• 2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300

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Your ticket to Adventure.

Everyone on the face of this planet enjoys living the adventure life. Few have made it their life and the rest envy such people. Kawasaki has an answer to those ‘rest’. Those who are at their mundane life thinking that they are killing it out there and are in desperate need of a break to cut shackles and wander out.

As people are maturing, so is the adventure-bike segment. Call it trend or being sensible, manufacturers are contesting even in lower-displacement machines. This renewed interest is bringing all the positives to the manufacturer into cultivating young riders to brand loyalty. Kawasaki is no child. By showcasing the Kawasaki Versys X-300 at the recently culminated EICMA show in Milan, it has given a breather to those craving to have the perfect getaway, even if it is just for the weekend. There are more and more riders wanting to climb on their motorcycles and go curving on the highest roads in Leh and Ladakh or anywhere in the country for that matter. Can this Japanese green machine answer their calls? Let us decipher it by the bits.

  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-2
  • Displacement:
    296 L
  • Top Speed:
    103 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    INR 270000 (Est.)
  • Overall:
    8.3/10

STYLING

There is no mistaking this motorcycle with any other genre but the adventure tourer. Tall stance and a narrow body are designed to mean equal parts functional and stylish. Cues from its elder brother, the Versys 650 is very much visible with the stubby front fairing and recessed ducts under the headlamp unit. The fuel tank features a hump that aides it to carry a sizeable 17 litre of fuel to enjoy those long strides of upto 400 kms!. High subframe and mudguard allows enough room to move over the biggest of boulders (unless you haven’t fallen off already). A tall windscreen offers plenty wind deflection, which is a must though.

Modern instrument panel having an analogue tacho and a digital LCD giving you everything one needs. The rear has an essential piece of equipment- the cargo carrier with easy to use grips and strap hooks. Kawasaki will also offer you accessories to suit your needs. The ‘Urban’ edition will get you a tank pad, hand guards, centre stand and a 30l Top case while the ‘Adventure’ edition a tank pad, tubular engine guard, centre stand and panniers of 17l capacity each.

POWERTRAIN

The liquid-cooled, 4-valve, parallel twin, 296 cc mill in the “X” is a variant of the mill that drives the Ninja 300 range. Power figures are not out yet but expect a similar 39 bhp of peak power and 21 Nm of peak torque. The engine will nevertheless be tuned for delivering an enhanced low to mid-range performance to create optimal power when negotiating a trail or commuting to work. It will also include lightweight pistons, optimised airbox intake and other changes to aim efficiency and refinement.

Power is transmitted through a six-speed sequential transmission that adorns a positive neutral finder, making it a cinch breeze to select neutral when stopped. Another important addition is the premium FCC clutch with assist and slipper functions that heavily reduces lever work effort. This enhances the start-stop riding with a light pull and easy feel. The gearing will be ideal for adventure style riding with a short final reduction ratio.

The exhaust however is different from the Ninja counterpart. To allow more clearance, header pipes have been pulled closer to the engine and Kawasaki claims that low and mid-range power have been enhanced due to the new header layout.

Specification

Capacity cc 289
Bore/ Stroke mm 62/49
Output 39bhp (Est)
Torque 21Nm (Est)
Type Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, Parallel twin-cylinder, DOHC
Valves per cylinder 4
Clutch type Wet- Multiplate with slip and assist
Transmission 6-speed with positive neutral finder

RIDE AND HANDLING

True to its adventure figure, the X-300 fancies an upright riding position with wide handlebars to manoeuvre yourself out of any situation. Combining this with the tall windscreen will keep the rider comfortable for longer period of time. The stepped two-up seat with sufficient padding will give both the rider and the pillion great levels of comfort. And the low seating position will cater to shorter riders as well.

The chassis is in an effort to strike a balance between strength and weight. A tubular steel frame with lightening holes and thin walled brackets keep the weight in check and the engine itself acts as a stressed component that further eliminates the downtubes and cradle pieces to further reduce weight.

Kawasaki has given importance to heat management and mulled the scenarios of heated hood with every performance twins. The Kawasaki Air Management System vents hot air away from the rider to a lower region of the bike with the help of shrouded air ducts and radiator ducts.

Suspension duties are taken over by the straight forward issue right-way-up front forks sporting a large 41mm non-adjustable Showa fork tubes and a centrally mounted charged monoshock with obligatory preload adjustments and is beefed up for more rigidity. Sufficient but not exactly sophisticated.

Braking issues are handled by single 290mm petal style rotor with a dual-piston calliper at the front, borrowing from the Ninja 300. Rear braking is with a 220mm rotor with its own dual-piston calliper. ABS is an optional package but not at a premium for sure. The 19-inch/17-inch wheel combo will not disappoint the purists and comes with off-road style spoked wheels are needed for tackling the trails.

Chassis Specifications

Suspension / Front 41 mm Showa telescopic fork
Suspension / Rear Bottom-Link Uni-Trak, gas-charged and adjustable preload
Brakes / Front Single 290 mm disc. Calliper: Single balanced actuation dual piston
Brakes / Rear Single 220 mm disc. Calliper: Dual piston
Tyres / Front 100/90-19M/C 57S
Tyres / Rear 130/80-17M/C 65S
Wet Weight 176 kg

PRICE

There is still no official price tagged to this guy but we are speculating that it will cost us somewhere between ₹ 2.7 to 3.2 lakh (ex-showroom) with ABS as an optional package. It should reach our shores in the third quarter of 2017. The X 300 is offered in Candy Lime Green/Metallic Graphite Grey and Metallic Graphite Grey/Flat Ebony.

Off-road oriented accessories will be made available for those who wish to pimp your ride to your heart’s desire. Kawasaki will offer a tall seat, centre stand, a skid plate and handguards among others. And as the old adage goes: “Better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.”

COMPETITION

As we know that apart from the Himalayan by Royal Enfield and maybe even the Mahindra Mojo, there isn’t much congestion in the adventure touring segment in India. When the X-300 lands in India, it will take on the very new Royal Enfield Himalayan head on.

Royal Enfield Himalayan

It’s got an all new 411cc single-cylinder engine with a 29 bhp power output and a torquey 32Nm. It is the first RE motor to employ oil-cooling and without doubt the most refined of the lot. The idea was to keep the power output such that even relatively inexperienced riders can harness all of it, apart from ensuring fuel efficiency figures. The 5-speed gearbox boasts adequate ratios for varied terrain as well.

It however will cost lesser than the Kawasaki as the latter will be brought to India in a CKD route whereas the Himalayan is all made in India.

VERDICT

left right

Kawasaki, with this bike, has given heed to offering a practical package which is very approachable for new folks and with a small-displacement engine in mind.

This X-300 is another perfect machine to do all the rides with its adventure-touring ergonomics and will definitely be a more accessible counterpart in a country filled with Enfield enthusiasts, it being the first twin cylinder adventurer in the country. Pleasantries all the way. With the perfect equipment for you adventure dreams, this Kawasaki could be your companion in all your stories worth calling a shot for.

2017 will see the entry of the BMW G310 GS and also KTM’s Duke 390 Adventure which might take the thunder away from out Japanese adventure calling.

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    • Ambiguity design

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