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2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 | First Look Review

Rider Magazine StaffNovember 13, 2016
The new-for-2017 Kawasaki Versys-X is powered by the 296cc parallel twin from the Ninja 300.

The new-for-2017 Kawasaki Versys-X is powered by the 296cc parallel twin from the Ninja 300.

Kawasaki revamped its Versys adventure-street lineup for 2015, extensively updating the Versys 650 and Versys 1000, and finally bringing the latter to the U.S. market. We’ve got a soft spot for these fun, versatile and affordable machines, and we selected the Versys 1000LT as Rider’s 2015 Motorcycle of the Year.

Read our 2015 Kawasaki Versys 650LT road test review

Read our 2015 Kawasaki Versys 1000 LT vs 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS vs 2015 Yamaha FJ-09 comparison review

Given the popularity of adventure bikes these days, it’s no surprise that the segment is expanding with the addition of smaller-displacement models, such as the 250cc, single-cylinder CSC Zongshen RX3 Adventure, which costs less than $4,000, and the recently announced 2017 BMW G 310 GS, which is powered by a 313cc single (price is TBD).

Read our 2016 CSC Zongshen RX3 Adventure review

Read our 2017 BMW G 310 GS first look review

Spoked wheels (19-inch front, 17-inch rear), long-travel suspension and an upright seating position with a wide handlebar make the Versys-X 300 suitable for light offroad duty.

Spoked wheels (19-inch front, 17-inch rear), long-travel suspension and an upright seating position with a wide handlebar make the Versys-X 300 suitable for light offroad duty.

Joining Kawasaki’s lineup for 2017 is the Versys-X 300, powered by the liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 296cc parallel twin from the Ninja 300 and boasting a 19-inch front wheel, available ABS and what Kawasaki says is a low seat height and long-travel suspension (detailed specs aren’t yet available).

With an upright seating position, a tall, wide handlebar, a small, windscreen-equipped fairing, a two-up seat with a luggage rack and a 4.5-gallon tank, the Versys-X 300 should be the ideal fuel-sipping commuter, relaxed-pace tourer or light-duty off-road explorer. Kawasaki says it offers sporty and nimble handling, no doubt thanks to its light weight and compact dimensions.

With a windscreen, a 4.5-gallon tank and a two-up seat with a luggage rack, the Versys-X 300 is ready for commuting or touring.

With a windscreen, a 4.5-gallon tank and a two-up seat with a luggage rack, the Versys-X 300 is ready for commuting or touring.

The Versys-X 300 has a 6-speed transmission with an assist-and-slipper clutch, and its chassis consists of a high-tensile steel pipe backbone frame, a 41mm Showa fork and a bottom-linkage, Uni-Trak rear shock with adjustable preload. It rolls on 19-inch front/17-inch rear spoked wheels that are are slowed by single 2-piston brake calipers front and rear, squeezing 290mm and 220mm petal discs, respectively.

The 2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 will be available in Candy Lime Green/Metallic Graphite Gray or Metallic Graphite Gray/Flat Ebony.

MSRP:

2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300: $5,399

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

Availability: Spring 2017

Read our 2015 Honda CBR300R ABS vs 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 300 ABS SE comparison review

The Kawasaki Versys-X 300's 296cc parallel twin makes decent power and torque and it sips gas.

The Kawasaki Versys-X 300’s 296cc parallel twin makes decent power and torque and it sips gas.

The Kawasaki Versys-X 300 rolls on spoked 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels. ABS is optional.

The Kawasaki Versys-X 300 rolls on spoked 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels. ABS is optional.

With a small windscreen, a wide handlebar and an upright seating position, the Kawasaki Versys-X 300 should be comfortable and provide modest wind protection.

With a small windscreen, a wide handlebar and an upright seating position, the Kawasaki Versys-X 300 should be comfortable and provide modest wind protection.

The Kawasaki Versys-X 300 has an analog tach and an LCD display with gear position, speed, clock, fuel level, trip/odo and more.

The Kawasaki Versys-X 300 has an analog tach and an LCD display with gear position, speed, clock, fuel level, trip/odo and more.

10 comments

  1. Yes! Remeniscent of the “Hodaka Miracle” of the 70’s! This is ‘Motorcycle Epiphany’ ! Congratulations, Ikasawak!

    • Yes, seems manufacturers are catching on its not all motor size. These smaller cc bikes will sell, likely one of the 3 mentioned next year for us! Now if they would only bring up another missed style, the TRAIL bike, yes, a bike you can cruise the trails and jeep roads with, doesn’t need motocross or trials capabilities, just what you need for trail cruising. You would find not everyone can enjoy a 36″ seat height just to ride off road.

  2. Looks like fun. Hoping those spoked wheels will fit on my 650.

  3. Looks like a solid little all-around bike. They need to offer it with optional heated grips and all LED lighting.

  4. OK Suzuki lets sell those GW250 s on a DL platform, 19 inch front wheel cast please. Love plugging tires not changing tubes! Make it a 290cc and racks for luggage. Every body thinks spokes but this rider changes his own tires, CAST!

  5. Kawasaki,make that 300x a 500x and you will sell a million of those😊!! I’m tired of my heavy,underpowered,too tall,and poorly suspended 2013 KLR750…😊!!!

  6. Make it a 500x Kawasaki! A great replacement for my 2013 KLR650…

  7. I was sitting on one already – super comfy!
    With this big size tank plus great mileage, this bike will have quite the range!

  8. This is the bike I’ve been waiting for years for a manufacturer to produce, actually decades. Enough with the terribly uncomfortable sport bikes and the bloated cruisers. This bike is almost perfect.
    Almost perfect because the perfect bike would be a 450cc engine – so it doesn’t have to rev. so high, 50 hp & 30ft./lbs. of torque. As another poster said, no more spoke wheels. Cast wheels and tubeless tires only please; no more ancient technologies. This bike is not going off road. I know they want to fit this in the hipster adv./ touring category but please get real.
    With all that being said, it’s the closest any manufacturer has gotten to my ideal bike. Congrats Kawasaki! You’ll be getting my money!

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