Initial thoughts from an off roader on the x300ABS
Kawasaki Versys-X 300 ABS. Initial thoughts. On and off road. I have owned and raced dirt bikes off and on my whole life. I raced D37 on a CRF450R and rode 1400 miles in Baja on an XR650. I owned a 2005 Suzuki SV650 which was great, I just was not ready for street. I feel safer on dirt. I am getting used to the street.
The Versys-X is nicer on the street than every real dual sport I have ridden, yet not as refined as the larger displacement bikes I have ridden. It does feel very comfortable overall. The seat is too hard though. Off road I have been extremely impressed. I actually am thinking I don’t need to mess with making an ABS off switch now. I will have to see after more rides. The engine braking is so good down hill, I hardly used the brakes, but when it was steep enough to need them, the ABS actually kept the bike upright nicely. I also didn’t need the clutch. I took my hand off the clutch the whole way down a fairly decent descent and even when coming to a stop with brakes the bike never stalled.
Stopping for a sudden obstacle the ABS will not let you stop and drag like a dirt bike, but the bike stops very quickly with both brakes applied. The stock tires are very good off road. The transition to sand is unnerving at first but once I got used to surfing it, it was fine.
I wont win any races with it, but I am confident I can go almost anywhere I need to go without fear of dropping it in technical terrain. I am sure I will fall eventually but I can touch the ground firmly with both feet and the bike has a super low center of gravity, so when I do fall it will be from me doing a stupid human trick.
Climbing off road the bike is a tractor too. If you’re not in a hurry and get used to high revs 1st gear motored up a medium hill with a smooth delivery that require no clutch. 2nd gear was good but had me going fast enough I was worried about the low pipes on rough terrain. When I install my skid plate I will be fine climbing in 2nd or 3rd although more clutch will be needed. Suspension on small whoops was amazing. No bottoming out and I am 215lbs. I need to diet. Also no weird pogos on jumps.
This is not a dual sport, but its what I wanted, something in the middle between light dual sports, and fat ADVs. My gut tells me I will have it a long time. I will probably eventually get a real dual sport and real road bike again, but for now, I plan to make this Versys-x maximize its versatility.
Oh and the seat is my only real complaint.
I feel safer on a motocross track than a freeway, but I am working on it.
Last edited by Scott Zinda; 10-05-2018 at 12:42 AM.