Just a year after the debut of the Kawasaki KLX230R trail bike, we get our first look at the 2021 Kawasaki KLX230R S. While it is closely related to the standard KLX230R, there are some significant differences, so let’s go over them.1. Kawasaki has reduced the seat height of the KLX230R by 0.8 inches. The 2021 KLX230R S has a seat height of 35.4 inches, making it accessible to a broader range of riders.2. The ergonomics on the KLX230R S are unchanged from the standard version. Although the seat is lower, the rider triangle has not been impacted. Taller riders won’t have to pay a price for the shorter seat.
3. To get the lower seat height, Kawasaki shortened the suspension travel. There is 1.1-inch less travel at both ends of the 2021 KLX230R S. It is not a short-travel setup, as there is nearly nine inches of wheel travel front and back. That should be more than enough for a trail bike in this class.4. Kawasaki didn’t make any other chassis changes, so the geometry is unique to the KLX230R S. Expect noticeably quicker steering on the lower S for three reasons—the rake is tucked in 0.8 degrees, the trail is reduced a hair, and the wheelbase is 0.4 inches shorter. The curb weight is unchanged at 254 pounds.5. Technical trails may be a bit more difficult, as ground clearance on the S is one-inch less than on the KLX230R.6. Unnecessary California regulations hobble the versions in that state. To get the California Green Sticker, which allows the motorcycle to be ridden off-road all year long, the California KLX230R S has a steel fuel tank with a locking gas cap, along with a keyed ignition and EFI warning light. All of this nonsense adds 10 pounds to the bike. Generously, Kawasaki doesn’t charge Californians more for this folly.7. Otherwise, the S has the same features we enjoyed on the standard R. You get a fuel-injected air-cooled 233cc motor with electric starting, plus a full-size 18-/21-inch wheel combo.8. The MSRP of the 2021 Kawasaki KLX230R S is $4399. There’s only one color—Lime Green.
2021 Kawasaki KLX230R S Specs
Type: Single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore x stroke: 67.0 x 66.0mm
Compression ratio: 9.4:1
Valvetrain: SOHC; 2 valves
Fueling: EFI w/ 32mm throttle body
Final drive: Chain
Frame: Steel perimeter
Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable 37mm fork; 8.7 inches
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!