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Dirt and Trail July 2018 issue 2

  • Text
  • Durability
  • Bikes
  • Riders
  • Suspension
  • Enduro
  • Motorcycles
  • Models
  • Racing
  • Clutch
  • Trophy

Kawasaki Verys 300X

Kawasaki Verys 300X Price R75500.00 Parallel twin Fuel injected 300cc four stroke. Fuel consumption: 22.01 KM’s per litre. Kawasaki has been careful with how they present the Versys-X, stating it’s a touring machine with ‘adventure’ styling, so as not to oversell the bike’s adventure capabilities, which is fair enough. This isn’t an off-road motorcycle, what it is, is an exceptional all-rounder with some strong dual terrain qualities. To match the marketing line, the Versys is surprisingly well thought out. It’s got spoked wheels in a 19-inch front, 17-inch rear configuration. They’ve also given it mildly long-travel suspension and a deliberately strong sub-frame design. It is pillion capable, has a decent sized 17-litre tank, and an assist/slipper clutch. On top of that, Kawasaki has a decent collection of accessories including proprietary luggage. We have to say that of the bikes on test this is undoubtably the best equipped in terms of pretty stuff like faring, display and so-on. Kawasaki SA loaned us this bike with some quality extra’s bolted on. Crash bars, Spot lights and genuine Kawasaki panniers made the bike look a lot bigger than what it actually is. Very sexy indeed. We last tested this bike about a year ago when it was first introduced to the SA market. Back then we had to comment on the overall performance – for a little 300, this bike has some impressive street cred. A Recap: The Versys makes use of the fuel-efficient eight-valve, liquid-cooled 296cc, six-speed parallel twin fitted to its Ninja 300 sports bike brother. Kawasaki has tuned the motor for greater versatility, changing the airbox shape, intake funnels, and exhaust for greater midrange power that’s better suited to the Versys platform. The dual throttle valve fuel injection system provides crisp response with a very linear delivery from low rpm to the rev limiter that cuts in at 12,750 rpm. Overall ergonomics are good, it’s a comfortable upright seating position, with a natural reach to the ‘bars, and easy grippable tank, which holds a generous 17L. The clutch lever is super light, while neither brake offers a heap of bite. The screen also offers reasonable wind protection, although audible wind buffeting is noticeable on the freeway at 110km/h. The large, tall surface area of the bike also makes it more susceptible to side-on wind gusts on the freeway, which is also something to be mindful of on the freeway. Spoked wheels are a nice touch, and while the exhaust is quiet, remember that on bike like this, you’re often banging around in high revs. If you add a slip-on you’ll probably deafen yourself and end up the least popular person in your street… A seat height of 815mm we never once felt like the bike was unwieldy, or had trouble getting feet down. Talking of the seat… we are not sure what Kawasaki was thinking…it may be OK for short distance commuting, but for longer rides, it becomes a bit uncomfortable. We figure that they’ve kept the amount of padding down for a low seat height, but it is quite hard and slender. We’d look at a modification like one of those inflatable cushion jobs for longer forays. While Kawasaki claims the suspension is long travel, the travel is 130mm front and 140mm rear, offering a great mix of sporty capabilities, with the ability to swallow up our typically terrible road surfaces, not to mention handling gravel sections with ease. It’s a great blend, we reckon that Kawasaki nailed it. Ground clearance is 180mm, so this will be the main constraint when riding serious off road, however for gravel or clearing gutters and speed bumps the suspension is just really well set-up out of the box. Power is claimed at just under 40hp, which realistically isn’t that far off the big 600s, and at 175kg on the road fully fueled (with 17L weighing you down) this is a light machine. On any small bike like this you use the gearbox a lot… use your gears and you’ve got the speed to well and truly stay ahead of the traffic, and the engine will pull smoothly all the way. 64 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE JULY 2018

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