Kawasaki is making a big move to make off-road and dual-sport motorcycles more approachable to shorter-inseamed riders. Last year they offered a version of the KLX230R off-road bike with shortened-travel suspension and a resulting lower seat. That feature has been extended to the dual-sport world with the 2022 Kawasaki KLX230 S—a full-size dual-sport motorcycle with a seat height of just 32.7 inches. There’s a bit more to the story, so time to dig in.
- The lowering drops the seat height of the KLX230 by 2.4 inches. The S’s 32.7-inch seat height is the same as the KTM 390 Duke street bike. The ground clearance is now a relatively tight 8.3 inches.
- Suspension travel at both ends is shortened. Kawasaki reduced the wheel travel by 2.4 inches at both ends. The result is 6.2 inches of travel for the fork, and 6.6 inches of rear-wheel travel.
- Kawasaki did more than simply cut the travel. The standard KLX230 has very soft suspension, and shortening the travel would likely result in too much bottoming. Kawasaki put stiffer dual-stage springs in the fork and a firmer spring for the linkage-assisted shock. Although we’ll have to wait to ride the KLX230 S to know, this sounds like a sensible solution and one that might improve the bike’s handling on the dirt and street.
- The rake and trail of the KLX230 S are the same as the taller version, though the wheelbase is shorter. The rake remains at 27.5 degrees and the trail at 4.6 inches—those numbers work well on the standard KLX230. The shortened fork travel drops the wheelbase by 0.8 inches. With the lower chassis and shorter wheelbase, the 2022 Kawasaki KLX230 S should be an agile machine. Oddly, the S version weighs a few pounds more than the standard KLX230, making the ABS edition just a couple pounds shy of 300 pounds with the two-gallon fuel tank topped off.
- The ABS version of the KLX230 S gets a larger front disc. The KLX230 S has a 240mm front disc, while the ABS gets a 265mm disc. The ABS system is designed for dual-sport riding, so it should be dirt-friendly.
- The motor remains unchanged. The fuel-injected air-cooled SOHC two-valve motor is a simple one that works. We also like the six-speed transmission.
- The 2022 Kawasaki KLX230 S has an MSRP of $4799. Add $300 if you want ABS. If you like the Urban Olive Green/Ebony colorway, you will have to get the ABS model. The Lime Green color is available for both versions.
2022 Kawasaki KLX230 S (and KLX230 S ABS) Specs
- Type: Single-cylinder four-stroke
- Displacement: 233cc
- Bore x stroke: 67.0 x 66.0mm
- Compression ratio: 9.4:1
- Valvetrain: SOHC; 2 valves
- Cooling: Air
- Fueling: EFI w/ 32mm throttle body
- Transmission: 6-speed
- Final drive: Chain
- Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable 37mm fork; 6.2 inches
- Rear suspension; travel: Linkage-assisted spring-preload adjustable shock; 6.6 inches
- Front tire: 2.75 x 21; IRC Trails GP-21F
- Rear tire: 4.10 x 18; IRC Trails GP-22R
- Front brake: 240mm petal disc w/ 2-piston caliper (ABS: 265mm)
- Rear brake: 220mm petal disc w/ single-piston caliper
- ABS: Optional ($300)
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 53.5 inches
- Rake: 27.5 degrees
- Trail: 4.6 inches
- Seat height: 32.7 inches
- Ground clearance: 8.3 inches
- Fuel tank capacity: 2.0 gallons
- Curb weight: 296 pounds (ABS: 298 pounds)
- Color: Lime Green; Urban Olive Green/Ebony (ABS only)
2022 Kawasaki KLX230 S Price: $4799 MSRP
2022 Kawasaki KLX230 S ABS Price: $5099 MSRP
2022 Kawaski KLX230 S Photo Gallery