Kawasaki takes the Versys off-road with entry-level adventure bike.
Kawasaki is set to expand on its 300cc model line-up of the Z300 and Ninja 300 with the new Versys-X300 that it revealed at EICMA in Milan, Italy, this week. 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.
A powerful 296cc parallel-twin engine mounted in a rugged backbone frame, long-travel suspension and 19-inch/17-inch spoke wheels form the basis of a highly versatile, lightweight package that builds on the Versys’ any-road any-time performance. The Versys-X offers a high level of riding excitement and rider confidence in a wide variety of riding situations – ranging from pristine tarmac to unpaved roads – and accommodates a variety of riding styles.
While still not designed for off-road use, the Versys-X’s capability to handle unpaved road riding situations gives it even greater potential for motorcycle adventure than its larger brothers. The efficiently-tuned 296cc engine produces smooth, torquey power at low and medium rpm and powerful acceleration at high rpm.
Smooth power delivery and strong low-end torque facilitate slow-speed manoeuvres, offering both a high level of control when making minute throttle adjustments and a gratifying rush of acceleration in the lower rpm ranges, while low vibrations care of a balancer, and ample top end offer comfortable highway cruising.
The all-new highly rigid backbone frame was designed to handle external shocks, contributing to the Versys-X’s unpaved-road capability. The sturdy frame is also able to support a passenger and luggage, making the Versys-X a very capable touring partner. Using long-travel suspension enables the Versys-X to deliver riding excitement across a wide range of riding situations.
Not all streets in the real world are made of circuit-smooth pavement. Road imperfections (bumps, potholes) are far from rare, and many streets are not even paved. The long-travel suspension is designed to easily soak up road imperfections, even when travelling on unpaved roads. Excellent feedback from the front-end contributes to rider confidence and a high level of riding excitement, while the linked rear suspension offers both riding stability and ride comfort.
Conceived to enable comfortable long-distance riding, the Versys-X is able to accommodate a wide range of riders, and offers numerous accessories that enhance touring potential and comfort. The Versys-X’s large-volume bodywork and impressive adventure styling give it the imposing appearance of a much larger-displacement machine. In contrast to the street-focused Versys models, the rugged design of the Versys-X looks very much at home off the pavement.
The combination of a tall upper cowl design inspired by adventure models, and a large-size windshield provides superior wind protection, adding to long-distance riding comfort and contributing to adventure-style looks. The Versys-X’s slim, upright riding position and a wide handlebar offer high controllability as well as the comfort for long-distance riding. A relatively low seat height and a seat design that is slim at the front make it easy for a wide range of riders to easily reach the ground with their feet.
Complementing the rider’s comfortable seat, a wide rear seating area and ergonomically sculpted grab bars deliver superior passenger comfort. The rear seat area is flat, and together with the rear carrier offers an excellent platform for securing luggage. Sophisticated instrument design features a large analogue tachometer flanked by warning lamps on one side, and a gear position indicator and multi-function LCD screen on the other. In addition to outstanding convenience, the instrumentation offers a premium feel on par with larger-displacement models.
Numerous accessories have been created to make the Versys-X 300 a better long-distance machine but at this point in time the availability of the bike in Australia has not yet confirmed but we expect an announcement to be made in the coming weeks.