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KAWASAKI VERSYS-X 300 (2017-on) Review

Published: 01 March 2019

Updated: 01 March 2019

The Versys-X 300 can do it all

The Kawasaki Versys-X 300 in action

The Versys-X 300 can do it all

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

The Kawasaki Versys-X 300 can do it all, and isn’t that far behind its big brother, the Versys 650. You don’t have to make allowances for it’s a lower capacity. It can tour, commute, and even take on some light off-road.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

The riding position is roomy, the clocks - with analogue rev counter - are neat and you've actually got some power to play with. You can cruise comfortably at 80mph and can even increase that to 90mph with no real issues. Sure, the revs are high and it’s a little buzzy, but your fillings aren’t being shaken loose.

It’s only really as you pile on the miles that things start to feel a little less rosy. The seat is too hard, which is probably due to Kawasaki making the padding thin to lower the seat height.

The handling is a pleasant surprise, too. It’s stable and can be thrown around with real confidence on the road. The fairly average Trail Winner tyres are the only limiting factor, but they cope well enough.

In town the clutch is light – one of the lightest I’ve ever tested – and the gearbox feels light but positive. The Versys-X 300 proves you don’t have to make dramatic compromises just because it’s a smaller, cheaper motorcycle.

Hitting the water on the Kawasaki


How does it cope off-road?

This is a bit of a departure from the Versys tradition of cast 17in front and rear wheels and is the reason the 300 gets an X after its name. Why the change?

Kawasaki wanted to give the Versys some light off-road ability, not only to please the Far Eastern market but also to tempt UK riders who may fancy attacking the odd green lane.

The Versys is surprisingly good off-road. The tall riding position allows you to stand up and you can get your weight over the 19in front wheel, which boosts confidence. The power is linear, traction isn’t bad and it doesn’t feel like it’s about to fall apart.

The specs claim the Versys has a tall 845mm seat height due to added ground clearance, but don’t let this put you off if you are short of leg, as the narrowness of the parallel twin’s waist makes it feel considerably lower.

Engine 3 out of 5

The Versys-X 300 uses the same 296cc parallel twin motor as the Ninja 300 and Z300 (although it has been made Euro4-compliant through new fuel mapping and a bigger cat), and houses it in a pleasingly large frame. Kawasaki claim can cover over 200 miles thanks to 66mpg and a 17-litre tank, too.

Compared to the Ninja 300, the Versys has a three-teeth larger rear sprocket (46 teeth) with the same internal gearbox ratios. On the Versys-X this makes the bike really revvy and at 60mph the parallel twin is buzzing away at over 7000rpm.

Thanks to the secondary balancer shaft there are no irritating vibrations, but it’s not very pleasant as it always feels like the motor is working really hard (I kept checking the gear indicator to see if I was in fifth and not sixth) and that is distracting and annoying. And it is a shame as the rest of the bike is really good.

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

In the third week of 2018, the Federation of European Motorcyclists' Associations (FEMA) issued a recall on bikes produced in 2017.

This was because vibrations could cause the socket of the brake/rear light bulb to fall out of the lamp assembly. This, in turn would result in a failure of the rear light, meaning a risk to safety. Check with you local Kawasaki dealer to make sure yours has been done.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

Despite out-pricing it's main rivals of the BMW G310 GS and Suzuki V-Strom 250 at its inception in 2017, the Versys offers a better package than the competition and won our initial group test at the time - helping to justify its price tag. Also, once you begin to spec-up the GS, the prices become very similar.

Static on the Kawasaki Versys-X 300

Equipment 3 out of 5

The part-digital clocks show a huge tank range – leaving you to just sit back and enjoy the ride. The hand guards and attractive big-bike bodywork provides decent wind protection.

The Versys-X 300 clocks

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2017
Year discontinued -
New price £5,245
Used price £3,500 to £5,400
Warranty term Two years
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £43
Annual service cost £160
Performance
Max power 39.45 bhp
Max torque 19 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption -
Tank range -
Specification
Engine size 296cc
Engine type 8v parallel-twin
Frame type Steel backbone
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 845mm
Bike weight 175kg
Front suspension 41mm non-adjustable fork
Rear suspension Monoshock with adjustable preload
Front brake 290mm petal disc with dual-piston caliper
Rear brake 220mm rear disc with dual-piston caliper
Front tyre size 100/90 x 19
Rear tyre size 130/80 x 17

Owners' Reviews

4 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI VERSYS-X 300 (2017-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KAWASAKI VERSYS-X 300 (2017-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 3.8 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 4.5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.8 out of 5
Equipment 3.8 out of 5
4 out of 5

Versys x 300 any road- yes!

21 July 2019 by NJ556

A pleasure to ride as a down size if option. Light and responsive, I’ve ridden it to Le Mans and done some decent green laning, it really can do it all.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Good fun in the twisties , brakes are adequate, surprisingly good off road.
Engine
4 out of 5
It can cruise on the motorway at 80mph. You have to get used to the revs. This engine needs and loves to rev to get the best out of it. It will however pull from 30 to top speed in 6th on the flat so it’s geared to suit.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
I can’t comment on reliability but the finish has stood up to the mud and stones ok so far. I have fitted a sump guard which is a must if you intend to go off road. The finish is not up to the likes of Honda.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
100 quid for the first service. The bike will always return 70 -80 mpg even if I thrash it.
Equipment
4 out of 5
What you expect from a new bike on the dash. I had a 12v socket fitted which was handy.
Buying experience

M and p in Swansea sold me the bike for 3950 new. Bargain and great service.

4 out of 5

KLE 300

19 June 2019 by Njones556

I got a 2018 model new for 3900 from m and p motorcycle in South Wales. I want to take a step down form my usual 1 litre horse power and try touring and green laning maybe be with a bit of TET chucked in. this bike has been such an impressive all rounder, I have toured through France, scratches along back roads and done some proper muddy green laning on it and have a lot of fun. I sometime miss the bhp but thrashing the little Kawasaki is very satisfying.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Handles in the twisters really well. Handles trails well enough.
Engine
5 out of 5
Incredibly flexible for only 300cc’s will hold 80 on the motorway all day. Will pull in 6th from 35mph. It’s is low geared though
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Only a year old so no problems . Quality of the finish is entry level. The plastics near the pegs have scuffed a bit from a combination of mud and standing on the pegs. all the co trolls feel like decent quality.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Regular servicing is required due to high revs but it’s simple and cheap. First service cost me £100 Genuinely does over 70 to the gallon in my commute. Which is dual carriageway and B roads.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Usual dash options you would expect on a new bike. 12v socket is a nice option.
Buying experience

Great support by m and p swansea and great support by Cornwall Kawasaki for serving.

4 out of 5

One of the best commuter bikes I've ever had.

10 June 2019 by Scott Pederson

Not my first motorcycle, and I've been looking to downsize a bit while having a reliable commute motorcycle. Something that can do everything, just doesn't have to be the Top-Of-The-Class. I have been commuting for one month how, quite happy with the results. Lightweight, EFI, decent power (40hp), averaging 62mpg, absolute fun running through the gears, doesn't vibrate, upright position. Quirks: Hard seat, limited luggage options (Still looking for a GOOD trunk), low gearing (thinking about swapping out the front sprocket 14-tooth to 15-tooth). I've owned a Honda Rebel 250 in the past. Commuted for a couple years on that (27,000 miles) but was always apprehensive about hills and riding into a headwind. With the X-300, I'm unconcerned. I've literally NEVER been in a situation where I did not have enough power to maintain the speed limit. Even in Texas (85mph), I still had room to spare. It's not a speed demon, but 95% of my commute is 40-45mph, and it's very happy in that range - comfortable too. I've only ridden it a month, and no weekend trips yet, we will see how it does. (Previous bike was V-Strom 1000, loved it, commuted a lot, but my son convinced me to sell it to him) Overall, got a great deal on a new 2017 (still showroom model), insurance is CHEEEEAAPP, MPG is great, least-expensive commute I've had since the Rebel.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Great brakes (disc front and rear) and lightweight - stops FAST, and not as worried with ABS built-in. I know people say you can disable it for off-road use by removing the fuse, but 90% of my riding is for commuting to/from work, so I've left it.
Engine
5 out of 5
Engine starts, runs smoooooth. It is an absolute blast to leave the stoplight, run up through the gears and NOT find yourself accidentally going 145mph. It's fun, yet safe. 40hp is decent for hauling me to work and back, but I've yet to be in a situation where I ran out of power (unofficial top-speed=100mph). Engine loves to rev, is extremely happy at 6k rpm at 55mph, redlines at 12,800.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Excellent quality, solid, everything works. Still new to me (showroom floor 2017 model) so I'll report back later on changes.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Only had one oil change ($50), and I'll do some my self, but maintenance seems to be very easy for this model. Mileage about 62mpg average, giving me almost 250-miles per tank. Insurance is cheap.
Equipment
4 out of 5
So far, purchased one aftermarket trunk, still not easy to mount (universal brackets were a joke.) Still hoping for larger trunk and availability of other accessories. Tough to find them in stock. Tires are great. I'd love the windscreen to be slightly taller. Simple hand-guards would be nice too.
Buying experience

I found my bike as a floor-model demo 2017 (bought in 2019) that STILL nobody bought it. Got it for $750 off, and only had 100 demo miles on it. Dealer was A) happy to sell it, and B) I added a nice +4 year extended warranty with it for the difference. I ended up with a great commuter, inexpensive, great mileage, lightweight, comfortable upright seating, and FUN FUN FUN!

3 out of 5

06 May 2019 by Mervynb

Overall I like the bike. It is comfortable and keeps up with traffic. Where it is weak is in build quality. I have owned the bike for a year. It was pre-registered so I got it with 14 miles on the clock. It has been on wet roads about three times but despite cleaning it after each trip the spokes are pitting and the exhaust is rusting.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
For its size the engine is very good. It revs quite highly and can feel quite buzzy but overall good.
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
See above.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
3 out of 5
The bike has panniers but they are very narrow and only hold 6lb each which is next to useless.

Photo Gallery

  • The Kawasaki Versys-X 300 in action
  • The clocks on the Versys-X 300
  • The downpipes on the Versys-X 300
  • Underseat storage on the Kawasaki Versys-X 300
  • Riding the Versys-X 300
  • The Kawasaki Versys X-300
  • The Kawasaki Versys X-300
  • Making a splash on the Versys
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