Striking new low capacity models available on the market in 2017.
Words: Matthew Shields
In this edition of Rated we have taken a look at a selection of the new learner bikes under 400cc to arrive on the Australian market in 2017. Adventure, sports and naked bikes are where this market segment is at its strongest and, as such, these are the exciting new bikes on the market. They may be small in capacity, but this bunch of machines arriving in dealers this year have a lot to offer the rider just starting out.
Bike: Kawasaki Versys-X 300
Rundown: Learner friendly and confidence-inspiring, Kawasaki has expanded its 300cc model line-up of the Z300 and Ninja 300 with the new Versys-X 300 this year. Like you would expect from a bike designed to be the ideal travel partner, it offers comfort and convenience of an adventure machine with more manageable weight and power than larger-displacement models. The same powerful 296cc parallel-twin engine from the Ninja and Z is mounted in a rugged backbone frame with long-travel suspension and 19-inch/17-inch spoked wheels. It promises to be a great machine to take on any adventure.
Bike: KTM 390 Duke
Rundown: KTM’s small capacity Duke is a smaller dose of the same fun that you get with the 690 Duke and 1290 Super Duke R. For 2017 KTM has taken all the aspects of the 390 Duke that made it so good and made them even better. Now equipped with a ride-by-wire throttle system, TFT display and highlights like the optional KTM MY RIDE, the 390 Duke will be a hard act to match in this class. The RBW will make for a smoother and more refined engine response, while the new styling is clearly aimed at emulating the 1290 Super Duke R.
Bike: Suzuki GSX250R
Rundown: Suzuki’s new GSX250R is a fully-faired street bike that brings Suzuki’s legendary GSX-R sports bike heritage to a younger, less experienced audience. Featuring sporty good looks, responsive yet easy-to-control performance, nimble handling, and a comfortable riding position, the GSX-250R will be equally at home on the daily commute and fanging on the weekends. Powered by a 248cc parallel-twin engine with 18.4kW and 23.4Nm on tap, the GSX250R is tuned for low to mid-range performance at speeds of 20 to 90km/h – just where you want a learner legal machine to be working at its best.
Bike: BMW G 310 GS
Rundown: BMW Motorrad has expanded the BMW GS family to with the G 310 GS. Slim and wiry, the new single-cylinder GS promises to be a light and adventurous machine with low weight and seat height. Derived from the G 310 R naked bike, it should have an impressive amount of performance in every situation. The suspension geometry of the G 310 GS is designed for manoeuvrability, stability and a neutral cornering response both on and off the road, which will make it easy to ride and therefore a lot of fun for beginners.