Kawasaki brings back the KLX300R

Along with its new KLX230 duallie, Kawasaki also announced the return of the off-road only KLX300R this week, updated from the version that skipped out of the lineup a few years back.

The KLX300R uses the same basic liquid-cooled DOHC single-cylinder six-speed engine as the KLX250 dual sport, but with a slightly bigger bore. In the past, these cylinders were commonly swapped over to the street-legal KLX250 to make a factory big-bore kit (which was actually 292 cc). That swap became impractical once the KLX250 went to EFI and the carbureted KLX300 was discontinued.

Now, however, the new KLX300R is also fuel-injected, keeping up with the changes to the KLX250.  It also has an electric start system; both these changes should make it a more attractive option to semi-serious trail riders.

What won’t be as attractive is the increased weight. The new EFI system and starter and other changes (new steel frame and aluminum swingarm) add up to almost 14 kg in gained weight, at 128 kg (previous model was 115 kg).

The KLX300R has gained EFI and electric start, but has also gained some weight and lost its light kit.

Another disadvantage to the new KLX300R is the lack of a light kit. Why ditch the headlight? Maybe Kawasaki felt the headlight added to the new fuel pump could draw too much power from the bike’s charging system, or maybe it’s to reduce weight, or simply reduce manufacturing costs. Whatever the reasoning, many buyers are going to be looking to the aftermarket to remedy this.

Bodywork is all-new. The KLX300R has a 21-inch front wheel, and 18-inch rear, with Dunlop Geomax tires that are best-suited for hard terrain. Suspension travel is 285 mm front and rear; the rear shock is adjustable for compression damping and spring preload. The KLX300R’s seat height is 925 mm. Fuel capacity is 7.9 litres.

Who’s this bike for? It’s sort of an in-between model, without the screaming top-shelf performance of motocrossers or race-ready enduros, but also not as stodgy as air-cooled, soft-sprung entry-level models. For many riders looking for the Goldilocks “just-right” formula, not too fast but not too slow, the KLX300R could be the answer.

For more details, visit Kawasaki.ca. The 2019 MSRP for the Kawasaki KLX300R off-roader is $5,999.

One thought on “Kawasaki brings back the KLX300R”

  1. KawaSAKE please make this a street legal dual purpose or put this engine in the KLX250 with winged unicorn stickers as option

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