Kawasaki is showing off five new bikes for 2021. For the “adventure” segment, Kawasaki decided to go small and light. Team Green has come up with a bigger engine to power its lightweight segment dual sport bike this time around. Enter the new Kawasaki KLX300.
Some had said that its predecessor’s engine (KLX250) could use a power boost. And apparently, Kawasaki agrees.
New KLX300 engine
The new KLX300 now carries a fuel-injected, enduro inspired 292cc liquid-cooled DOHC engine with digital DC-CDI ignition. The new engine has a 6mm larger bore than the KLX250 it replaces. A lightweight flat top piston with a pentroof combustion chamber results in an 11.1:1 compression ratio.
Kawasaki says that the new Electrofusion cylinder has an “incredibly hard coating” to provide superior heat transfer with less weight. They say the cylinder also “holds lubrication well, resists abrasion and seizure, and allows tight piston-to-cylinder clearances for more horsepower.”
A 4 valve DOHC cylinder head with camshaft profiles from the KLX300R contributes to top-end performance and quick throttle response. Unfortunately, Kawasaki has chosen not to publish horsepower and torque figures at this time. But they did provide a chart that provides power and torque curves for the new KLX300 compared to the KLX250 it replaces.
The chart shows that the new KLX300 engine provides more torque and power across the entire rpm range than its predecessor. And, it appears that the new KLX300 makes more horsepower higher into the rpm range as well. While the horsepower and torque gains are not specified, they certainly appear to be significantly better and form nice flat lines without hiccups over the entire rpm range.
The engine is equipped with a gear-driven balancer to smooth power delivery throughout the powerband. It also has high-capacity Denso radiators similar to those found on Kawasaki’s KX line for high cooling efficiency, reduced profile, and better heat dispersion.
Keeping the rider cool is also addressed. Kawasaki says that a radiator fan cover located behind the radiator directs hot air down and away from the rider, significantly improving comfort when in heavy traffic.
Holding that new engine is a high tensile steel perimeter frame. It is made up of both box section and tubular steel to provide the correct amount of rigidity. Kawasaki says that the frame’s steering head angle and short wheelbase contribute to quick handling while the rigid frame provides excellent straight-line stability.
Up front, you’ll find a 43mm inverted cartridge fork with 16-way compression damping adjustment. Kawasaki claims that the cartridge maintains a more consistent damping force by minimizing the aeration of the fork’s oil. The setup provides a claimed 10 inches of travel.
At the rear, you’ll find Kawasaki’s Uni-Trak® Rear Suspension. It uses a lightweight, rigid aluminum D-section swingarm to help reduce unsprung weight. It connects to a nitrogen-filled remote reservoir shock that has 16-way compression and rebound damping adjustment. The shock is also adjustable for preload. Ultimately, the rear suspension is able to provide 9.1 inches of travel.
Together, the suspension can give the bike a total of 9.8 inches of ground clearance.
Braking and wheelset
As you would expect, braking is accomplished with a dual-disc setup. Both ends of the machine feature petal brake discs to help reduce weight and clear debris better for improved braking performance. At the front, a twin-piston caliper grasps a 250mm semi-floating disc. At the rear, you’ll find a single-piston caliper grabbing a 240mm disc. Kawasaki says that both give superb, strong, and reliable performance.
The KLX300 rides on a 21-inch front wheel clad with 3.00-21 dual-sport tires. At the back is an 18 inch rear wheel clad with 4.60-18 dual-purpose tires.
Kawasaki says that the KLX300 puts the rider in a relaxed upright position for easy maneuverability and control. They have kept the bike’s footpegs close to the centerline to create a “slim” riding position suitable for both on and off-road riding.
A thickly padded seat is said to increase comfort on longer rides. The seat height is a dirt bike-ish 35.2 inches, but Kawasaki says that the seat’s height and design were carefully considered to help riders reach the ground for added confidence when stopped.
Kawasaki also claims that the bike’s narrow fuel tank holding 2.0 gallons contributes to the comfortable riding position. The tank also has a lockable, hinged one-touch cap.
The KLX300 dash features an all-digital instrument panel with a bar-graph tachometer, digital speedometer, dual trip meters, and a clock. It also holds the bike’s warning lamps.
While the KLX300 has gained power, it hasn’t gained weight. Kawasaki claims that the bike weighs in at 302.1 pounds with all fluids and a full fuel tank. This weight comes in at about 2 pounds less than the KLX250 it replaces. Congrats Kawasaki. You’ve apparently been able to find that the recipe of more power and less weight can result in a tasty dish.
Pricing and colors
The 2021 KLX300 dual-sport comes in either Lime Green for $5,599 while the Fragment Camo Gray colorway will set you back $5,799.
What do you think?
So now that Kawasaki’s new, more powerful KLX300 is out from the covers, what do you think? Is it a bike that you are interested in? Do you want us to review it? Let us know in the comments below.
KLX 300 Specs
Engine Type 4-Stroke, Liquid-Cooled, DOHC, 4-Valve Single
Displacement 292 cc
Bore & Stroke 78.0 x 61.2 mm
Compression Ratio 11.1:1
Fuel System DFI® with 34mm throttle body
Ignition Digital DC-CDI
Rake/Trail 26.7°/4.2 in.
Front Wheel Travel 10.0 in.
Rear Wheel Travel 9.1 in.
Front Tire Size 3.00-21
Rear Tire Size 4.60-18
Front Suspension 43mm Inverted Cartridge Fork with 16-Way Compression Damping Adjustment
Rear Suspension Uni-Trak with Adjustable Preload, 16-Way
Compression and Rebound Damping Adjustment
Wheelbase 56.7 in.
Front Brake Type 250mm Petal Disc
Rear Brake Type 240mm Petal Disc
Fuel Tank Capacity 2.0 gal.
Ground Clearance 9.8 in.
Seat Height 35.2 in.
Curb Weight= 302.1 lb.