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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Kawasaki Versys-X 300: Available Spring 2017 Beginning at $5,399

Almost everyone anticipates the new 2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 will be a popular model. According to Kawasaki it is slated to offer “the best comfort and convenience of any sub-300cc model.” Featuring a 296cc parallel-twin borrowed from the Ninja 300 and tuned for increased low-end and mid-range power, the Versys-X 300 promises lightweight, economical fun and practicality. The only thing missing from previous Kawasaki announcements was the price and availability date here in the U.S. market.

Kawasaki has just announced the Versys-X 300 will be available “Spring 2017” beginning at $5,399 for the non-ABS model and $5,699 with ABS.  The two available colors are shown and include Candy Lime Green/Metallic Graphite Gray or Metallic Graphite Gray/Flat Ebony Metallic Graphite Gray/Flat Ebony. We are re-publishing Kawasaki’s press release, together with new photos just released.  Here is the press release:

The setting sun and crashing waves paint a picture of bliss as you sit roadside enjoying the view. Your motorcycle is the key to adventure and adventure knows no bounds. It has no limitations or deadline, no cubical or conference calls. Where you’re going now, well that’s yet to be determined. Just man and machine, enjoying the limitless world.

The Kawasaki Versys® motorcycle family is designed for adventure-style touring. Introducing the new, nimble, easy to maneuver and low- investment, the 2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 ABS.

Versatile, capable and comfortable, the Versys-X 300 motorcycle is the new entry-level model in the award-winning lineup and Kawasaki is excited to encourage a new generation of motorcyclists set on making their own adventures.

The 2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300:

  • A unique combination of long-travel suspension capability and Ninja® sportbike power
  • Upright riding comfort, versatile suspension, agile handling and plenty of power to tackle the freeways
  • Lightweight
  • Low seat height

At 296cc, the Versys-X 300 is the smallest-displacement model in the adventure-touring category. It offers the best comfort and convenience of any sub-300cc model, as you’d expect from a bike designed to be the ideal travel partner.

Not only is it light and nimble, but with the narrow chassis and low seat height, it’s an ideal motorcycle for new riders—The Versys-X 300 offers easy access to motorcycle adventuring. With a relaxed upright seating position, front fairing and windscreen, sporty and nimble handling, it’s also an ideal motorcycle for a variety of riding conditions. From the rough paved roads, to the morning commute, the Versys-X 300 is an easy-to-ride motorcycle that makes adventure-style motorcycling more accessible than ever before.

A unique package, the adventure-style Versys-X 300 motorcycle offers convenience and comfort as the first touring capable machine in its displacement category. The Versys-X 300 is categorized as a “Multi Purpose Adventure Touring on Road” bike and is the entry model to the Versys family.


The Versys-X 300, while the youngest in the family of Versys motorcycles, sets itself apart from the rest in many ways. It’s not only a lightweight, capable machine, but it also features a rough-road adventure style and rugged look.

The front cowling is long and tall with a chin spoiler in the bottom section. This design is meant to be equal parts functional and stylish, aiding in the adventure look, while maintaining ample wind protection. Air ducts positioned under headlights also reduce hot air buildup inside the cowl, a simple engineering design that increases comfort and helps reduce riding temperature. Large side openings in the side panels offer an efficient place for hot air to be released from the radiator.

The 4.5-gallon fuel tank contributes to the adventure-style image and function while maintaining a slim design. The Versys-X 300 features a 19-inch front aluminum rim and a 17-inch rear aluminum rim, both with steel spokes.

The large two-up seat features excellent comfort and load-bearing qualities with a seat cover carefully stitched from multiple pieces, creating a premium feel on par with more expensive models.

It wouldn’t be a Versys without a rear carrier with easy to use grips and strap hooks for adding luggage. A wide variety of Kawasaki Genuine Accessories will be offered to take the Versys-X 300 even further, and to help riders create a personalized motorcycle that meets their needs.


  • The 296cc parallel-twin engine offers strong low-to mid-range acceleration and high rpm power

The Versys-X 300 motorcycle utilizes the proven performance of its liquid-cooled 296cc parallel-twin engine, which is tuned to deliver strong low- and mid-range torque for crisp throttle response, as well as excellent power on the open road. Much of its prowess can be attributed to its advanced digital fuel injection, which helps manage cold starting while providing excellent throttle response. The Versys-X 300 features a unique slim exhaust design that keeps the header pipes close to the engine, for added protection against the elements. The exhaust piping is also unique to the Versys-X 300 motorcycle, helping to produce low and mid-range torque characteristics best suited for an adventure-style touring model. It also means easy-to-manage power delivery and added ground clearance. Further aiding in the adventure styling and capability is a right-side mounted muffler that helps keep heat away from the passenger.

The radiator features a unique fan cover that helps direct hot air out and under the motorcycle, reducing heat to the rider and passenger. An optimal air cleaner box shape and intake duct layout are designed based on Kawasaki engineers’ airflow analysis. This produces great low- to mid-range power and reduces noise


  • Assist & Slipper clutch
  • Closed gear ratios

The six-speed sequential transmission features a positive neutral finder, making it a cinch to select neutral when stopped. A premium FCC clutch with assist and slipper functions reduces lever effort.

The Versys-X 300 motorcycle features revised friction area for the assist and slipper clutch spring rate and lever ratio. This expands clutch control range, and facilitates moving off from a start, resulting in a clutch with a light pull and easy feel.

The Versys-X 300 features gear ratios ideal for adventure-style riding with a shorter final reduction ratio. This produces optimized balance between fuel consumption and power feeling and improved low-mid range feel and response.


The high-tensile, highly rigid backbone pipe frame, with great capability to handle rough paved roads, was built to handle high stress, but the construction plays an important role in simultaneously producing a lightweight motorcycle. The frame features a simplified construction with thin brackets and lightening holes. Another major engineering target was a capable front-end feeling, which contributes to rider confidence

The engine is used as a stress member of the frame further increasing the strength while keeping it low weight.

Out back is a long-stroke, bottom-linkage Uni-Trak® suspension with gas-charged mono-shock and adjustable preload. This helps ensure handling stability and allows riders to touch down with ease, increasing comfort.

The rear shock mount and rear section of the frame were built with increased amounts of bracketing and surface area, in order to increase the rigidity. This allows for more durability and increased suspension action.

Up front you’ll find long-travel 41mm Showa forks. The forks aid in great front-end feel and provide comfort on various roads. A major bonus for the Versys-X 300 is its wide steering angle which assists in low speed maneuverability and overall usability. When designing the Versys-X 300, the front suspension was an important part in terms of form and function, with great care taken into making the front suspension fit the adventure look from handlebar to axle.

The 2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 motorcycle is available with and without ABS.

Colors: Candy Lime Green/Metallic Graphite Gray or Metallic Graphite Gray/Flat Ebony Metallic Graphite Gray/Flat Ebony


2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300: $5,399

2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 ABS: $5,699

Availability: Spring 2017

See more of MD’s great photography:



  1. AL says:

    I like this bike. Considering getting one instead of a scooter. All of the scooters that I want aren’t being imported to the US. Honda X-ADV, Yamaha YMAX, Honda SH300i. This bike might fit the ticket. I ride all year around here in Denver. I currently own a Yamaha Majesty and a Piaggio MP3 250ie. I’m looking for a large wheel scooter or a car. Not sure yet. All Maxi Scooters are increasing in price compared to this bike. I also like the DCT Honda motorcycles. I love the 8000 mile service intervals of the Hondas. Not sure why MC engines haven’t increased in service intervals as they seem stuck at 3000-4000 miles.

  2. George Krpan says:

    I tour on a bicycle with panniers. There’s plenty of adventure to be had without going fast and without ever getting on the freeway.

    • mickey says:

      Yea? So how many vacation days would you need to ride from say Ohio to California and back peddaling on back roads? (5500 miles)

      • George Krpan says:

        It’s not about the miles, it’s about the time that you have. I’m already in California, I live there. : ))

        • mickey says:

          Ok you take off at the first of the year and let me know when you get to Ohio and I’ll put you up for the night. I will look for you sometime next May lol. Then you can turn around and head back to Cali, should be home by September I would think.

          HIkers would say the same thing and not get 1/10 as far as a person on a bicycle, so I guess it’s all relative.

          I hear what you are saying, but to me touring means getting away from home, far away. Seeing different terrain and weather and geological features, and sometimes it has to be done on a week or twos vacation for a lot of us. A bicycle has certain limitations.

          • Dave says:

            You can do all of that on a bicycle. If you live in Ohio it may require a flight to put yourself in the area you want to see, but there’s a reward an covering distance under your own power that is all together different than that which you get on a motorcycle. Things go by slower and closer. It’s as different as a car and a motorcycle.

    • George Krpan says:

      Bicycles can stay in state campgrounds without a reservation. Big Sur in the height of summer, no problem. Cars and motorcycles would have to reserve 90 days in advance, no serendipity. California is not very stealth camping friendly.

      • mickey says:

        LOl that would not be enough incentive to make me pedal 300 miles.

        I actually quit riding a pedal bike at 15 (now 66) when I got my first street motorcycle and discovered my right wrist could do all the work my legs had been doing……and I could actually go places far away in a reasonable amount of time with little effort.

        I know some people are passionate about riding bicycles, I am not one of them. too slow, too much work, not enough comfort.To me the same can be said for small motorcycles IMO.

        • George Krpan says:

          Ha, I went the opposite way, dumped motorcycles for bicycles. Motorcycles still interest me tho. I have to say that I enjoy bicycles more than motorcycles. Back in the 1990s Miguel Duhamel was in my cycling club. We used to do a pack ride on Wednesday nights. Miguel said that riding in a pack at 25-30mph was as exciting as racing his motorcycle. This isn’t hearsay, he said it me, I heard it with my own ears. The Bostrum bothers live in my vicinity. They are now totally into bicycle racing! I have met both Ben and Eric on thier bicyles while I was out for a ride.

          • slipjoint says:

            Same here, I still ride motorcycles, but my seat time is 10 to 1 bicycles to motorcycles. No racing for me, my bicycle works well for excercise and enjoyment but the motor on it is a dog.

          • George Krpan says:

            Ha ha. My motor used to be fast but it’s in need of a serious overhaul.

  3. slipjoint says:

    I’m too big for this but I think it will work well for commuters and city bike use.

  4. John says:

    It’s interesting that they can’t seem to nail down anything about the suspension or seat height. I mean, it sounds like it’s just going to have 5.1″ up front, which is hardly “long travel”, but the seat height is most curious. They keep talking about how low it is, but I suspect they say that about the ridiculous Versys 650 which about snapped my leg off when I tried to get on it due to the wide seat. However, if this is a couple of inches shorter, then, yes, it will make a great commuter for a lot of people who really don’t quite fit on the typical ADV bike.

    As far as power, the only thing that is really important to me is the ability to hold 75mph without sounding and feeling like the bike is going to come apart. My Hawk is low geared and feels like it is struggling, even though it isn’t. I don’t know what is so hard about a wide-spaced gear box.

    Either way, this thing is not only going to be a hit, but it is going to redefine Adventure Touring, or at least, create a whole new category of bikes. These 5-figure 500lb plus land whales are getting pretty ridiculous. Who wants to spend $15K on a bike and then trash it on your first trip?

    • Shin says:

      Re seat height – I’m 178cm and I sat on this bike at a motor show about a fortnight ago and I can flat foot it. But, as I noted below, I’m not a fan of the stepped seat.

      Oh, and I think that this bike is going to be a real hit here in Australia.

      • John says:

        I have about a 750-760cm inseam, but I feel perfectly comfortable on a stock 700GS, because I can touch the balls of my feet (ironic, because I find the 800ST too tall and wide in the seat and wouldn’t be able to ride it comfortably without lowering it. I suspect this will be plenty short, maybe even something deserving of a taller saddle.

        It is smaller than I want for commuting, but OTOH, if it does the job and can cruise effortlessly (not that worried about acceleration on a 4-lane highway), it should be light enough to hit the plentiful jeep trails here without feeling heavy and difficult.

  5. OneWhoKnows says:

    A Ninja 300 will easily out-accelerate the vast majority of cars or Harley Davidson motorcycles. Serious Q for the “I wouldn’t go near a freeway with this bike” people… do you even ride?

    Here in California where we ride all year round, lane splitting is legal and probably 10X more people commute to work by motorcycle than anywhere else in the US, the 250/300 Ninjas have been very popular commuter bikes. I rode a 250 for years M-F because it was cheap to run and reliable and I didn’t want to trash my nicer bikes doing the daily grind or leave a theft magnet parked downtown for 9 hours every day.

  6. Kagato says:

    This will make a great commuter bike–wondering if Europe still has folks running amok on scoots delivering packages–seems like it would be good for that as well. : – )

  7. Jonny Blaze says:

    There’s no mention of whether the wind shield is adjustable or fixed.

  8. Grover says:

    “The 296cc parallel-twin engine offers strong low-to mid-range acceleration and high rpm power.” So this must be a magic engine, as it makes power everywhere! Man, where can I get an engine like that’s? It’s unbelievable! Every bike should be powered by this engine! KAWASAKI engineers must be geniuses to build a 300cc engine that does all that, unless their marketing dept. is lying…

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “KAWASAKI engineers must be geniuses to build a 300cc engine that does all that”

      for sure, K-Boffins are good…

      but not THAT good.

      re: “The 296cc parallel-twin engine offers strong low-to mid-range acceleration and high rpm power…”

      …when you check the 2-up riding option box for the “Disco Potato” (see entry for GT2860).

      there, now it reads better.

  9. Mindspin says:

    I’m all for more small displacement bikes and I could see myself buying one of these. But for it’s MSRP of $5399/$5699(ABS) I think I’d buy a 1-2 year old V-Strom 650 ABS which will be a lot better for riding with a pillion and freeway use. And I don’t necessarily mean used. That 1-2 year old Suzuki can be had still new from a dealer at that price! They’re just sitting unsold.

    • My2cents says:

      It’s true the DL650 can be had at a great price as will this 300 once the initial rush is over. But the Kawasaki offers a lighter (80-100 lbs)package. In certain conditions and area’s that would make the 300 a wonderful choice. A Suzuki DL 650 with adventure touring intent weighs in at around 525 lbs when optioned for that purpose.

    • Tim says:

      I bought a brand new 2015 KLR 650 in July for $5,349 plus tax, out the door. Wait a year or two and this bike will probably be available with rebates and dealer discounts for considerably less.

      I like the idea of this bike, and suspect it will be a decent seller.

      • TomR says:

        But that is a year or two of not riding. Don’t put it off folks. RIDE NOW!

        • Tim says:

          Very good point.

        • todd says:

          You’re assuming this is someone’s first bike. In all likelihood, Tim will still be riding his KLR those two years waiting for the price to come down on this one.

          Tom, I rode my motorcycle today as I have pretty much continuously for the last 25 years and I’m still waiting for prices to come down.

        • My2cents says:

          My fault completely I had assumed everyone owned at least three motorcycles and could therefore bridge the gap with one from the fleet.

          • Tim says:

            I own three, My2cents, so that’s why it didn’t occur to me either. I don’t see this little Versys in my own future. The KLR will be in the stable a long time. I have a K1600 GTL to fill my need for long distance, mile eating speed. But I still suspect this will be a good bike for many, especially the commuter crowd. If I had room in the garage, I wouldn’t mind having one to ride to work myself.

    • John says:

      But this weighs 100lbs less. That’s a big deal.

  10. jimmihaffa says:

    It really is a sharp little bike Kawasaki has birthed here. Personally, I would have liked a little more displacement say 400-450cc to make it more highway friendly particularly in urban environments where a lack of power can be quite compromising. Anyway, judging by the comments here, this is one of the most well received bikes profiled on MD.

    • todd says:

      It’s good for a fair bit over a hundred miles per hour and will out-accelerate most vehicles. How fast do you need to go on the highway?

      • jimmihaffa says:

        I don’t know Todd, where I live there are plenty of fast cars with aggressive drivers with whom you have to compete for space on the highways and biways. Having the torque to dictate your place in traffic flow is a real asset imo. I try keep to posted speed limits for the most part, but not a day goes by where I don’t see aggressive drivers gunning for an edge and compromising your safety. This bike certainly will not out accelerate the BMW M series, Jags and whatever other vehicles aggressive yahoos are driving these days, pretty much forcing you to adopt a very defensive riding posture (I also ride a 150cc scooter so I can attest to this phenomenon).

      • Tim says:

        I had a Kawasaki 440 LTD years ago, and while it would run over 90 on a flat road with no wind in your face, it had to work really hard to get there, and it would struggle to maintain even 70 or 75 into a head wind or up a steep grade. Having owned that bike, I can appreciate the importance of a bike being capable of a decent top speed, and wish more testers would report on that when they’re testing these smaller displacement bikes.

        If top speed of this bike is, for example, 100 mph, that suggests to me it will really have to work to keep up with traffic going up steep grades on highways, and that it would likely work really hard on long rides on interstates. It will also likely make passing at interstate speeds more difficult. Top speed is less important on higher displacement slower bikes, such as the KLR, because while it is buzzy at highway speeds, it has plenty of torque and is easily able to maintain those speeds and pass when necessary. I doubt the little Ninja has those sorts of problems, so hopefully this bike won’t either. Though, I’m sure it is much better suited to secondary roads than interstate highways.

      • Norm G. says:

        Q: How fast do you need to go on the highway?

        A: Mach 2 with my hair on fire.

        wait, make that with my SCALP on fire, my hair “checked out of the hotel” 20 years ago and hasn’t been seen since.

        • Tim says:

          Personally, I just want to be comfortably able to keep up with heavy traffic. On some highways in the Western US, that means constant speeds of 80 to 85. When you have a bike incapable of that, you realize it pretty quickly. If someone wants to tour on a bike like this, and do several thousand miles using only a week’s worth of vacation, they may have no choice but do a lot of those miles on an interstate highway, crowded with 18 wheelers. That’s a bad scenario on an underpowered bike. If your primary goal is around town commuting, even a small displacement scooter is fine for that type of riding. My suspicion is this bike would be OK for a fair amount of interstate riding, but I would like to see reviewers focus more on that aspect of riding these smaller displacement bikes.

  11. Vrooom says:

    This looks like a winner. An economical commuter, maybe a short distance adventure tourer, maybe. It’s good looking, and will sell with new riders.

  12. Harry Ostapenko says:

    My current ride is a ’14 Kawasaki Ninja 300. Life and motorcycles are relative. What do I mean? We judge by comparison. The Ninja in my opinion is under powdered and the original tires were worthless, very little feedback. What did I have before? I’ve had a few bikes. My favorite was the ’03 Yamaha YZF600R. Good power, fairing and upright seating. It was too heavy at 485 pounds. Loved the ’01 Suzuki SV650S although for any distance it was uncomfortable. I’ve never owned anything larger than a 650cc. Liter bikes are unnecessary when the speed limit is 80 mph in Idaho.

    • My2cents says:

      I can’t agree on one point, large displacement heavyweight motorcycles have a tendency to serve up the greater level of comfort on a lengthy day. The ability to cover great distance on smaller motorcycle should be applauded, but do the same on a land barge and you’re sense of humor is still intact.

      • Grover says:

        My current ride weighs 800 pounds and does the long distances effortlessly. Always end the ride looking forward to the next ride. Lightweight bikes are lot’s of fun, just a bit out of their element when it comes to stacking up the miles. Sure, you can do it, but your better off with a bigger bike most of the time.

        • mickey says:

          717 pounds on my sport tourer. A lighter weight bike would be a blessing around town, but out on the open road I have done 5500 miles in 11 days, and I just can’t imagine what it would feel like to do that on a 300 class motorcycle.It may look the part, but when put in the situation, I’m sure it would be found lacking. I remember riding my RD 350 from Ohio to North Carolina and don’t think I ever want to travel on that small of a motorcycle again. Back in town though, it was the cats meow.

          • My2cents says:

            I did some two stroke riding as well in dirt and borrowed street rides including RG 250 and a H1, touring any distance on a smoker is a tough go. You’ve earned your merit.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “The Ninja in my opinion is under powdered”

      it is. but stop at the drugstore on your way out, pick up a bottle of Gold Bond to keep in the saddle bag, sprinkle a little in the tank at each fuel stop, and you’ll be all set.

      re: “Liter bikes are unnecessary when the speed limit is 80”

      re: “I can’t agree on one point, large displacement heavyweight motorcycles have a tendency to serve up the greater level of comfort on a lengthy day.”

      horses for courses.

  13. Randy in Ridgecrest says:

    In a few years Craigslist will be full of these with body damage from all of the beginner low speed dumps, just like the EX250’s.

  14. beasty says:

    I’m in the market for a small displacement motorcycle and this is on my short list. Looks like it will be a great bike for the streets of NYC. Ergo’s will be a big factor.

  15. Rick Young says:

    Looks as though Kawasaki has come up with a real winner….people are getting carried away with big powerful ADV bikes…off the beaten path lighter more nimble bikes are way better in almost every respect….150BHP ADV bikes are over kill.

    • Randy in Ridgecrest says:

      Since the curb weight of this bike is likely on the order of the Ninja 300 (380 pounds), with low 30’s horsepower and nearly 400 pounds, I’m not impressed.

      • Tom R says:

        Maybe it’s not you that they wish to “impress”.

        Notice what Rick Young said above.

        • Randy in Ridgecrest says:

          I did notice what Rick said, and responded to it. Rick is comparing it to uber adventure bikes, and this is a short travel nearly 400 pound 33 horsepower bike. I don’t see why this bike would necessary be better “off the beaten path”, it’s essentially a dressed up Ninja.

          Exactly who is Kawasaki trying to impress, in your opinion? I see it as another beginner/commuter bike. So, will beginner riders be impressed? I guess so.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “150BHP ADV bikes are over kill”

      OVERRULED…!!! i’m back from vacation so i’m going to allow it. (Judge Curmudgeon voice)

      after all they are called “Adventure bikes”, yes…? and since the terms “150BHP” and “Adventure” DO go together in a sentence, we must score +1 to the Motorcycle Industry for “truth in advertising”. 🙂

      re: “I’m not impressed.”

      see, the tag team of Macho Man Randy and McKayla get it…

  16. Mick says:

    Well my gasteds are duly flabbered. I’m rather surprised at the boat load of positive comments here. Is this the same place where anything north of 300cc needs to have at least 100hp?

    • Grover says:

      I believe the positive comments here are mostly $$$ driven. They see a bike that offers just about everything they want for a cheap price. Most have probably never rode/owned a 250-300cc bike (and never with a passenger on board!) and marvel at all the bike they’re getting for 6k. For not much more they can get a KLR650, a proven machine with the power to get the job done. I suggest that they ride a low cc bike loaded down and with a passenger and see how far their “adventure” lasts.

      • JSH says:

        I doubt many people planning to purchase a 300cc bike plan to ride with a passenger. I know I don’t. This is just about perfect for commuting to work and exploring gravel fire roads.

        • Gham says:


          • Scotty says:

            Tell me more of this “passenger” concept Grasshopper. 🙂 In fact I’d love one of these as a second bike to my 750 Guzzi. Last time I regurlarly rode a smaller bike was in the 90s, a VT250 and it was OK. A bike like this would complement the Breva and allow for a little green laning.

      • downgoesfraser says:

        If I take a passenger, I use the car, doesn’t affect the handling much and we can talk.

      • John says:

        You assume I want to ride with a passenger.

  17. Jonny Blaze says:

    Versys-X 250 was launched in Indonesia on 30th November 2016.

    Versys-X 300 was launched in Thailand in the same week.

  18. My2cents says:

    Funny that some folks compare to the KLR 650 or complain about the inability to cruise all day at 80 mph. This motorcycle will allow riders intimidated by heavier and higher adv selections and perhaps even those who already have larger rides a lighter second choice for one up or weekend duty. I wondered for years why Kawasaki hadn’t taken advantage of this overlooked market The team over at Yamaha must be busy working on the 321 Tenere.

    • Selecter says:

      1) Took the words right out of my mouth, regarding 80MPH cruise. I did that (and then some) 800 miles straight (one day) on a 2001 EX250. If that bike could do it, this one will likely do it with less vibration, more comfort (probably substantially so!), and likely with better fuel economy!

      2) I own a Super Tenere. If Yamaha made something half as appealing as the Versys-X in a Mini-Tenere form factor, I would almost definitely have to buy it. To supplement, of course, not replace.

      • mickey says:


        Selecter says: I have proven a 250 will cruise 80 miles an hour all day for 800 miles straight. So I sold it and bought a 1200?

        That’s not much of a sales pitch for a smaller bike lol

        • Selecter says:

          A fair comment. I will expound.

          My first bike was a Ninja 250, as mentioned. This was many, many years ago – I actually sold it after buying a 1996 GPz1100 and figured I would not use it anymore, which in hindsight was a mistake.
          At the time, though, it was the only bike I had, so I rode the ever-loving tar out of it. Not a single point in that trip (while on the highway, at least) was that engine turning less than 9000rpm. Any modern, small-displacement bike is capable of hammering away near redline for entire days at a time without any *real* ill effects to the machine itself.

          The bike was more than capable. However, being a very, very small bike, it was cramped, and at the end of a good, long trip, I *felt* it. The small bike did not fall apart or wear out or fail to accelerate from that cruise speed. My butt and my back were the weak spots in the equation! I’d have had the same issue on a GSX-R1000. I did on my V11 LeMans and Falco! Awful bikes after about 30 minutes, I’ll tell you what!

          The Versys-X in question is a more upright, presumably MUCH more thoroughly engineered and comfortable machine to do the same on. I’d bet dollars to donuts that I could do that same ride on the V-X in a much, much better state. I plan to have a good, close look at this bike once I’m able to. And a new rider getting into the sport will not only likely have a superb everyday rider, they may very well also get a very capable, lightweight touring motorcycle to keep for a good long time!

          So that’s my case – If I could pull off rides like that on an archaic, cramped, buzzing machine like the Ninja, it will be an absolute triviality to one of these, with a more well-balanced engine and a whole lot more room and wind protection!

          As for the Ten, of the 14 bikes I’ve owned, it’s the finest by far for me and what I do. BUT, I’ve always got room in my stable for small, light, fun bikes. I’d still own my WR250X, as well, if it weren’t for a move and lack of storage… that thing was a blast!

          • mickey says:

            So as I understand your original statement, even though this new one will do everything you want it to do, including cruise all day at 80 mph+ you would not give up your 1200 and replace it with a 300, but would supplement with the 300 as long as you didnt have to give up your 1200.

            Trust me I understand, I have an 1100 and a 1300. Having a 300 would be fun, but I’m not giving up my liter bikes to have one. The relaxed pace of a liter bike at 80 ( under 4000 rpms) certainly promotes a relaxed ride over a long day than the frenzied ride of a small bike screaming along at 9000 rpms all day.

          • Selecter says:

            Correct. 🙂 A light bike can be an absolute blast, but over the years, finding a single bike that hits all of my riding moods is difficult. This bike we’re commenting on here at least appears it will be a light, fun bike with few compromises.

            In essence, I’m looking for reasons to play on bikes even more than I do already. Of course, being in the midwest, I’m worried about dying from exposure for the time being instead, but come Spring, I’ll be back at it again.

            I won’t get rid of my Tenere for one of these, but it’s highly likely that I will trade in my V-Star for one (or something else that tickles my fancy). I’ve found I’m kinda not a cruiser guy… but that’s why I got one in the first place.

          • todd says:

            Mickey, I think I found your primary concern; you are afraid of (and tired by) engine RPM. Do yourself a favor and disconnect your tachometer, wear some ear plugs and understand that running an engine under load at a low RPM is more tiring and wear inducing for the engine than running it at a high RPM.

            Leverage is a good thing and makes work easier.

          • jimjim says:

            Mickey is a habitual engine lugger…lol

    • John says:

      The 250 Tenere is ancient and doesn’t even sell well, near as I can tell. But if they stroke a 321 to 400cc to get the torque, they’d really be able to kick the Kawi to the curb, at least as an offroader. However, the new 390 Adventure looks like it will simply rock off road and looks to be very light from the photos.

  19. Rayzor says:

    I like it…Will seriously consider this bike as my next commuter ride. Though, I can’t wait until Kawasaki up grade their Ninja 300 to include the new gauge cluster and a lighter frame like that of the Ninja 650…May be, dare I ask, even the alloy swing arm of the Ninja 650!!…

  20. EGS says:

    Wait a minute – there’s no beak! How can this bike have any ADV pretensions w/o a beak?!?

    But seriously, the latest Versys model line has been nicely executed and adding this small is a smart move by Kawasaki. Will be interesting to find out how it actually performs in its intended environment.

    I agree with others about the saddlebag design and putting form over function. They look great for carrying socks and gloves but not much else. Hopefully Kawasaki changes the design or the aftermarket comes up with something more usable. That rear rack looks pretty nice and would be a good place to bungee a milk crate.

    • CrazyJoe says:

      The bishops hat (odd shaped near verticle windshield on the likes of the African Twin) is the new beak.

      • EGS says:

        I was with the Bishop a couple weeks ago. His mitre (hat) created quite a bit of buffeting as he walked by. I suggest motorcycle manufactures reconsider modeling their bodywork/windshields after this poor aerodynamic design.

  21. redbirds says:

    This may well be my next motorcycle purchase. My wife wants one badly for a stablemate to her 650 V-strom. I think Kawasaki nailed it with this one.

  22. larlok says:

    Color choices great if you like Kawasaki candy lime green. Otherwise not so much.

  23. peter h says:

    “Just man and machine, enjoying the limitless world.” Too bad women can’t enjoy the limitless world -I guess that’s a limit.

    “..with a seat cover carefully stitched from multiple pieces..” I didn’t know this was a thing.

    The adjectives are flying like confetti stick a sock in it chatty Kathy. It looks like a nice bike, and that little twin has been nice since 1985.

  24. Bart says:

    This could serve as a functional lightweight touring bike for me. I always reshape the seat when I buy a bike so that is no big deal. I can fabricate a new set of hard bags that have a bit more storage and all that would be left is heated grips if the charging system can support it continually.

    I look forward to a test ride.

  25. Doc says:

    Its the best looking Versys so far.

  26. Jonny Blaze says:

    Love it. My next bike.

  27. Rusty Nail says:

    Once again, too bad about the stepped seat. A silly styling gimmick, that seriously hurts practical use of weight transfer in the dirt, ergonomic fit for taller folks, and stretch on long rides.

    • Shin says:

      I’ve sat on this bike at a motor show and the first thing I noticed was that the stepped seat does pin you forward near the tank. It was the one thing I didn’t like about the bike. In terms of clearance, I’m 178cm and it wasn’t too tall for me.

    • GKS says:

      No mention of dirt in the press release, only “rough paved roads”.

    • shane says:

      The stepped seat makes sense for keeping the seat height low enough for a shorter rider and having some room for a passenger to not have squat on the back. Seat height is a major impediment for a lot of riders, especially women and we really want more women riding, and riding something other than a cruiser. It is much easier to raise seat height after market than lower it.

    • downgoesfraser says:

      Read that there is an optional taller seat.

  28. Ellis Tomago says:

    I think it’s great. But, since it’s against the rules to comment on a new bike without complaining about something, I’m going to complain about the saddlebags. Why are they narrower in the middle? Makes them less useful.

    • MGNorge says:

      Yeah but, did you get a look at those Schrader valves? Tacky! 🙂

    • mickey says:

      You’re right and the lids too, strangely shaped for carrying objects

      Although to me, the ones in the top pic look different than the ones in the bottom pic

      • Jonny Blaze says:

        Viewed from top, the shape gives an impression of a ‘X’, as in Versys-X.

        • Bart says:

          You’re supposed to buy the matching X-shaped goggles, gloves, water bottle, mess kit and iPad holder. They all X-together nicely.

    • Tom R says:

      Yes, I’ll never be able to fit my rectangular-shaped toaster oven in the them.

  29. Mr.Mike says:

    Only $1300 difference between this and KLR-650. I would be really curious to see a comparison between the two. Clearly this wins the weight war and has a more modern engine. The KLR was never known for being peppy so effective power might be close. Also they have the same travel fork. Not sure about the shock. Overall it seem these two might be fairly close in ability – or maybe not.

    • GSJim says:

      The klr 650 has twice the torque and more hp. I think of some of the off road places I have taken mine to and I don’t think this “rough paved roads” capable bike would fare all that well with the “functional and stylish” chin spoiler and low exhaust. We are always looking for a replacement for the wives Super Sherpa and although this looked OK at first blush I don’t think it would survive the kind of dualsporting we do. Kawi has targeted the adventure class not dualsport but as a small adventure bike it looks good though. Will be interested to see the rest of the specs when they are released.

      • todd says:

        Twice the torque just means half the RPM for any same-same acceleration at a given speed. It doesn’t actually increase its performance.

        • MGNorge says:


        • GSJim says:

          So when it is redlining I would just be entering the meat of my powerband and pulling hard (klr hard anyway). I really don’t think the 300 will outperform the 650 and the weight is probably not going to be much lower when taking fuel loads into account but we will see when they release more info.

        • todd says:

          11000 on the 300 is the same thing as 5500 on the 650. Neither is redlining. Both are making 34rwhp at that point. If you’ve ever ridden either of these things you realize that is normal quick-riding shifting points.

          • mickey says:

            rpms are like heartbeats. Every organism only gets so many. You can use them up quickly or you can use them up slowly.

            Chinese philosophy says a mouse and an elephant get the same amount of heartbeats in their life. A mouse uses his up quickly and only lives a few years, an elephant uses his up slowly and lives 100 years.

            I think it’s the same for engines.

          • Dave says:

            mickey, that’s a strong argument against exercising. lol

            From the mechanical side, it disregards engineering. Turbine avaition engines spin thousands of times as fast as piston engines (steady state over 30k/rpm) and are used because of their greater reliability and lifespans.

          • mickey says:

            LOl Dave… that’s why I spend all my spare time riding my motorcycle instead of lifting weights and running. Got to save those heartbeats I enjoy riding more than exercising.

            Don’t diesel truck engines last an extraordinary long time because they turn a low rpm?

            Don’t MotoGP teams burn up 7 engines in 16 races because they are always turning extremely high rpms?

            Not an engineer, just an ordinary observer of life, and not even Chinese

          • JSH says:

            Mickey: Diesel truck engines last a long time because they are designed to last a long time. That is part of the design brief and they have huge factors of safety built in so that they will last a long time. They also have very low HP to displacement ratios. A Detroit Diesel DD16 makes 38 hp per liter of displacement.

            A MotoGP engine only lasts for a few hundred miles because they are designed to operate at the ragged edge. Longevity doesn’t matter, they are designed to maximize horsepower and minimize weight and friction. A 1000cc MotoGP engine puts out about 250 hp per liter and that is decreased from the 800cc versions due to fuel restrictions.

          • todd says:

            Not so much the case, Mickey. The piston(s) only travel half as far and weigh substantially less as does nearly every other component in the engine. I would not be surprised by a versys 300 outliving a KLR 650

          • Tom R says:

            The effects of RPM are not the same as piston speed and something called Brake Mean Effective Pressure (BMEP). A high(er) RPM without considering these other factors does not necessarily mean an engine will “wear out” faster.

            Now perhaps someone else will explain this in greater detail…

          • mickey says:

            dont rings wear by sliding up and down a cylinder wall? don’t valve guides wear by sliding in and out of valve guides? Seems to me the more times those things happen, the quicker the wear.

            How many revolutions (or trips up and down…or slides against a cylinder wall ot valve going thru a valve guide) does a piston go up and down on a motorcycle at 11,000 rpms vs a motrcycle doing the same speed at 4,000 rpms? Since both are measured Per Minute? It only makes sense that the one rubbng up and down/in and out nearly 3 times more every minute, would wear out sooner. At least that makes sense to me.

          • Dave says:

            Depends on piston speed (stroke length) , material, oil quality (this is a big one) and a bunch of stuff. RPM is a component of wear life, but not the sole contributor.

            It really comes down to engineering. An engine can be made to spin 12k/rpm all year long. There are certainly many high mileage ninja 250’s on the road.

    • CrazyJoe says:

      For a thousand bucks more the honda cb500x is closer to the KawasakI 300. They are not really off road bikes and the klr has a high seat. As far as adventure bikes the 500 and 300 don’t have any competition.

    • paquo says:

      “Clearly this wins the weight war”
      everyone says how light it is but i see no actual figures. What would be cool is if kwak put the klr on a massive diet and dropped a middle weight twin in it

  30. rapier says:

    Practical transportation, and luggage to me is vital to practical, is worth a try in the market to lure new or newer riders. It seems odd that near $6K out the door is now cheap but it is what it is.

    It’s probably about now that the ‘adventure’ style which looked so damn odd and ugly a few years ago is probably entering the general public’s mind as to how a motorcycle should look and the ugly part has been replaced in peoples minds by practical or utilitarian which are becoming virtues in younger peoples minds for transportation. Which should bode well for this.

  31. WSHart says:

    Now that some of you will finally have what you’ve been asking for, kindly do not ask for more.


    That is how 250s become 300s then 350s then 400s and 450s, then 500, 550, 600/650, 690 (Stupid KTM) ad nausea.

    Just be happy that Kawasaki came through for you.

    • red says:

      “Now that some of you will finally have what you’ve been asking for, kindly do not ask for more.”

      You must be new around here.

    • Stuki says:

      The Kawi 300 has begged for a “tuned for torque” application ever since it was born from stroking the 250. I’ve been riding around Gran Canaria in Spain for the past week, and this bike looks about perfect for travelling/commuting around here: Broken pavement, two lane roads slightly _less_ wide all in than a single F150, turns tight enough to bump into steering lock issues on an NC700…., roads going from paved to dirt for a few miles then paved again…. But then a few key higher speed motorways where a twin beats a single any day… And, of course, year around weather that makes SoCal seem like Seattle 🙂

  32. Dan says:

    That will have to use tubed-tires, yes ? I don’t see a flange on the rims. Wonder if this will reduce tire selection or have other consequences – I suppose the off-road capability (more flexible) was the reason ? Or maybe weight ?

  33. downgoesfraser says:

    Best thing this year, indestructible, light, enough power.

  34. red says:

    This looks like the right bike at the right time. I hope they sell boat loads.

  35. ONE UPPER says:

    Good luck with this one Kawasaki..

  36. mickey says:

    Looks like it would make a great “winter bike” for me if it’s got enough juice for heated grips and a heated jacket liner.

    Only $300 more for ABS. It’s getting cheaper all the time. Remember when ABS was a $1000 option?

    • Tom R says:

      And why is it an option? Oh yeah, for those guys who are “better than ABS”.

      • todd says:

        Or for those riders who aren’t as good as ABS but don’t want it anyway. Four wheels are better than two, automatics are easier for new riders, reflective paint is safer. I am thankful not everything is decided for me in my best interest.

  37. motocephalic says:

    I really love the fact that manufacturers are making these smaller bikes. I am certainly in the market for one of these, and the competition is getting better all the time.

  38. pacer says:

    Competition is coming ( Plus you have BMW and Suzuki who want to play.

  39. Bill says:

    Beyutiful! Interesting claim”first touring capable machine in its displacement category”. This is such a breath of fresh air. 4.5 gallon tank yahoo!

  40. Peter says:

    “Closed gear ratios”? That is the Achilles heal of the DRZ400. Close ratio gear boxes have no place in an adventure style bike. They should take the gear spread from something like an XT225 with a bit higher final drive.

    A cradle frame would have been better for hanging a skid plate, hopefully they have other decent mounting bosses?

    Other than that, its looks like a very nice offering and more comfort ADV/road oriented WR250R competitor!

    Like the KLR, it holds a lot of fuel (for its class)

    • Bob K says:

      A close gear ratio tranny is needed on this bike for one reason. It can rev to 12,000 rpm. Because it makes power at such high revs, what would normally be considered a close ratio is actually pretty wide between gears when the revs are sky high.

      Take a look at a graph of a gear ratio spread. Each gear gets further apart linearly as the revs increase. If the shifts got any further apart on a bike with so little HP, you wouldn’t be able to pull the next gear at high speed when you’re fighting wind resistance.

  41. Gham says:

    I like it just as it is.Just enough motor,suspension,and comfort to get to most places I would take it.Price seems pretty good too.

  42. Martin B says:

    My only experience of this style of Kawasaki is an old 400cc twin that had a dodgy carburetor, and which kept shedding body panels on the ride. It was nice on the motorway, but the clutch gave trouble in dense traffic. This new model should be better, but I agree a 500cc version would be the better choice.

  43. Jeff R says:

    Just put 50 weight race oil in it, because you’d have to run @ WOT much of the time. How about a 400 or 500 ? Shouldn’t be much more expensive, and certainly more practical in terms of highway cruising power, at least.

    • Dave says:

      It’s impractical from a production standpoint because this engine is sold in far greater numbers as a 250cc. Someone from Canada could speak to a 400cc, where that has been a threshold displacement (license/insurance?) for some time. They usually get de-stroked/bored versions of 650’s to fill that slot.

      If a 500 is wanted or needed then the well liked 650 is probably going to cover that need easily enough.

      • Trevor says:

        Ummm… as someone from Canada, I can tell you that there is no such thing as a 400cc “threshold displacement” here… And we don’t get de-stroked/bored versions of 650’s here. We get mostly the same bikes that the US gets.

        You must be thinking of somewhere else.

        • Dave says:

          Huh.. I thought I read that a while back, pertaining to a 400cc version of the Ninja 650. Maybe it was Australia (LAMS system). My mistake..

          Anyway, 400cc versions of the SV, Ninja, and others exist. They’re reduced displacement versions of the bigger bikes.

          • marloweluke says:

            You’re not wrong. Up here in Canada we did have a 400 Ninja for a short while. It was a sleeved down 650. All the weight and none of the power. I don’t think it sold very well and we no longer have it here either. Some provinces, like here in British Columbia there are insurance cut-offs where 101cc-400cc is cheaper to insure. Then 401-750, then 751-1000. Not sure where it goes from there as I have never had a bike over 1000cc. It means most of the cruisers get nailed for the higher insurance premium, which is just fine.

        • jabe says:

          I recently read an article written by a fella from Quebec (wish I could locate that again). He complained about the registration cost of his Ducati 996. I think because it was a sport bike and not the engine size alone?

          • Lonerider says:

            Here in Quebec, sport bike cost a lot more for registration. And bike’s registration is less for under 400 cc. That’s why the Ninja 400 was available here. The engine wasn’t a smaller copy of the 650. Of course, with almost the same weight as the 650, the 400 was offered only 2 years due to poor sales.

      • GSJim says:

        Displacement thresholds vary Province to Province, in BC there is a 110 to 400 cc class, then 401 to 750, etc. Licence 250 (i think) and up is different also. I’m super stoked that it can handle “rough paved roads” wow !!

    • todd says:

      That would be impressive if you could hold WOT for any great length of time. Unless you are implying lugging it around at cruiser RPM.

  44. Mike Johnson says:

    A great deal to appreciate here as value and performance in the sub 80 mph class or whatever this would run out at. Get a a bigger one if you can keep this one wide open every where you go!

    • VForce says:

      This should be able to hit 100 mph and slightly above. I have had my WR 250R at a GPS verified 91 mph with close to stock gearing and loaded down. So this should have no trouble cruising at that or slightly above.

      • MotoMaster39 says:

        The WR250 has a much racier valve train, and higher compression ratio than the Kawi. Not to mention less weight to pull around. The WR should leave this bike, and probably even the R3 in the dust to about 50mph, where the twin cylinder and road gearing should give the 300 twins an advantage. It will also require much more frequent maintenance than the less grunty 300s.. Horses for courses.. Would be interesting to see what the Japanese 650 duallies could be if their ancient designs were updated.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      A 250cc single can exceed 80mph. This 296cc twin will feel much more relaxed at 80, and probably be capable of 100mph.

    • todd says:

      You only need around 18hp to do 80.

    • Tom R says:

      Anyone shopping this bike should not even care if it will do 100 mph. Anyone who does probably also thinks that it should weigh under 200 pounds.

      • Grover says:

        Interesting to read how many riders believe this will be the perfect bike for them. Small, cheap and cool to look at, it presses all the right buttons for some. Reminds me of a story about my first bike, a CB350 Scrambler and a new CB750K that one of my workmates purchased. It looked huge, ominous to me who had been riding a bike that was half the weight and horsepower. So he let me test ride his bike and lo and behold, it was easier to ride than my 350! Smoother too, and with gads more horsepower! I immediately sold my 350 and purchased a new Suzuki 750 (liked it even better than the Honda) and never looked back. Small bikes are fun, but power and substance rules the road. True, this little Kawasaki looks cool, but today’s freeways are brutal to bikes that lack power and 300cc’s doesn’t really cut it.

        • Tom R says:

          “but today’s freeways are brutal to bikes that lack power”.

          Absolutely true. I wouldn’t go near a freeway with this bike.

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