The 2020 Kawasaki KLX230 and KLX250R are all-new motorcycles. Instead of downsizing the KLX250’s engine, the new air-cooled 233 cc single-cylinder unit has a simpler SOHC design mated to a six-speed gearbox to complement the new chassis with better low to mid-range performance.
The two sibling bikes let riders choose from the dual-sport KLX230 and the off-road-only KL230R trail bike. The two motorcycles are built around a new lightweight, high-tensile steel perimeter frame that’s now more compact and narrow for agility.
Both feature 32 mm Keihin throttle bodies, 21-inch front wheels and 18-inch rears, 37 mm forks, and Uni-Trak mono shocks with linkage and 223 mm of travel and adjustable preload. They also share single 240 mm front discs and single 220 mm discs.
The road-legal KLX230 dual sport has an ABS version which gives it a larger 265 mm front disc. Compared to the KLX230R, this bike has less front suspension travel at 220 mm, a lower seat height of 884 mm, lower ground clearance of 265 mm, a slightly larger fuel capacity of 2.0 L, and a bit more weight at 134 kg. As a versatile runabout to take on and off the road, the KLX230 was designed to suit shorter riders and novices. The 2020 Kawasaki KLX230 costs $4,600 and the KLX230 ABS costs $4,900.
The trail-designated KLX230R has a gear ratio that differs from the dual sport’s to improve off-road capability. The front forks have longer suspension travel at 249 mm, raising the ground clearance to 300 mm and the seat height to 919.5 mm. The 2020 Kawasaki KLX230R costs $4,400.