Kawasaki KLR650 Review : The Best KLR?

Image of an Kawasaki KLR650 Adventure Motorcycle on a paved road with a rider

If you have been riding adventure motorcycles for a long time, you know that choosing the right motorcycle can make all the difference in your off-road expeditions.

You need a motorcycle that can handle different terrains, offer comfort on long rides on both terrains, and carry all your gear without weighing you down. The Kawasaki KLR650 is one such motorcycle that promises to deliver on all these fronts and more.

The Kawasaki KLR650 is an adventure motorcycle that’s built to withstand the toughest of conditions, it’s like the swiss army knife of adventure motorcycles. This motorcycle can take you through dirt, sand, rocks, and mud with ease.

Kawasaki KLR650 is designed with convenience in mind. It has plenty of storage space which can accommodate all your gear. And its reliable build ensures that it can withstand the wear and tear of rough rides and harsh weather conditions.

youtube video image

In this review, we’ll take a closer look at the Kawasaki KLR650 and talk about its design, performance, comfort, and overall value to help you decide if it’s the right motorcycle for your off-road adventures.

The price of Kawasaki KLR650

Let’s first talk about the price. Now compared to other adventure motorcycles in this segment the Kawasaki KLR650 is much more affordable and cheap compared to them.

The base price of the Kawasaki KLR650 is around $6700 (USD) MSRP without abs. And the fully loaded adventure version with the accessories like engine guard, fog lamps, bars, dc usb sockets etc., cost around $8000 (USD).

Again compared to other mid size adventure motorcycle in the US & globally the Kawasaki KLR650 is still the least expensive. The price is just a little above the small adventure motorcycles like the Kawasaki Versys x-300 and less then the Honda CB 500 X.


When it comes to the engine of the Kawasaki KLR650 you should not expect a very powerful engine that make you feel like its going to fly on the twist of the throttle.

It features a 652 cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine that produces 40 HP and 39 lb-ft of torque.

The Kawasaki KLR650’s engine is not that refined and you should not expect to drive it very smoothly at higher speed on twists and turn in paved roads due to its soft suspension. Compared to other adventure motorcycles in this segment the Kawasaki KLR650 is underpowered and a little outdated on some parts.

It still uses the old technology and almost the same engine of the 90s with 5 Speed transmission and with a few design and tech changes to make it suitable for the current standards.

Below are a few basic specs of the Kawasaki KLR650.

Basic Specifications of Kawasaki KLR650

Specification Details
Engine 652 cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine
Power 40 HP
Torque 39 lb-ft
Fuel System Fuel-Injected
Transmission 5-speed, return shift
Final Drive Chain
Seat Height 34.3 in (870 mm)
Weight 456 lbs (207 kg)
Fuel Capacity 6.1 gallons (23 liters)
Ground Clearance 8.3 inches (211 mm)
Front Tire Size & Brake 90/90-21 / Single 300mm disc with 2-piston calipers, ABS Optional
Rear Tire Size & Brake 130/80-17 / Single 240mm disc with single-piston caliper, ABS Optional

Few specs can differ depending upon the variant of the Kawasaki KLR650. Like the Kawasaki KLR650 S variant comes with a lower seat height compared to the base variant.

Highway & Off-road Performance

Now as you read above that the engine of the Kawasaki KLR650 is a little underpowered, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive it on the highways and keep up with your friends that are driving other adventure like ktm’s or bmw.

Kawasaki KLR650 on the highways is a very comfortable motorcycle with a upright seating posture + high capacity fuel tank ( 6.1 Gal / 23 Liter ) + plenty of power to smoothly cruise the highways. There are a little bit of vibrations being a single cylinder engine, however the vibrations are not that noticeable and annoying.

The seat padding is also soft for a comfortable ride, but the seat can get your butt numb on long rides. So its best to get it changed with a seat padding of your choice.

On the off-road too the Kawasaki KLR650 isn’t that great, its big and top heavy and with the non adjustable front suspension that is very soft it does get a little uncomfortable to ride on the offroads.

You can however adjust the tire pressure and take out a little bit of fuel to make the top less heavy, this makes the motorcycle much better to ride of the offroads. After that you can just take it over anything, it will continue going over anything that you throw at it be it mud, rocks, roots, branches etc.

To be honest, this bike is still decent on both highways and the off-road, with its cheap price point you cant really expect anything more.

Design and features of Kawasaki KLR650

Design of the Kawasaki KLR650 is still like the classic KLR, with a focus on durability and versatility.

The motorcycle design still haven’t changed lot compared to the old KLR from the 90s, it still is a durable and reliable motorcycle that you can take anywhere you want ( Of course with a couple of minor changes ).

With a high ground clearance of 8.3 inches, the Kawasaki KLR650 provides plenty of room for navigating obstacles such as rocks and logs, while the long-travel suspension offers a smooth ride on bumpy terrain ( however this soft suspension can cause issues on big bumps and paved roads while cornering ).

Kawasaki KLR650 is also designed with plenty of storage space, making it an ideal motorcycle for longer adventures. The rear cargo rack and side panniers can take all your gear, including camping equipment, tools, and spare parts.

The ergonomics are also well thought out, with features such as a comfortable and wide seat, adjustable handlebars, and wind protection. The seat is wide and supportive with a upright seating posture, providing a comfortable ride even on long trips.

When it comes to technology, the Kawasaki KLR650 includes a digital instrument panel that displays speed, fuel level, and other important information,( just the basics that someone needs, keeping it simple and reliable ). It also comes equipped with a skid plate that protects the engine and exhaust system from damage when riding off-road.

Comfort and Convenience of Kawasaki KLR650

The Kawasaki KLR650 is designed with the rider’s comfort and convenience in mind. Just like its previous model is built to handle different terrains, and its ergonomic design ensures that riders stay comfortable on extended journeys.

One of the standout features of the Kawasaki KLR650 is its comfortable seat. The seat is wide and supportive, providing a comfortable ride. However as the seat is soft, it can get uncomfortable after a while, so its best to get a custom seat according to your need.

Kawasaki KLR650 also features heated grips, for riders from cold regions to have their hand warm and comfy.

Wind protection is also an important consideration for adventure motorcycles, and the Kawasaki KLR650 doesn’t disappoint in this regard. It features a large windscreen that can be adjusted to deflect wind and rain. This windscreen helps to reduce rider fatigue on longer trips on highways, making for a more comfortable ride.

Accessories & Technology

For the Kawasaki KLR650 there are multiple accessories that you can get.

Starting with extra bright led fog lamps for better visibility at night, DC socket and optional USB socket to charge up your phone or to attach any extra accessories, Frame sliders to keep the motorcycle safe in case of a fall, and tank pads for better grips.

You can also get side bases and top boxes for better storage space.

As for technology the Kawasaki KLR650 offers optional ABS ( Anti-lock Braking System ).


Overall i would say that the Kawasaki KLR650 is a motorcycle that is still like the same KLR from the 90s when it was originally designed and made. With a few changes that makes it suitable for current standards.

It is still a very reliable motorcycle with very less technology and design changes from original make from 90s making it hassle-free compared to other adventure motorcycles in the market today. That’s the sole reason this motorcycle even if it lacks lots of modern features, even if its a little underpowered, still getting sold and still has a large cult like fanbase.

Amitabh Borah

Amitabh Borah is the founder of OffRoadPioneers.com, sharing his passion for adventure on two wheels.

Recent Content