It is no secret that I’ve been bitten by the off-road bug, and by being bitten, I mean properly mauled. Anyway, in more current news, we got to check out two models of Kawasaki’s 2024 dirt bike lineup, namely the KLX 300R and the KX 450, at the Kawasaki Off-road Carnival. I was further reminded not to have too much fun, lest I manage to go and get carried away.
Kawasaki KLX 300R
The KLX 300R can be the go-to choice for off-road adventures since its lightweight and purpose-built frame and suspension make it easier to ride and manoeuvre. Aside from that, the 292cc engine offers plenty of manageable torque and power for a controlled off-road riding experience. The suspension is pretty soft, and this feels perfect considering that the bike is meant for the trails. It has a very likeable nature, not to mention how easy it feels, right at home in the dirt. It has enough power to be extremely fun on trails while managing not to go overboard. A little bit of everything ended up in a lovely combination for a weekend trail ride with the crew.
The Yogi POV
The KLX 300R is by far the best Enduro motorcycle that I got to experience at the track. It has all the checks in the right boxes that a rider can ask for. Lightweight, nimble, agile, and all other likely adjectives one can think of apply to this motorcycle. The credit for the most amount of fun riding a motorcycle in the dirt goes to this one, hands down.
If only the guys at Kawasaki managed to get this registered for road use, then this becomes a natural upgrade for all the Impulse and Xpulse riders who have been constantly complaining and secretly praying for a more capable and worthy motorcycle that can tread the road and tear the off-road with ease.
With the KX 450, its fuel-injected liquid-cooled DOHC four-stroke 449cc engine has enough power in stock trim for just about anyone. If you’re not careful, it can wear your arms out from hanging on while on the gas, especially while exiting corners and on jumps. The engine is very peppy and responsive, and the KX powerband comes in handy when you need to push maximum power into the ground.
Coming to the suspension, it is stiff enough in stock form to hold up on most bumps and jumps, yet plush enough to provide a smooth ride. Having taken it through a few jumps, the bike landed with poise as the suspension handled whatever had to be handled. And while getting used to the amount of power as well as the sheer size of the bike (for an average-sized Indian) can take a little while, it is great fun to ride from the get-go
The Yogi POV
Scary! The only word that comes to mind when one thinks of a 450cc dirt bike, especially after owning two of them. However, I was taken by surprise when I got to thrash the 2024 KX 450 at the track. All my preconceived notions and memories of how impractical the 450s were, were immediately thrown right out of the window after a few laps on this gorgeous machine.
The KX 450 actually felt more manageable as compared to the KX 250, which is made of sheer aggression. The 450 is a combination of linear and aggressive, managing to change its characteristics on the go. I literally couldn’t believe how I was able to ride this ‘big’ bike with that amount of ease. It turned perfectly, the jumps felt cushioned and the mistakes that most novice riders like me make were swallowed up by her without scaring the daylights out of me.
I am thoroughly surprised and impressed with the way this machine is designed and built. It is nothing like a terrifying 450 that we know of. A Gentle Giant is perhaps the apt way to describe this Kawasaki.
The KLX 300R is great for the trail, featuring trail-tuned long travel suspension and a lightweight perimeter frame. It will go pretty much anywhere in the hands of a capable rider, while also being an excellent choice for novice and intermediate riders alike, who want to explore off-road terrain. The KX 450 on the other hand is for the more experienced, and most likely, serious riders. Both bikes are extremely fun, not to mention, handle very well, and given the opportunity, I would probably have one in my garage. Now all I need to do is convince the guys at Kawasaki to bring in road-legal variants.