2021 Kawasaki KLX300 Dual Sport – This Looks Disappointing!


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.

Slide to compare the 2020 and 2021 models. Spot the difference!

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.

Revised radiators and a 292cc EFI motor.

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!

11 Comments

  1. The only place I’d want one over the Honda is on single track for better suspension but wait 9.8″? That must be a metric conversion error. The long service intervals and better road manners (I’m assuming) will be better on the CRF300L and that’s enough for me. I bought an unsold CB300R to put in my stable next to my DR650. Just so I would know what agility is supposed to feel like. Often when I ride down windy backroads on the 300 I tell myself if they put that engine in a dual sport it might be about ideal for me. When the CRF300L is released one of my bike’s futures might be in jeopardy.

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  2. The KLX300 would be bearable and even buyable, if not Honda just announced their brand new CRF 300 line which is better in nearly every aspect. Though I like Kawa a lot more, I prefer the CRF. My KLX250s has got 55k km now and I’d like to replace it soon.

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    1. 55k is a great effort, that motor is just so reliable. They do say a change is as good as a holiday! Seriously though, the bikes are really evenly matched. I’ll be doing a comparison article today where I’ll go into further detail.

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  3. Some of us value extreme reliability over extreme performance. If I wanted a race bike I’d buy a race bike. A dual sport is not a racing bike and anyone who thinks it is will be disappointed.

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    1. I value reliability too, got to rememeber I own a KLX250S! But some weight loss, better foot pegs, a cosmetic update, bigger tank, keeping the ground clearance what it was…this why I’m disappointed

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  4. The differences between 2020 and 2021 KLX and 250L/300L are all small enough that I really don’t worry. As an off road noob and entering into my 50s, I wont be maxing the capabilities of anything anytime soon, so my choice is driven by the looks of the Kawi. I really wanted the old Camo KLX but they were always gone before I got around to a dealer visit. I want the new motor version even more. Probly will be forced to order one without a test spin though. These things are are as unobtainium as 9mm ammo in the Pac Norwest USA.

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    1. I think that’ll be your best bet, especially if you want the camo. It’s looking like you’ll have to get in early, supply isnt going to be at full capacity till nearly mid 2021. No doubt you’ll be happy with the klx, especially the 300. I like my 250 but it needs more poke.

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  5. So yeah engine in klx300 will be (is) detuned to 26 hp ! It is about 2hp more then klx250 – what a disappointment !
    If it had 32hp like klx300r it would be easily better then drz400 but no, they had to mess this one up
    Why ? …why?

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  6. My thoughts also. But i sure dont want a plastic bottom frame like Husky now has. Easy to brake on a mild crash! Dont know if Beta is following suot with the plastic frame. Hoping Yamaha comes out with a WR300.

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