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Kawasaki Versys 300

  • darinm
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Kawasaki Versys 300 was created by darinm

Sometimes I fall in love with the idea of something, if not the practice of that thing. Adventure riding sounds fun. For a short period of time I owned a BMW F650GS. It was affordable on the used market. It was kind of big and kind of heavy. I dropped it in the driveway. A brake lever was $60. That was enough for me,  significant repairs would cost way too much, I sold it.

What I love about riding is exploring, making loops, side roads, just seeing where things go. I'm not one for track riding or repeating the same trails all the time, yet do enjoy some single track. I've had quite a few bikes pass through my hands over the last few years, and have held onto a few. The ones that passed to new owners; Suzuki DR350, too top heavy, not great at highway speeds. BMW F650GS, too heavy, too expensive to maintain. Yamaha WR250R, too tall, no torque. Too much resale value with Covid ;) '80 Yamaha XS850, not a dual sport at all, heavy, lots of wind noise as a naked bike but great torque and power. Yamaha XT225; light, agile, somehow felt to small even for someone at 5'6". Somehow didn't have a lot of power or torque, and was terrible on any kind of road over 45mph.

In the garage currently reside; 2013 Yamaha XT250. No fuss, go ride anything and go anywhere, but for me not fun over 45mph on any road because of the wind buffeting, that's life with a naked bike. 1972 Yamaha CT1 175. Mostly nostalgia as my first bike getting into riding for pleasure. 1972 Suzuki TS185. Pure nostalgia, worked on one growing up. 1986 Yamaha IT200. It was for sale near me and kind of a unicorn, light weight, green sticker, good suspension, air cooled two stroke, well regarded, one year disc brake, but a bit too tall and it likes to go too fast for how I ride. If I had an OHV area near me, probably a keeper, but for now I plan on selling.

I don't distinctly recall how this bike came on my radar a few weeks ago. As I'd started with vintage bikes, Kawasaki has stayed off my list because they don't support legacy parts as well as Yamaha/Suzuki/Honda. Yet the idea of an adventure bike had caught on with me. But they're all big, heavy and expensive. At the same time I don't like wind buffeting, but want to be able to go further and see more. So somehow I wandered across the Kawasaki Versys-X 300, introduced with no advertising. Oh and it came out in 2017 at $5,699, at that time the XT250 was $5,199. So what is it?

Kawasaki took their Ninja 300 sport bike engine, which in some regards was their equivalent to Yamaha's XT250, one that has been around in various forms since the '80s and slowly developed over the years. When released with as a retuned engine in a different frame, their slogan was "Any Road, Any Time". That is an accurate description. 

The more I looked, the better it fit my "needs"; full fairing, a range of over 200 miles, relatively light weight of 385lbs wet, not the longest travel suspension but rated well for both paved and dirt roads. Life is short, I bought a used 2020 model with just over 2,000 miles on it.

From a one hundred mile ride, I can say, it feels tailor made for my 5'6" frame. Most offroad bikes feel to big. The XT225 felt too small. This is ideal for my size.  The travel is 5.1" in the front and 5.8" in the rear. It could use another inch in the front. It's not too hard to get a leg over. The weight is carried low, it feels as light as the WR250R. That's pretty amazing. The suspension, out of the box, feels better, but has far less adjustments than the WR250R. The suspension is tuned incredibly well for paved and unpaved riding. It bottomed it out a few times today though. From the box the WR250R was much worse, but after spending a significant amount of time adjusting the clickers, it was superior as one hopes it would be.

My initial response after a day of riding 40% paved roads and 60% dirt roads is; wow, it's really good at this. It can hang on the freeway with ease at 65-70mph. This was expected based off the engine and fairing. What I did not expect was how pleasant it is on the dirt roads. Sure it's not a torque monster, yet I could come around a hairpin turn in 3rd gear at 3,000rpm and pull all the way to 12,000rpm if I wanted to. The ideal torque band is 5,000-12,000 but the engine handles outside that range with ease. Color me impressed. It's a lot of bike for the money - no race bike, but kind of the XT250 of adventure bikes; the sum is greater than the spec sheet. This one may stick around.
 
 
1972 Yamaha CT2 175
1972 Suzuki TS185 Sierra
1986 Yamaha IT200
2013 Yamaha XT250
The following user(s) Liked this Post: MarkT, Badger52, KennyV, Ht1kid, Sneezles61
16 Jun 2022 22:19 #1

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Replied by RT325 on topic Kawasaki Versys 300

Great report on whats good & whats not. so it a 300 twin cylinder. My boy bought the Ninga 300 road model in about 2017-18. Sweet motor & sweet bike. Did nearly 50,00K's on it with no problems & just regular servicing--before a car nailed him on a roundabout. Wasn't good so no more bikes [has family now]. But yes, nice motor. I just googled one new here in nz & $9495. Our dollar value is low compared to the US.
kawasaki.co.nz/road/adventure-touring/2021-versys-x-300/
16 Jun 2022 23:14 #2

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Replied by MarkT on topic Kawasaki Versys 300

After reading your review,I want one now. 

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1963 YG1-T, 1965 MG1-T, Allstate 250, 1970 CT1b, 1971 R5, 1973 AT3MX, 1974 TS400L, 1975 RD350, 1976 DT175C, 1976 Husqvarna 250CR, 1981 DT175G, 1988 DT50, 1990 "Super" DT50, 1991 RT180, 2017 XT250
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17 Jun 2022 05:07 #3

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  • darinm
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Replied by darinm on topic Kawasaki Versys 300

RT325, That's a huge price difference compared to here, at least MSRP. Ours has climbed to $6,099 since introduction and with high demand for all motorcycles, dealers seem to be stacking on excess charges. Price does not include "tax, license, electronic filing fees, tire fees, dealer documentation fee, setup fee, any applicable freight charges".

MarkT, at least it's affordable on a relative scale to the Yamaha Tenere 700 ;)
1972 Yamaha CT2 175
1972 Suzuki TS185 Sierra
1986 Yamaha IT200
2013 Yamaha XT250
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17 Jun 2022 06:54 #4

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Replied by KennyV on topic Kawasaki Versys 300

I recently attended the annual  ADV Eastern Rendezvous at Tellico Plains TN. There was a guy there that rode one from Michigan, loaded with gear and camping equipment. So obviously a road worthy bike.
71 Z50 Minitrail
20 CB500X Halfrica Twin
21 CRF300l Rally
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17 Jun 2022 12:25 #5

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Replied by Hammer on topic Kawasaki Versys 300

Darinm,
I have a 2010 Kawasaki KLX-250S that, as it sits now, is a KLX-330S with a pumper carb, PowerBomb header and DG exhaust with the cam mods everyone knows about, that I like a lot (my broken back appreciates the ride).  It handles my 250 pounds of fat well, doing 75 easily.  The way the engine is, it's set up for torque and pulls quite well down low.  It is a bit of a gas guzzler, as I have to get gas after about 65 miles of riding--it only has a 2 gallon tank, and the aftermarket larger tanks only hold 2.6 gallons.  
Hammer
   
Who, More than Self, His Country Loved.
The following user(s) Liked this Post: MarkT, RT325, darinm
Last edit: 17 Jun 2022 15:38 by Hammer.
17 Jun 2022 15:35 #6

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