Few motorcycles in the world are as synonymous with adventure as the Kawasaki Versys. Its name alone is derived from the word “Versatile”, and the bike’s numerous iterations and variations over the years have certainly made good on its name. The Versys 650, in particular, has become a staple in the big bike market, as it offers big bike performance and adventure bike comfort at an extremely attractive price point.
The current generation Versys downfall, however, comes not from an issue with the bike itself, but rather, from the fact that its competition has blazed past it in terms of performance and capability. In terms of versatility—off-road capability, in particular, Yamaha has taken the crown in the Japanese ADV segment with the potent and capable Tenere 700. Suzuki, too, has done a decent job with the V-Strom 650 XT, which gets wire-spoke wheels, and a 19-inch front wheel. Honda’s updates to the upcoming CB500X make it interesting, too, with inverted forks and dual disc brakes as standard.
Considering all these, it really isn’t surprising that Kawasaki is lining the Versys 650 up for an update in 2022. Unfortunately, however, this update doesn’t seem to be as groundbreaking as we had hoped. Just like the rest of its 650 model range—the Ninja 650 and Z650—expect the updates to the Versys to be, for the most part, cosmetic. For the 2021 model-year, Kawasaki facelifted the Ninja 650 to sport a near-identical fascia to that of the Ninja ZX-6R. So, too, did the Z650, with a styling update that made it look like a baby Z H2. As such, we can expect the 2022 Versys 650 to get updated styling to match the bigger Versys 1000—so that’s a new front end, and perhaps, slightly redesigned bodywork with “striking new colors.”
That said, we will most likely see refinements to Kawasaki’s boring, yet dependable 649cc, 180-degree parallel-twin engine. Expect it to produce around 68 ponies in linear and predictable fashion, as well as an exhaust note reminiscent of that of a sit-down lawn mower. Hopefully, at least, Kawasaki will fit its fancy new TFT instrument panel on the new Versys 650, and give it Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone integration via the Rideology mobile app. Team Green is set to unveil the new Versys to the global market on November 23, so keep your eyes peeled, and we’ll be sure to deliver you the latest scoop on this popular middleweight ADV.