2017 kawasaki versys®

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8 Things To Know About the Kawasaki Versys-X 300

We"ve got the low-down on Kawasaki"s new small-displacement overlander.

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It’s not that often a new adventure bike gets released into lớn a category of one. The Kawasaki Versys-X 300 is the first twin-cylinder in a growing small-displacement adventure bike class currently filled by single-cylinder machines. The nibịt the Versys-X 300 attempts to lớn fill is a manageable, approachable & economical adventure xe đạp with versatility to handle a wide range of Adventure Touring scenartiện ích ios. Kawasaki is conservative sầu with making any claims about its off-road capability. They simply state it’s a street bike with the ability lớn handle unpaved roads. Perhaps it can bởi vì more?

We got a chance to lớn see what this newest Versys can vày during the recent Press Launch in Southern Utah. Starting in Green River, we rode two days và roughly 400 miles on open highway, twisty pavement & a few dirt roads en-route to lớn Cedar City. Along the way, we traveled through two of Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks — Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon — & also made stops at some of top State Parks. The stunning views on display were a constant distraction, but we managed lớn keep our eyes on the road lớn get the job done. Here are 8 key takeaways from our Kawasaki Versys-X 300 test:

1. It May Be Small But It Packs a Punch

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The DOHC, 8-valve, 296cc parallel-twin motor, shared with the Nin-Ja 300, makes power differently than your typical small-displacement single. With a thumper motor, you get power right off idle through the mid-range, whereas the Versys-X 300 has a mild hit in the lower RPMs và slowly builds power as the revs increase khổng lồ redline. It feels like it’s accelerating slowly but it keeps propelling you forward, faster & faster, until you are suddenly cruising at a high rate of tốc độ.

It invites you to lớn rev the snot out of it, with not much happening until around 8,000 RPMs. Between the 10,000-12,500 RPM range is where it hits hardest. There’s nothing irritating about the high revs though. The little Nin-Ja motor feels extremely smooth và generates a nice sounding exhaust note. It just takes some getting used khổng lồ living in those high RPMs. But eventually, you come khổng lồ realize there is a good amount of usable power on tap.

Up to about 60 mph, its big brother the KLR650 would probably beat it in a drag race but the pesky little Versys-X 300 keeps accelerating, continuing khổng lồ build tốc độ until it eventually catches up. On one tốc độ run we clocked 104 mph on the speedo, something we’ve sầu never seen on the KLR. Needless khổng lồ say, this xe đạp leaves its 250cc thumper counterparts in the dust. Even more impressive sầu, it can carry tốc độ. On two occasions, we crossed over mountain passes starting at around 7,000 feet climbing khổng lồ nearly 10,000 feet in elevation. All the time, the Versys-X 300 had enough torque khổng lồ cruise in 6th gear without the need for a downshift & the power loss from the elevation gain was minimal.

2. Its Ergos Fit a Wide Range of Riders

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Sitting on the Versys-X 300, the bike has a light and narrow feel with a comfortable reach lớn the bars for long-distance cruising. Our demo group ranged in height from 5’3″ khổng lồ 6’3″ but everyone seemed to feel the riding position was comfortable. The xe đạp has a low-cut seat designed to provide the lowest possible seat height and a narrowing in the front makes reaching the ground even easier for short-legged riders. One 5’6″ rider in our group was nearly able khổng lồ flat foot both feet at a stop light. Taller riders didn’t get cramped legs during the two days of riding either.

But the low-cut seat comes at a price, there isn’t much padding and it feels overly firm. Kawasaki offers a 1-inch higher accessory Ergo-Fit Tall Seat with more foam và improved leg room for taller riders, but after giving it a try, it didn’t prove khổng lồ be any more comfortable & only raised me up higher inkhổng lồ the wind (I’m 6’2″) above the protection of the windscreen. That said, both seats proved comfortable enough to lớn avoid soreness until later in the day when squirming in the saddle would start to lớn kiông chồng in.

In the dirt, the bike’s ergos are open enough khổng lồ make transitioning from sitting to standing an easy affair. It has a reasonable bar height for stand-up riding that doesn’t make taller riders hunch over, although some may still prefer bar risers. The low cut seat gives you a riding position that is down low in the xe đạp, & the longish tank doesn’t allow you to position your weight forward in sit-down turns lượt thích some of its more dirt-oriented competition.

3. It’s Comfortable Enough for Long-Range Touring

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What sets the Versys-X 300 apart from other bikes in the Small ADV Class is its smooth-running twin-cylinder motor. The motor is also counterbalanced to lớn keep the tiny 62milimet pistons humming along in perfect harmony. The Baby Versys can cruise comfortably at 75-80 mph with hardly a hint of vibration. A large phối of bar-over weights are also helpful in smooting out the ride. At 75 mph the tachometer reads 9,000 RPM, which may seem high revving, but the wind drowns out most of the engine noise at that speed and there isn’t more than a tingle in the bars. The bike also maintains tốc độ well on inclines or in cross winds, which suggest it might also carry luggage and a passenger well too.

Fuel range is excellent from the 4.5 gallon tank. Riders in our group achieved between 57 và 63 mpg during testing for an impressive sầu range of 250+ miles. The windscreen also provided ample protection, directing wind over my head using the standard seat, with only a small amount of buffeting. Although in the chilly Spring Utah weather, a mix of hvà guards khổng lồ blochồng the wind would have sầu been a welcomed addition. The firm seat does limit the number of hours you can ride comfortably on the highway, but that could be addressed with a pair of padded shorts. Overall, the bike is well-suited lớn long-distance travel and we wouldn’t hesitate lớn take it on a long trip on the open highway.

4. It’s a Perfect Bike for Adventures in the City

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When it comes khổng lồ riding in the concrete jungle, a small, economical và nimble machine like the Versys-X 300 makes the daily grind a lot more bearable. It has a low seating position that keeps weight low and it feels extremely balanced at slow speeds. A narrow frame is ideal for snaking through traffic và an upright riding position provides a commanding view of the path ahead. There’s also more than enough power & sporty handling lớn sift through congested roads.

On a hot day waiting at stop lights, the fairing design & patented radiator fan cover help redirect engine heat down and away from the rider for increased comfort. It also has a butter soft clutch with excellent feel that makes pulling away from a stop even easier. And during emergency braking, a slipper clutch ensures aggressive sầu downshifts won’t lead lớn a rear wheel skid. The Nin-Ja 300 is already a popular choice for daily commuters, so with even more comfortable ergos and improved maneuverability we expect to lớn see a lot of Versys-X 300s appearing in HOV lanes in the near future.

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5. You’ll Need to lớn Remix Your Off-Road Expectations

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Since the Versys-X 300 was first announced, many have sầu wondered how it compares off-road with other dual sport models on the market. Let’s be clear, the Versys-X 300 is a street bike with some light off-road potential. On smooth dirt roads, it maintains good composure & has a plush feel khổng lồ the suspension. There is very little squat, dip or wallowing & it offers a good amount of grip. But it can’t be expected khổng lồ compare with off-road capable bikes lượt thích the Honda CRF250L Rally or Yamaha WR250R.

Breaking off from the group, I was able to lớn briefly demo the xe đạp on a rough dirt road with several big cross ruts. The limits of the suspension were quickly noticed on medium-sized hits while riding at a fast pace. Luckily though when the suspension bottoms, it does so softly. The high-revving powerband also feels a bit strange in the dirt if you are used khổng lồ the low-kết thúc grunt of a thumper motor or big-bore twin. The power comes on so soft that it’s difficult to break traction to steer with the rear. A beefy skid plate would also be advisable for anyone wanting lớn take the Versys-X 300 on more difficult trails, since the exhaust header is routed underneath the engine completely exposed. And if you opt for the ABS model, be aware that the ABS system is always on with no way lớn disable it other than pulling a fuse.

Despite its limitations, it’s a bike that can be a lot of fun for those touring-oriented riders that occasionally wander off the beaten path. These riders will value the Versys-X 300 more for its approachable seat height, nimble handling, affordable price and excellent highway cruising capability, while appreciating its ability to lớn carry them to lớn some interesting destinations beyond the pavement.

6. New ADV Riders Will Appreciate It Most

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The same traits that make the Versys-X 300 a great thành phố bike also make it a great option for new motorcyclists & first-time Adventure Riders. Its soft-pull clutch, precise fueling, light handling chassis & manageable seat height all add up to a bike that feels less intimidating và easier to lớn control.

Even though Kawasaki is kinh doanh the Versys-X 300 primarily as a street xe đạp, it has some characteristics that will be appreciated by those learning khổng lồ ride off-road. There isn’t a lot of suspension travel, but that gives it firm, consistent handling on easier dirt roads. The soft-hitting power also makes it almost impossible to lớn spin the rear tire inadvertently, even with the street-biased IRC Trail Winner GP-210 dual sport tires. And while the 19″/17″ wheel full bộ may not be as stable as dirt-oriented 21″/18″ wheels on technical trails, on smoother terrain the smaller wheel phối offers more nimble handling, plus they get your feet closer to the ground.

Riding on washboard roads, the supple suspension soaks up the bumps very effectively. And for slow-speed maneuvers standing on the pegs, the Versys is incredibly balanced. When a mishap does occur on the trail, the xe đạp is light enough that most riders can piông xã it up without assistance. There are limits to its off-road capability as speeds & technical difficulty increase, but there is room for new off-road riders to improve sầu their skills before potentially outgrowing the Versys-X 300.

7. It’s Well Appointed for the Price

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When you consider the fact that you are getting a twin-cylinder engine with a 6-speed transmission that offers middleweight power and smooth highway performance, plus it comes with a 4.5 gallon tank, wire-spoked wheels, tall windscreen & luggage rack, the $5,399 starting price tag is a great value. There are other premium details that st& out as well, lượt thích the sophisticated LCD instrument console that displays fuel range, current & average fuel consumption, và currently selected gear. Powerful brakes straight off the Nin-Ja 300 are also included, capable of lifting the rear wheel off the ground with a firm squeeze. Want khổng lồ go 2-up on your adventures? It has nice grab rails & a comfortable raised pillion perch. A slipper clutch and balanced suspension round out the offering, making it hard to beat at this price point.

For $300 more you can get the optional Bosch 10M ABS controller, a compact, lightweight unit that adds just 5 pounds. And for those looking lớn farkle out their Versys-X 300s, there is a long danh mục of optional accessories available, including a center stand, hard panniers (keyed lớn the ignition), a top case, 12-volt charger, LED auxiliary lights, crash bars và more. All genuine Kawasaki parts are covered under the bike’s warranty and typically you can roll their cost into lớn your monthly payment.

8. A Few Nits khổng lồ Pick

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Street-oriented Versys models traditionally have their exhaust headers routed underneath the engine, a kiến thiết that helps with performance & heat management. But for the new “X” Mã Sản Phẩm with improved off-road capability, we would have liked to lớn see the header moved to lớn a less-precarious location. A good skid plate can help protect the exhaust from being crunched, but it sacrifices valuable inches of ground clearance.

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Normally, we wouldn’t make a fuss about not having a center stand installed on a bike of this form size, but with the under-engine exhaust routing and no skid plate, there’s no way khổng lồ huchồng the xe đạp over a rock on the trail to change a tube. Anyone looking khổng lồ get off the beaten path will probably want lớn add the accessory center st&. Also, we would expect khổng lồ see a set of heated grips in the accessory catalog on a bike with long-range touring intentions. And while the Ergo-Fit Seat tăng cấp is a step in the right direction, we would have liked a bigger improvement in comfort for the price. Can we get an ABS off switch too please?

Even though the Versys-X 300 has a few shortcomings, its price leaves room in the budget to address some of them on the aftermarket. For what it is intended for, it’s an impressive first try by Kawasaki. And after this first adventure, we are eager to get more time on the xe đạp khổng lồ further explore its range of capabilities. For now the Versys-X 300 can enjoy ruling a class of one — at least until the twin-cylinder Suzuki V-Strom 250 arrives.

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2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 Specifications

Engine Type:Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke Parallel-Twin
Compression Ratio:10.6:1 Valve sầu system DOHC, 8 valves
Bore x Stroke:62 x 49 milimet Displacement 296cc
Fuel System:Fuel injection: Ø 32 mm x 2 with dual throttle valves
Horsepower (est):39.3 hp