The Kawasaki KLR650 S expands the dual sport’s appeal to a wider audience.

The Kawasaki KLR650 S expands the dual sport’s appeal to a wider audience. (Kawasaki/)

The days of carving away seat foam for height-challenged riders is behind us. Kawasaki offers the 2023 KLR650 S, which is designed with shorter inseam riders in mind. Modifications to the suspension, ergonomics, and other minor adjustments mean the KLR platform should now appeal to a wider variety of rider sizes.

Related: 2023 Kawasaki KLR650 First Look Preview

The new KLR S’ adjustments contribute to confident touch-downs. Dusty adventures await riders of all sizes.

The new KLR S’ adjustments contribute to confident touch-downs. Dusty adventures await riders of all sizes. (Kawasaki/)

Kawasaki dropped the KLR650 S’ front and rear suspension travel to 6.7 inches and 7.0 inches respectively and tuned suspension spring rates and damping settings to resist bottoming, give appropriate bump compliance, and maintain composure under hard braking. The rear’s Uni-Trak tie-rod length has also been increased by 4mm, Kawasaki says, in order to optimize the swingarm’s initial down angle.

The bulk of what makes the KLR a capable off-road ride remains: 21- and 17-inch tube-type tires, spark arrestor–equipped exhaust, rigid steel frame, and 652cc single-cylinder engine.

The bulk of what makes the KLR a capable off-road ride remains: 21- and 17-inch tube-type tires, spark arrestor–equipped exhaust, rigid steel frame, and 652cc single-cylinder engine. (Kawasaki/)

In addition to these suspension alterations Kawasaki has also fitted the S with a new low seat, 35mm thinner than the standard unit, resulting in a seat height 2.2 inches closer to the ground. The chart below shows key dimension differences between the standard 2023 KLR650 and the new S version.

Dimension differences between the KLR and KLR S:

KLR650 KLR650 S
Seat Height: 34.3 in. 32.1 in.
Front Suspension Travel: 7.9 in. 6.7 in.
Rear Suspension Travel: 8.0 in. 7.0 in.
Ground Clearance: 8.3 in. 7.3 in.
Wheelbase: 60.6 in. 59.6 in.

Other small changes include a shorter sidestand (length has been decreased by 30mm) and roomier shifter-to-footpeg distance (increased by 15mm).

In typical KLR fashion, riding comfort includes standard hand guards and an adjustable windscreen.

In typical KLR fashion, riding comfort includes standard hand guards and an adjustable windscreen. (Kawasaki/)

Many of the admired features of the KLR650 stay put. The S touts the same fuel-injected 652cc DOHC single-cylinder engine, smooth five-speed transmission, and semi-double cradle steel frame. With a large 6.1-gallon capacity, the Big Gulp of fuel tanks is ready for long hauls, and adjustable wind protection and hand guards provide comfort for daily riding.

The non-ABS KLR650 S comes in Candy Lime Green (depicted) or Pearl Storm Gray for an MSRP of $6,899.

The non-ABS KLR650 S comes in Candy Lime Green (depicted) or Pearl Storm Gray for an MSRP of $6,899. (Kawasaki/)

Pricing starts at $6,899, the same as the KLR650. Put away the carving knife and close the browser windows for the lowering kit and low seat because the 2023 Kawasaki KLR650 S is equipped to render lowering mods unnecessary.

Pearl Storm Gray is the only color for the ABS-equipped model.

Pearl Storm Gray is the only color for the ABS-equipped model. (Kawasaki/)

2023 Kawasaki KLR650 S/ABS Technical Specifications And Price

PRICE: $6,899 (S) / $7,199 (S ABS)
ENGINE: 652cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled single-cylinder; 4 valves/cyl.
BORE x STROKE: 100.0 x 83.0mm
COMPRESSION RATIO: 9.8:1
FUEL DELIVERY: Fuel injection w/ 40mm throttle body
CLUTCH: Wet, multiplate
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE: 5-speed/chain
FRAME: High-tensile steel semi-double cradle
FRONT SUSPENSION: 41mm leading-axle hydraulic telescopic fork; 6.7 in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION: Uni-Trak shock, preload and rebound adjustable; 7.0 in. travel
FRONT BRAKE: 2-piston caliper, 300mm disc (S) / 300mm disc w/ ABS (S ABS)
REAR BRAKE: 1-piston caliper, 240mm disc (S) / 240mm disc w/ ABS (S ABS)
WHEELS, FRONT/REAR: Spoked; 21 in./17 in.
TIRES, FRONT/REAR: 90/90-21 / 130/80-17
RAKE/TRAIL: 29.5°/4.6 in.
WHEELBASE: 59.6 in.
SEAT HEIGHT: 32.1 in.
FUEL CAPACITY: 6.1 gal.
CLAIMED WET WEIGHT: 456 lb. (S) / 461 lb. (S ABS)
WARRANTY: 1 year
AVAILABLE: Now
CONTACT: kawasaki.com
Spread the love