We have some more dual sport news! I speculated a while back that the KLX300S was going to follow the KLX300R, and here it is. It was announced this morning by Kawasaki. And boy is it underwhelming.
The ‘’all new’’ KLX 300 dual sport is essentially EXACTLY the same as the current KLX250S, except with a bored out motor and some extremely minor updates. Talk about disappointing. Look, I’m happy they’ve bumped up the capacity, it really needed it and I think 300cc bikes are tops, but man, this just screams lazy from Kawasaki.
To give you an example of how little effort has been put into this bike, let’s compare it side by side with the 2020 KLX250 and the ‘’new’’ KLX300. There’s no difference! There is nothing at all new about this bike.
So why am I so disappointed. I was hoping for an update more akin to the recently announced CRF300L. One positive is, my 2009 model looks exactly the same!
Ok enough moaning; let’s look at the press release details.
The motor is the 292cc, EFI unit taken straight from the KLX300R. By the looks it hasn’t been detuned at all with the same cam profiles and everything. Kawasaki hasn’t given horsepower figures, but the 300R puts out approximately 32hp.
There are a couple of things besides the motor that are different. The most noticeable is the exhaust. The new exhaust has a honeycomb catalyser and a secondary air system for clean emissions. Presumably this will be because of the new, stricter Euro 5 laws. Surprisingly, the curb weight of the bike appears to down 2 lbs. (now 302lbs), even with the new exhaust.
Kawasaki has stated they have updated the radiators. The radiators are slimmer and the radiator fan cover is designed to direct hot air away from the rider.
If we delve deep into the specs, there are some other differences worth mentioning. The rake has been increased 0.2 degrees and the trail has been increased by 0.1 degree inches. As a result, wheel base has been extended by 0.4 of an inch. Unfortunately, ground clearance is down to 9.8 inches from 11.2. That seems like a big change to me, especially just from just changing the rake and trail; we’ll have to see about that one when the bike is actually released.
The price is up $200 to $5599. If you want the camo, that’s an extra $200. I have to say, I do like the camo colours, the black wheels and frame look mint.
Don’t get me wrong, this will no doubt be a solid bike. The current KLX250S is and this has a much needed engine bump. Chuck on an exhaust system, dyno tune, bash plate, tail tidy and hand guards and this should be a pretty decent bike.
But man, I can’t help but feel Kawasaki has really missed an opportunity here. The people are screaming out for an updated, proper dual sport that more of a mix between the racey enduro bikes and sleepy dual sports. Especially with the Yamaha WR250R going the way of the Dodo and Honda announcing some pretty good updates for their 300L.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Kawasaki should have done more or is it just me? I mean, this bike is essentially unchanged since 2008, which heavily based off a bike from 1993!