2020 Kawasaki KLX300R First Look: Between Trail and Race
Off-roaders have been missing the KLX300R for years. Well, it’s back, and Kawasaki describes the new 2020 Kawasaki KLX300R as more than a play bike, though less than a racing motorcycle. We won’t be riding it for a month or two, so let’s take a look at the KLX300R in the meantime.
The new KLX300R motor is very close to the earlier powerplant, but now with EFI and electric starting. The addition of EFI and electric starting make the 2020 Kawasaki KLX300R a much more friendly trail bike than the older version. Otherwise, the 2020 KLX300R powerplant is a liquid-cooled DOHC design with an 11.0:1 compression ratio and a counterbalancer, just like its predecessor. There’s a six-speed gearbox.
The 2020 KLX300R the same suspension specs as the previous KLX300R. Suspension travel at both ends is 11.2 inches, and the components are almost fully adjustable—all that’s missing is a rebound damping adjustment on the fork, same as on the earlier KLX300R. Rake is kicked out 0.4 degrees and now sits at 25.9 degrees.
No one will call the 2020 Kawasaki KLX300R a lightweight. It hits the scales at 282 pounds with the 2.1-gallon fuel tank filled. The old KLX300R had a wet weight of around 255 pounds. Chalk up part of the increased weight to the electric starter, EFI, and a larger muffler/USFS-approved spark arrester. Unlike the earlier KLX300R, the 2020 model does not have lighting.
For off-road performance, the 2020 Kawasaki KLX300R gets Dunlop Geomax MX52 rubber. Best suited for intermediate-to-hard terrain, the Dunlop MX52 has the Dunlop’s Block-In-A-Block tread technology adapted from racing tires. Unless all your riding is in soft terrain, you won’t have to swap these tires out before you go trail riding. Not surprisingly, the tires are mounted to 21-/18-inch wheel combination.
The new KLX300R has a four-position handlebar mounting system for rider personalization. Additionally, the front brake lever is adjustable to different hand sizes and preferences. The large 270mm front disc has a dual-piston caliper acting on it.
The 2020 Kawasaki KLX300R gets all-new bodywork. This will keep the KLX300R narrow and easy for a rider to move around on.
There is no natural competitor for the $5499 KLX300R, so it fills a niche nicely. The Honda CRF250F is smaller and $900 less expensive. A Yamaha WR250F is lighter and racier, with a price tag that is $2600 more.
Look for the 2020 Kawasaki KLX300R at dealerships in late summer of this year.
2020 Kawasaki KLX300R Specs
ENGINE Type: Single-cylinder four-stroke Displacement: 292cc Bore x stroke: 78.0 x 61.2mm Compression ratio: 11.0:1 Valvetrain: DOHC; 4 valves Fueling: EFI w/ 34mm throttle body Transmission: 6-speed Final drive: Chain CHASSIS Front suspension; travel: Compression-damping and spring-preload adjustable inverted 43mm cartridge fork; 11.2 inches Rear suspension; travel: Linkage-assisted fully adjustable shock; 11.2 inches Tires: Dunlop Geomax MX52 Front tire: 80/100 x 21 Rear tire: 100/100 x 18 Front brake: 270mm petal disc Rear brake: 240mm petal disc DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES Wheelbase: 56.5 inches Rake: 26.9 degrees Trail: 4.3 inches Seat height: 36.4 inches Ground clearance: 12.0 inches Fuel tank capacity: 2.1 gallons Curb weight: 282 pounds Color: Lime Green