During last weekend's Imus Motocross (MX) Challenge and Motorcycle Show at the Vermosa Offroad Park, MotoPinas.com had the privilege of testing the newest dirtbike from Kawasaki – the KLX 300R – and here's a quick rundown of our first impressions about the bike:
The new KLX 300R is a tall bike
First of all, the new KLX 300 is a tall bike with a seat height of 914 mm, especially for Pinoys like me with a short inseam. But, that's not a problem if you're used to tall bikes. Dirtbikes should be tall bikes after all. If tall bikes do not suit you, you can always lower the bike's stance by simply installing a lowering link and adjusting the front forks to your liking.
The new KLX 300R has a nice suspension package
Perhaps one of the important things for an offroader is a bike's suspension, and during my quick stint with the KLX 300, I already noticed how fine the suspension was. The front long-travel inverted forks measure 43 mm with adjustable compression and damping, while the rear has a mono-shock absorber with adjustable preload. It might've been just a few quick laps around Vermosa's flat track (packed with lots of bumps, mind you), but it's safe to say that the new KLX 300R's suspension can get the job done when brought to the really nice offroad sections of Maarat in Rizal and Magallanes in Cavite.
The new KLX 300R is a bit heavy for a dirtbike
Kawasaki claims that the new KLX 300 is a dedicated dirtbike built for offroading. However, I felt that it is a bit heavy for my liking; note that according to the Kawasaki website, the bike tips the scale at 128 kilograms. Still, it is lighter compared to the 250cc CRF 250L by Honda that tips the scale at a whopping 147 kilograms (claimed weight by Honda).
The new KLX 300R is a bit restricted in terms of power delivery
The new KLX 300R is powered by a liquid-cooled 292cc, DOHC, fuel-injected engine mated to a 6-speed gearbox. During my stint with it, however, I did not feel the bike galloping the way I expected it to. Maybe I was just expecting too much and comparing it with a production enduro bike that has a torque rating that could pull my eyeballs into their sockets at every twist of the throttle. According to the Kawasaki personnel present during the test ride, they said that although the new KLX 300 is a dedicated offroad bike and is not street-legal, it still followed European emissions restrictions as evidenced by the large exhaust silencer.
Overall, the new KLX 300R is a sure, capable offroader bike that would not intimidate new to intermediate offroad riders. It has that gapang or the crawl that is crucial when riding on the more technical sections of the trails. It is tall enough to wade river crossings with ease and has that wide-ratio six-speed gearbox to tread the backroads in between the more gnarly single tracks. SRP for the new Kawasaki KLX 300R is PhP300,000 and is available at all Kawasaki Leisure Bikes showrooms nationwide.