2023 Kawasaki KLR650 First Look Preview

Comfort meets purpose with Kawasaki’s proven dual sport.

Comfort meets purpose with Kawasaki’s proven dual sport. (Kawasaki/)

Kawasaki’s KLR650 has built a stellar reputation as a do-it-all adventure motorcycle since its introduction in the late eighties. The venerable vet may not have changed much over its lifetime, but it amassed a devout following on its merits: it was inexpensive, durable, reliable, and most importantly, capable. The KLR recently took a two-year hiatus, but the unkillable dual sport returned in 2022 with Adventure and Traveler versions to boot. It also experienced changes including an updated fuel-injected engine, improved rider comfort, an opened-up cockpit for better ergonomics, modernized bodywork and better electronics.

We can thoughtfully reflect on that redesign for another year, because all versions return for 2023 unchanged except for new colors and prices.

Related: 2022 Kawasaki KLR650 First Look Preview

2023 Kawasaki KLR650/ABS

The KLR650 is capable of long slogs on the highway or clips down rocky dirt paths.

The KLR650 is capable of long slogs on the highway or clips down rocky dirt paths. (Kawasaki/)

The updated fuel-injected 652cc thumper continues on in its semi-double cradle steel frame. A protective skid plate, 21- and 17-inch spoked wheels, and long-travel suspension are ready to take on roads both more or less traveled, whereas relaxed ergos, a long stable wheelbase, and large 6.1-gallon fuel tank will help clock many highway miles. Even at base level there are creature comforts suitable for any type of riding, including a two-position adjustable windscreen and hand guards. Prices have risen slightly for 2023, but the KLR is still a bargain at $6,899 (non-ABS) and $7,199 (with ABS). New color choices include Pearl Storm Gray, Pearl Solar Yellow, and Candy Lime Green.

2023 Kawasaki KLR650 Adventure/ABS

The KLR650 Adventure comes in Camo Cypher Gray, regardless of choice of ABS.

The KLR650 Adventure comes in Camo Cypher Gray, regardless of choice of ABS. (Kawasaki/)

More storage capacity, more durability, and more electronics: With the KLR650 Adventure, riders don’t need to go digging around the aftermarket to further improve the KLR. The Adventure has go-to add-ons already installed by the factory: SHAD 21-liter hard bags, engine guards, tank pad, LED auxiliary lights, and DC and USB sockets come standard and bring this bike to $7,899 (non-ABS)/$8,199 (ABS). Camo Cypher Gray returns for 2023 and is available on both KLR650 Adventures.

Related: 2018 Honda XR650L vs. Kawasaki KLR650 vs. Suzuki DR650S Comparison

2023 Kawasaki KLR650 Traveler ABS

The Traveler is a trim that adds a hint of OE accessories to the base KLR.

The Traveler is a trim that adds a hint of OE accessories to the base KLR. (Kawasaki/)

The Traveler travels a little lighter than the Adventure with a 43-liter top case and DC power outlet and USB socket as standard equipment. It comes in Pearl Solar Yellow with ABS as standard. At $7,599, this trim’s MSRP is close to the midpoint of the KLR family’s price range.

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