’17 Kawasaki Versys 300X
I’ll come right out and say it: “I’m not a small bike kinda guy, and do my best to avoid riding them”. So when a local dealer offered me this little dude, excuses ran havoc in my mind but my mouth didn’t agree. “What the hell, let’s ride!”, and here you have the result; a fun-filled two days on a bike that impressed me so much that I would actually buy one.
Off the dealership floor, and right into city traffic, and then on the freeway south for a little adventure. I couldn’t feel more comfortable, although at first, the seat felt a little hard and at the same time not irritable in any way. My butt and I still had a comfortable 2-hour ride before I stopped for the first time.
I found this young colt super easy to control in traffic and kept the freeway pace of 120 + VAT without a single cough or shake. The riding position, even for a tall heavy guy like me, was comfortable and very forgiving. The throttle response and handling, I found, not lacking and very predictable.
Anywhere – Anytime!
The Versys-X 300 is designed and built for adventure; your ideal explorer. The compact and responsive, Ninja 296cc twin-cylinder engine makes it one of a kind. A lightweight chassis and long-travel suspension provide for a sporty and nimble riding experience. Whether commuting or tripping or looking for a first-time adventure bike, this young machine is your ticket to endless non-intimidating riding pleasure.
Style and Comfort
A relaxed, upright riding position and low seat height provide extra comfort and confidence while a digital multi-function display meter and a large windshield help make the longer rides more enjoyable. Four luggage hooks are built into the rear carrier so you can secure your luggage. The bold design, long-travel suspension and spoke wheels radiate a spirit of adventure.
The large-volume bodywork and an adventure-style design give the Versys-X 300 ABS an imposing appearance of a larger displacement machine. Add to the unique styling with Kawasaki Genuine Accessories and enhance your ride even more. Not only does the Versys 300X look great, it is a Road Warrior in every way; capable of conquering rural backroads, worn down urban streets, and the smooth freeways of our beautiful country.
The single seat easily accommodates both rider and passenger, lightweight and easy to manoeuvre in any traffic or road condition you choose to explore.
The 17-litre tank will ensure hours of fun-filled exploring. I rode this bike hard, and still, it gave me a very acceptable range.
The seat-to-footpeg distance is big enough to allow for normal leg position, not cramped up at all and just right. Standing on the other hand, for a tall guy may pose a little over the tank, so I suggest you fit handlebar risers to accommodate your meerkat riding style.
Performance and Versatile
The compact 296cc parallel-twin engine is tuned to deliver strong, efficient power. The assist and slipper clutch provides one of the lightest clutch pulls around on any bike, and helps reduce wheel hop during unintended downshifts. The lightweight chassis, 19” front and 17” rear spoke wheels and long-travel suspension enables confident handling on our diverse road conditions. Powerful braking performance comes from petal disc brakes and the advanced ABS braking system.
So, is it off-road capable?
Yes, but I would make some changes to help get more from this ride. First, I’d swap out the tyres. A more dirt-oriented 60/40 or 50/50 tyre would help tremendously in off-road conditions. Front fender clearance is also a bit tight, but only time will tell. I’d also likely add wider footpegs since the street-style pegs are too narrow and focus too much pressure on your feet when standing.
The growing adventure/dual-sport community is full of passionate riders who want their dream bike right now. Big bike riders won’t be happy with a high revving small engine, while the off-road riders won’t like the street-sized wheels and limited ground clearance. No bike, like any machine, is perfect. What’s important to remember is the Versys-X 300 is not intended to be, or compete with, any bikes in those categories.
Bikes like these largely serve as an introductory platform to launch riders into whatever they may find enjoyable later.
Kawasaki has produced an “entry level” bike that’s nearly perfect for the newer rider who wants to get a user-friendly and exciting ride which will take them from road to dirt roads without too much adjustment or expense.
The new Kawasaki Versys 300-X is most certainly unique, and handsdown a winner in my book of bikes tested over the years. You should get one!