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Old May 21st, 2020, 02:24 AM   #1
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[] - 2020 Kawasaki KLX300R Review

2020 Kawasaki KLX300R

Editor Score: 85.75%Engine 17.0/20Suspension/Handling 13.0/15 Transmission/Clutch 9.0/10Brakes 9.0/10 Instruments/Controls3.0/5 Ergonomics/Comfort 8.75/10 Appearance/Quality 8.0/10Desirability 8.0/10Value 10.0/10Overall Score85.75/100Remember back in the good olí days of 2019 when we were gathering en masse, kissiní hands and shakiní babies? I do. Well, way back in September of last year MO had the opportunity to test three new Kawasaki motorcycles: the street-legal KLX230, and the off-road only KLX230R and KLX300R. Shortly after, as is usually the case, my reviews went live on to tell you all about the KLX230 and KLX230R. Why wasnít the KLX300R included? Because I was only able to spend a third of one day riding it and honestly, I believed it deserved a more thorough test because it really is a compelling motorcycle for what I think could be a large audience, and at the low price of $5,499, it becomes even moreso.

Itís been a while since Kawasaki had a 300cc trail bike. So long in fact, that some newer riders may not be aware of its long run and popularity in the 1990s through the early 2000s. As interest in trail bikes began to wane and the popularity of sportbikes increased, Kawasaki all but abandoned its off-road lineup, leaving only smaller displacement models like the KLX110 and 140 in production.

Now that trail bikes, dual-sports, and all sorts of off-road motorcycles are some of the only categories on two wheels seeing an uptick in sales, it makes sense that Kawi would jump back into the game and the 300 is back to lead the KLX-R model range.

Nice Package

If you remember the KLX300R from the early aughts, you likely note the similarities of the engine, frame, and overall specs. Thatís not necessarily a bad thing. The KLX300R has had a long reputation of being a solid platform and now, itís kind of in a category of one when considering the market. For those outgrowing bikes like the Honda CRF230, Yamaha TT-R230, or Kawasakiís own KLX230R, the KLX300R makes total sense for a trail bike that offers better performance and more power without being the least bit intimidating. For street riders interested in riding off-road, again, a fantastic option that will be easy for dirt noobs to hop on and feel comfortable from the first push of that fantastic electric start button. Even experienced riders will come away with an appreciation of what the KLX300R is capable of.

The KLX300Rís six-speed transmission allows you to keep the revs low during long blasts through wide open areas. Also of note, the touch of engine protection from the welded-on guards on the bottom of the frame.

Back to that magic button. The 2020 Kawasaki KLX300R boasts electric start and fuel injection Ė both things that make living with, riding, and maintaining the new 300 nearly effortless. The 292cc DOHC Single delivers predictable and progressive power across its mid-range and is able to tractor up obstacles fairly easily Ė within reason. The 34mm throttle body responsible for the bikeís fuel injection is very well metered and incredibly smooth at the throttle. Thumb the starter button and the bike fires up immediately without hesitation and instantly falls into a quiet steady idle.

Is that a toolbox, or are you just happy to see me? That big olí black piece of plastic hanging off the left side of the subframe is a massive charcoal canister to help the bike pass Californiaís strict emissions. Thanks to that, and the fitted spark arrestor among other things, the bike is green sticker legal in CA and can be ridden in many areas across the country. Check your local listings.

Ergonomically, the bike feels pretty well-suited for 5-foot 8-inch me. The handlebar is four-position adjustable to help dial in the rider triangle for all sorts of rider preferences and sizes. The footpeg to seat ratio feels spot on and transitioning from sitting to standing feels totally natural. The front fairings shrouding the 2.1-gallon fuel tank and radiators arenít too wide either, allowing the rider to scoot up easily on the bike when trying to get weight onto the front wheel. Itís only the rather tall tank that will inhibit forward movement. The grippy flat seat also allows for plenty of movement aft as well. The 36.4-inch seat height sounds more intimidating than it actually is, as the shock settles a fair amount once mounted. My 30-inch inseam had no issue getting both boots on level ground.

The mostly spartan ďdashĒ area includes the power button (with power indicator light), a low fuel light, and an FI warning indicator.

The six-speed transmission feels nice and precise and clutch pull at the lever is light and unlikely to cause fatigue for most riders. The one issue I found here wasnít with the transmission or clutch itself, but rather with the distance between the shift lever and the rather small dated-looking footpegs (probably leftovers from the í90s). The distance between the two constantly caused accidental upshifts or downshifts which, naturally, came at the most inopportune times. Not only was the distance an issue, but the entire lever is far enough away from the engine that even if youíre not pressing the end of the lever with your toe, youíre likely to hit the lever further back with the inside of your boot. With size 10 motocross boots, I feel Iím probably in the average range for most riders so this is likely to be an issue for a lot of people. A new gearshift lever would be the second aftermarket purchase I would make, after addressing the lack of OE-equipped handguards.

As long as youíre not planning to hit the moto track, the KLX300R can handle little jumps all day long.

Newer riders, intermediate riders, and folks that are content with cruising will be happy with the KLX300Rís KYB 43mm USD fork (adjustable for compression) and gas-charged piggyback linkage-type shock (adjustable for preload, rebound, and compression), both delivering 11.2 inches of travel. Experienced riders who typically find themselves on slower technical trails will also likely be content with the stock suspenders, though will probably tweak the shockís settings. Bottoming resistance is also commendable, so long as youíre not hucking it at the motocross track. Itís only once the pace really picks up that the stock suspension starts to feel overwhelmed, otherwise, it delivers a comfy, cushy ride.

The petaled discs look sporty and get the job done.

The relatively short 56.5-inch wheelbase makes the bike easy to maneuver around on tight trails and the 21/18-inch wheel combo keeps the KLX300R compliant over obstacle-strewn terrain. The Dunlop MX52s also provide great traction, although Iíve noticed they donít tend to last long in rocky desert environments. At a measured 288 pounds full of liquids, the new 300 isnít too heavy, but if youíve been riding lighter bikes (maybe a one with a couple less strokes) and you tip over on this one, youíll be reminded it isnít the lightest either. The two-piston caliper paired with a single 270mm disc up front does a great job of getting things slowed down while the rear single-piston caliper gives good modulation at the lever and is plenty powerful to stop its 240mm rotor. The front brake lever also offers some adjustment.

The 2.1-gallon tank sits pretty high in the frame and limits how far forward one can scoot up to get weight over the front tire.

The bikeís plastics look entirely modern and shroud the other not-so-modern bits. I dig the choice to use the green/black/gold throwback graphics which are also found on the latest KX models. They give the bike a little extra character.

All in all, the 2020 Kawasaki KLX300R is a great bike. It never feels overly fast or intimidating, but it can handle technical trails, two-trackers, and single track all day. If all-out performance isnít what youíre looking for, or if youíre new to riding off-road and/or want a bike that wonít break the bank, the resurgence of Kawiís KLX300R is an indomitable choice. I mean, come on, for $5,499 everyone should have one in their garage.

2020 Kawasaki KLX300R+ Highs</p>
  • CA Green Sticker and USFS legal for year-round riding
  • Fuel injection, electric start and disc brakes all around
  • A great bike all around for a lot of riders
– Sighs</p>
  • There are more than a few carryovers from the last time this bike was around
  • Shift lever crowds the left footpeg
  • Unsightly charcoal canister (CA models only)
In Gear

Helmet: 6D ATR-1 $650
Jersey: Alpinestars Techstar Factory $60
Pants: Alpinestars Techstar Factory $180
Gloves: Alpinestars Techstar $44.95
Goggles: 100% Accuri $45
Armor: Alpinestars Bionic Pro $239.95
Knee Braces: Asterisk Ultra Cell $759.05
Boots: Sidi Crossfire 3 $5452020 Kawasaki KLX300R SpecificationsMSRP$5,499Engine Type4-Stroke, Liquid-Cooled, DOHC, 4-Valve SingleDisplacement292 ccBore & Stroke78.0 x 61.2 mmCompression Ratio11.0:1Fuel SystemDFI with 34mm throttle bodyIgnitionDigital DC-CDITransmission6-SpeedRake/Trail26.5į/4.3 inchesFront Tire80/100-21Rear Tire100/100-18Front Suspension43mm inverted cartridge fork with compression damping adjustment, 11.2 inches of travelRear SuspensionUni-Trak with adjustable preload, compression and rebound damping adjustment, 11.2 inches of travelWheelbase56.5 inchesFront Brake270mm Petal DiscRear Brake240mm Petal DiscFuel Capacity2.1 gallonsGround Clearance12.0 / 11.8 (CA Model) inchesSeat Height36.4 inchesCurb Weight288 pounds (CA Model), measuredWarranty6 monthsKawasaki Protection Plus12, 24 or 36 monthsColorsLime Green The post 2020 Kawasaki KLX300R Review appeared first on

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