Kawasaki is pushing forward with a few all-new models and bringing a heavily revised KX250F to the game in 2020. The return of the trail/playbike KLX300R is complimented by a smaller KLX230R and a dual-purpose KLX230 for a full KLX range starting with the 110cc bike.
The KLX300R is said to bridge the gap between playbike and racer sharing KX-inspired race heritage in an affordable package at $5499. It will likely be built someplace other than Japan as Kawasaki has factories in the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Thailand. It appears as if the engine is a variant of the KLX 300 from the early 2000s, now revised with electric starting and fuel injection. It has a six-speed transmission and liquid cooling but stops just a bit shy of being a full-on competition build. It will meet California Green Sticker requirements so we know the muffler will be heavy (including a catalyst built into the stainless steel system), restrictive and sound responsible.
The suspension is adjustable for compression damping on the 43mm inverted forks, compression and rebound damping on the shock as well as spring preload. We suspect the parts are better than what you are finding on a playbike but still a step down from the high-end components on the KX. Travel is 11.2 inches front and rear. Some adjustability is found in a four position handlebar mount and the seat height is 36.4 inches.
Like the very popular and successful KDX200 from a time well past, Kawasaki has had some success building models that fit a vacancy in dealers lineups and with an odd size in displacement. We’ll see how the KLX300R performs and get a test of the bike as soon as we can.
The KLX230R and KLX230 are based off the same platform with one being off-road only (and Green Sticker) with the other being a dual purpose. It was designed and built to be a lightweight and easily maneuverable motorcycle for a wide range of entry level, growing and returning riders. The 230 features a steel perimeter frame and has a six-speed transmission. Electric starting takes some of the pain out of the riding experience and a low seat height makes the bike reachable for many riders. Utilizing an fuel-injected air-cooled engine design with trail performance in mind the bike is smaller in stature the bike will sell for $4399 for the R and two street legal versions (one with ABS) for $4599 and $4899 respectively. There is a California version of the 230R where the bike shares a steel gas tank that holds 1.9 gallons and a keyed ignition too. The exhaust on the 230 will have a catalyst to help the bike meet emission standards.
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