Return of the Thumper: The new 2022 Kawasaki KLR650


Senior Staff
When I heard the news that Kawasaki had discontinued the venerable KLR650, I was pretty bummed.  As a KLR rider myself, I was always a big fan of the platform but it seemed that time and emissions standards had finally caught up with my favorite old school thumper. Honestly, it had been in production virtually unchanged since 1987 (with a mid-lifecycle refresh in 2008) so an overhaul and redesign was long overdue in my opinion.
Thankfully, after a two year hiatus, they’ve redesigned it and much to my surprise, they didn’t ruin the original recipe. Luddites will malign changes like EFI, ABS and heated grips, but it’s still a basic, affordable adventure bike with a reliable 652cc thumper engine – and that’s a GOOD thing.
Changes are numerous in this redesign, while mostly subtle and well thought out. But make no mistake, this bike is still all about durability and ease of maintenance in the field...

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The 2022 KLR is pretty tempting with a top speed of 93mph. I'm looking forward to a test ride when one becomes available near me.
The little XT250 I'm riding now is fun in lite and I can ride it 5 miles to work but it is so underpowered (top speed ~70 and that drops to 50-ish at high elevtions) that I sometimes worry I might get run over on the hwy if I go on a longer ride.
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