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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,
I've been stalking this forum for a while now. I currently ride a 2009 KLR 650. I have put 90,000+ miles on it in 10 years. (Covid slowed me down a bit.) My question to you X 300 riders is how would you compare this to a KLR if you have had the experience. I can see the difference on paper but I have a few questions:
1. What's it like to ride on the interstate?
2. What kind of fuel mileage are you actually seeing?
3. What is the seat like on an all day ride? (I have a stock KLR seat and it is bearable with breaks.)
I was kicking around the idea of either the V650 or V300. I ride mostly secondary roads, very little off-road, and Interstates only when I am in a hurry. I'm 6'3" and 235 before gearing up. I ride year round as long as there is no ice on the roads. Any info from people who have ridden both to compare would be greatly appreciated.
John
 

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2017 Kawasaki Versys-x 300; 14/46 sprockets (stock);
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Hi All,
I've been stalking this forum for a while now. I currently ride a 2009 KLR 650. I have put 90,000+ miles on it in 10 years. (Covid slowed me down a bit.) My question to you X 300 riders is how would you compare this to a KLR if you have had the experience. I can see the difference on paper but I have a few questions:
1. What's it like to ride on the interstate?
2. What kind of fuel mileage are you actually seeing?
3. What is the seat like on an all day ride? (I have a stock KLR seat and it is bearable with breaks.)
I was kicking around the idea of either the V650 or V300. I ride mostly secondary roads, very little off-road, and Interstates only when I am in a hurry. I'm 6'3" and 235 before gearing up. I ride year round as long as there is no ice on the roads. Any info from people who have ridden both to compare would be greatly appreciated.
John
1) I ride mostly backroads ... @Itsgordo and others can help you here.
2) I'm averaging 62mpg (calculated) over 2,439 miles in 7 months (I drive mostly calm, about 1/3 with my wife / 2/3 solo)
3) Stock seat was not great for me: After about 30 minutes, I needed a break; (The Corbin I bought used hasn't let me down yet. 1-1.5 hrs longest ride)

I'm 5'10" 210lbs - 31" inseam; my wife is 5'4" and the perfect size for me !
Corbin added about 1" to seat height / after that i'm about 1/4" from flatfooting both sides

I had a Honda NX650 years ago ... similar in size and function to the KLR. Here would be my thoughts.
Benefits of the KLR
  • better off road capability
  • better low-end grunt
  • better aftermarket support ?
  • better stock seat?

Benefits of the x300
  • Smoother running
  • better on road (handling)
  • fuel injection (wouldn't count if you upgraded to '22 KLR?)
  • better seat setup for a passenger (I like the stepped seat ... lots of room for my wife) ... but need upgrade for longer rides
  • lighter and more maneuverable
  • I like it better for dirt/gravel/forest roads ... it "handles" better and is balanced better


Good luck with the search ! I think it would be an interesting change, if you found a good deal !

Where in SC are you ... if you're ever over toward Chattanooga (I'm in NW Ga just below the TN line ~ 25 miles) ... give me a shout and I'll give you a tour of my x300 ;)

JT
 

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1) my commute is 80% urban interstate moving 75-80 mph when not congested. Vx is quite capable and fun to ride in this environment. Stock gearing works, taller helps.
2) I’m seeing 62 mpg in 85F+, lesser in cooler temps. Going from indicated data which I understand to be optimistic.
3) All day ride? You’re going to want an air hawk type device or a better seat. I get uncomfortable after an hour. I rarely exceed that and stock works fine for me.
I’m 5’9 200 lbs. ergos are great for me. I’ve not heard any negative feedback from taller riders. Clearly you have the stature needed for KLR. Vx is a lighter yet solid machine. Corner with confidence unless using more dirt worthy tires. I like being able to wring it out; there’s enough to keep my interest without putting me in the back seat of a police cruiser. I don’t have saddle time on KLR. If you don’t mind rev’ing up a capable little engine, a Vx might be for you.
 

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1. What's it like to ride on the interstate?
I do my best to avoid interstates, but it's fine if you need to be on them. Only downside is if you're moving along at 70-80, there's not much room left to speed up/avoid situations. The best I've done on the bike is 99mph. If you are going to use a x300 for a lot of interstate, a common mod is to change the front sprocket from 14t to 15t. Lowers the rpm a bit and gives you a bit more room at the upper end.

2. What kind of fuel mileage are you actually seeing?
I track my fuel usage via Fuelly. I'm currently showing 49.7mpg average. I commute on my bike almost daily, so it's a lot of city/stop-and-go driving. I'm also a big guy (6'4", ~250). I bet somebody smaller will get even better mileage.

3. What is the seat like on an all day ride? (I have a stock KLR seat and it is bearable with breaks.)
Stock seat is fine with me for commuting. For the trips I have taken, I picked up a BeadRider seat cover and try to change it out a few times during the day to change things up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the responses, I'm torn between the new KLR (FI, ABS), the x300, and the Versys 650. I know a lot of this is very subjective, friends my size hate the KLR seat, it's not bad enough to spend the $$$ on a new one. I use Shinko 705s because I don't go off-road enough to warrant anything more aggressive. Forest roads and gravel are fine with the 705s. I average 58 mpg as long as I stay out of towns and off the Interstates. I do take longish trips occasionally, or spend 90% of a Saturday riding around the NC/SC mountains.
JT, I live near Lancaster, SC. Most of my riding is from there to the NC/SC/GA/TN borders. Occasionally, I wind up in VA.
I have the KLR setup with 16t front/42t rear sprockets for lower top end rpms. The x300 is very tempting, although I am still leaning toward the V650, but I like the idea of a lighter weight bike because I like going around corners without slowing down much.
Thanks again for the input.
 

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Good luck, I bet you will love whatever purchase you end up making. I was very close to pulling the trigger on one of the used KLRs my dealer had, but decided to go with a new x300 instead. I have an older V650 that's partially dissembled and highly recommend that as well if you're looking at them.
 

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I'd at least try the V650... you may appreciate the extra power and you don't have to slow down to corner...:) When/if you find yourself on the freeway you'll be glad you're on the V.

I'd love to have both; the V650 and a KLR. All three candidates are great bikes!

Stock seats on most bikes are there to feel comfy for the 5 minute showroom try-out. But... I did an Iron Butt with an Airhawk and Sheepskin on the stock seat (V650) and I'll do multiple hours on the stock seat with no problem.

I get 45 or so MPG unless I'm riding hard or actually trying to conserve fuel. A bit less at freeway speeds.
 

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2017 Kawasaki Versys-x 300; 14/46 sprockets (stock);
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Thanks for the responses, I'm torn between the new KLR (FI, ABS), the x300, and the Versys 650. I know a lot of this is very subjective, friends my size hate the KLR seat, it's not bad enough to spend the $$$ on a new one. I use Shinko 705s because I don't go off-road enough to warrant anything more aggressive. Forest roads and gravel are fine with the 705s. I average 58 mpg as long as I stay out of towns and off the Interstates. I do take longish trips occasionally, or spend 90% of a Saturday riding around the NC/SC mountains.
JT, I live near Lancaster, SC. Most of my riding is from there to the NC/SC/GA/TN borders. Occasionally, I wind up in VA.
I have the KLR setup with 16t front/42t rear sprockets for lower top end rpms. The x300 is very tempting, although I am still leaning toward the V650, but I like the idea of a lighter weight bike because I like going around corners without slowing down much.
Thanks again for the input.
Not a bad choice in the bunch.

Just to throw some extra info (worth what you paid for it LOL) ... my brother bought a CRF300L Rally last year, and I like it a lot too. It has decent power (not enough to keep up with my Vx300 on the road), but does really well on dirt/forest roads. The factory seat is pretty nice ... we swap out on rides, and it does OK for me. The kicker is he's averaging about 75-76 mpg last time I checked with him. It's probably a little better off road than the KLR ... has a little less power ... rides really nice. It's cheaper than the KLR ... about the same as a new Vx300?

Unless you're doing longer road miles, or want more speed, I'd say the 300 and 650 would be equally fun.

Something to consider. I'm equal opportunity on mfg ... narrow things down by what I want the bike to do ... pick out models from any mfg that fit the bill ... decide what I'm willing to pay ... look around and take the best of all the options where I find a "good deal".

Enjoy the search !

JT
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I went to different dealers, I sat on some of the bikes and new right away that I would not be comfortable on some of them without swapping out seats or making other major adjustments. I sat on the new KLR, compared to my 2009 seat, I think I could ride forever on the new one. I really wanted to like the v-strom, but something about the whole ergonomic position didn't have me liking it. This after about a 30 min. ride. I rode an older V650 and seemed to be a lot better for my shape.
 

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I test rode a KLR 650 and currently own a Versys 650. The KLR was cool but I walked away from it ultimately. The V650 is OK on fire roads, great on twisty backroads, and plenty fine on fast interstates. I've put about 4600 miles on mine (bought new) and I love this bike. The VX300 seems cool but I like to have some highway power for whenever I decide to hop on the interstate, so the V650 is fantastic for my needs.

6'3" 220lbs
 

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Hi All,
I've been stalking this forum for a while now. I currently ride a 2009 KLR 650. I have put 90,000+ miles on it in 10 years. (Covid slowed me down a bit.) My question to you X 300 riders is how would you compare this to a KLR if you have had the experience. I can see the difference on paper but I have a few questions:
1. What's it like to ride on the interstate?
2. What kind of fuel mileage are you actually seeing?
3. What is the seat like on an all day ride? (I have a stock KLR seat and it is bearable with breaks.)
I was kicking around the idea of either the V650 or V300. I ride mostly secondary roads, very little off-road, and Interstates only when I am in a hurry. I'm 6'3" and 235 before gearing up. I ride year round as long as there is no ice on the roads. Any info from people who have ridden both to compare would be greatly appreciated.
John
I own a 2021 Versys-X 300 and have owned in the past: 08 KLR 650, 09 Versys 650 and a 97 KLR 650.

1. The Versys 650 is the best of them on the interstate, the KLRs are ok, and the Wee-X does fine as long as you rev it up, but being the lightest it is more susceptible to wind buffeting. I live in Miami and have ridden it on the expressways, but will take surface roads more often.

2. I never measure fuel mileage, but I know I can get a little over 200 miles on a tank; roughly 45-50 mpg.

3. The seat on the Wee-X is... Yesterday I ordered a Seat Concepts Tall Seat. :) I'm 5'10", 180lbs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I often wonder if perspective has a lot to do with a bikes "power" description. I remember when my friend got a brand new Honda 305 Scrambler back in the 70s. A neighbors dad rode it and came back saying no motorcycle should have that much power. Compared to the trail 90 we had been riding it was a monster.
When I read moto mag writers saying bikes are underpowered I often wonder if riding 200 hp sportbikes hadn't tainted their perception. My KLR is considered underpowered, but I have never needed more than it had. I can out run most cars in everyday trafic, and I can get a speeding ticket anytime I want. I have to be judicial when passing cars on two lane roads, but I don't take chances because I think I can accelerate faster than light either. I understand not having a reserve of power for certain situations, I do ride a KLR. I also know that in 90,000+ miles on that bike I never lacked for the power to escape a bad situation. That is partly because I didn't ride myself into a point of no return corner. Planning ahead by watching what is around me is the best defense. All that to say I think I would appreciate the extra power of the V650, I have stayed behind slow traffic that I knew I could have safely passed had I been on my old V65 Sabre. At 57 I am not looking for adrenalin rushes, just having fun on a mountain road or through the rolling hills of the piedmont. Thanks for all the input, now I just have to get the finances in place to make my next move.
 

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I owned a 2013 KLR650 from 2013 to 2015.
I have owned a Versys-X 300 since April of this year.

The KLR650 was a good bike "straight off the shelf" but it tended to burn oil at over 4,500 rpm (anything above 110 km/h in 5th gear). The Versys-X is relatively far more oil-tight.

The Versys-X is more fuel efficient and smoother at highway speed (I have fitted the 15-tooth front drive sprocket). It needed that. The Versys-X is some 20 kg lighter than the KLR, which is a plus.

I suspect that the Versys-X valves will not need re-shimming as often as the KLR because of the far smaller masses of the 300's valves. (I will find out.)

Both bikes corner very well, but the KLR650 starts to "wallow" at speeds over 120 km/h. The Versys-X is good up to around 130 km/h (I had emulators fitted to the Versys forks, which dampens out high-speed bumps.) The KLR650 front forks are good enough. They don't really need emulators. (Probably helped by the 21-inch front wheel.)

The annual road tax on my 300 is significantly lower than it would be for a 650 cc motorcycle.

The stock KLR650 seat is comfortable enough. The stock Versys-X seat is horrible; I have the Kawasaki genuine aftermarket seat for the Versys-X that is 1-inch taller and significantly more comfortable.
 

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CB500X was high on my list when I bought the Versys 300. I had finally decided <400 lbs stock wet weight was necessary for my needs ... and the decision was made - no regrets 👍🏻
 

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CB500X was high on my list when I bought the Versys 300. I had finally decided <400 lbs stock wet weight was necessary for my needs ... and the decision was made - no regrets 👍🏻
I took a CB500X (19-inch front wheel model) for a test ride. It's like the Golden Labrador of medium-sized motorcycles. Very easy going.

I still have my 2001 Yamaha R6 I bought new in 2001. I had the suspension upgraded, but all else is stock. A great road bike for New Zealand conditions. It used to have 100 hp at the rear wheel, and it still has a sledgehammer top end. While the Versys-X 300 will cruise at 120 km/h, it has a very modest acceleration at that speed. I wouldn't want to push it beyond 130 km/h since there is no point. The R6, on the other hand, is just starting to come onto the cam at 130 km/h and just builds stronger and stronger until you are looking at jail time.

My choice of a gravel-road adventure tourer came down to two models: the CB500X or the Versys-X 300. The CB500X was very nice, but I wanted a greater separation from my Yamaha, so that favored the Versys-X. What really surprised me about the little 300 twin was that it would pull cleanly away in 6th gear from 60 km/h (14-tooth sprocket). Not even the Yamaha will do that (70 km/h is really the advisable limit). I was really impressed at how torquey the little Kawasaki engine was.
Another consideration was the $NZ3,000 cheaper price of the 300 compared with the Honda, plus the fact that the second-hand Versys-X's were generally well fitted out with accessories.

My Versys-X has a laundry list of mods (all good) mostly added by the previous owner. (* = added by me)
  • Headlight protector
  • LED lights (on crash bars)
  • Windscreen reinforcing bracket* + windscreen extension* (flaps like crazy without the reinforcing bracket)
  • Barkbusters with "Storm*" shields (the biggest ones) (I replaced the useless "Malibu" shields with the Storm ones)
  • Adjustable front brake and clutch levers
  • Tank R&G-brand grip/tank scuffing protectors
  • Front and rear mudguard extensions (for mud-flick suppression)
  • YSS cartridge fork emulators* (takes the sharp edges off the bumps, reducing rider fatigue at least). I did not change the fork springs.
  • Crash bars (everyone has these)
  • Alloy sump guard/bash plate (keeps mud off the engine, making cleaning easier, but probably unnecessary)
  • Oxford heated grips (can ride in summer gloves all year round)
  • Kawasaki genuine ERGO-FIT® Extended Reach Seat (it really works for 5'11" me)
  • Footpegs on eccentric cams (fully adjustable) (great in combination with the Extended Reach Seat)
  • 15-tooth drive sprocket* (8% reduction in rpm at highway cruising speeds) Cruising at 100 km/h is no longer annoying.
  • USB power socket on the dashboard (have never used it)

The exhaust is stock. I won't change it. The rear shock is good enough for the job. (The front forks really needed emulators badly.) I find the 2nd-lowest rear preload setting to be fine for me. I am not that heavy and I don't carry a pillion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yes, I have looked at the CB500X, and it is very tempting. I have not had an opportunity to try out the 500X. An acquaintance had the street version and loves it. With the legendary Honda reliability I bet it is a great bike. Another great bike by Honda is the NC700X, a good friend has one with the DCT trans and loves it. He says he wouldn't buy the NC with the standard clutch now that he has owned the DCT. Still looking!
 
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