Borrowing its engine from the Ninja 300, the Versys-X 300 offers much fun for new, casual, or returning riders who specifically don’t want a sportbike or the arse-up, head-down riding position such bikes construct. In a chrome-plated acorn nutshell, its most endearing features include natural and upright ergonomics, a reasonably low (32.1 inch) seat shaped to coddle riders small and tall, light weight (386 pounds wet), a standard fairing and windshield, affordable pricing, and optional ABS.
Kawasaki touts the Versys-X 300 as interstate ready, and while it’s possible to tour on this 296cc parallel twin, in reality the frontal area of the fairing, windshield, and optional side cases will make pacing fast-moving traffic a challenge. But if you’re cool with back roads or plying the right-hand lanes, the littlest Versys is too. Breaking with tradition for street-oriented ADV bikes, the Versys-X 300 has a 19-inch front wheel (and a 17-inch rear wheel), helping to boost ground clearance to 7.1 inches. Swap out the street tires for more aggressive treads, and there’s evidence the Versys-X 300 might actually have some “dirt” in its vocabulary!
Likes: Especially light and maneuverable for an ADV
Dislikes: None too powerful and struggles to match fast traffic
Verdict: A logical, versatile pick for new, casual, or returning riders