2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 ABS First Look Review

Kawasaki builds a new mini-Versys on the successful Ninja 300 platform.

2017 Kawasaki Versys 300 review
Affordability and versatility are hallmarks of the Versys family. The little Versys-X 300 is built on the bones of the Ninja 300.Photo: Kawasaki

Loyal fans of Kawasaki's Versys will be excited to learn that a new, smaller version of the adventure tourer is being released for the 2017 model year, dubbed the Versys-X 300. With a smaller engine, narrower profile, and shorter seat height than either the Versys 650 or Versys 1000, this new Versys ads a lower, more accessible step to the Versys ladder. The Versys-X 300 joins BMW's new G310GS in the new-for-2017 mini-adventure segment.

Kawasaki gave its new little Versys the liquid-cooled 296cc parallel-twin engine from the recently updated Ninja 300. The modest motor makes the Versys-X one of the smallest adventure-touring bikes in the market, but new tuning is said to shuffle the Ninja's top-end power down into the midrange for better street performance.

Giving this little Versys more appeal for the smaller and beginner riders, the Versys-X 300 comes with a slip-assist clutch, which offers a light clutch-lever pull and the benefits of a slipper. A lighter frame helps keep the bike narrower and lower, while the bike still offers a 4.5-gallon tank for long-distance travel. Unique styling sets it apart from its bigger brothers, with a single headlight and tall windscreen.

Versys-X 300
The Versys-X 300 comes standard with a tubular-steel rear rack (that doubles as a passenger grab handle) and cargo platform. Kawasaki will likely offer a color-matched top box.Photo: Kawasaki

Offered in either Candy Lime Green/ Metallic Graphite Gray or Metallic Graphite Gray/Flat Ebony, the 2017 Versys-X 300 will be priced at $5,399 for the standard version and $5,699 for the ABS version. Kawasaki has yet to announce the on-sale dates, but you can get more info at kawasaki.com.

The 2017 Versys-X 300 in Metallic Graphite Gray/Flat Ebony
The 2017 Versys-X 300 in Metallic Graphite Gray/Flat Ebony.Photo: Kawasaki