2021 has been a busy year for Kawasaki as it has been updating its entire line-up and after revitalizing the Z650, it was only a matter of time before the popular Versys 650 would receive a makeover, and it finally happened. The adventure tourer is a more tarmac focused motorcycle that comes with long-travel suspension and impressive ground clearance and doesn’t mind dipping its toe into semi off-roading trails. Apart from some cosmetic upgrades, the 2022 Versys now boasts new electronic features that were sorely missed. It continues to be available in two variants — Versys 650 and Versys 650 LT — with the former starting from MSRP $8,899 to $9,099 and the latter at $9,999. Kawasaki offers a wide range of accessories like different types of saddlebags, luggage top cases, additional LED lights and frame slider sets.
Generating Some Serious Traction
It’s been some time coming, but the Versys 650 is now equipped with Kawasaki Traction Control (KTRC) for the first time. The traction control system ensures greater rider control, enhanced performance and most importantly better safety. The system offers two selectable levels, Mode 1 and Mode 2. In Mode 1, the system isn’t very intrusive and doesn’t kick in immediately. This allows a certain degree of the rear wheel slip on the terrain before the system recovers the loss of grip due to wheel spin. With the delay of traction control, the motorcycle enters the corners safely and can increase its speed while exiting it in full control. In Mode 2, the system is calibrated to be more hands-on and intervenes earlier when the wheel speed sensors detect excessive wheel spin. This is extremely helpful in challenging terrains like wet surfaces. The KTRC system reduces the power output to prevent any loss of control of the bike by allowing the rear wheel to regain traction. This intuitive technology first reads the current conditions of the surface and then intervenes, giving support to the rider. This system is similar to the anti-lock braking system (ABS), where it avoids wheels locking up while slamming the brakes and ensures the rear wheel has a firm grip. The rider also has the option to completely switch off the traction control system by a button on the handlebar.
The Versys 650 now sports an all-digital 4.3-inch TFT instrument cluster, like the one available in the streetfighter Z650. The background of the rider’s cockpit can be changed to black or white and for convenience’ sake, the display automatically adjusts its brightness according to its surrounding’s light. Apart from the usual functions, the console also comes with an economical riding indicator, service reminder and oil change reminder. As Kawasaki has updated this ADV tourer’s dash, it now supports Bluetooth connectivity via its Rideology mobile app. Apart from giving the vehicle’s information, the app has a Ride Log option which gives you real-time data like distance, time, average mileage, top and average speed. The smartphone app also allows you to customize the display layout.
Kawasaki has given this middleweight tourer a chiseled looked, more in the lines of the Versys 1000’s design. The front cowl gets prominent character lines and a sharper beak, giving it an aggressive road presence. The 5.5-gallon fuel tank is flatter on top and merges seamlessly with the new styling. It sports new graphics, which runs all the way down to the extended tank panels. The Versys now comes across a lot more contemporary with the new LED headlights, sleek LED indicators and a LED tail lamp cluster.
In the case of touring motorcycles, the windshield plays an important role to protect the rider from direct wind blasts. Keeping this in mind, Kawasaki has changed it with a new 4-position adjustable one. It offers three inches range from a lower sporty riding position to a taller upright position. The windscreen can be easily adjusted by a button placed below the instrument display.
The 2022 Versys 650 doesn’t receive any mechanical changes and continues to be powered by the versatile 649cc, 2-cylinder liquid-cooled engine with an output of 66 hp at 8,500 rpm and 44.8 Ib-ft at 7,000rpm of torque. The powertrain is responsive at low and mid-range powerbands, making it ideal for both urban conditions and long-distance trips. It retains the Showa 41mm inverted front forks which are adjustable, while the single rear shocker makes preload adjustments. Due to this, the motorcycle has nimble handling characteristics and offers a plush ride. As the Versys is a tarmac-biased tourer, it sports 17-inch alloy wheels rather than spoke wheels and gets dual 300mm front disc brakes and a single 250mm disc at the rear. It comes standard with ABS. The LT variant has additional features like hard saddlebags, hand guards or knuckle protectors and a 24-month warranty.
Does the new Kawasaki Versys 650 deliver on its promises? Let’s have a look at how it fares.
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