Kawasaki Versys®

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Joining the versatile Versys 650 and Versys 1000 is the all-new Versys-X 300, powered by a 296cc parallel twin và weighing just 386 pounds (claimed). (Photos by Kevin Wing)

Is lightweight touring the Next Big Thing in motorcycling? If so, Kawasaki has grabbed the hole shot with its new Versys-X 300 all-rounder. Two days on this xe đạp at a Southern Utah press launch showed off its potential for on- và off-pavement touring in a red roông chồng paradise. “Don’t be afraid lớn rev this thing,” Kawasaki’s Jeff Herzog told us before leading out from Green River, Utah, on a short stretch of freeway. Not that we had much choice—cruising with traffic on the 80-mph Interstate meant revs a-plenty. The potent eight-valve, fuel-injected parallel twin lifted from the Ninja 300 is spinning more than 9,500 rpm in the top of its six gears at that tốc độ, but you’d never know it without a glance at the analog tach. Kawasaki’s counterbalanced mill is blissfully smooth from just off idle to the 12 grand redline.

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With a slender frame and light weight, the Kawasaki Versys-X 300 is delightfully playful.

Kawasaki dropped final drive gearing by 9 percent from the Nin-Ja lớn maximize the versatility of the new 300. The benefit is a first gear low enough for easy plonking on the choppy dirt roads we encountered. Combined with a clutch that requires just a single finger lớn operate (but has a short engagement zone), the Versys-X is beginner friendly. Its 32.1-inch seat height & narrow waist help newbies feel confident as well. A 5-foot, 1-inch tester was comfortable on the bike, while the taller guys were a little cramped; my 5-foot, 8-inch frame was right at trang chính. Straddling the stochồng seat for the entire ride, my rear didn’t complain until the over of the second day.

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The Kawasaki Versys-X 300 is the answer for many who have asked for a smaller, lighter, less expensive sầu adventure bike. Seat height is a modest 32.1 inches.

The X rolls on 19- and 17-inch front/rear spoked rims shod with street-biased IRC dual-sport tires. They don’t look aggressive, but stuông chồng well in the rocks & dirt as well as on the pavement. The non-adjustable front fork gives a smooth, predictable ride, its 41mm stanchions and 5.1 inches of travel sufficient for typical dirt roads and small rock ledges. A preload-adjustable rear shoông chồng rounds out the all-surface handling package. Part of the credit for the 300’s overall good handling—it eats up tight tarmac and is roông chồng stable in the sweepers—goes lớn the frame kiến thiết. Kawi hit on the perfect geometry, incorporated the subframe inlớn the main structure, và beefed up the rear shochồng mount khổng lồ handle anything the road dishes out.

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The Kawasaki Versys-X 300’s liquid-cooled, 296cc parallel twin has dual throttle valves và a revised intake to flatten the power curve sầu và boost low- lớn mid-range torque.

The motor’s internals are untouched from the Ninja baseline, but dual throttle valves were fitted lớn flatten out the power curve sầu and the intake modified to lớn beef up low- khổng lồ mid-range torque. Even so, it’s not a tire-spinner on dirt roads. Rolling along southern Utah’s scenic two-lane highways, I was often in sixth gear at 50 to lớn 55 mph. From there I could enjoy the multi-colored geology on display & still accelerate with a throttle twist, or tap it down a cog or two for passing. Touring range is excellent—the average mileage reading on the instrument panel never dipped below 50 mpg, và the X carries an adventure-empowering 4.5 gallons of liquid energy.


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The Kawasaki Versys-X 300 has a 19-inch front and 17-inch rear spoked wheels that require tube-type tires. ABS is a $300 option.

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Kawasaki gave sầu us all the ABS version of the Versys-X, which worked well on both street & dirt. You can’t disable the system for off-pavement riding, but the X isn’t a honk-on dirt demon & the ABS didn’t intrude on the off-pavement experience. ABS is a $300 option, và for new riders it’s worth every penny. Factory accessories abound for the X, including hard luggage, crash protection & driving lights. It was unanimously agreed on a 32-degree morning that the optional h& guards should come with the xe đạp.

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With decent suspension travel (5.1 inches front, 5.8 inches rear), a 19-inch front wheel và spoked rims shod with dual-sport tires, the Kawasaki Versys-X 300 is ready for light-duty off-road riding.

Whether lightweight touring catches on or not (& it should, given how simple and fun it is), the smallest Versys is a xe đạp that new riders, commuters & anyone looking for a good time on two wheels shouldn’t ignore. And though it’s not a full-on adventure bike, the Versys-X 300 is a well-balanced package that will take you off the grid và inkhổng lồ the wild with confidence. Its upright seating, easy-pull clutch & ABS package make it an excellent entrée inkhổng lồ both road riding & exploring the baông chồng of beyond.

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With the heart of the Nin-Ja 300, the Kawasaki Versys-X 300 is loads of fun khổng lồ carve sầu through the canyons.
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The Kawasaki Versys-X 300 has a small windscreen, an upright handlebar and a comfortable, 31.9-inch seat.
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The Kawasaki Versys-X 300’s instrument panel combines an analog speedometer with dual digital displays that provide a lot of information.
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A rear luggage rachồng with bungee hooks is standard equipment on the Kawasaki Versys-X 300.
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“Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” isn’t just the title of a Dr. Suess book, it’s the spirit that embodies the Kawasaki Versys-X 300.