Team Green tends to be pretty judicious with their updates, and the new Versys 650 is no exception. Kawasaki hasn’t thrown the baby out with the bathwater here—this is still very much the adventure touring bike that devotees have come to know and love in previous years—but there are a few pleasant surprises in store for anyone who mistakenly thinks this iconic Japanese motorcycle maker is content to rest on its considerable bed of laurels.
The engine in this bike (a 649cc parallel twin producing 65.7 HP @ 8,500 rpm and 45 lb-ft of torque @ 7,000 rpm) and long-travel Showa suspension are the same as they were in last year’s model. But the new model also offers Kawasaki Traction Control, a modern 4.3 inch full-color digital display, and a subtle update to the bike’s styling—redesigned cowling, for example, which gives the whole thing a sleeker and edgier look. Colors for this year include Metallic Spark Black / Metallic Flat Spark Black and Candy Lime Green / Metallic Flat Spark Black / Metallic Spark Black.
There’s also an LT (Light Touring) version of this bike, which has a few more accessories (like luggage panniers) to help accommodate riders on longer journeys. That’s appropriate, since the Versys 650 is well-designed for multi-day trips off the beaten path (or paved road). Chances are, if you’re using it the way Kawi’s engineers intended, you’ll want to pack some gear for your travels.
The new Versys 650 and 650 LT occupy an important niche in Kawasaki’s bike lineup for 2022, and can easily go toe-to-toe with competitors like the Suzuki V-Strom 650 and BMW F750 GS. It starts at $8,899 USD / $11,399 CAD (Kawasaki only offers the LT version in Canada).
On this page:we’ve curated specs, features, news, photos/videos, etc. so you can read up on the new 2022 Kawasaki Versys 650 and 650 LT in one place.
Price: $8,899 USD / $11,399 CAD
Sleeker, more aggressive appearance
Kawasaki Traction Control
Economical riding indicator
Full-color instrument panel with smartphone connectivity
Late-model sport bikes often use large-bore throttle bodies to generate high levels of power. However, with large diameter throttles, when a rider suddenly opens the throttle, the unrestricted torque response can be strong. Dual throttle valve technology was designed to tame engine response while contributing to performance.
On models with dual throttle valves, there are two throttle valves per cylinder: in addition to the main valves, which are physically linked to the throttle grip and controlled by the rider, a second set of valves, opened and closed by the ECU, precisely regulates intake airflow to ensure a natural, linear response. With the air passing through the throttle bodies becoming smoother, combustion efficiency is improved and power is increased.
Economical Riding Indicator
Using high-precision electronic control for engine management, Kawasaki models can achieve a high level of fuel efficiency. However, fuel consumption is greatly affected by throttle use, gear selection, and other elements under the rider’s control. The Economical Riding Indicator is a function that indicates when current riding conditions are consuming a low amount of fuel. The system continuously monitors fuel consumption, regardless of vehicle speed, engine speed, throttle position and other riding conditions. When fuel consumption is low for a given speed (i.e. fuel efficiency is high), an “ECO” mark appears on the instrument panel’s LCD screen. By riding so that the “ECO” mark remains on, fuel consumption can be reduced.
While effective vehicle speed and engine speed may vary by model, paying attention to conditions that cause the “ECO” mark to appear can help riders improve their fuel efficiency – a handy way to increase cruising range. Further, keeping fuel consumption low also helps minimize negative impact on the environment.
KTRC (Kawasaki Traction Control)
KTRC, Kawasaki’s advanced traction control system provides both enhanced sport riding performance and the peace of mind to negotiate slippery surfaces with confidence. Multiple rider-selectable modes (the number of modes varies by model) offer progressively greater levels of intrusion to suit the riding situation and rider preference.
Less intrusive modes maintain optimum traction during cornering. Designed with sport riding in mind, they facilitate acceleration out of corners by maximizing forward drive from the rear wheel. And because Kawasaki’s sophisticated software bases its dynamic analysis on the chassis’ orientation relative to the track surface (rather than relative to a horizontal plane), it is able to take into account corner camber, gradient, etc., and adapt accordingly.
In the more intrusive modes (and for some models, in any mode), when excessive wheel spin is detected, engine output is reduced to allow grip to be regained, effectively enabling riders to negotiate both short, slippery patches (train tracks or manhole covers) and extended stretches of bad roads (wet pavement, cobblestone, gravel) with confidence.
Clever technology enables riders to connect to their motorcycle wirelessly. Using the smartphone application “RIDEOLOGY THE APP,” a number of instrument functions can be accessed, contributing to an enhanced motorcycling experience. Vehicle information (such as the odometer, fuel gauge, maintenance schedule, etc) can be viewed on the smartphone. Riding logs (varies by model, but may include GPS route, gear position, rpm, and other information) can be viewed on the smartphone. When connected, telephone (call, mail) notices are displayed on the instrument panel. Riders can also make changes to their motorcycle’s instrument display settings (preferred units, clock and date setting, etc) via the smartphone. And on certain models, it is even possible to check and adjust vehicle settings (such as Rider Mode, electronic rider support features, and payload settings) using the smartphone.
ABS (Anti-lock Brake System)
Kawasaki ABS systems use front and rear wheel sensors to constantly monitor wheel speed. Should information from either of the sensors indicate that wheel lock has occurred, the ABS ECU directs the pump in the ABS unit to modulate brake fluid pressure (releasing and reapplying pressure so that traction can be regained) until normal operation resumes. ABS offers rider reassurance that contributes to greater riding enjoyment.