Kawasaki KLR 650 vs Royal Enfield Himalayan – Which one is the better off-road machine?
Before the arrival of the Royal Enfield Himalayan, the category of off-road tourers was considered a niche, with only range-topping CBU imports having a limited presence in the category. However, the advent and success of the Himalayan prompted more manufacturers to think and go back to design boards, and as a result, we started getting more off-road-oriented adventure tourers.
While many motorcycle manufacturers have marked their presence, Kawasaki is yet to make a mark in this category of sub-500ss off-road tourers. Sure, we had the Versys 300 for a short time, but now it’s gone, Kawasaki needs to come back with a better strategy. And what motorcycle can be better than the globally-available Kawasaki KLR 650, which just launched in the USA? We compare the Kawasaki KLR 650 with the Royal Enfield Himalayan in all aspects to let you know if the KLR 650 is indeed a competitor to the Himalayan or not.
Kawasaki has yet to bring the KLR 650 to the Indian shores. However, the motorcycle has been launched in the US at $6,999 and is available there with two colour options, namely Pearl Sand Khaki and Pearl Lava Orange. On the other hand, the prices for Royal Enfield Himalayan start at Rs 2,14,519, with it available in six colour options, namely Mirage Silver, Gravel Grey, Granite Black, Pine Green, Rock Red and Lake Blue.
|Model||Kawasaki KLR 650||Royal Enfield Himalayan|
|Price||NA||Rs 2,14,519 – Rs 2,22,159|
(prices mentioned above are ex-showroom, India)
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Engine and Chassis
With a larger 652cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine, the Kawasaki KLR 650 puts a stronger case against the smaller 411cc air-cooled, single-cylinder engine of the Royal Enfield Himalayan. With a maximum power of 40 hp and a maximum torque of 52.9 Nm, the KLR 650 is a better performer than the Himalayan, which claims 24.3 hp of power and 32 Nm of maximum torque.
Both the motorcycles here have much similar hardware, with the similar elements in them including a 5-speed gearbox, 41mm telescopic forks at the front, mono-shock with adjustable rebound damping and spring preload at the rear, 90/90-21 front tyre, single 300mm disc brake at the front and a single 240mm disc brake at the rear. However, the 130/80-17 rear tyre of the KLR 650 is wider than the 120/90-17 rear tyre of the Himalayan.
|Specifications||Kawasaki KLR 650||Royal Enfield Himalayan|
|Engine||Four-stroke, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 652cc engine||Four-stroke, single-cylinder, air-cooled, 411cc engine|
|Power||40 hp @ 8,500 rpm||24.3 hp @ 6,500 rpm|
|Torque||52.9 Nm @ 4,500 rpm||32 Nm @ 4,000 rpm|
|Front suspension||41mm telescopic forks||41mm telescopic forks|
|Rear suspension||Mono-shock with adjustable rebound damping and spring preload||Mono-shock with adjustable rebound damping and spring preload|
|Front brake||Single 300mm disc with two-piston calipers||Single 300mm disc with two-piston calipers|
|Rear brake||Single 240mm disc with single-piston calipers||Single 240mm disc with single-piston calipers|
|ABS||Dual-channel ABS||Dual-channel ABS|
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Being a motorcycle with a larger engine, it is natural to expect that the Kawasaki KLR 650 will be a larger motorcycle in terms of dimensions. The KLR 650 proves that right, as it is a longer, wider and taller motorcycle than the Himalayan. It also has a longer wheelbase and a much taller seat height, though its ground clearance is slightly shorter in comparison. The KLR 650 also has a much larger fuel tank than the Himalayan.
|Dimensions||Kawasaki KLR 650||Royal Enfield Himalayan|
|Kerb weight||209 kg||199 kg|
|Fuel tank capacity||23.1 litres||15 litres|
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Design and Features
Look at both motorcycles, and they appeal to hardcore off-road motorcycle fans with their rugged looks and tall stance. However, in comparison, it is the Kawasaki KLR 650 which gets more bodywork and looks beefier among the two.
For the 2023 mode, Kawasaki has retained the design of the KLR 650 with new colour options, though it continues to have an aggressive-looking fascia, which includes an all-LED headlamp. This headlamp is surrounded by black plastic cladding and gets a tall and transparent visor above it. Like a proper off-road motorcycle, it gets a tapered and high-mounted fender attached to the front fascia above the front tyre. There is much visual mass around the huge 23.1-litre fuel tank, with the side panels of the front fairing adding more substance to the motorcycle. The high-mounted exhaust pipe, slim-looking rear section, heavy engine sump guard, silver-finished pannier mounts at the back and knobby tyres all add to the rugged appeal of the Kawasaki KLR 650.
In contrast, the Royal Enfield Himalayan looks more basic and old-school, with a tall-mounted rounded headlamp with a curved fender attached to its bottom, despite the motorcycle having a functional front mudguard over it. The front fascia of the Himalayan also comes with a tinted curved visor above the headlamp and tubular jerry can holders on the sides. The fuel tank, in comparison to the KLR 650 looks smaller and slimmer, and so do the side body panels. The motorcycle comes with a basic-looking levelled-up tail section, which gets a split seat arrangement above it and a small LED tail lamp at the back. The Himalayan also gets a small sump guard, side-mounted exhaust and tubular pannier mounts at the back.
While the Kawasaki KLR 650 gets a small fully-digital LCD panel for displays of speed, engine rpm, fuel gauge, odometer, trip meters, clock and gear indicator, the instrument console of the Royal Enfield Himalayan looks more old-school but comprehensive at the same time. This console has analogue dials for the speedometer, tachometer and fuel gauge, and LCD panels for the trip computer, odometer, trip meters, gear indicator and compass.
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Both motorcycles have the same character, but they differ a lot in their packaging. While the Kawasaki KLR 650 is undoubtedly the larger motorcycle here and gets a more powerful engine, the Royal Enfield Himalayan simply is easier to ride with its lower kerb weight and has a more comprehensive instrument console. Those who want a feel of a more powerful and bigger motorcycle should go for the KLR 650, but for a newer rider, the Himalayan makes more sense.