EX MACHINA

Why can’t the Kawasaki Ver­sys X 300 go the full stretch? Be­cause the rules say its en­gine is too small. Well, We say change the rules. now.

FHM (Philippines) - - CONTENTS - Words ZACH LUCERO

A new high­way chal­lenger ap­pears

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.

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