When you say adventure bike, what comes to mind are big, tall powerful touring bikes that come with a hefty price tag. But these days manufacturers are mating big concepts with smaller engines. A bad idea or a good one? Let's find out with the Kawasaki Versys X 300.
The Versys X 300 uses the fuel-efficient liquid-cooled eight-valve, 296cc, six-speed parallel twin engine also found in the Ninja 300. It’s got improved midrange power that’s more appropriate to the Versys persona. The airbox shape, intake paths, and exhaust were reconfigured. Its got a dual throttle valve fuel injection system producing a very responsive linear delivery from low rpm up until the rev limiter kicks in at 12,750 rpm. The top speed if you’re on a race track can hit around 165 kph.
The standard seat is firm so expect a lot of butt shifting on long rides. You can change this to a higher seat but that means your head will pop out of the wind screen more. Maybe an improvement on the X 300 would be an adjustable windscreen to accommodate taller riders. The more your head sticks out, the more wind is directed to your head, and that means more air noise to deal with, which can cause fatigue.
The Versys X 300 is stable, the frame is rigid like a rock, giving you some macho bike credibility. Yes, it feels pretty much like a touring adventure bike in its stance, but lighter, more nimble, and more fuel efficient.
Offroading is a cinch. Consider it in between a trail bike and a full blown adventure bike because of its weight—a bit of the good from both worlds. Its suspension feels like it was tuned for tough unyielding on-road action, though.
On the practical side, there seems to be no argument that it’s a bang-for-the-buck bike at P270,000.
There is only one weakness to this bike. It’s a glaring one, but it’s not the bike’s fault; it’s our antiquated road use policy’s fault.
The Kawasaki Versys X 300 can’t get on the highway. Seriously. Someone should do something about the rule that says only 400cc bikes are allowed. Bring it down to 250cc. Now.
This story was originally published in the April 2018 issue of FHM Philippines. Minor edits were made by the FHM.com.ph editors.