2020 Kawasaki KLX300R Review

by | May 16, 2020 | Honda, Kawasaki, motoGP News, Yamaha

2020 Kawasaki KLX300R

Editor Score: 85.75%

Engine 17.0/20
Suspension/Handling 13.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 9.0/10
Brakes 9.0/10
Instruments/Controls 3.0/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 8.75/10
Appearance/Quality 8.0/10
Desirability 8.0/10
Value 10.0/10
Overall Score 85.75/100

Remember back in the good ol’ days of 2019 when we were gathering en masse, kissin’ hands and shakin’ 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 Motorcycle.com to tell you all about the KLX230 and KLX230R. Why wasn’t 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.

2020 Kawasaki KLX300R First Look

It’s 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.

2020 Kawasaki KLX230R Review – First Braap

2020 Kawasaki KLX230 Review – First Ride

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

2020 Kawasaki KLX300R

If you remember the KLX300R from the early aughts, you likely note the similarities of the engine, frame, and overall specs. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The KLX300R has had a long reputation of being a solid platform and now, it’s kind of in a category of one when considering the market. For those outgrowing bikes like the Honda CRF230, Yamaha TT-R230, or Kawasaki’s 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.

2020 Kawasaki KLX300R

The KLX300R’s 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 – 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 – within reason. The 34mm throttle body responsible for the bike’s 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.

Kawasaki KLX300R

Is that a toolbox, or are you just happy to see me? That big ol’ black piece of plastic hanging off the left side of the subframe is a massive charcoal canister to help the bike pass California’s 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 aren’t too wide either, allowing the rider to scoot up easily on the bike when trying to get weight onto the front wheel. It’s 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.

2020 Kawasaki KLX300R

The mostly spartan “dash” 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 wasn’t 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 ’90s). 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 you’re not pressing the end of the lever with your toe, you’re likely to hit the lever further back with the inside of your boot. With size 10 motocross boots, I feel I’m 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.

2020 Kawasaki KLX300R

As long as you’re 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 KLX300R’s 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 shock’s settings. Bottoming resistance is also commendable, so long as you’re not hucking it at the motocross track. It’s only once the pace really picks up that the stock suspension starts to feel overwhelmed, otherwise, it delivers a comfy, cushy ride.

2020 Kawasaki KLX300R

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 I’ve noticed they don’t tend to last long in rocky desert environments. At a measured 288 pounds full of liquids, the new 300 isn’t too heavy, but if you’ve been riding lighter bikes (maybe a one with a couple less strokes) and you tip over on this one, you’ll be reminded it isn’t 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.

2020 Kawasaki KLX300R

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 bike’s 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 isn’t what you’re looking for, or if you’re new to riding off-road and/or want a bike that won’t break the bank, the resurgence of Kawi’s KLX300R is an indomitable choice. I mean, come on, for $5,499 everyone should have one in their garage.

2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
+ Highs

  • 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

  • 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

2020 Kawasaki KLX300R ReviewHelmet: 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 $545

2020 Kawasaki KLX300R Specifications
MSRP $5,499
Engine Type 4-Stroke, Liquid-Cooled, DOHC, 4-Valve Single
Displacement 292 cc
Bore & Stroke 78.0 x 61.2 mm
Compression Ratio 11.0:1
Fuel System DFI with 34mm throttle body
Ignition Digital DC-CDI
Transmission 6-Speed
Rake/Trail 26.5°/4.3 inches
Front Tire 80/100-21
Rear Tire 100/100-18
Front Suspension 43mm inverted cartridge fork with compression damping adjustment, 11.2 inches of travel
Rear Suspension Uni-Trak with adjustable preload, compression and rebound damping adjustment, 11.2 inches of travel
Wheelbase 56.5 inches
Front Brake 270mm Petal Disc
Rear Brake 240mm Petal Disc
Fuel Capacity 2.1 gallons
Ground Clearance 12.0 / 11.8 (CA Model) inches
Seat Height 36.4 inches
Curb Weight 288 pounds (CA Model), measured
Warranty 6 months
Kawasaki Protection Plus 12, 24 or 36 months
Colors Lime Green

2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
Kawasaki KLX300R
Kawasaki KLX300R
Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
Kawasaki KLX300R
Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R



2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R

The post 2020 Kawasaki KLX300R Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

Source link

MotoGP NEWS FEED

2021 KTM 200 Duke, 390 Duke, 890 Duke, and 1290 Super Duke R | Comparison Review

KTM’s line of naked bikes has steadily evolved over the past 25 years. We assembled the latest lineup of Dukes (left to right: 200 Duke, 390 Duke, 890 Duke, and 1290 Super Duke R) for a side-by-side evaluation. Photos by Kevin Wing. KTM rose to prominence with its...

The Speedshop roars into action for a series of adventures on BBC Two

Photo: Mark Riccioni Following a successful pilot, The Speedshop returns for 6×60 episodes with former Special Forces operator Titch Cormack designing and building bespoke motorbikes and cars from his “souped-up man-cave” on Poole’s picturesque waterfront. This series...

Ladies Who Ride: Reviews! Dainese Impeto Motorcycle Gloves

MoreBikes caught up with 25 year old Orthodontic dental nurse and Isle of Wight resident Tahnee Attwood. Tahnee rides (takes deep breath..) K6 GSXR 750, Yamaha R1, KTM 500 exc, Honda CRF450X in dirt set up and CRF450R in Supermoto set up! Luckily, she took time off...

2021 Ducati SuperSport 950/S

2021 Ducati SuperSport 950 S (Ducati Red) (Ducati/)UpsUpdated electronics with Bosch six-axis IMU at the controlsNew windshield and seat enhance comfortA versatile and practical everyday machine with fantastic composure on the trackDownsLost a few horsepower due to...

2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT MC Commute Review

Honda’s Gold Wing is the zenith of motorcycle touring. Whether you’re running to the local convenience store for a Slurpee, or traveling across the American Southwest for a getaway weekend, few streetbikes are as capable as the Gold Wing Tour DCT ($29,300 as...

Elf Total Classic Car Engine Oil HTX Collection Multigrade 20W50 5 Litre Tin

HTX collection 20W-50 is a customized solution for old and young vintage vehicles with engines made in original state with or without turbocharger, especially those made since 1950. The excellent viscosity balance permits low-wear starts even after longer...

2022 BMW F 900 XR Adventure Sport Review

We go for another ride aboard BMW’s easy-riding F 900 XR. (Joseph Agustin/)The 2022 F 900 XR is a plus-size middleweight adventure sport from BMW Motorrad. When BMW introduced this model for the 2020 model year, we were there for the official press introduction; see...

Can-Am and Road Warrior Foundation Sponsor Veterans on Cross-Country Ride

The 2022 Road Warrior Ride, sponsored by Can-Am, ended at the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Columbus, Ohio. During the week of Sept. 23-30, a group of veterans seeking adventure, camaraderie, and healing rode Can-Am Spyders from Florida to Ohio, covering over...

Yamaha Motor Unveils Hydrogen-Powered V-8 Combustion Engine

Powerful hydrogen power: 397 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 rpm are the claimed figures. (Yamaha Motor/)Exciting and surprisingly specific news from Hamamatsu: Yamaha Motor has been tapped by Toyota Motor Corporation to develop an automotive engine fueled entirely by...

2022 BMW R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental | Video Review

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental (Photo by Kevin Wing) We test the all-new 2022 BMW R 18 B “Bagger” and R 18 Transcontinental, two heavyweight touring cruisers powered by the 1,802cc Big Boxer that cranks out 116 lb-ft of torque at 3,000rpm. Based on the R 18 platform,...