We were a little surprised back in July when the 2021 KLX lineup was announced without the inclusion of the KLX250, but Kawasaki pulled the cover off several new models today, and among them were the 2021 KLX300 and KLX300SM. The slight displacement bump and updated features, along with the return of a supermoto to the lineup are welcome changes to allow the 300 to stand a little further apart from the KLX230 dual sport introduced last year.
Both models are powered by an updated 292 cc liquid-cooled DOHC engine tuned for crisp throttle response, rider-friendly low to mid-range power, and improved engine reliability. The updated mill sources parts from the KLX300R off road model and features lightweight components, fuel injection, and electric start.
Along with the engine updates are revisions to the cooling system to increase rider comfort in traffic or hot days out on the trail. Riders can keep informed with the all-digital instrument panel with a digital speedometer, bar-type tachometer, clock, dual trip meters, and a range of warning/indicator lamps.
Continuing the similarities, the KLX300 and KLX300SM share a box-and-tubular-section high-tensile steel perimeter frame that creates a slim, lightweight package, which offers maneuverability and excellent handling on road, on track, or off pavement. A 26.7-degree caster angle and short wheelbase provide quick handling characteristics and a lightweight aluminum D-section swingarm also reduces unsprung weight.
The differences between the two start with suspension, components are shared but tuning is different; a 43 mm inverted cartridge-style fork of travel handles the suspension up front and comes with compression damping adjustability. A Uni-Trak suspension out back offers excellent road holding ability and bump absorption. The gas-charged shock with preload and rebound damping adjustments allows riders to tailor suspension settings to better suit different riding conditions. KLX300 riders will have 10.1" and 9.1" of wheel travel front and rear, respectively. KLX300SM riders have slightly less with 9.1" and 8.1" of wheel travel.
Speaking of wheels the dual sport has a traditional 21"/18" setup for off road handling and tire choices, while the supermoto sports 17" wheels front and back for sharper handling on road. Braking components also see a difference with the supermoto getting a 300mm disk in the front compared to the 250mm disk on the dual sport; both share a 240mm disk in the back. Caliper hardware between the two is the same as well, with a two-piston clamp up front and a single piston at the rear.
Ergonomics differ slightly as well, with the supermoto sporting a lower seat height of 33.9" and narrowed handlebars. The dual sport seat rises 35.2" from the ground and full width bars for leverage off road. Styling varies a little too with the supermoto sporting an aggressive front fender and angular mirrors while the dual sport has a full size fender and round mirrors for a more classic look.
The 2021 KLX300 dual-sport is available in the Lime Green and the Fragment Camo Gray colorways with an MSRP of $5,599 for Lime Green and $5,799 for Fragment Camo Gray.
The 2021 KLX300SM supermoto model comes in the Lime Green/Ebony and the Oriental Blue/Ebony colorways with an MSRP of $5,999.