ADV Pulse

Get ADV Pulse delivered by email
Sign up for ADV Pulse Weekly


Get ADV Pulse delivered by email
Sign up for ADV Pulse Weekly

Connect With Us

Follow On Facebook:

ADV BikesVersys-X 300: Kawasaki’s New Small and Versatile Overlander

Versys-X 300: Kawasaki’s New Small and Versatile Overlander

Kawasaki targets small ADV segment with unveiling of the new Versys-X 300.

Published on 11.10.2016

There have been a string of new releases in the 250-300cc Adventure Bike range recently with offerings from Honda, BMW and Suzuki. Now Kawasaki is throwing its hat into the ring with the new Versys-X 300 and it might just have the right combination of power, smoothness and off-road capability to be the best all-arounder of the bunch.

The Versys-X 300 comes with all the equipment you’d expect from a versatile adventure touring bike like a tall windscreen, large-capacity fuel tank, rear rack, wire-spoke wheels and a long-travel suspension. And it’s powered by a fuel-efficient, 296cc engine in a parallel twin configuration that offers a smoother highway ride than your typical single-cylinder small-displacement motor. It also has a 6-speed transmission that will help give the little engine a higher cruising speed. A stepped seat and tall windscreen will improve comfort over long distances on the highway as well.

Kawasaki Versys-x 300


The powerplant of the Versys-X 300 is derived from the Ninja 300 and produces 39 hp and 19 ft.-lbs. of torque — respectable peak numbers that are comparable to bikes in the 400-650cc range. A wet weight of 386 lbs means the Versys-X 300 is no lightweight enduro but keep in mind, this is a fully-equipped adventure touring bike with windscreen, big tank, rear rack, etc. And with fuel economy around 70 mpg, the big 4.5-gallon (17-liter) fuel tank should give an impressive range of 300 miles between fill ups.

Kawasaki Versys-x 300

Those that are interested in getting off the pavement will appreciate the wire-spoked wheels and the rugged backbone frame designed to handle the rigors of off-road use. The 19-inch/17-inch wheel combo, stout 41mm forks and a long-travel suspension offer better bump absorption on rough terrain as well.

Kawasaki Versys-x 300

From what we can see so far, the bike looks like it has many of the right pieces to be an excellent little overlander. With its clutch assist and slipper clutch along with lower weight, mild power output and a reasonable seat height, the Versys-X 300 should be a friendly bike for new adventure riders or anyone just looking for a more-manageable Adventure Bike. And with an MSRP of $5,399 for the standard model and $5,699 for ABS, this could be a popular option for fans of smaller adventure bikes. Kawasaki has confirmed they will bring the Versys-X 300 to the US and it will be hitting showroom floors in Spring of 2017.

The new ‘X’ model offering on the Versys line also has our interests peaked. Could this mean we’ll see 650cc and 1000cc Versys-X models with an off-road focus released in the future too? Only time will tell. Stay tuned for more details!

Kawasaki Versys-x 300

Kawasaki Versys-X 300 Specs

Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke Parallel Twin
Compression Ratio: 10.6:1 Valve system DOHC, 8 valves
Bore x Stroke: 62 x 49 mm Displacement 296cc
Fuel System: Fuel injection: Ø 32 mm x 2 with dual throttle valves
Horsepower (est): 39.3 hp @ 11,500 rpm
Maximum Torque (est): 19 ft.-lbs. of torque @ 10,000 rpm
Transmission: 6 speed
Clutch: Wet multi-disc, manual
Lubrication: Forced lubrication, wet sump
Starting System: Electric
Final Drive: Sealed chain
Front Brakes: Single 290 mm disc. Caliper: Single balanced actuation dual piston
Rear Brakes: Single 220 mm disc. Caliper: Dual piston
Front Suspension: 41 mm telescopic fork, 5.1 in travel
Rear Suspension: Bottom-Link Uni-Trak, 5.8 in travel with adjustable preload
Ground Clearance: 7.1 in
Seat Height: 32.1 in
Frame type: Backbone, high-tensile steel
Front Tire: 100/90-19M/C 57S
Rear Tire: 130/80-17M/C 65S
Fuel capacity: 4.5 gallons (17 litres)
Wet Weight: Standard 385.9 lbs (175 kg)
Colors: Candy Lime Green and Metallic Graphite Gray
Price: Standard $5,399 / ABS $5,699

Author: Rob Dabney

Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Mexico, Africa, Europe, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.

Author: Rob Dabney

Related Stories

Related Stories

 26

Leave a Reply

26 thoughts on “Versys-X 300: Kawasaki’s New Small and Versatile Overlander

  1. Pingback: New bike Kawasaki Versys 300 - Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

  2. Are you serious? $6,000 a reasonable price for this when the KLR 650 sells for under 7K? No really… it’s a 300! At 4.5K I might consider it, anything higher than that I’ll spend my dimes elsewhere.

    • The KLR is under $7k for obvious reasons. This is a FI, in-line twin, 6-speed, modern chassis, lighter bike with more hp! you live in a bubble if you want all of that for $4k smh

    • Hey Mark. It’s most likely going to be tube type tires. Differences with the CB500X would include wire spoke wheels and what looks to be a more off-road-focused chassis, but we still need to confirm this once Kawasaki releases the ground clearance and suspension travel figures. It’s also significantly lighter than the CB500X (by about 60 pounds).

  3. One thing the Kawasaki lacks that the other manufacturers offer, tubeless tires. Big mistake if this is to appeal to the beginning adventure / touring rider. I sure wouldn’t want to give up luggage space for tire repair equipment.

    • Hi K. Yes, tubeless rims make flat fixes much easier with the use of plugs and it would be a nice addition to this bike. But even if you do run tubeless, it’s always a good idea to bring the tools required to take your wheels off and put in a tube. You never know if you might put a dent in a rim that won’t allow the tire bead to seal. And sometimes banging out the dent doesn’t work.

    • Sort of resent the “beginner” adventure/touring rider label. Been riding 40+ years and would seriously consider a bike like this. I avoid high-speed highways because they pretty much suck on any bike. And the lighter weight, higher mpg’s and lower insurance premiums of smaller displacement bikes are really appealing.

      If you need your ego stroked by the sticker on the side of the bike, these bikes won’t so it for you but if you’re into the joy of riding, you don’t have to be a beginner to enjoy a 300.

      • Your right Richard. I have been riding for 50 years and began with a small bike, 1967 Yamaha 100 Twin Jet gradually getting bigger and bigger bikes as many others do. Last year I traded my Suzuki Boulevard C-90 for the Versys-x 300 and am very pleased with it. I was hesitant to go from 1500 CC down to a 300 CC but it was a great decision with no regrets. This bike handles like a dream on our twisty back roads in North Central PA and with the 4.5 Gal. tank you never worry about finding a gas station. I also ride alot of dirt roads and find it more than adequate to handle them except when muddy. The stock tires work surprisingly well on blacktop and on the dirt roads but mud is another story. It is also 39HP compared to a CRF250 Rally with 24HP and is one of the reasons I purchased it. The Ninja engine is peppy and for my type of riding, is just what I was looking for. Ride one and you will enjoy it although the seat is like sitting on a rock.

      • Absolutely. I agree. I am now going to buy this beginners 300CC Versys. I am retired now and this will be exactly my number 10 motorcycle purchase. Had all kinds a mix of new and used including 1800CC Suzuki C109, CBR1100XX Honda, KLR600 and other dual-sport, sport and touring bikes. I found out that I enjoy most in a motorcycle the option to extend my freedom to dirt roads and forest trails.

  4. Pingback: 2017 Rebel - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum

  5. Pingback: So. Cal moto show, new 400? State of the Business - Suzuki Burgman Forum

  6. I sat on one yesterday and I think that it’s a really good bike, although I’m not so sure about the stepped seat as I suspect I might want to be able to push back sometimes. Despite the ground clearance I had no trouble putting my feet flat (I’m 178cm) as the seat narrows at the tank. The price I was quoted was AUD6,500, which, if correct, is a really good price. The one I sat on was fitted with engine guards, driving lights, tank pad, centre stand, panniers, rear rack, DC outlet and hand guards, which seems to be the full Urban and Adventure accessory packs. Clearly, they’d be additional to the base price. Although it has a 17 litre tank they admitted that there’s a lot of air under the “tank”, which they admit is bodywork – that’s fine, because it means that bigger aftermarket tanks should be able to be fitted. They were quoting a 400+ km range, so about 4.25 l/100km.

    • Oh, and Honda quoted me A$9,000 – A$11,500 for the CRF 250 Rally. I don’t think that they’ll get many takers at that price …

  7. Pingback: From Rumor to Reality: Elusive KTM 390 Adventure Gets Spied - ADV Pulse

    • Hey Daniel. I would suspect it’s going to make a great commuter bike and should have ample power to keep up with traffic. We’ll find out once we get our hands on one in the coming months.

  8. A small light weight adventure bike , for a change. About f&#$king time someone stopped making elephant size bikes & made a leopard size you can throw around a bit easier.

  9. I’ve been riding for the last 30 years and I find this bike interesting. All these bloated 1200 dirt tourers are just the 2 wheel equivalent of BMW X5’s. Light and capable is what I want.

  10. I think it’s funny, most every review on the competitor RX3 Cyclone states the suspension travel is short at 5.1/5.6 but raves about the long travel of the Versys at 5.1/5.8. The torque is the same, but from real world reviews, the Versys seems to be the better riding, and more high performance bike. I’d wished they released it before I got my RX3 though. I’d probably be on one.


Chris Birch Crosses Panama Thru Unforgiving Jungle On The KTM 890R

Everytime we think we've seen it all from Chris Birch, he somehow seems to ta...

Mosko’s 'Dusty Lizard' Adventure Rally Takes On Joshua Tree

Nearly a year ago, the folks over at Mosko Moto started an all-new adventure ra...

Dunlop K950: Street-Legal Trials Tire For Technical Dual Sport Riding

I remember waking up from my tent early one morning years ago reali...