, on the other hand, has a sportier and sleeker look, designed for on-road performance.
Now the Kawasaki KLR 650 has been around for over three decades and still has retained its classic, utilitarian design. The bike features a high windshield, a large fuel tank, a low seat height, and of course a long beak.
The Versys 650 however has a more modern look to it with a sharp front fairing, LED lights, and a digital instrument cluster along with a taller seat height.
When you compare these two motorcycles in terms of design, one of them is clearly better suited for offroad which is the KLR 650, and the other for onroad.
Performance and Power
KLR 650 and the Versys 650 are both powerful motorcycles with the KLR 650 having a 652cc engine with a power output of 40hp and 39 lb-ft torque and the Versys 650 having a 649cc engine with a power output of 65.7hp and 44.8 lb-ft torque.
Now due to the KLR 650 having a lower gearing ratio, it’s more suited for off-roading when compared to Versys. The bike also has a 5-speed transmission and a top speed of around 89 mph. The Versys 650, however, has a higher gearing ratio, which results in a smoother ride at higher speeds. The bike has a 6-speed transmission and a top speed of around 128 mph.
Both bikes have ABS and traction control as standard and optional features. The Versys 650 also has adjustable suspension, which allows the rider to adjust the suspension settings.
Tires and Brakes
Tires on the Kawasaki KLR 650 and Versys 650 are designed for different purposes, both come with different types of tires that are suitable for their respective riding styles.
Now the KLR 650 comes with spoked wheels and offroad tires, which are designed for off-road adventures and provide excellent traction on dirt and gravel roads.
And Versys 650 comes with alloy wheels and onroad tires, which are designed for on-road performance and provide excellent grip and stability on paved roads.
Both bikes come with standard disc brakes with standard and optional abs.
The KLR 650 comes with a 300mm front disc brake and a 240mm rear disc brake, while the Versys 650 comes with a 300mm front disc brake and a 250mm rear disc brake.
Versys 650 also comes with ABS (anti-lock braking system) as standard which is optional in the KLR 650, which provides additional safety and control in emergency braking situations.
In terms of wheel size, The Kawasaki KLR 650 comes with a 21-inch front wheel and a 17-inch rear wheel, which are larger than the wheels on the Versys 650. The larger wheel size is designed to provide better off-road capabilities and handling.
The Versys 650, on the other hand, comes with a 17-inch front wheel and a 17-inch rear wheel, which provide better on-road handling and stability.
Features and Technology
In terms of features and technology Kawasaki Versys 650 has more advanced technology features than the KLR 650 considering the versys is designed mainly for highways.
With a digital instrument cluster, which displays a range of information, including gear position, fuel level, and range the versys is better in terms of technology. The motorcycle also has an adjustable windscreen, adjustable suspension, and heated grips as standard features.
The KLR 650, on the other hand, has a more basic instrument cluster, which displays only the essential information, such as speed, rpm, and fuel level.
It also has a more straightforward suspension system, with a conventional fork at the front and a mono-shock at the rear.
Ergonomic and Comfort
The Kawasaki Versys 650 offers better ergonomics and comfort than the KLR 650.
Versys 650 has a more upright riding position, which puts less strain on the rider’s back and neck. The bike also has a larger and more comfortable seat, which provides more support for long rides.
KLR 650 has a more aggressive riding position, which can be uncomfortable for some riders, especially on long rides. The bike also has a narrower seat than the Versys 650, which can be uncomfortable for riders with larger builds.
Regarding the pillion comfort, the Versys 650 has a clear advantage. With a well-padded and spacious seat, footpegs placed comfortably and good wind protection, the Versys 650 provides a smooth and enjoyable ride for both the rider and the passenger.
Now the KLR 650’s pillion seat on the other hand is less spacious, and the footpegs are positioned higher, which may cause discomfort during longer rides.
Both the Kawasaki KLR 650 and the Versys 650 are known for their reliability. These motorcycles are built to withstand tough terrains and harsh weather conditions, making them a popular choice among adventure riders.
The KLR 650 has been in production for over 30 years and has a reputation for being a tough and reliable bike. The bike has a simple design and is easy to maintain, making it a popular choice for riders who prefer to do their maintenance themselves.
The Versys 650, although a newer model, also has a reputation for being reliable, with many riders reporting few issues even after many miles of use.
Both bikes come with a standard 12-month limited warranty, which covers defects in material and workmanship. Kawasaki also offers extended warranties for an additional cost, which can provide coverage for up to four years.
Price and Maintenance
The Kawasaki KLR 650 and the Versys 650 have different price points, with the Versys 650 being more expensive than the KLR 650. The KLR 650 has a starting price of around $6,699, while the Versys 650 has a starting price of around $8,299.
Maintenance costs for both bikes are relatively low, with both bikes having a recommended service interval of around 7,500 miles. However, the cost of replacement parts and accessories can vary, with some parts for the Versys 650 being more expensive than the KLR 650.
Pros and Cons of Kawasaki KLR 650 and Kawasaki Versys 650
Both these adventure motorcycles have their own pros and cons, some of these pros and cons are listed below:
|Kawasaki KLR 650||Kawasaki Versys 650|
|Rugged design||Sporty design|
|Lower price||Better on-road performance|
|Simpler maintenance||Advanced technology features|
|Good off-road capability||Better comfort and ergonomics|
|Less comfortable on long rides||Higher price|
|Less advanced technology features||Heavier than the KLR 650|
|Limited customization options||Less off-road capability|
In conclusion, the Kawasaki KLR 650 and the Versys 650 are both excellent adventure motorcycles designed to overcome any terrain let it be offroads or onroad highways.
The KLR 650 is an excellent choice for riders who prefer off-road adventures and want a rugged, simple bike that is easy to maintain. And the Versys is a better choice for riders who mostly do onroad highways rides and want a more advanced, comfortable, and customizable bike that’s capable of little bit of offroading.
Both these motorcycles offer excellent reliability, low maintenance costs, and a fun and engaging ride.
What is the difference between the Kawasaki KLR 650 and the Versys 650?
The Kawasaki KLR 650 is designed for off-road adventures and has a rugged, simple design. The Versys 650, on the other hand, is designed for on-road performance and has a more advanced, sporty design.
Which bike is better for long rides, the KLR 650 or the Versys 650?
The Versys 650 is a better choice for long rides because it has better comfort and ergonomics than the KLR 650. The Versys 650 also has more advanced technology features, such as a digital instrument panel and adjustable windscreen.
How reliable are the Kawasaki KLR 650 and Versys 650?
Both bikes are known for their reliability, with many riders reporting few issues even after many miles of use. Kawasaki also offers a standard 12-month limited warranty and extended warranties for additional coverage.
Which bike is better for off-road adventures, the KLR 650 or the Versys 650?
The KLR 650 is a better choice for off-road adventures because it has a more rugged design and better off-road capabilities than the Versys 650. The KLR 650 also has a lower price point than the Versys 650.