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2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 ABS Enters MD Test Fleet: The First 100 Miles (Bike Reports) (News)

We took the long way home from Kawasaki after picking up our new Versys-X 300 ABS test bike earlier this week. This is the new, ultra-lightweight adventure tourer that has caused quite a bit of excitement among MD readers. Our ABS model is priced at $5,699, while the non-ABS version goes for $5,399.

You can read all the details concerning this model in our earlier report, and we will follow this brief introduction with a full ride review a few weeks down the road. We dropped off the powerful Z900 when we picked up the little Versys, and the engine performance contrast was, at first, a bit shocking. The Z900 makes a ton of low-end grunt, while the new Versys pulls hardest above 8,000 rpm.

Once we acclimated to the smaller engine’s performance, we found usable thrust beginning at 5,000 rpm on city streets with the bike willing to cruise smoothly on the highway at over 80 mph (while spinning at over 9,000 rpm). The engine remains smooth just about everywhere, with some mild vibration above 10,000 rpm.

The other contrast with the Z900 was the comfort and wind protection of this smallest Versys model. The seat is surprisingly firm and supportive with a nice little hump you can press your low back against while riding.  Bolt upright ergonomics include pretty good leg room, and broad handlebars that allow you to change direction with very little effort.

Kawasaki claims a curb weight (with the 4.5 gallon fuel tank topped off) of just 386 pounds – nearly identical to the weight of a Ninja 300. The narrow tires (including a 19″ front) contribute to the nimble feel, but the bike always feels plenty stable.

We put roughly 100 miles on the bike on our way back to the MD office, including a short stint off-road. Our first impression is that this bike is not only extremely comfortable, it is a blast to ride. The light weight makes it more capable off-road than most large adventure tourers, as well.

We will report back after putting more mileage on the new Versys-X 300 ABS.

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