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.
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).
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.
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.
2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300: $5,399
2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 ABS: $5,699
Availability: Spring 2017