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2017 Kawasaki Versys-x 300; 14/46 sprockets (stock);
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It is interesting to me how everyone's perspective/interests/intended use affects the bike they ultimately "keep" ... and how they mod it (or not).

I see a lot of folks recommend sprocket change for the vx300 to allow for better on road performance. I would say this is good advice (if better on road / top speed / cruising is what you want).

On the other hand, I bought mine for different reasons: to putter around on/explore around the campground with my wife 2up (short rides - typically <50mi); To run around "medium" ride length (30-100 mi) with my brother (he has a crf300l rally) ... which includes pavement, gravel, and some light off-road (maybe more technical if it presents itself -- haven't had the opportunity yet); short trips for errands, visiting friends and family, etc.

For my intended use, stock gearing is excellent. I also love puttering around the yard in 1st gear (about an acre with some woods/little trail). I appreciate the PO's mods of crash bars and skid plate... and the heated grips (my 1st time with these), and the taller givi windscreen is nice too.

I'm really enjoying this bike for my intended purpose -- and glad it has options for others to tweak for their intended purposes. Also glad we have this forum to discuss all of the above!

Thanks for listening to me ramble!

-JT
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You’re not alone liking the stock gearing. My intended purpose is hauling azz down the interstate back n forth to work. If I wanted to relax I’d climb into a cage.
You're right... the revs don't really seem to hurt this bike much. They just give it a little more oomph as they climb !
 
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Vx300 15/48 Team Green Rocks!
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I didn’t choose the Vx because it was an adventure bike. I do like the style and capability tho. I have about a 30 mile commute, mostly urban interstate. I wanted a lightweight inexpensive bike with upright ergos and a fairing that was freeway capable, The Vx delivers all that quite well.

The 8-12k rpm range is where the performance resides. I enjoy using everything that little ninja engine has to put out, without necessarily beating on it. For me to ride my previous liter bikes like that, I’d be total cop bait and taking much larger risks. I can get my MotoGP fix reasonably close to legal limits with the Vx. At 70-80 mph, there’s still enough power in reserve to maneuver should the need arise. Pretty perfect in my book.

I’ve tried the taller gearing. Previous owner had a 16T up front when I bought it. The ck engine light came on with loss of gear indication after about a week. I found my way to this forum and was happy to find it was an easy fix. He had included an unused 15T with the bike, but I wanted to experience Kawasaki’s engineered spec with the 14T first. I rode the rest of my first 1/2 season with that. I wanted to try the 15T before it came time to replace the chain and tried to like it for the first month of this riding season. I thought the bike lost some of its character and performance. Also, I didn’t like the way the engine ran when in lower rpm conditions. My theory is that the fuel injection is programmed for the 14T. Also, the fault with the 16T was generated under low rpm conditions. So I changed back to the Kawasaki gearing and haven’t looked back since. It wants to rev? Let it rev! One more thing, I was expecting to see fewer mpg going with the 14T. Fuel efficiency was literally unchanged under my riding conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I didn’t choose the Vx because it was an adventure bike. I do like the style and capability tho. I have about a 30 mile commute, mostly urban interstate. I wanted a lightweight inexpensive bike with upright ergos and a fairing that was freeway capable, The Vx delivers all that quite well.

The 8-12k rpm range is where the performance resides. I enjoy using everything that little ninja engine has to put out, without necessarily beating on it. For me to ride my previous liter bikes like that, I’d be total cop bait and taking much larger risks. I can get my MotoGP fix reasonably close to legal limits with the Vx. At 70-80 mph, there’s still enough power in reserve to maneuver should the need arise. Pretty perfect in my book.

I’ve tried the taller gearing. Previous owner had a 16T up front when I bought it. The ck engine light came on with loss of gear indication after about a week. I found my way to this forum and was happy to find it was an easy fix. He had included an unused 15T with the bike, but I wanted to experience Kawasaki’s engineered spec with the 14T first. I rode the rest of my first 1/2 season with that. I wanted to try the 15T before it came time to replace the chain and tried to like it for the first month of this riding season. I thought the bike lost some of its character and performance. Also, I didn’t like the way the engine ran when in lower rpm conditions. My theory is that the fuel injection is programmed for the 14T. Also, the fault with the 16T was generated under low rpm conditions. So I changed back to the Kawasaki gearing and haven’t looked back since. It wants to rev? Let it rev! One more thing, I was expecting to see fewer mpg going with the 14T. Fuel efficiency was literally unchanged under my riding conditions.
Exactly... sometimes it's as fun to ride a smaller bike fast than a bigger bike slower.

I guess there's always room for improvement/tweaks -- but there's also credence to the idea that the Kawasaki engineers knew what they were doing.

Ride safely!
JT
 

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Great to read these posts. Just bought an x300 tourer with Kawasaki luggage, and leaving it standard for my first few trips before considering any modifications.

I do keep trying to change up to 7th on dual carriageways, but on the other hand I like the easy, controlled low speed handling in heavy traffic and on green lanes.
 

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Exactly... sometimes it's as fun to ride a smaller bike fast than a bigger bike slower.

I guess there's always room for improvement/tweaks -- but there's also credence to the idea that the Kawasaki engineers knew what they were doing.

Ride safely!
JT
I'm closer to 70 than 60, and have never yet owned a motorcycle, it's still a 50+ year itch. I see the Versys 300x as perfect for my needs and wishes and the more I research I do, the more I also agree with JT that the Kawasaki engineers knew what they were doing - it's a Goldilocks bike (y)
 

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My previous bike, BMW K100RS, had a lot going for it, 1000cc in-line 4 cylinder 2 valve each. An absolute blast for power touring in the 126-145mph range. Topped out at 150 and still solid. The real fun started at 80+. The stubby bars made it less than ideal in low speed maneuvers.
Prior to that, a Honda V65 Sabre. Fantastic power in all conditions from its 1100cc 90 deg V4 4 valves each. Had the low end torque and the high end horsepower. Fastest production cycle of its day, mid-80s., 170 mph capable. 0-WOW! In 2 seconds. I found mine started feeling a little loose at 145 and oh so gently backed off the throttle.
I’m just not interested in taking those kind of risks anymore, legal or otherwise. Cops seem just too militant anymore, no sense of humor. Not looking to ruin my life or anyone else’s. I do enjoy a spirited ride tho. The Vx delivers just that at more reasonable velocities. Revs take a little getting used to at first. But they grow on you. Pretty sure I’d miss them now, which was the case when trying out the 15T. Vx offers solid handling, any speed any angle. I’ll scrape a peg now and then. It’s exceeded my expectations for a low displacement bike. (Or as displacement snobs put it, a beginner bike.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My previous bike, BMW K100RS, had a lot going for it, 1000cc in-line 4 cylinder 2 valve each. An absolute blast for power touring in the 126-145mph range. Topped out at 150 and still solid. The real fun started at 80+. The stubby bars made it less than ideal in low speed maneuvers.
Prior to that, a Honda V65 Sabre. Fantastic power in all conditions from its 1100cc 90 deg V4 4 valves each. Had the low end torque and the high end horsepower. Fastest production cycle of its day, mid-80s., 170 mph capable. 0-WOW! In 2 seconds. I found mine started feeling a little loose at 145 and oh so gently backed off the throttle.
I’m just not interested in taking those kind of risks anymore, legal or otherwise. Cops seem just too militant anymore, no sense of humor. Not looking to ruin my life or anyone else’s. I do enjoy a spirited ride tho. The Vx delivers just that at more reasonable velocities. Revs take a little getting used to at first. But they grow on you. Pretty sure I’d miss them now, which was the case when trying out the 15T. Vx offers solid handling, any speed any angle. I’ll scrape a peg now and then. It’s exceeded my expectations for a low displacement bike. (Or as displacement snobs put it, a beginner bike.)
It takes a seasoned rider to have as much fun on a 'beginner bike' as others need a liter+ bike to achieve.

(Or maybe I'm just getting old and playing it safe)😂
 

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I’m having a blast with it. Don’t care what anyone else thinks. And yeah, I’m a little older, wiser, reflexes not quite as sharp as they once were. It’s good to know and operate within one’s limits. Guys I grew up riding with have Harleys, Valkyrie and such. We still get together a few times a year. They balk a bit regarding my engine size. I’m the only one showing up on a bike tho. It’s either too hot, too cold, or what have you with them.
 

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I was on a quest to find one bike for all uses. I'd had a Triumph Sprint 955cc tripple for longer rides, a Honda Super Cub for city commuting and local shopping trips, and a HONDA CRF for green lanes - but tax, insurance and testing, plus keeping batteries charged for 3 bikes was a nuisance.

The Versys 650 was advertised as a versatile bike, but a test ride showed it was much too heavy for Bangkok commuting and for conjested bike parking. Honda CB500X was better, but it has a high centre of gravity, and putting a foot down when stopped at a junction on a dusty Asian back road almost had me over.

My Honda CRF 250 was a contender, but it's dual sport seat and hopeless passenger footpegs limited it's use for two-up tours.

BMW 310, KTM 390, Enfield 350 and 411 all out of running due to limited dealer networks. Even tried a maxi scooter, but after centuries of traditional motorcycles I just couldn't.

Nearly bought a Z400, but my legs were too long.

So the X300 was really the only choice.

It was not a simple decision though, as in Thailand, the new Honda CB500X, with it's upside-down forks, dual front discs, all LED lights and bigger motor is exactly the same cost as the Kawasaki X300, which has not had a single update since the Napoleonic War.

So I went for an almost new X300 with full Kawasaki touring kit (luggage, centre stand, spot lights, hand guards) - so at least wasn't paying 500 money for a 300.

Really enjoying the X300. Like the light weight, zingy motor, easy handling, roomy ergonomics (more relaxed legs than on the CB500X) and that super light clutch lever. It was the right choice for me, but to compete in the marketplace, Kawasaki really must give it a refresh, and the 400 motor.
 

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It is interesting to me how everyone's perspective/interests/intended use affects the bike they ultimately "keep" ... and how they mod it (or not).
I see a lot of folks recommend sprocket change for the vx300 to allow for better on road performance. I would say this is good advice (if better on road / top speed / cruising is what you want).
-JT
Keep the stock gearing if you:
  • Like to "putter"
  • Carry a pillion passenger
  • Want to relax on unsealed/gravel roads

Consider a 15-tooth front sprocket if you:
  • Ride solo
  • Cover long distances on the open road
 
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