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  1. Published on 04.19.2021 [embedded content] [embedded content] Triumph has released a new accredited advanced accident detection and emergency alerting system. Named ‘Triumph SOS’, the app automatically connects you to the nearest emergency service in case you need help and it’s available to any rider regardless of the bike they own. Triumph states the new platform has been specifically tailored for motorcyclists, and monitors key acceleration/deceleration sensors in your smartphone to detect and validate an accident. If activated, the rider will have a 30-second time window to cancel the alert, otherwise emergency services will attempt to make contact with the rider. If they speak to the rider and they need assistance, or if they can’t make contact, emergency services are immediately dispatched to the precise GPS location, with additional information such as direction of travel (to make sure they’re on the correct side of a freeway, tunnel, etc.), rider’s medical details and bike details. Features include Auto-pause technology to prevent accidental triggering and riders can also manually choose to turn ‘crash detection’ off at any time. ADVERTISEMENT Reportedly, a lot of time went into development of the SOS emergency system. The app has been through a validation process and demonstrated sufficiently low false activation rates to have been approved to call the emergency services directly. In fact, Triumph mentions this is one of the features that makes it different from other available e-call apps which are typically set to call a specified emergency contact or are limited to a single market. Although it has the convenience that it uses your smartphone, keep in mind the app requires a cell phone signal so it may not be of much use for riders traveling in remote areas. The SOS system has launched across the UK, Europe, ROI, North America, Australia and New Zealand and offers a 3-month free trial for all Triumph owners. Service costs $4.99 a month and you can cancel at any time. The app also offers other navigation features such as: Worldwide route recording, editing, and sharing. Full screen routes with ride stats. Export & share GPX files. Explore, discuss and share community recorded routes. Real-time location sharing with other members of your riding group. For more information go to www.triumphmotorycles.com.
  2. Supermotos are a peculiar breed of motorcycle. They take a bike designed for one end of the spectrum and adapt it to perform at the complete opposite, and somehow the combination actually works. Benefiting from a lightweight dirtbike chassis and riding on smaller 17″ wheels, Supermotos offer a level of nimbleness and flickability that is hard to match. Every time I’ve ever come across a Supermoto on a twisty backroad (and sometimes out on the trail), it’s been surprising how capable they can be. And with an upright riding position, ample ground clearance and long-travel suspension, they can be versatile too. I’ve also been intrigued by their ‘Light ADV’ potential for smaller riders but more than anything, they just look like tremendous fun. Given the chance to get my Supermoto fix on the KLX300SM during a full day of testing in Northern California, I jumped at the opportunity. Not only would we be evaluating the new KLX on some epic twisty backroads, but we’d get to carve some turns on a race track too. First Look This isn’t Kawasaki’s first go-around with a KLX Supermoto. In fact, they used to make a 250cc version of this bike back in the early 2000s. Now for 2021, its water-cooled engine has been bumped up to 292cc and it receives fuel injection along with a host of other refinements like slimmer-profile radiators, a hotter cam, optimized ignition timing, a new engine balancer, and taller gearing to name a few. The rear shock is fully adjustable while the 43mm cartridge fork offers compression damping only. The chassis uses a steel-perimeter frame and an aluminum swingarm. Up front, it sports a 43mm cartridge-style USD fork with 16-way adjustable compression damping. The rear shock offers preload adjustment along with 20-way compression and 30-way rebound damping adjustments. There are no advanced electronics or rider aids like ABS or traction control, but it does have a simple digital dash with warning lights for the engine, fuel level, coolant temp, high beam, neutral, and turn indicators. ADVERTISEMENT While it looks very similar to its KLX300 Dual Sport sibling we recently reviewed, there are a number of differences that set the two models apart. Most notable are the 17-inch spoke wheels and sporty IRC Road Winner RX-01 tires that provide improved agility and grip on asphalt roads. Kawasaki also lowered the suspension by one inch and gave it stiffer springs to tighten up the handling characteristics for sport riding. All these chassis changes drop the seat h down 1.3 inches to a more-manageable 33.9″ and also reduce the fork rake angle from a dirtbike-friendly 26.7° to a more-sporty 25°. Suspension travel sits at 9.1 inches in the front and 8.1 inches in the rear, with a fairly compact wheelbase of 56.5 inches and a respectable (for ADV Bike standards) 9.3 inches of ground clearance. Other differences from the KLX300 Dual Sport include a larger 300mm semi-floating front disc (up from 250mm) with a 2-piston Nissin caliper. Plus it gets a set of narrower bars and tall rubber footpeg covers that put the rider in a sportier riding position. The Supermoto gets a 300mm front disc compared to 250mm on the KLX300 Dual Sport. Suspension travel sits at 9.1 inches in the front and 8.1 inches in the rear, with a fairly compact wheelbase of 56.5 inches and 9.3 inches of ground clearance. The Supermoto KLX also gets a few styling differences like the smaller, angular front fender and more aerodynamic mirrors. Some of the trail protection has been removed as well like the small skid plate under the frame and plastic guard for the rear brake reservoir. Yet it still retains the engine guards, rear fender tool kit pouch, and fuel capacity is the same at 2.0 gallons. On The Highway The KLX300SM is fairly smooth for a single cylinder on the highway at 75 mph. Heading out for a day of testing on a crisp spring morning, I was curious how much difference there might be between the KLX300 Dual Sport I had tested on the previous day and the KLX300SM Supermoto. At a stoplight I could already notice a reduced distance to the ground as well as other test riders in the 5’3″ range enjoying being able to get both toes on the ground compared to just one. The KLX300SM’s narrower handlebars are a subtle change that could easily be missed but the footpeg position is noticeably higher than the Dual Sport model. The additional knee bend might feel slightly cramped on longer rides for a taller rider like me at 6’2”, but you can easily remove the footpeg covers if you want more leg room. While acceleration felt similar to the KLX Dual Sport, the taller gearing (37-tooth rear sprocket vs. 40 on the dual sport) did seem to make the Supermoto feel more comfortable at freeway speeds. Where the Dual Sport likes to cruise at around 70 mph, the Supermoto’s sweet spot is around 75 mph. There’s a fair amount of buzz in the bars felt while you are accelerating up to speed but it’s pretty smooth for a single cylinder motor when holding a steady pace. Acceleration is adequate for passing slower cars but beyond 75 mph the speedo creeps upward under a full throttle. The bike feels stable on the highway compared to a typical dirt bike and the saddle’s padding is comfortable for a flat, single-piece design. Although, I would remove the seat strap which is placed right in the center of the seat for some odd reason. For a flat, single-piece saddle, it is surprisingly comfortable but the seat strap encroaches on the seating area a bit. The strap can be removed in a matter of minutes though. It’s a bike that could definitely be used for brief stints on the highway or a short commute, but there’s no wind screen to deflect a direct blast of air to the chest and fingers get cold quickly without any hand guards. I didn’t get an opportunity to do a full top speed test, but somewhere around 90 mph is achievable on a downward slope. In The Twisties Riding in the foothills of California’s Sierras, the KLX300SM felt in its element. The sport-biased tires offered plenty of grip and the bike was even more flickable than its Dual Sport counterpart. We had an abundance of tight curves to feast on during our test, and the stiffer, shorter suspension offered even more confidence to push our limits. The KLX300SM loves to turn and the tighter, the better. Only on high-speed sweepers did it start to feel less planted. Rough pavement and potholes we came across never upset the suspension and the bike’s mellow horsepower output lets you flog it everywhere. There was definitely an improvement in stopping force with the larger 300mm front disc (compared to 250mm on the Dual Sport). I felt like it added about 10% more braking power and required less pressure on the lever. The taller gearing does dampen the acceleration a bit compared to the Dual Sport and getting the front wheel lofted in first gear took some clutching and a fair bit of body English. It gets you up to speed effectively when banging through the gears though. Performance is spirited but unintimidating. At The Track As lunchtime rolled around, we headed to the local Kart track in Prairie City and it was time to squeeze into our leathers. The roughly 1/2-mile course features 13 turns, elevation changes and a miniature version of the Laguna Seca’s corkscrew. While most of the turns are very tight in the 10-15 mph range, there is a long straight and big hairpin turn where you can catch some speed. A few turns were banked while others were off camber, so there was plenty of variety to give the little Supermoto a proper test. Prior to this day I had actually never ridden any type of motorcycle on a road-based track before, so this was a totally new experience to me. I was definitely feeling some jitters for the first few laps and hung out in the back of the pack until I gained my confidence. What I soon learned was that the smooth power and flickable chassis of the KLX300SM are pretty stupid proof, even without the aid of ABS or traction control. Some of the turns were so tight, it required a steady throttle to avoid tipping. They keep coming in rapid succession, requiring you to quickly lift the bike up and flip it back over the opposite direction. Getting down into a speed tuck on the long straight I was able to clock about 67 mph before hitting my braking marker. Slowing the bike down for the big hairpin turn was no problem with the large 300mm front disc and the rear tire stayed planted, rarely exhibiting any chirps or skips. Coming out of the hairpin there is a quick right-to-left transition that requires you to scrub speed quickly. Some riders would go leg out on the slower turns but despite my off-road background, I felt more comfortable with my knee out. It wasn’t long before my virgin knee pucks touched asphalt and I let out a “Whooa!” that many of my fellow journalists hanging out in the bleachers got a laugh out of. And pretty soon I was scraping a knee on nearly every turn pretending I was Valentino Rossi. What I wasn’t expecting was a Marc Marquez impression… Going through the big hairpin with knee down, pushing my speed a bit, I began to scrape the footpeg and it unweighted the bike causing the front to tuck. Somehow I was able to use my knee and some quick-twitch muscles to get the bike back on a solid rubber footing again as I let out another “Whooa!”. It was a lucky save. Perhaps I have the forgivable nature of the KLX300SM to thank for keeping me from an embarrassing moment. But it also left me wondering why the footpegs on a bike designed for twisty bends touched down so soon. Kawasaki has raised the footpeg position by adding extra-tall rubber covers, which doesn’t actually provide any additional ground clearance under the peg. What you end up with is just a more cramped riding position and no real benefit for it. A proper set of rear set pegs, that actually raises the pegs and increases ground clearance would be preferable. Even so, this is probably not going to be a problem for most riders unless they are doing track days. Off-Road? Unfortunately, we didn’t spend time testing the bike off-road. However, I did take a few dirt detours off the side of the road while we were waiting at photo stops. Overall, the suspension feels firmer than the KLX300 Dual Sport, but it’s well up to the task. A lighter rider than me (I’m 215 pounds) might find it a bit harsh on rough roads, but the ground clearance is adequate and you can get decent traction on the smooth tires as long as you stick to hard-packed terrain. Going through a few mud patches, I definitely felt the tires slip quickly but these are 100% road tires. Throw on a set of Continental TKC 80’s and it would be a nimble, manageable machine that can handle trails in the ‘Adventure Bike’ range and still tear it up on the street. The Bottom Line The KLX300SM is first and foremost a sporty bike that is a blast to carve esses on. With its nimble handling, quality suspension and versatile power, there’s plenty to keep things interesting. Yet all of its sharp edges have been rounded for those looking for something less intimidating and easier to handle. It has a low weight, reasonable seat h and mellow power delivery that leaves you with a safety net in case things get out of line. For those smaller riders looking to turn the KLX300SM into a ‘Light ADV,’ the potential is there (with mods) if you want to wander beyond the pavement on occasion. It’s still a dirtbike at heart, so with a proper set of 50/50 Dual Sport knobbies and some trail protection, it would be easy to manage (better than a 500+ pound ADV Bike). With its 17” wheels and shorter suspension, it’s also more nimble and easier to get a foot down than its Dual Sport sibling. The 17” front may be a hindrance on rough terrain or in sand or mud, but the bike’s lighter weight can help compensate with more control. One might consider lacing up a 19” front wheel if your travels take you off-road more regularly. It’s fairly smooth on the highway for a single cylinder and has adequate passing power to be safe. Sure a twin-cylinder machine would be better for longer stints, but when you are a smaller rider, sometimes you have to sacrifice somewhere. Add a windscreen, larger fuel tank, heated grips, hand guards, soft bags, and I think this bike could do the miles. With its rock-solid reliability and a long maintenance interval (7,500 miles) compared to most dual sport bikes, it would also make a great urban commuter or errand runner. And it’s economical too, with a price tag that won’t have you digging in your seat cushions for spare change. Gear We Used The new KLX300SM is available in Lime Green and Oriental Blue for $5,999. All KLX300SM’s are manufactured in Kawasaki’s Thailand facility. More information on the 2021 KLX300SM can be found on the Kawasaki website. Kawasaki KLX300SM Specs ENGINE: 4-stroke, 1-cylinder, DOHC, 4-valves, liquid-cooled DISPLACEMENT: 292cc BORE X STROKE: 78.0 x 61.2mm COMPRESSION RATIO: 11.1:1 FUEL SYSTEM: DFI® with 34mm throttle body IGNITION: Digital DC-CDI TRANSMISSION: 6 speed FINAL DRIVE: sealed chain RAKE/TRAIL: 25.0°/2.8 in FRONT WHEEL TRAVEL: 9.1 in REAR WHEEL TRAVEL: 8.1 in FRONT TIRE: 110/70-17 REAR TIRE: 130/70-17 FRONT SUSPENSION: 43mm Inverted Cartridge Fork with 16-way Compression Damping Adjustment REAR SUSPENSION: Uni-Trak with Adjustable Preload, 16-way Compression and Rebound Damping Adjustment WHEELBASE: 56.5 in FRONT BRAKE: 300mm single disc REAR BRAKE: 240mm single disc FUEL CAPACITY: 2.0 gal GROUND CLEARANCE: 9.3 in SEAT HEIGHT: 33.9 in CURB WEIGHT: 304.3 lb MAINTENANCE INTERVAL: Oil change and valve check every 7500 miles WARRANTY: 12 months Photos by Kevin Wing Author: Rob Dabney Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Mexico, North Africa, Europe, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.
  3. Supermotos are a peculiar breed of motorcycle. They take a bike designed for one end of the spectrum and adapt it to perform at the complete opposite, and somehow the combination actually works. Benefiting from a lightweight dirtbike chassis and riding on smaller 17″ wheels, Supermotos offer a level of nimbleness and flickability that is hard to match. Every time I’ve ever come across a Supermoto on a twisty backroad (and sometimes out on the trail), it’s been surprising how capable they can be. And with an upright riding position, ample ground clearance and long-travel suspension, they can be versatile too. I’ve also been intrigued by their ‘Light ADV’ potential for smaller riders but more than anything, they just look like tremendous fun. Given the chance to get my Supermoto fix on the KLX300SM during a full day of testing in Northern California, I jumped at the opportunity. Not only would we be evaluating the new KLX on some epic twisty backroads, but we’d get to carve some turns on a race track too. First Look This isn’t Kawasaki’s first go-around with a KLX Supermoto. In fact, they used to make a 250cc version of this bike back in the early 2000s. Now for 2021, its water-cooled engine has been bumped up to 292cc and it receives fuel injection along with a host of other refinements like slimmer-profile radiators, a hotter cam, optimized ignition timing, a new engine balancer, and taller gearing to name a few. The rear shock is fully adjustable while the 43mm cartridge fork offers compression damping only. The chassis uses a steel-perimeter frame and an aluminum swingarm. Up front, it sports a 43mm cartridge-style USD fork with 16-way adjustable compression damping. The rear shock offers preload adjustment along with 20-way compression and 30-way rebound damping adjustments. There are no advanced electronics or rider aids like ABS or traction control, but it does have a simple digital dash with warning lights for the engine, fuel level, coolant temp, high beam, neutral, and turn indicators. ADVERTISEMENT While it looks very similar to its KLX300 Dual Sport sibling we recently reviewed, there are a number of differences that set the two models apart. Most notable are the 17-inch spoke wheels and sporty IRC Road Winner RX-01 tires that provide improved agility and grip on asphalt roads. Kawasaki also lowered the suspension by one inch and gave it stiffer springs to tighten up the handling characteristics for sport riding. All these chassis changes drop the seat h down 1.3 inches to a more-manageable 33.9″ and also reduce the fork rake angle from a dirtbike-friendly 26.7° to a more-sporty 25°. Suspension travel sits at 9.1 inches in the front and 8.1 inches in the rear, with a fairly compact wheelbase of 56.5 inches and a respectable (for ADV Bike standards) 9.3 inches of ground clearance. Other differences from the KLX300 Dual Sport include a larger 300mm semi-floating front disc (up from 250mm) with a 2-piston Nissin caliper. Plus it gets a set of narrower bars and tall rubber footpeg covers that put the rider in a sportier riding position. The Supermoto gets a 300mm front disc compared to 250mm on the KLX300 Dual Sport. Suspension travel sits at 9.1 inches in the front and 8.1 inches in the rear, with a fairly compact wheelbase of 56.5 inches and 9.3 inches of ground clearance. The Supermoto KLX also gets a few styling differences like the smaller, angular front fender and more aerodynamic mirrors. Some of the trail protection has been removed as well like the small skid plate under the frame and plastic guard for the rear brake reservoir. Yet it still retains the engine guards, rear fender tool kit pouch, and fuel capacity is the same at 2.0 gallons. On The Highway The KLX300SM is fairly smooth for a single cylinder on the highway at 75 mph. Heading out for a day of testing on a crisp spring morning, I was curious how much difference there might be between the KLX300 Dual Sport I had tested on the previous day and the KLX300SM Supermoto. At a stoplight I could already notice a reduced distance to the ground as well as other test riders in the 5’3″ range enjoying being able to get both toes on the ground compared to just one. The KLX300SM’s narrower handlebars are a subtle change that could easily be missed but the footpeg position is noticeably higher than the Dual Sport model. The additional knee bend might feel slightly cramped on longer rides for a taller rider like me at 6’2”, but you can easily remove the footpeg covers if you want more leg room. While acceleration felt similar to the KLX Dual Sport, the taller gearing (37-tooth rear sprocket vs. 40 on the dual sport) did seem to make the Supermoto feel more comfortable at freeway speeds. Where the Dual Sport likes to cruise at around 70 mph, the Supermoto’s sweet spot is around 75 mph. There’s a fair amount of buzz in the bars felt while you are accelerating up to speed but it’s pretty smooth for a single cylinder motor when holding a steady pace. Acceleration is adequate for passing slower cars but beyond 75 mph the speedo creeps upward under a full throttle. The bike feels stable on the highway compared to a typical dirt bike and the saddle’s padding is comfortable for a flat, single-piece design. Although, I would remove the seat strap which is placed right in the center of the seat for some odd reason. For a flat, single-piece saddle, it is surprisingly comfortable but the seat strap encroaches on the seating area a bit. The strap can be removed in a matter of minutes though. It’s a bike that could definitely be used for brief stints on the highway or a short commute, but there’s no wind screen to deflect a direct blast of air to the chest and fingers get cold quickly without any hand guards. I didn’t get an opportunity to do a full top speed test, but somewhere around 90 mph is achievable on a downward slope. In The Twisties Riding in the foothills of California’s Sierras, the KLX300SM felt in its element. The sport-biased tires offered plenty of grip and the bike was even more flickable than its Dual Sport counterpart. We had an abundance of tight curves to feast on during our test, and the stiffer, shorter suspension offered even more confidence to push our limits. The KLX300SM loves to turn and the tighter, the better. Only on high-speed sweepers did it start to feel less planted. Rough pavement and potholes we came across never upset the suspension and the bike’s mellow horsepower output lets you flog it everywhere. There was definitely an improvement in stopping force with the larger 300mm front disc (compared to 250mm on the Dual Sport). I felt like it added about 10% more braking power and required less pressure on the lever. The taller gearing does dampen the acceleration a bit compared to the Dual Sport and getting the front wheel lofted in first gear took some clutching and a fair bit of body English. It gets you up to speed effectively when banging through the gears though. Performance is spirited but unintimidating. At The Track As lunchtime rolled around, we headed to the local Kart track in Prairie City and it was time to squeeze into our leathers. The roughly 1/2-mile course features 13 turns, elevation changes and a miniature version of the Laguna Seca’s corkscrew. While most of the turns are very tight in the 10-15 mph range, there is a long straight and big hairpin turn where you can catch some speed. A few turns were banked while others were off camber, so there was plenty of variety to give the little Supermoto a proper test. Prior to this day I had actually never ridden any type of motorcycle on a road-based track before, so this was a totally new experience to me. I was definitely feeling some jitters for the first few laps and hung out in the back of the pack until I gained my confidence. What I soon learned was that the smooth power and flickable chassis of the KLX300SM are pretty stupid proof, even without the aid of ABS or traction control. Some of the turns were so tight, it required a steady throttle to avoid tipping. They keep coming in rapid succession, requiring you to quickly lift the bike up and flip it back over the opposite direction. Getting down into a speed tuck on the long straight I was able to clock about 67 mph before hitting my braking marker. Slowing the bike down for the big hairpin turn was no problem with the large 300mm front disc and the rear tire stayed planted, rarely exhibiting any chirps or skips. Coming out of the hairpin there is a quick right-to-left transition that requires you to scrub speed quickly. Some riders would go leg out on the slower turns but despite my off-road background, I felt more comfortable with my knee out. It wasn’t long before my virgin knee pucks touched asphalt and I let out a “Whooa!” that many of my fellow journalists hanging out in the bleachers got a laugh out of. And pretty soon I was scraping a knee on nearly every turn pretending I was Valentino Rossi. What I wasn’t expecting was a Marc Marquez impression… Going through the big hairpin with knee down, pushing my speed a bit, I began to scrape the footpeg and it unweighted the bike causing the front to tuck. Somehow I was able to use my knee and some quick-twitch muscles to get the bike back on a solid rubber footing again as I let out another “Whooa!”. It was a lucky save. Perhaps I have the forgivable nature of the KLX300SM to thank for keeping me from an embarrassing moment. But it also left me wondering why the footpegs on a bike designed for twisty bends touched down so soon. Kawasaki has raised the footpeg position by adding extra-tall rubber covers, which doesn’t actually provide any additional ground clearance under the peg. What you end up with is just a more cramped riding position and no real benefit for it. A proper set of rear set pegs, that actually raises the pegs and increases ground clearance would be preferable. Even so, this is probably not going to be a problem for most riders unless they are doing track days. Off-Road? Unfortunately, we didn’t spend time testing the bike off-road. However, I did take a few dirt detours off the side of the road while we were waiting at photo stops. Overall, the suspension feels firmer than the KLX300 Dual Sport, but it’s well up to the task. A lighter rider than me (I’m 215 pounds) might find it a bit harsh on rough roads, but the ground clearance is adequate and you can get decent traction on the smooth tires as long as you stick to hard-packed terrain. Going through a few mud patches, I definitely felt the tires slip quickly but these are 100% road tires. Throw on a set of Continental TKC 80’s and it would be a nimble, manageable machine that can handle trails in the ‘Adventure Bike’ range and still tear it up on the street. The Bottom Line The KLX300SM is first and foremost a sporty bike that is a blast to carve esses on. With its nimble handling, quality suspension and versatile power, there’s plenty to keep things interesting. Yet all of its sharp edges have been rounded for those looking for something less intimidating and easier to handle. It has a low weight, reasonable seat h and mellow power delivery that leaves you with a safety net in case things get out of line. For those smaller riders looking to turn the KLX300SM into a ‘Light ADV,’ the potential is there (with mods) if you want to wander beyond the pavement on occasion. It’s still a dirtbike at heart, so with a proper set of 50/50 Dual Sport knobbies and some trail protection, it would be easy to manage (better than a 500+ pound ADV Bike). With its 17” wheels and shorter suspension, it’s also more nimble and easier to get a foot down than its Dual Sport sibling. The 17” front may be a hindrance on rough terrain or in sand or mud, but the bike’s lighter weight can help compensate with more control. One might consider lacing up a 19” front wheel if your travels take you off-road more regularly. It’s fairly smooth on the highway for a single cylinder and has adequate passing power to be safe. Sure a twin-cylinder machine would be better for longer stints, but when you are a smaller rider, sometimes you have to sacrifice somewhere. Add a windscreen, larger fuel tank, heated grips, hand guards, soft bags, and I think this bike could do the miles. With its rock-solid reliability and a long maintenance interval (7,500 miles) compared to most dual sport bikes, it would also make a great urban commuter or errand runner. And it’s economical too, with a price tag that won’t have you digging in your seat cushions for spare change. Gear We Used The new KLX300SM is available in Lime Green and Oriental Blue for $5,999. All KLX300SM’s are manufactured in Kawasaki’s Thailand facility. More information on the 2021 KLX300SM can be found on the Kawasaki website. Kawasaki KLX300SM Specs ENGINE: 4-stroke, 1-cylinder, DOHC, 4-valves, liquid-cooled DISPLACEMENT: 292cc BORE X STROKE: 78.0 x 61.2mm COMPRESSION RATIO: 11.1:1 FUEL SYSTEM: DFI® with 34mm throttle body IGNITION: Digital DC-CDI TRANSMISSION: 6 speed FINAL DRIVE: sealed chain RAKE/TRAIL: 25.0°/2.8 in FRONT WHEEL TRAVEL: 9.1 in REAR WHEEL TRAVEL: 8.1 in FRONT TIRE: 110/70-17 REAR TIRE: 130/70-17 FRONT SUSPENSION: 43mm Inverted Cartridge Fork with 16-way Compression Damping Adjustment REAR SUSPENSION: Uni-Trak with Adjustable Preload, 16-way Compression and Rebound Damping Adjustment WHEELBASE: 56.5 in FRONT BRAKE: 300mm single disc REAR BRAKE: 240mm single disc FUEL CAPACITY: 2.0 gal GROUND CLEARANCE: 9.3 in SEAT HEIGHT: 33.9 in CURB WEIGHT: 304.3 lb MAINTENANCE INTERVAL: Oil change and valve check every 7500 miles WARRANTY: 12 months Photos by Kevin Wing Author: Rob Dabney Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Mexico, North Africa, Europe, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.
  4. [embedded content] [embedded content] Since its debut in 2018, Triumph’s dirt-focused 1200 Scrambler has been praised for its dual-purpose capability and performance, offering as much go as it does show. Confident in its off-road chops, Triumph went as far as racing a stock 1200 XE at the grueling NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally in 2019, finishing in an impressive 5th place against a field of dirt bikes. For 2022, Triumph is gracing the existing XC and XE models with a host of Euro 5 related updates that are said to leave max power (89 hp @ 7,250rpm) and torque (81 lbs-ft @ 4,500 rpm) unchanged. Although max torque comes in 550 rpms later and max horsepower arrives 150 rpms sooner than before. The tweaks have also resulted in lower emissions and a gain of 13 pounds due to a revised exhaust system that now offers improved heat distribution. New Scrambler 1200 Steve McQueen Edition A year after the release of the ultra-exclusive 1200 Scrambler ‘Bond Edition,’ Triumph is adding to the line-up a new special edition model as a homage to the iconic actor and desert racer Steve McQueen. The new McQueen Edition shares all of the updates, high-specifications and performance of the more off-road focused XE and adds its own premium paint scheme, along with an extensive list of unique details. Fully equipped with a selection of premium Scrambler accessories fitted as standard, the McQueen Edition is now officially the highest specification Scrambler 1200. ADVERTISEMENT Inspired by the original competition-spec Triumph TR6, made famous by the legendary barbed wire jump in the iconic 1963 Second World War classic “The Great Escape,” the Scrambler 1200 Steve McQueen Edition has been developed in partnership with the McQueen family. Chosen to ride in the film by McQueen, the Triumph TR6 used in the jump was created by a British Triumph dealer and ISDT Gold Medal racer Ken Heanes, with an ISDT suspension set-up designed for robust stunt work. The Scrambler McQueen Edition was inspired by the Triumph TR6, made famous by the legendary barbed wire jump in the iconic 1963 Second World War classic “The Great Escape.” Unique limited edition With just 1,000 Scrambler 1200 Steve McQueen Edition models available worldwide, each bike is individually numbered on the billet-machined handlebar clamp, which also features a laser etched Steve McQueen signature. For even greater exclusivity, each bike comes with a unique certificate of authenticity stating the bike’s VIN number, and carrying the signatures of Triumph’s CEO, Nick Bloor, and also Chad McQueen, son of the legend himself, Steve McQueen. Exclusive details and finish The unique paint scheme features a Competition Green tank with brushed foil knee pads, exquisite hand-painted gold lining, gold heritage Triumph logos, dedicated Steve McQueen tank graphic, brushed aluminium Monza cap and brushed stainless steel tank strap. The distinctive Steve McQueen Edition will also feature the aluminium high level front mudguard as standard, which, along with the rear mudguard, will also be painted in Competition Green. In addition to the standard 1200 XE’s class leading specification, the Steve McQueen Edition comes fitted with engine protection dresser bars, which add another layer of ruggedness. Fabricated from stainless steel tubing, these have an electro-polished finish and offer additional protection to the clutch and alternator covers. A laser cut and pressed aluminium radiator guard, with laser-etched Triumph branding, also comes as standard, giving additional protection from loose stones while optimizing air flow. The Steve McQueen Edition also features a premium brown bench seat, with stitched ribbing and Triumph branding, which further enhances the overall classic style and elegance. The new Scrambler 1200 Steve McQueen edition is also pre-enabled for the accessory My Triumph connectivity system. This allows the rider to access phone calls, operate music, use turn-by-turn navigation and manage a Go-Pro through the intuitive handlebar controls and TFT interface. 2022 Scrambler 1200 Pricing and Availability While the McQueen Edition comes in its dedicated premium livery, the XC and XE are available in three colors: Cobalt Blue with a Jet Black stripe, Matt Khaki Green with a Jet Black stripe or the single tone Sapphire Black option. All models are scheduled to hit dealer floors in June, 2021. Scrambler 1200 XC $14,000 USD / $15,200 CAD Scrambler 1200 XE $15,400 USD / $16,300 CAD Scrambler 1200 Steve McQueen Edition $16,400 USD / $17,800 CAD 2022 Scrambler 1200 Highlights New Euro 5 engine update with lower emissions. New Euro 5 exhaust system update with improved heat distribution. Liquid-cooled, 8-valve 1200cc parallel-twin engine. Wide adjustable handlebars. 21” front and 17” rear side-laced tubeless spoked wheels. Öhlins long travel fully adjustable RSUs and long travel Showa forks. Twin Brembo M50 radial monobloc calipers. Long-travel aluminium swingarm. Full-color TFT instruments with illuminated switches. Up to 6 riding modes, including Off-Road Pro (XE). Optimized cornering ABS and optimized cornering traction control (XE). All-LED lighting with DRL headlight (market specific). Keyless ignition, single button cruise control and USB charging socket . Sculpted bench seat and signature high level twin exhaust. 70+ accessories, including new Dakar inspired fly screen. Scrambler 1200 XC Specs Engine Type: Liquid cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin Capacity: 1200 cc Bore: 97.6 mm Stroke: 80 mm Compression: 11.0:1 Maximum Power: 89 Bhp @ 7,250 rpm Maximum Torque: 81.1 ft-lbs (110Nm) @ 4500 rpm Fuel System: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection Exhaust: Brushed 2 into 2 exhaust system with brushed high level twin silencers Final Drive: X ring chain Clutch: Wet, multi-plate torque assist clutch Gearbox: 6-speed Frame: Tubular steel Swingarm: Twin-sided, fabricated aluminum, 547mm long Front Wheel: Tubeless 36-spoke 21 x 2.15in, aluminum rims Rear Wheel: Tubeless 32-spoke 17 x 4.25in, aluminum rims Front Tire: 90/90-21 Rear Tire: 150/70 R17 Front Suspension: Showa ⌀45mm fully adjustable upside-down cartridge forks. 200mm wheel travel Rear Suspension: Öhlins fully adjustable piggy-back RSUs with twin springs. 200mm rear wheel travel Front Brakes: Twin 320mm discs, Brembo M50 monobloc calipers. Radial master cylinder Rear Brakes: Single 255mm disc, Brembo 2-piston floating caliper Instruments: Full-color TFT instruments Length: 90.0 in (2285 mm) Width (Handlebars): 33.1 in (840 mm) Height Without Mirrors: 47.2 in (1200 mm) Seat Height: 33.1 in (840 mm) Wheelbase: 60.2 in (1530 mm) Rake: 25.8 ° Trail: 4.76 in (121 mm) Wet weight: 507 lb (230 kg) Fuel Tank Capacity: 4.2 US gal (16 liters) Service interval: 10,000 miles (16,000km)/12 months Scrambler 1200 XE Specs Engine Type: Liquid cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin Capacity: 1200 cc Bore: 97.6 mm Stroke: 80 mm Compression: 11.0:1 Maximum Power: 89HP @ 7,250 rpm Maximum Torque: 81.1 ft-lbs @ 4500 rpm Fuel System: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection Exhaust: Brushed 2 into 2 exhaust system with brushed high level twin silencers Final Drive: X ring chain Clutch: Wet, multi-plate torque assist clutch Gearbox: 6-speed Frame: Tubular steel Swingarm: Twin-sided, fabricated aluminum, 579mm long Front Wheel: Tubeless 36-spoke 21 x 2.15in, aluminum rims Rear Wheel: Tubeless 32-spoke 17 x 4.25in, aluminum rims Front Tire: 90/90-21 Rear Tire: 150/70 R17 Front Suspension: Showa ⌀47mm fully adjustable upside-down cartridge forks. 250mm wheel travel Rear Suspension: Öhlins fully adjustable piggy-back RSUs with twin springs. 250mm rear wheel travel Front Brakes: Twin 320mm discs, Brembo M50 monobloc calipers. Radial master cylinder Rear Brakes: Single 255mm disc, Brembo 2-piston floating caliper Instruments: Full-color TFT instruments Length: 91.7 in (2330 mm) Width (Handlebars): 35.6 in (905 mm) Height Without Mirrors: 49.2 in (1250 mm) Seat Height: 34.2 in (870 mm) Wheelbase: 61.8 in (1570 mm) Rake: 26.9 ° Trail: 5.09 in (129.2 mm) Wet weight: 507 lb (230 kg) Fuel Tank Capacity: 4.2 US gal (16 liters) Service interval: 10,000 miles (16,000km)/12 months
  5. [embedded content] [embedded content] Since its debut in 2018, Triumph’s dirt-focused Scrambler 1200 has been praised for its dual-purpose capability and performance, offering as much go as it does show. Confident in its off-road chops, Triumph went as far as racing a stock 1200 XE at the grueling NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally in 2019, finishing in an impressive 5th place against a field of dirt bikes. For 2022, Triumph is gracing the existing XC and XE models with a host of Euro 5 related updates that are said to leave max power (89 hp @ 7,250rpm) and torque (81 lbs-ft @ 4,500 rpm) unchanged. Although max torque comes in 550 rpms later and max horsepower arrives 150 rpms sooner than before. The tweaks have also resulted in lower emissions and a gain of 13 pounds due to a revised exhaust system that now offers improved heat distribution. New Scrambler 1200 Steve McQueen Edition A year after the release of the ultra-exclusive Scrambler 1200 ‘Bond Edition,’ Triumph is adding to the line-up a new special edition model as a homage to the iconic actor and desert racer Steve McQueen. The new McQueen Edition shares all of the updates, high-specifications and performance of the more off-road focused XE and adds its own premium paint scheme, along with an extensive list of unique details. Fully equipped with a selection of premium Scrambler accessories fitted as standard, the McQueen Edition is now officially the highest specification Scrambler 1200. ADVERTISEMENT Inspired by the original competition-spec Triumph TR6, made famous by the legendary barbed wire jump in the iconic 1963 Second World War classic “The Great Escape,” the Scrambler 1200 Steve McQueen Edition has been developed in partnership with the McQueen family. Chosen to ride in the film by McQueen, the Triumph TR6 used in the jump was created by a British Triumph dealer and ISDT Gold Medal racer Ken Heanes, with an ISDT suspension set-up designed for robust stunt work. The Scrambler McQueen Edition was inspired by the Triumph TR6, made famous by the legendary barbed wire jump in the iconic 1963 Second World War classic “The Great Escape.” Unique limited edition With just 1,000 Scrambler 1200 Steve McQueen Edition models available worldwide, each bike is individually numbered on the billet-machined handlebar clamp, which also features a laser etched Steve McQueen signature. For even greater exclusivity, each bike comes with a unique certificate of authenticity stating the bike’s VIN number, and carrying the signatures of Triumph’s CEO, Nick Bloor, and also Chad McQueen, son of the legend himself, Steve McQueen. Exclusive details and finish The unique paint scheme features a Competition Green tank with brushed foil knee pads, exquisite hand-painted gold lining, gold heritage Triumph logos, dedicated Steve McQueen tank graphic, brushed aluminium Monza cap and brushed stainless steel tank strap. The distinctive Steve McQueen Edition will also feature the aluminium high level front mudguard as standard, which, along with the rear mudguard, will also be painted in Competition Green. In addition to the standard 1200 XE’s class leading specification, the Steve McQueen Edition comes fitted with engine protection dresser bars, which add another layer of ruggedness. Fabricated from stainless steel tubing, these have an electro-polished finish and offer additional protection to the clutch and alternator covers. A laser cut and pressed aluminium radiator guard, with laser-etched Triumph branding, also comes as standard, giving additional protection from loose stones while optimizing air flow. The Steve McQueen Edition also features a premium brown bench seat, with stitched ribbing and Triumph branding, which further enhances the overall classic style and elegance. The new Scrambler 1200 Steve McQueen edition is also pre-enabled for the accessory My Triumph connectivity system. This allows the rider to access phone calls, operate music, use turn-by-turn navigation and manage a Go-Pro through the intuitive handlebar controls and TFT interface. 2022 Scrambler 1200 Pricing and Availability While the McQueen Edition comes in its dedicated premium livery, the XC and XE are available in three colors: Cobalt Blue with a Jet Black stripe, Matt Khaki Green with a Jet Black stripe or the single tone Sapphire Black option. All models are scheduled to hit dealer floors in June, 2021. Scrambler 1200 XC $14,000 USD / $15,200 CAD Scrambler 1200 XE $15,400 USD / $16,300 CAD Scrambler 1200 Steve McQueen Edition $16,400 USD / $17,800 CAD 2022 Scrambler 1200 Highlights New Euro 5 engine update with lower emissions. New Euro 5 exhaust system update with improved heat distribution. Liquid-cooled, 8-valve 1200cc parallel-twin engine. Wide adjustable handlebars. 21” front and 17” rear side-laced tubeless spoked wheels. Öhlins long travel fully adjustable RSUs and long travel Showa forks. Twin Brembo M50 radial monobloc calipers. Long-travel aluminium swingarm. Full-color TFT instruments with illuminated switches. Up to 6 riding modes, including Off-Road Pro (XE). Optimized cornering ABS and optimized cornering traction control (XE). All-LED lighting with DRL headlight (market specific). Keyless ignition, single button cruise control and USB charging socket . Sculpted bench seat and signature high level twin exhaust. 70+ accessories, including new Dakar inspired fly screen. Scrambler 1200 XC Specs Engine Type: Liquid cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin Capacity: 1200 cc Bore: 97.6 mm Stroke: 80 mm Compression: 11.0:1 Maximum Power: 89 Bhp @ 7,250 rpm Maximum Torque: 81.1 ft-lbs (110Nm) @ 4500 rpm Fuel System: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection Exhaust: Brushed 2 into 2 exhaust system with brushed high level twin silencers Final Drive: X ring chain Clutch: Wet, multi-plate torque assist clutch Gearbox: 6-speed Frame: Tubular steel Swingarm: Twin-sided, fabricated aluminum, 547mm long Front Wheel: Tubeless 36-spoke 21 x 2.15in, aluminum rims Rear Wheel: Tubeless 32-spoke 17 x 4.25in, aluminum rims Front Tire: 90/90-21 Rear Tire: 150/70 R17 Front Suspension: Showa ⌀45mm fully adjustable upside-down cartridge forks. 200mm wheel travel Rear Suspension: Öhlins fully adjustable piggy-back RSUs with twin springs. 200mm rear wheel travel Front Brakes: Twin 320mm discs, Brembo M50 monobloc calipers. Radial master cylinder Rear Brakes: Single 255mm disc, Brembo 2-piston floating caliper Instruments: Full-color TFT instruments Length: 90.0 in (2285 mm) Width (Handlebars): 33.1 in (840 mm) Height Without Mirrors: 47.2 in (1200 mm) Seat Height: 33.1 in (840 mm) Wheelbase: 60.2 in (1530 mm) Rake: 25.8 ° Trail: 4.76 in (121 mm) Wet weight: 507 lb (230 kg) Fuel Tank Capacity: 4.2 US gal (16 liters) Service interval: 10,000 miles (16,000km)/12 months Scrambler 1200 XE Specs Engine Type: Liquid cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin Capacity: 1200 cc Bore: 97.6 mm Stroke: 80 mm Compression: 11.0:1 Maximum Power: 89HP @ 7,250 rpm Maximum Torque: 81.1 ft-lbs @ 4500 rpm Fuel System: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection Exhaust: Brushed 2 into 2 exhaust system with brushed high level twin silencers Final Drive: X ring chain Clutch: Wet, multi-plate torque assist clutch Gearbox: 6-speed Frame: Tubular steel Swingarm: Twin-sided, fabricated aluminum, 579mm long Front Wheel: Tubeless 36-spoke 21 x 2.15in, aluminum rims Rear Wheel: Tubeless 32-spoke 17 x 4.25in, aluminum rims Front Tire: 90/90-21 Rear Tire: 150/70 R17 Front Suspension: Showa ⌀47mm fully adjustable upside-down cartridge forks. 250mm wheel travel Rear Suspension: Öhlins fully adjustable piggy-back RSUs with twin springs. 250mm rear wheel travel Front Brakes: Twin 320mm discs, Brembo M50 monobloc calipers. Radial master cylinder Rear Brakes: Single 255mm disc, Brembo 2-piston floating caliper Instruments: Full-color TFT instruments Length: 91.7 in (2330 mm) Width (Handlebars): 35.6 in (905 mm) Height Without Mirrors: 49.2 in (1250 mm) Seat Height: 34.2 in (870 mm) Wheelbase: 61.8 in (1570 mm) Rake: 26.9 ° Trail: 5.09 in (129.2 mm) Wet weight: 507 lb (230 kg) Fuel Tank Capacity: 4.2 US gal (16 liters) Service interval: 10,000 miles (16,000km)/12 months
  6. Published on 04.12.2021 Touratech has announced the launch of the Defensa — a handguard solution for adventure riders that prefer hand protection that doesn’t look like it belongs on a competition dirt bike. The new platform is designed to offer robust protection with a refined look that matches the aesthetic of a modern adventure motorcycle. Utilizing a forging technique, Touratech has created a strong exo-skeleton, crafted from aircraft-grade aluminum. The company’s industrial designers have given the product an aggressive look with hard angles, yet a refined style with a textured matte finish. The aluminum-only version is available as the ‘Defensa Core’ for those who want the minimalist look. Protection is extended with an integrated plastic shield that protects hands from brushy trails, precipitation and cold weather. The tough plastic shields are made from durable polypropylene, and are available in both white or black colors. The aluminum with integrated plastic version is available as the ‘Defensa Expedition.’ ADVERTISEMENT According to Touratech, both versions are designed to provide generous clearance to accommodate stock or aftermarket levers and the toughness to protect them from impacts with the hard ground. An accessory spoiler is also available to further extend protection. The spoiler provides an additional 1.5 inches of h and is sold separately from the handguards. All Defensa handguard systems come with bike-specific mounting kits that provide riders with everything needed for clean mounting to the bike. The Defensa ‘Core’ retails for $169.95 and the ‘Expedition’ version for $219.95. For more information go to www.touratech.com Features – Defensa Handguards 14 mm forged aircraft-grade aluminum structure Plastic shields available in Black or White Bike-specific mounting kits Generous clearance for levers Modern Adventure Bike styling Optional handguard spoilers for increased protection [embedded content] [embedded content]
  7. How much would you pay for a pristine, low-mileage, 1989 XRV650 Honda Africa Twin? You’d be lucky to find one, of course, because these original Africa Twins, designated RD-03 models, are the direct descendants of Honda’s Dakar-winning NXR750 that dominated the desert in the late ‘80s, and as such are highly prized by collectors. How about $37,000? That’s what this RD-03 fetched on the website Bring a Trailer. But before you shine up your old Africa Twin in hopes of cashing in big, understand that this particular RD-03 defines the word “pristine.” It has three kilometers (1.9 miles) on the odometer and has never been started. It includes the original owners manual and literature, tool kit, Georgia title and a spare license plate frame. The RD-03 is equipped with a 647cc V-twin. Features include a Pro-Link rear monoshock, an air-adjustable Showa fork, dual round headlights with a mesh guard, skid plate, gold rims, and a 6.4-gallon fuel tank.All three kilometers on the bike are reportedly from pushing it in and out of climate-controlled storage and display areas. The cylinders were lubricated and the engine turned over by hand in 2019 to make sure it was still factory fresh. It has been stored without gas in it and the brakes and electronics have been confirmed to work as new. There probably isn’t another RD-03 like it in the world. All the original manufacturer stickers are still intact on the bike. ADVERTISEMENT The backstory is that the 1989 bike was originally purchased new by a collector in Japan, where it was kept in a private museum for 30 years until it was sold to a Washington State dealer in 2019. It was then acquired to put on display at a small car club and storage facility in Georgia where it was popular with Honda admirers. “It has been a huge hit with my members! It is an amazing motorcycle from every angle and as rare as it gets,” the seller said. Instrumentation consists of a 180-km/h speedometer, a tachometer with an 8,800-rpm redline, a coolant temperature gauge, and a mechanical odometer showing 3 km. The bike comes with the original owner’s manual, additional manufacturer’s literature, spare license plate frame, tool kit, period stickers, and records.All Africa Twins are cool. But the original models are pretty special. They were built at the Honda Racing Corporation (HRC), Honda’s racing-bike arm, instead of on a factory floor like the later models. HRC also made it their mission to stick as closely as possible to the design and philosophy of the race-winning NXR750. The three-valve-per-cylinder, SOHC V-twin came from the Honda Transalp, and was bored to 647cc to make 57-horsepower. A 6.3 gallon (24 liter) saddle-style fuel tank kept weight low and centered, but necessitated the use of a fuel pump as some of the gas capacity was below the level of the carburetor. Saddle-style tanks are common these days (see KTMs 790/890 adventure bikes), but back in the day there was nothing like it on a production bike. In fact, the size and shape of the tanks caused manufacturing problems for HRC, but the extra cost was the price to be paid for mission integrity. True to race-bike fashion, the RD-03 features quick-release fasteners on the body panels. True to race-bike fashion, the RD-03 had quick-release fasteners on the body panels and mesh covering over the dual headlights. The front suspension featured 43mm forks with 9.1 inches (230mm) of travel derived from Honda’s motocross bikes. A box-section aluminum swingarm and adjustable monoshock with 8.3 inches (210 mm) of travel handled suspension duties in the rear. The engine was cooled by twin aluminum radiators and also sported a full stainless-steel exhaust system. Each RD-03 also left HRC with a stout bash plate, hand guards, a competition-style dash and HRC’s tri-color racing graphics. As a large displacement, no-compromise, street-legal replica of Honda’s Dakar-winning bike, the XRV650 was unique, and they tend to get ridden and used as designed. That inevitably means scratches, dents and many, many miles. So maybe this one is worth $37,000. It certainly was to one lucky buyer. Author: Bob Whitby Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.
  8. How much would you pay for a pristine, low-mileage, 1989 XRV650 Honda Africa Twin? You’d be lucky to find one, of course, because these original Africa Twins, designated RD-03 models, are the direct descendants of Honda’s Dakar-winning NXR750 that dominated the desert in the late ‘80s, and as such are highly prized by collectors. How about $37,000? That’s what this RD-03 fetched on the website Bring a Trailer. But before you shine up your old Africa Twin in hopes of cashing in big, understand that this particular RD-03 defines the word “pristine.” It has three kilometers (1.9 miles) on the odometer and has never been started. It includes the original owners manual and literature, tool kit, Georgia title and a spare license plate frame. The RD-03 is equipped with a 647cc V-twin. Features include a Pro-Link rear monoshock, an air-adjustable Showa fork, dual round headlights with a mesh guard, skid plate, gold rims, and a 6.4-gallon fuel tank.All three kilometers on the bike are reportedly from pushing it in and out of climate-controlled storage and display areas. The cylinders were lubricated and the engine turned over by hand in 2019 to make sure it was still factory fresh. It has been stored without gas in it and the brakes and electronics have been confirmed to work as new. There probably isn’t another RD-03 like it in the world. All the original manufacturer stickers are still intact on the bike. ADVERTISEMENT The backstory is that the 1989 bike was originally purchased new by a collector in Japan, where it was kept in a private museum for 30 years until it was sold to a Washington State dealer in 2019. It was then acquired to put on display at a small car club and storage facility in Georgia where it was popular with Honda admirers. “It has been a huge hit with my members! It is an amazing motorcycle from every angle and as rare as it gets,” the seller said. Instrumentation consists of a 180-km/h speedometer, a tachometer with an 8,800-rpm redline, a coolant temperature gauge, and a mechanical odometer showing 3 km. The bike comes with the original owner’s manual, additional manufacturer’s literature, spare license plate frame, tool kit, period stickers, and records.All Africa Twins are cool. But the original models are pretty special. They were built at the Honda Racing Corporation (HRC), Honda’s racing-bike arm, instead of on a factory floor like the later models. HRC also made it their mission to stick as closely as possible to the design and philosophy of the race-winning NXR750. The three-valve-per-cylinder, SOHC V-twin came from the Honda Transalp, and was bored to 647cc to make 57-horsepower. A 6.3 gallon (24 liter) saddle-style fuel tank kept weight low and centered, but necessitated the use of a fuel pump as some of the gas capacity was below the level of the carburetor. Saddle-style tanks are common these days (see KTMs 790/890 adventure bikes), but back in the day there was nothing like it on a production bike. In fact, the size and shape of the tanks caused manufacturing problems for HRC, but the extra cost was the price to be paid for mission integrity. True to race-bike fashion, the RD-03 features quick-release fasteners on the body panels. True to race-bike fashion, the RD-03 had quick-release fasteners on the body panels and mesh covering over the dual headlights. The front suspension featured 43mm forks with 9.1 inches (230mm) of travel derived from Honda’s motocross bikes. A box-section aluminum swingarm and adjustable monoshock with 8.3 inches (210 mm) of travel handled suspension duties in the rear. The engine was cooled by twin aluminum radiators and also sported a full stainless-steel exhaust system. Each RD-03 also left HRC with a stout bash plate, hand guards, a competition-style dash and HRC’s tri-color racing graphics. As a large displacement, no-compromise, street-legal replica of Honda’s Dakar-winning bike, the XRV650 was unique, and they tend to get ridden and used as designed. That inevitably means scratches, dents and many, many miles. So maybe this one is worth $37,000. It certainly was to one lucky buyer. Author: Bob Whitby Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.
  9. Published on 04.07.2021 Wolfman Luggage has just announced the arrival of two new products for 2021, their Zip-R Rolie Bags with a zipper-top, and the Tank Pannier Base — a base harness for the front of the bike to mount bags to. The Zip-R Bags, are a new version of their standard Rolie line which offer quick and easy access through a zipper-top rather than roll-top design. These versatile new bags are very convenient with a handy bungie on the side for holding lightweight items, two compression straps on top designed to mount a Tincup Pocket auxiliary bag, along with a stash pocket on the bottom to store smaller items you need quick access to. The new bags are constructed with ultra-tough 840D TPU material utilizing RF-welded seams and YKK AquaGuard water-repellent zippers. They feature a more traditional luggage shape, even when packed lightly, and come with a fluorescent yellow interior to make finding items easier in low light. We got our hands on a pre-production set of the new Wolfman Zip-R bags for testing. The new features offer many improvements in versatility and convenience over the standard Rolie bags.Like the existing Waterproof Rolie Bag line, the new Zip-R bags can be lashed together in a stackable formation and multiple sizes are available to meet the needs of different trips and riding styles. They can be used with the Wolfman Unrack Base system, or in a number of other configurations like a tail bag, crash bar bag or auxiliary bag. While the new Zip-R Bags are highly water resistant, those looking for a 100% waterproof storage solution should opt for the standard roll-top Rolie bags. The medium and large Zip-R Bags are designed to mount a Tincup Pocket or you can use the compression straps to attach other light items like an extra layer. ADVERTISEMENT Wolfman’s second new product released today is the Tank Pannier Base which is similar to their existing Unrack base harness mounting system for the back of the bike. Like the Unrack E- and B-Base products, the Tank Pannier Base lets you attach different sized bags in a variety of different configurations to meet your travel needs, but they are mounted on the sides of the tank rather than on the rear of the bike. The Tank Pannier Base is a base harness mounting system that hugs the tank and lets you attach different sized bags in a variety of configurations.Don’t like tank bags getting in your way? The Tank Pannier Base with small Rolie Bags WP or Zip-R Bags might be the perfect solution. If you prefer using a small tank bag that doesn’t obscure your vision, you can use the Tank Pannier Base to add more storage capacity on the sides of the tank or it’s a convenient place to mount a Wolf Bottle Holster. There are a number of different ways you can personalize your luggage to fit a variety of different adventures. Wolfman’s Zip-R Bags and Tank Pannier Base join the company’s other new products released in January, which include their Stuff-its stuff sacks, Enduro Fender Bag WP and two revised Bases for the Tincup Pocket. For more details on Woflman’s 2021 products go to their website at www.wolfmanluggage.com. Shopping Options
  10. Published on 04.06.2021 Dunlop Motorcycle Tires has expanded its off-road tire line to include a new DOT-approved trials tire — the K950. Trials tires have long been popular among dual sport riders who want maximum traction on challenging off-road terrain. This tire uses a tight block pattern that clings to the contours of rocks and other obstacles, giving riders a significant boost in grip. Dunlop states the K950 was engineered to excel on hard-packed, rocky, or tree root-littered trails, in both wet and dry conditions. It was also designed with the durability to handle asphalt and be completely street legal, “while delivering a high level of performance off-road that riders are looking for.” The trials tire features bias-ply construction, along with a tread pattern and sticky rubber compound designed to tackle tough single-track terrain and other challenging conditions. “For dual-sport riding, the K950 provides a smoother ride and longer wear than a traditional knobby tire on the street, while offering a high level of grip and bump-absorbing compliance in the dirt,” explains the tire manufacturer ADVERTISEMENT The K950 joins the competition-only D803GP trials tire in Dunlop’s lineup. Look for them coming soon to your local dealer, available as a rear tire only size 4.00-18. Pricing is TBD. For more details, visit the Dunlop website.
  11. Published on 04.01.2021 After a decade of research, development and testing, Giant Loop is proud to introduce the world’s first integrated safety air bag system for motorcycles, the Bümer Bäg™. This first-of-its-kind air armor system integrates with Giant Loop’s soft luggage, deploying on impact to instantly bubble wrap riders in ballistic bounce proof protection. For slower speed off-road riding, electronic lean-angle sensors inflate the adventure air bags to cushion against rocks and logs and to break falls from moderately sized cliffs. In the event of deep water crossings, the Bümer Bäg can be manually deployed as a floatation device for bike and rider. ADVERTISEMENT “We were able to source air bag components directly from automotive industry supplier Takata in Japan,” explains Giant Loop’s chief safety officer, Winn Baggs. “This space age technology is finally being made available to powersports manufacturers.” To shave pounds and expense, the Bümer Bäg can be recharged with off-the-shelf CO2 cartridges from motorcycle tire repair kits. It is also compatible with tubeless tire plugs for easy repairs. Perfect for pavement pounders and ground grinders who like to catch giant air, the Giant Loop Bümer Bäg (GL part # BBRAP21) weighs just 98.4 lbs with all included components. USA MSRP is $99.99. Get yours before they are gone at giantloop.com
  12. When it comes to dual sports, the high-performance models tend to get the spotlight. But not every rider is looking for a hard-edged enduro. Many want something more approachable, easier to ride, at an affordable price, that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. And what’s not to love about that? Enter the KLX300, Kawasaki’s replacement of its 250cc dual sport first introduced in 2006, which returned to the lineup in 2018 after a three-year hiatus with the addition of fuel injection, refinements to its suspension and a new digital dash. Fast forward to 2021 and Kawasaki has given the little thumper a displacement upgrade, now boasting 292cc’s, plus a higher-performance camshaft profile from its KLX300R dirt bike. In addition, the new KLX300 receives slimmer-profile radiators, optimized ignition timing and engine balancer, updated gear ratios and some additional suspension tweaks on the damping. Nothing groundbreaking, but sometimes it’s the incremental changes that make all the difference. Jumping up from the 250cc to 300cc range is one change that can make a significant difference, especially when it comes to dual sport riding that entails getting on the highway to reach the trails. That’s also true if you are planning on doing any ADV Rides carrying all your gear for a few nights in the wilderness. ADVERTISEMENT After this latest round of updates, we were intrigued to find out if they offer a significant increase in all-around versatility. Enough to tackle more-aggressive dual sport rides or use as a Light ADV? We’ll answer that and more below but first let’s take a look at what you get for six grand of your hard earned dollars. First Look As before the engine is a water-cooled single, featuring dual overhead cams with four valves and a 34mm throttle body EFI system mated to a 6-speed gearbox. Kawasaki hasn’t released performance figures, sharing only a dyno chart graphic without numbers, that shows both horsepower and torque increases across the entire RPM range. The KLX300 features a 292cc water-cooled engine with optimized ignition timing, updated suspension damping and more. The Camo version goes for an additional $200.The KLX300 chassis uses a steel-perimeter frame and an aluminum swingarm. Up front, it sports a 43mm cartridge-style USD fork with 16-way adjustable compression damping. The rear shock offers preload adjustment along with 20-way compression and 30-way rebound damping adjustments (up from last year’s 16 compression and 16 rebound damping settings). Suspension travel is 10.0 inches in the front and 9.1 inches in the rear, which translates to a 35.2-inch seat h. The wheelbase is fairly compact at 56.7 inches and it has a modest (for dirt bike standards) 10.8 inches of ground clearance. The steering head angle is a dirt-friendly 26.7° and it rides on a 21″ front and 18″ rear spoke wheels shod with Dunlop D605 dual sport knobbies. Stopping power is provided by a 250mm front disc with a 2-piston Nissin caliper, along with a 240mm disc and single-piston caliper in the rear. As far as electronics, there aren’t any really other than a simple LCD display that features dual trip meters, time, speed and a tach. Dash lights provide warnings for the engine, fuel level, coolant temp, high beam, neutral, and turn indicators. No ABS, no traction control, no rider modes, just you and your wrist to control the bike. A simple LCD display features dual trip meters, time, speed, and tach. Plus warnings for the engine, fuel level, coolant temp, high beam, neutral, and turn indicators.As for travel-related amenities, you get an old school tool bag mounted on the rear fender, 2.0-gallon fuel tank and a helmet lock. There’s no windscreen and the seat is a long, flat dirt bike-style saddle. There are also a set of fold-out passenger pegs if you want to ride two-up. Trail protection consists of engine deflector rails welded to the frame and a small skidplate that mounts underneath the engine. There is also a pipe guard, rear brake caliper protector, and heat shield but no hand guards. All that equipment on the new KLX300 (or lack thereof) weighs in at 304 pounds wet, which is the same as last year’s model. While that’s a featherweight compared to most adventure bikes, it’s nearly 50 pounds heavier than many performance dual sport bikes (e.g. KTM or Beta). Where does the weight come from? Generous use of steel; from the footpegs, to the foot controls, fuel tank, kickstand, and 7/8″ handlebars, there’s a lot of things on the bike that magnets stick to. Dunlop D605 dual sport knobbies come stock on the KLX300.That usually means it can take some abuse though. If fact, it looks like it was engineered to survive being launched off a cliff. Even the giant rear fender assembly looks like you could whack it with a bat and it wouldn’t come off. But how does it ride? Let’s find out! On the Road Sitting on the bike for the first time, it feels similar to a full-sized motorcycle if not a tad small for my 6-foot 2-inch frame. It doesn’t feel undersized like a Yamaha XT250 or a Kawasaki KLX230. I sat flat-footed on the ground but did notice a few of my fellow journalists in the 5’3” range shimmying from one toe to the other at a stop light. The first thing you notice when you fire up the KLX300 is a pretty tame-sounding engine. Fueling is very smooth pulling away from a stop and the clutch pull is feather light. Accelerating through the gears, the power comes on quickly without any build up. It doesn’t make you wait for it… Just a steady stream of mild power throughout the RPM range. Enough to get you up to speed and to merge into traffic safely. A step up from most 250cc dual sport singles for sure, but not quite on par with a BMW G310GS or Kawasaki Versys-X 300 in full-throttle acceleration. Most 250cc bike launches tend to avoid the freeway completely, but the first two minutes of our test got us straight onto Highway 50 heading up into the Sierras. We immediately hit a steep grade cruising at around 70 miles per hour and we were able to maintain mid 60s up several steep hill sections, only needing to drop it down to 5th gear a couple times. Passing slow moving trucks felt like slow motion compared to the big ADV Bikes, but I never felt like I was struggling or hesitant to pass. Evenso, it does take a little planning and a good check in the rear view before attempting a pass, Early morning temperatures were in the 40s Fahrenheit, so I was definitely feeling the chill on my non-insulated leather gloves without any hand guards. Also, my breathable enduro gear was passing all the cold air directly to my chest without any windscreen to block it. While the KLX300 doesn’t have much in the way of aerodynamics, with a high-speed tuck behind the dash I was able to achieve an indicated 85 mph on a slight downhill. What surprised me the most on the highway was the lack of vibration. The increase in engine displacement allows the KLX to push higher gearing than last year (14/40 vs 14/42) and it also has an updated gear-driven engine balancer to help smooth things out. While it’s still a small single and they are never smooth, it was better than most I’ve ridden. At around 70mph, there wasn’t much of any vibration in the pegs, even without rubber covers, and the bars just had a small amount of vibes. The vibes start kicking in under acceleration and get a little stronger at about 74mph, but cruising at around 70mph is fairly comfortable. Stability was good too. It didn’t have that twitchy dirt bike feel and the Dunlop D605 knobbies were quiet. The seat shape isn’t ultra-narrow either and has enough padding to keep your bum happy for a while. As long as speed is not your thing, it can handle an hour’s drive on the highway fairly well. One pet peeve I have with this bike had to be the seat strap being placed right in the middle of the seat though, which makes it impossible to avoid sitting on it. If you look at other dual sports from Honda and Suzuki, you’ll notice their seat straps hang out more towards the back. I can only guess that the extra letters in ‘Kawasaki’ seat graphic forced the designers to place it further toward the middle for aesthetics reasons. It’s a quick fix though if you decide to remove it. The throwback seat strap encroaches on the seating area a bit, but can be removed in a matter of minutes.Into the Twisties After a chilly morning ride, exiting the freeway was a big relief and we soon got onto some backcountry roads that traveled through scenic rolling hills. With its short wheelbase, the KLX felt nimble and flickable in tight bends. Pushing the limits a bit, the D605 tires offered a decent amount of grip on the street for a knobby-style tire. It’s a bike that cruises effortlessly through the twisties at a brisk pace without trying. Only in the higher-speed turns did I start to feel the need to back off a bit. As far as the braking performance, the feel from the twin-piston front caliper was good with not a lot of abrupt bite. They aren’t the most powerful brakes for the street, but didn’t leave me wishing for more. The rear tire grip suffered a bit under hard braking but that is pretty common with knobbies. Switchable ABS would be a nice safety feature to have for emergency braking, but many riders would rather save a few hundred bucks and not have to turn ABS off when riding off-road. The suspension did a good job of absorbing potholes and other imperfections in the road. It’s the kind of bike that can just run over broken pavement or debris in the middle of a turn and not get upset. It feels pretty planted for a dirt bike and there was enough firmness in the suspension that you didn’t feel excessive dive and squat. As for the power, it feels peppy on the backroads but it’s not enough to trigger your adrenaline glands. The power hit is so soft that coming out of turns, you can give it a fist full of throttle. You have to really be on the gas in a tight turn to get a minor slide out of the rear tire on the asphalt Hitting the Trails Once we hit dirt, the bike felt like it was in its true element. Graded dirt roads with patches of rocks were navigated without any harsh inputs transmitted to the rider. It has a pillowy plushness in the initial stroke of the suspension that absorbs most trail roughness, yet its not overly soft As we got into more-rugged terrain, I was expecting a thunk on sharp edged rocks or deep ruts but it never lost its composure. The damping is good and so is the bottoming resistance, even for a rider of my size (215 pounds without gear). Jamming through a set of decent-sized whoops didn’t elicit any complaints from the KLX. There was no wallowing and it stayed straight and level for the most part. Although the suspension can get overwhelmed as speeds increase and it starts to fight with you a bit as the suspension tries to catch up with what you are doing. I did notice the rear suspension seemed to go through the stroke rather quickly in bigger bumps and occasionally I found myself wishing it had an extra inch of travel in back. However, I never experienced any hard bottoming of the suspension, even launching it off jumps with flat bottom landings. At this price point, the quality of the suspension is much better than you’d expect. The stroke and damping are tuned for an intermediate rider who doesn’t want a sky-high seat h. Its sweet spot is slow to mid-range speeds on rough terrain. There is still some room in reserve for those who want to get more aggressive at times, along with a range of suspension settings to dial things in, but fast riders do need to be cautious not to ride past the bike’s capabilities. What I liked most about riding the KLX300 off-road was its slow-speed crawling ability. It has a smooth throttle, great clutch feel and stable chassis which lets you inch through technical terrain with ease. On the spec sheet, the KLX300 is a few inches short on ground clearance compared to most hard-core dual sport bikesI did notice the limited ground clearance on a few rocky climbs where the skidplate touched down a bit early. Even so, it’s capable of scooting through all but the gnarliest of dirt bike trails. Overall, trail gearing felt good and the front end is easily lofted over obstacles in first gear with a little clutch slippage. Not so much in second gear though. For your average off-road terrain, second gear pulls fine up most hills. Although, getting into more-advanced hill climbs, second gear could benefit from lower overall gearing. Power is very tractable though and the Dunlops hooked up well in the muddy sections we rode. Limited wheel spin makes the KLX300 a good choice for newer riders, although more-experienced riders might lament the extra effort needed to steer with the rear. Braking performance on the trail was pretty good too. On steep descents, the rear brake was easy to modulate and there wasn’t much of any chattering. The front brake was powerful enough and also had good feel. Yet it was a little touchy on soft terrain. The KLX was a blast to ride on the motocross track if you are just out cruising around for fun. Try to avoid those big doubles though.I got an opportunity to get in some laps on a motocross track during our test and the KLX was a blast to ride if you are just out there cruising around for fun. Its mellower power output makes it less intense to ride than a serious motocross bike, allowing you to focus on your turns and maintaining momentum. On flat turns, it has good feel but the front end wants to tuck if you push the pace. You also notice a lack of power when trying to get the motor spun up for big jumps, and the suspension feels too soft for aggressive riding. Even so, it still put a grin on my face launching it over table tops. Stay away from any big doubles though. The Bottom Line Small-displacement dual sports are always fun to ride but often you come away feeling like they are just too limited. A 43cc increase in displacement may not seem like a lot, but in the case of the KLX300, it’s just enough of a boost to have a significant impact on its versatility. Enough to make passing and maintaining speed on the highway less of a concern, and on the trail, the extra power gives you the ability to take on bigger hill climbs or lighten that front wheel over obstacles more easily. For those riders who don’t have a vehicle that can carry a bike, the KLX300 is about as smooth of a small single as you can get for short stints on the highway enroute to the trails. It’s quiet, stable, and keeps vibes to a minimum. It would be ideally suited for those living in the suburbs or rural areas who aren’t far from the trails and might use the bike for getting to work or running errands during the week as well. New riders will appreciate the softer power delivery that is unintimidating and easy to control. Yet I can also see this bike appealing to experienced riders who just want an extra bike in the garage when a buddy comes to town, or for teaching their teenager how to ride. What the KLX300 lacks in adrenaline-pumping performance, it makes up for in balance. And ‘balanced’ is the keyword I would use to describe this bike after testing it. The green team engineers have continued to make incremental changes, going on 15 years now, creating an approachable, solidly-built dual sport that is easy, fun and comfortable to ride over a variety of terrain. For those who like to ride hard off-road, the KLX300 has some limitations in aggressive terrain but it’s capable of getting through most gnarly sections. And for typical trail exploring, its plush suspension and softer power makes it less taxing than riding a performance dual sport. But can it be a Light ADV? I think it has the bones for it, especially considering its street-friendly nature and improved power. Another thing it has going for it is an oil change/valve check interval of 7,500 miles. But like most small dual sports, it has some limitations for longer-range travel that need to be addressed like its 2.0-gallon tank and lack of windscreen, hand guards or luggage rack. It could also use some better sump protection and a wider seat as well. Throw on some soft luggage and it could be a nice little BDR machine. A large number of aftermarket companies already support the KLX250 platform, and all of those parts should still be compatible with the KLX300. We’re looking forward to spending more time on the KLX300, exploring some of our local trails and backroads to learn more about its capabilities. We’ll report back with more details on what we find out! Gear We Used The new KLX300 is available in Lime Green for $5,599 and $5,799 in Fragment Camo. All KLX300’s are manufactured in Kawasaki’s Thailand facility. More information on the 2021 KLX300 can be found on the Kawasaki website. Kawasaki KLX300 Specs ENGINE: 4-stroke, 1-cylinder, DOHC, 4-valves, liquid-cooled DISPLACEMENT: 292cc BORE X STROKE: 78.0 x 61.2mm COMPRESSION RATIO: 11.1:1 FUEL SYSTEM: DFI® with 34mm throttle body IGNITION: Digital DC-CDI TRANSMISSION: 6 speed FINAL DRIVE: sealed chain RAKE/TRAIL: 26.7°/4.2 in FRONT WHEEL TRAVEL: 10.0 in REAR WHEEL TRAVEL: 9.1 in FRONT TIRE: 3.00-21 REAR TIRE: 4.60-18 FRONT SUSPENSION: 43mm Inverted Cartridge Fork with 16-way Compression Damping Adjustment REAR SUSPENSION: Uni-Trak with Adjustable Preload, 16-way Compression and Rebound Damping Adjustment WHEELBASE: 56.7 in FRONT BRAKE: 250mm single disc REAR BRAKE: 240mm single disc FUEL CAPACITY: 2.0 gal GROUND CLEARANCE: 10.8 in SEAT HEIGHT: 35.2 in CURB WEIGHT: 304.3 lb MAINTENANCE INTERVAL: Oil change and valve check every 7500 miles WARRANTY: 12 months Photos by Kevin Wing and Chris Scott Author: Rob Dabney Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Mexico, North Africa, Europe, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.
  13. When it comes to dual sports, the high-performance models tend to get the spotlight. But not every rider is looking for a hard-edged enduro. Many want something more approachable, easier to ride, at an affordable price, that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. And what’s not to love about that? Enter the KLX300, Kawasaki’s replacement of its 250cc dual sport first introduced in 2006, which returned to the lineup in 2018 after a three-year hiatus with the addition of fuel injection, refinements to its suspension and a new digital dash. Fast forward to 2021 and Kawasaki has given the little thumper a displacement upgrade, now boasting 292cc’s, plus a higher-performance camshaft profile from its KLX300R dirt bike. In addition, the new KLX300 receives slimmer-profile radiators, optimized ignition timing and engine balancer, updated gear ratios and some additional suspension tweaks on the damping. Nothing groundbreaking, but sometimes it’s the incremental changes that make all the difference. Jumping up from the 250cc to 300cc range is one change that can make a significant difference, especially when it comes to dual sport riding that entails getting on the highway to reach the trails. That’s also true if you are planning on doing any ADV Rides carrying all your gear for a few nights in the wilderness. ADVERTISEMENT After this latest round of updates, we were intrigued to find out if they offer a significant increase in all-around versatility. Enough to tackle more-aggressive dual sport rides or use as a Light ADV? We’ll answer that and more below but first let’s take a look at what you get for six grand of your hard earned dollars. First Look As before the engine is a water-cooled single, featuring dual overhead cams with four valves and a 34mm throttle body EFI system mated to a 6-speed gearbox. Kawasaki hasn’t released performance figures, sharing only a dyno chart graphic without numbers, that shows both horsepower and torque increases across the entire RPM range. The KLX300 features a 292cc water-cooled engine with optimized ignition timing, updated suspension damping and more. The Camo version goes for an additional $200.The KLX300 chassis uses a steel-perimeter frame and an aluminum swingarm. Up front, it sports a 43mm cartridge-style USD fork with 16-way adjustable compression damping. The rear shock offers preload adjustment along with 20-way compression and 30-way rebound damping adjustments (up from last year’s 16 compression and 16 rebound damping settings). Suspension travel is 10.0 inches in the front and 9.1 inches in the rear, which translates to a 35.2-inch seat h. The wheelbase is fairly compact at 56.7 inches and it has a modest (for dirt bike standards) 10.8 inches of ground clearance. The steering head angle is a dirt-friendly 26.7° and it rides on a 21″ front and 18″ rear spoke wheels shod with Dunlop D605 dual sport knobbies. Stopping power is provided by a 250mm front disc with a 2-piston Nissin caliper, along with a 240mm disc and single-piston caliper in the rear. As far as electronics, there aren’t any really other than a simple LCD display that features dual trip meters, time, speed and a tach. Dash lights provide warnings for the engine, fuel level, coolant temp, high beam, neutral, and turn indicators. No ABS, no traction control, no rider modes, just you and your wrist to control the bike. A simple LCD display features dual trip meters, time, speed, and tach. Plus warnings for the engine, fuel level, coolant temp, high beam, neutral, and turn indicators.As for travel-related amenities, you get an old school tool bag mounted on the rear fender, 2.0-gallon fuel tank and a helmet lock. There’s no windscreen and the seat is a long, flat dirt bike-style saddle. There are also a set of fold-out passenger pegs if you want to ride two-up. Trail protection consists of engine deflector rails welded to the frame and a small skidplate that mounts underneath the engine. There is also a pipe guard, rear brake caliper protector, and heat shield but no hand guards. All that equipment on the new KLX300 (or lack thereof) weighs in at 304 pounds wet, which is the same as last year’s model. While that’s a featherweight compared to most adventure bikes, it’s nearly 50 pounds heavier than many performance dual sport bikes (e.g. KTM or Beta). Where does the weight come from? Generous use of steel; from the footpegs, to the foot controls, fuel tank, kickstand, and 7/8″ handlebars, there’s a lot of things on the bike that magnets stick to. Dunlop D605 dual sport knobbies come stock on the KLX300.That usually means it can take some abuse though. If fact, it looks like it was engineered to survive being launched off a cliff. Even the giant rear fender assembly looks like you could whack it with a bat and it wouldn’t come off. But how does it ride? Let’s find out! On the Road Sitting on the bike for the first time, it feels similar to a full-sized motorcycle if not a tad small for my 6-foot 2-inch frame. It doesn’t feel undersized like a Yamaha XT250 or a Kawasaki KLX230. I sat flat-footed on the ground but did notice a few of my fellow journalists in the 5’3” range shimmying from one toe to the other at a stop light. The first thing you notice when you fire up the KLX300 is a pretty tame-sounding engine. Fueling is very smooth pulling away from a stop and the clutch pull is feather light. Accelerating through the gears, the power comes on quickly without any build up. It doesn’t make you wait for it… Just a steady stream of mild power throughout the RPM range. Enough to get you up to speed and to merge into traffic safely. A step up from most 250cc dual sport singles for sure, but not quite on par with a BMW G310GS or Kawasaki Versys-X 300 in full-throttle acceleration. Most 250cc bike launches tend to avoid the freeway completely, but the first two minutes of our test got us straight onto Highway 50 heading up into the Sierras. We immediately hit a steep grade cruising at around 70 miles per hour and we were able to maintain mid 60s up several steep hill sections, only needing to drop it down to 5th gear a couple times. Passing slow moving trucks felt like slow motion compared to the big ADV Bikes, but I never felt like I was struggling or hesitant to pass. Evenso, it does take a little planning and a good check in the rear view before attempting a pass, Early morning temperatures were in the 40s Fahrenheit, so I was definitely feeling the chill on my non-insulated leather gloves without any hand guards. Also, my breathable enduro gear was passing all the cold air directly to my chest without any windscreen to block it. While the KLX300 doesn’t have much in the way of aerodynamics, with a high-speed tuck behind the dash I was able to achieve an indicated 85 mph on a slight downhill. What surprised me the most on the highway was the lack of vibration. The increase in engine displacement allows the KLX to push higher gearing than last year (14/40 vs 14/42) and it also has an updated gear-driven engine balancer to help smooth things out. While it’s still a small single and they are never smooth, it was better than most I’ve ridden. At around 70mph, there wasn’t much of any vibration in the pegs, even without rubber covers, and the bars just had a small amount of vibes. The vibes start kicking in under acceleration and get a little stronger at about 74mph, but cruising at around 70mph is fairly comfortable. Stability was good too. It didn’t have that twitchy dirt bike feel and the Dunlop D605 knobbies were quiet. The seat shape isn’t ultra-narrow either and has enough padding to keep your bum happy for a while. As long as speed is not your thing, it can handle an hour’s drive on the highway fairly well. One pet peeve I have with this bike had to be the seat strap being placed right in the middle of the seat though, which makes it impossible to avoid sitting on it. If you look at other dual sports from Honda and Suzuki, you’ll notice their seat straps hang out more towards the back. I can only guess that the extra letters in ‘Kawasaki’ seat graphic forced the designers to place it further toward the middle for aesthetics reasons. It’s a quick fix though if you decide to remove it. The throwback seat strap encroaches on the seating area a bit, but can be removed in a matter of minutes.Into the Twisties After a chilly morning ride, exiting the freeway was a big relief and we soon got onto some backcountry roads that traveled through scenic rolling hills. With its short wheelbase, the KLX felt nimble and flickable in tight bends. Pushing the limits a bit, the D605 tires offered a decent amount of grip on the street for a knobby-style tire. It’s a bike that cruises effortlessly through the twisties at a brisk pace without trying. Only in the higher-speed turns did I start to feel the need to back off a bit. As far as the braking performance, the feel from the twin-piston front caliper was good with not a lot of abrupt bite. They aren’t the most powerful brakes for the street, but didn’t leave me wishing for more. The rear tire grip suffered a bit under hard braking but that is pretty common with knobbies. Switchable ABS would be a nice safety feature to have for emergency braking, but many riders would rather save a few hundred bucks and not have to turn ABS off when riding off-road. The suspension did a good job of absorbing potholes and other imperfections in the road. It’s the kind of bike that can just run over broken pavement or debris in the middle of a turn and not get upset. It feels pretty planted for a dirt bike and there was enough firmness in the suspension that you didn’t feel excessive dive and squat. As for the power, it feels peppy on the backroads but it’s not enough to trigger your adrenaline glands. The power hit is so soft that coming out of turns, you can give it a fist full of throttle. You have to really be on the gas in a tight turn to get a minor slide out of the rear tire on the asphalt Hitting the Trails Once we hit dirt, the bike felt like it was in its true element. Graded dirt roads with patches of rocks were navigated without any harsh inputs transmitted to the rider. It has a pillowy plushness in the initial stroke of the suspension that absorbs most trail roughness, yet its not overly soft As we got into more-rugged terrain, I was expecting a thunk on sharp edged rocks or deep ruts but it never lost its composure. The damping is good and so is the bottoming resistance, even for a rider of my size (215 pounds without gear). Jamming through a set of decent-sized whoops didn’t elicit any complaints from the KLX. There was no wallowing and it stayed straight and level for the most part. Although the suspension can get overwhelmed as speeds increase and it starts to fight with you a bit as the suspension tries to catch up with what you are doing. I did notice the rear suspension seemed to go through the stroke rather quickly in bigger bumps and occasionally I found myself wishing it had an extra inch of travel in back. However, I never experienced any hard bottoming of the suspension, even launching it off jumps with flat bottom landings. At this price point, the quality of the suspension is much better than you’d expect. The stroke and damping are tuned for an intermediate rider who doesn’t want a sky-high seat h. Its sweet spot is slow to mid-range speeds on rough terrain. There is still some room in reserve for those who want to get more aggressive at times, along with a range of suspension settings to dial things in, but fast riders do need to be cautious not to ride past the bike’s capabilities. What I liked most about riding the KLX300 off-road was its slow-speed crawling ability. It has a smooth throttle, great clutch feel and stable chassis which lets you inch through technical terrain with ease. On the spec sheet, the KLX300 is a few inches short on ground clearance compared to most hard-core dual sport bikesI did notice the limited ground clearance on a few rocky climbs where the skidplate touched down a bit early. Even so, it’s capable of scooting through all but the gnarliest of dirt bike trails. Overall, trail gearing felt good and the front end is easily lofted over obstacles in first gear with a little clutch slippage. Not so much in second gear though. For your average off-road terrain, second gear pulls fine up most hills. Although, getting into more-advanced hill climbs, second gear could benefit from lower overall gearing. Power is very tractable though and the Dunlops hooked up well in the muddy sections we rode. Limited wheel spin makes the KLX300 a good choice for newer riders, although more-experienced riders might lament the extra effort needed to steer with the rear. Braking performance on the trail was pretty good too. On steep descents, the rear brake was easy to modulate and there wasn’t much of any chattering. The front brake was powerful enough and also had good feel. Yet it was a little touchy on soft terrain. The KLX was a blast to ride on the motocross track if you are just out cruising around for fun. Try to avoid those big doubles though.I got an opportunity to get in some laps on a motocross track during our test and the KLX was a blast to ride if you are just out there cruising around for fun. Its mellower power output makes it less intense to ride than a serious motocross bike, allowing you to focus on your turns and maintaining momentum. On flat turns, it has good feel but the front end wants to tuck if you push the pace. You also notice a lack of power when trying to get the motor spun up for big jumps, and the suspension feels too soft for aggressive riding. Even so, it still put a grin on my face launching it over table tops. Stay away from any big doubles though. The Bottom Line Small-displacement dual sports are always fun to ride but often you come away feeling like they are just too limited. A 43cc increase in displacement may not seem like a lot, but in the case of the KLX300, it’s just enough of a boost to have a significant impact on its versatility. Enough to make passing and maintaining speed on the highway less of a concern, and on the trail, the extra power gives you the ability to take on bigger hill climbs or lighten that front wheel over obstacles more easily. For those riders who don’t have a vehicle that can carry a bike, the KLX300 is about as smooth of a small single as you can get for short stints on the highway enroute to the trails. It’s quiet, stable, and keeps vibes to a minimum. It would be ideally suited for those living in the suburbs or rural areas who aren’t far from the trails and might use the bike for getting to work or running errands during the week as well. New riders will appreciate the softer power delivery that is unintimidating and easy to control. Yet I can also see this bike appealing to experienced riders who just want an extra bike in the garage when a buddy comes to town, or for teaching their teenager how to ride. What the KLX300 lacks in adrenaline-pumping performance, it makes up for in balance. And ‘balanced’ is the keyword I would use to describe this bike after testing it. The green team engineers have continued to make incremental changes, going on 15 years now, creating an approachable, solidly-built dual sport that is easy, fun and comfortable to ride over a variety of terrain. For those who like to ride hard off-road, the KLX300 has some limitations in aggressive terrain but it’s capable of getting through most gnarly sections. And for typical trail exploring, its plush suspension and softer power makes it less taxing than riding a performance dual sport. But can it be a Light ADV? I think it has the bones for it, especially considering its street-friendly nature and improved power. Another thing it has going for it is an oil change/valve check interval of 7,500 miles. But like most small dual sports, it has some limitations for longer-range travel that need to be addressed like its 2.0-gallon tank and lack of windscreen, hand guards or luggage rack. It could also use some better sump protection and a wider seat as well. Throw on some soft luggage and it could be a nice little BDR machine. A large number of aftermarket companies already support the KLX250 platform, and all of those parts should still be compatible with the KLX300. We’re looking forward to spending more time on the KLX300, exploring some of our local trails and backroads to learn more about its capabilities. We’ll report back with more details on what we find out! Gear We Used The new KLX300 is available in Lime Green for $5,599 and $5,799 in Fragment Camo. All KLX300’s are manufactured in Kawasaki’s Thailand facility. More information on the 2021 KLX300 can be found on the Kawasaki website. Kawasaki KLX300 Specs ENGINE: 4-stroke, 1-cylinder, DOHC, 4-valves, liquid-cooled DISPLACEMENT: 292cc BORE X STROKE: 78.0 x 61.2mm COMPRESSION RATIO: 11.1:1 FUEL SYSTEM: DFI® with 34mm throttle body IGNITION: Digital DC-CDI TRANSMISSION: 6 speed FINAL DRIVE: sealed chain RAKE/TRAIL: 26.7°/4.2 in FRONT WHEEL TRAVEL: 10.0 in REAR WHEEL TRAVEL: 9.1 in FRONT TIRE: 3.00-21 REAR TIRE: 4.60-18 FRONT SUSPENSION: 43mm Inverted Cartridge Fork with 16-way Compression Damping Adjustment REAR SUSPENSION: Uni-Trak with Adjustable Preload, 16-way Compression and Rebound Damping Adjustment WHEELBASE: 56.7 in FRONT BRAKE: 250mm single disc REAR BRAKE: 240mm single disc FUEL CAPACITY: 2.0 gal GROUND CLEARANCE: 10.8 in SEAT HEIGHT: 35.2 in CURB WEIGHT: 304.3 lb MAINTENANCE INTERVAL: Oil change and valve check every 7500 miles WARRANTY: 12 months Photos by Kevin Wing and Chris Scott Author: Rob Dabney Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Mexico, North Africa, Europe, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.
  14. Published on 03.24.2021 With production of the Pan America well underway and arrival at dealers set for this Spring, Harley is taking its new adventure bike on a nationwide demo tour. No more speculation based on spec sheet numbers — the bar and shield company wants to give you the opportunity to experience the Pan America for yourself. Starting in April, the demo tour is set to span over 7 months and cover 17 states giving skeptics and fans plenty of chances to test Harley’s new big-bore adventurer. And although many of the tour stops will be at H-D hosted venues, the Motor Company is making sure its Pan America specifically reaches ADV crowds by also bringing their demos to several dual-sport, overlander and adventure rally events. ADVERTISEMENT Regardless of the location, Harley says they are extremely eager for riders to try their new adventure machine. “I’ve had the opportunity to ride a Pan America motorcycle both on and off-road, and can’t wait for riders to experience the innovations and capabilities that our team has built into this fantastic adventure touring bike,” said Jochen Zeitz, CEO of Harley-Davidson. “Now riders can experience for themselves the first motorcycle of its kind to be designed and developed from the ground up in America.” The Pan America demo tour kicks off April 16 in Texas and ends November 17 in Arizona. Signups for H-D-hosted demos are now available here and are likely to fill-up quickly so if you are interested make sure to book a spot soon. Demo opportunities at other major adventure touring, overland events and rallies will happen on location. Below is the list of events currently scheduled: Pan America Demo Tour Events: 4/16-4/18, H-D-Hosted Demo, Dallas, TX 4/23-4/25, H-D-Hosted Demo, Albuquerque, NM 4/30-5/2, H-D-Hosted Demo, Phoenix, AZ 5/7-5/9, H-D-Hosted Demo, Las Vegas, NV 5/14-5/16, H-D-Hosted Demo, San Jose, CA 5/21-5/23, H-D-Hosted Demo, Lake Elsinore, CA 5/28-5/30, H-D-Hosted Demo, Sacramento, CA 6/4-6/6, Giant Loop Ride, Lawen, OR EVENT LINK 6/12-6/20, Laconia Motorcycle Week, NH 6/25-6/27, Outside Adventure Expo, Salt Lake City, UT EVENT LINK 7/9-7/11, H-D-Hosted Demo, Twin Falls, ID 7/15-7/18, Get On! ADV Fest, South Dakota, EVENT LINK 7/30-8/1, H-D-Hosted Demo, St. Louis, MO 8/6-8/8, H-D-Hosted Demo, Harrisburg, PA 8/13-8/15, H-D-Hosted Demo, Pittsfield, MA 8/18-8/22, Touratech DirtDaze, North Haverhell, NH EVENT LINK 8/27-8/29, Overland Expo Mountain West, Loveland, CO EVENT LINK 9/3-9/5, XLADV: High Sierras, Mammoth Lakes, CA 9/10-9/12, H-D-Hosted Demo, Salt Lake City, UT 9/16-9/19, Touratech Rally, Plain, WA EVENT LINK 9/24-9/26, Overland Expo West, Flagstaff, AZ EVENT LINK 10/8-10/10, Overland Expo East, Arrington, VA EVENT LINK 10/22-10/24, H-D-Hosted Demo, Stamford, CT 10/29-10/31, H-D-Hosted Demo, Loudon, NH 11/6-11/7, Howling At The Moon, Prescott, AZ [embedded content] [embedded content]
  15. Published on 03.24.2021 With production of the Pan America well underway and arrival at dealers set for this Spring, Harley is taking its new adventure bike on a nationwide demo tour. No more speculation based on spec sheet numbers — the bar and shield company wants to give you the opportunity to experience the Pan America for yourself. Starting in April, the demo tour is set to span over 7 months and cover 17 states giving skeptics and fans plenty of chances to test Harley’s new big-bore adventurer. And although many of the tour stops will be at H-D hosted venues, the Motor Company is making sure its Pan America specifically reaches ADV crowds by also bringing their demos to several dual-sport, overlander and adventure rally events. ADVERTISEMENT Regardless of the location, Harley says they are extremely eager for riders to try their new adventure machine. “I’ve had the opportunity to ride a Pan America motorcycle both on and off-road, and can’t wait for riders to experience the innovations and capabilities that our team has built into this fantastic adventure touring bike,” said Jochen Zeitz, CEO of Harley-Davidson. “Now riders can experience for themselves the first motorcycle of its kind to be designed and developed from the ground up in America.” The Pan America demo tour kicks off April 16 in Texas and ends November 17 in Arizona. Signups for H-D-hosted demos are now available here and are likely to fill-up quickly so if you are interested make sure to book a spot soon. Demo opportunities at other major adventure touring, overland events and rallies will happen on location. Below is the list of events currently scheduled: Pan America Demo Tour Events: 4/16-4/18, H-D-Hosted Demo, Dallas, TX 4/23-4/25, H-D-Hosted Demo, Albuquerque, NM 4/30-5/2, H-D-Hosted Demo, Phoenix, AZ 5/7-5/9, H-D-Hosted Demo, Las Vegas, NV 5/14-5/16, H-D-Hosted Demo, San Jose, CA 5/21-5/23, H-D-Hosted Demo, Lake Elsinore, CA 5/28-5/30, H-D-Hosted Demo, Sacramento, CA 6/4-6/6, Giant Loop Ride, Lawen, OR EVENT LINK 6/12-6/20, Laconia Motorcycle Week, NH 6/25-6/27, Outside Adventure Expo, Salt Lake City, UT EVENT LINK 7/9-7/11, H-D-Hosted Demo, Twin Falls, ID 7/15-7/18, Get On! ADV Fest, South Dakota, EVENT LINK 7/30-8/1, H-D-Hosted Demo, St. Louis, MO 8/6-8/8, H-D-Hosted Demo, Harrisburg, PA 8/13-8/15, H-D-Hosted Demo, Pittsfield, MA 8/18-8/22, Touratech DirtDaze, North Haverhell, NH EVENT LINK 8/27-8/29, Overland Expo Mountain West, Loveland, CO EVENT LINK 9/3-9/5, XLADV: High Sierras, Mammoth Lakes, CA 9/10-9/12, H-D-Hosted Demo, Salt Lake City, UT 9/16-9/19, Touratech Rally, Plain, WA EVENT LINK 9/24-9/26, Overland Expo West, Flagstaff, AZ EVENT LINK 10/8-10/10, Overland Expo East, Arrington, VA EVENT LINK 10/22-10/24, H-D-Hosted Demo, Stamford, CT 10/29-10/31, H-D-Hosted Demo, Loudon, NH 11/6-11/7, Howling At The Moon, Prescott, AZ [embedded content] [embedded content]
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