The 2022 Kawasaki KLX230S is still a durable, simple dual-sport, but now you don’t have to be a giant to get your boots on the ground.
Designed to appeal to novice riders on a budget or experienced riders looking for a lightweight, dual-sport machine, Kawasaki first released the KLX230 in 2020, and in most aspects, it lived up to its design goals. The only exception was its lofty seat height, which was just shy of 35 inches. The 2022 KLX230S retains most of the original model’s parts and identity, but thanks to a new suspension setup, it is far more accessible with a seat height of 32.7 inches.
Watch our video review of the 2021 Kawasaki KLX300
The 230’s softly sprung front fork has been shortened by a total of 2.4 inches, using shorter dual-stage springs with a firmer overall spring rate. The shorter fork on the 230S still provides a respectable 6.2 inches of travel and should reduce front-end dive during firm braking. A revised rear shock, also shorter with a stiffer spring rate provides 6.6 (down from 8.8) inches of travel that Kawasaki says improves handling and bump absorption.
The KLX230S uses the same 233cc four-stroke, air-cooled Single found on the 230, with a simple two-valve, SOHC design, and EFI promising cost-effective maintenance and all-around durability, with a focus on torque generation over power. A close-ratio, 6-speed transmission should handle most trails but still enable the 230S to cruise at a reasonable pace on open roads.
Kawasaki designed the high-tensile steel perimeter frame around the engine, which allowed it to be mounted lower in the chassis to deliver a low center-of-gravity, coupled with a short 53.5-inch wheelbase. The KLX230S should be an easy, nimble bike to ride.
Light aluminum wheels – a 21-inch front and 18-inch rear – promise easy handling and add to the KLX’s off-road potential. Single petal disc brakes measure 240mm at the front, gripped by a 2-piston caliper, and 220mm with a 1-piston caliper at the rear. Optional, factory-fitted ABS is tuned for dual-sport riding.
The 2022 Kawasaki KLX230S is fitted with a 1.9-gallon fuel tank and should keep this sipper on the move for as long as you might reasonably expect, although the simple instrument dash also includes a low-fuel warning lamp. The new KLX230S is available in Lime Green with an MSRP of $4,799, while the ABS is available in the Lime and in an Urban Olive Green/Ebony color option, with an MSRP of $5,099.
For more information, visit kawasaki.com
Why didn’t Kawasaki make ABS available as an option on the standard KLX230, the KLX230SE, and the KLX300? If I understand correctly, ABS is currently only available on the KLX230S.
The ’23 models have several great improvments. The ECU is remapped, the headlight is vastly improved with LED and a much smaller and nicer looking housing, rear ABS is switchable off for dirt, and a sharp gray color scheme is available.