Kawasaki has introduced the Versys X 300 adventure bike in India. Handsome and purposeful in its appearance, the bike has a somewhat high fixed windscreen, tall seat, high 180mm ground clearance and a rakish rear. The conventional mudguard at the front with only a slight hint of a beak emerging from underneath the headlight adds to the appearance of the Versys X 300.
Assist and slipper clutch
With good proportions to offer, the bike, sporting light weight spoke-aluminium wheels — 19 inch dia at front and 17-inch dia at rear, is laced with a good number of features. The first is ABS as standard; it cannot be disengaged. The second is an ‘assist and slipper’ clutch. Made up of two cams — an assist cam and a slipper cam, the clutch works such that the assist cam pulls the clutch hub and operating plate together to compress the clutch plates. This reduces the total clutch spring load, giving the lever a light feel. The slipper function is similar to what is found on many machines, and is especially useful when downshifting in a hurry.
Lots of accessories
Offered with plenty of accessories that could see the price tag rise substantially, the Versys X 300 comes fitted with 12-volt charging socket neatly integrated into the instrument console area. A stressed member of the tubular frame, the 296cc eight valve, parallel twin liquid cooled engine of the bike produces 40bhp at 11,500rpm. If the availability to peak power at 11,500rpm and peak torque at 10,600rpm may seem a little out of place for an adventure bike, the Versys X 300 seems to lack a relaxed riding feel.
Sustained riding speed
Quite quick, and capable of doing 0 to 60kmph in a shade above three seconds, the bike seems to lack the characteristics desired of an adventure bike. The linear and progressive power delivery of the engine may aid sustained riding speed of 100kmph in top gear, but the very experience seems out of place considering the adventure segment the bike is aiming at. With the engine seeming to come alive above 6000rpm, the Versys X 300 may aid quick overtaking on the highway, and tends to feel like a supersports bike in adventure bike clothing. The vibes turn into a tingling buzz at high revs and rob the bike of providing a relaxed riding feel. The gearing helps a good deal, and riding the Versys X 300 does not call for frequent shifts.
Giving an impression of being rock-solid and over-engineered, the Versys X 300 provides a plush ride. Never providing a feel of losing its composure, the ergonomics of the bike are well engineered. They lead to a comfortable riding position that is compromised by a firm seat. It simply does not feel like that of an adventure bike. Looking beyond, the bike behaves admiringly well around corners and allows for an impressive lean. The tyres grip well both on and off road. The ABS-assisted brakes, comprising 290mm dia disc at front and 220mm dia disc at the rear, exert good force. The action is progressive and inspires confidence.
At Rs 4.6 lakh approximately with most bells and whistles, the Versys X 300 appears expensive. What does not seem to work in favour of the Versys X 300, which is otherwise well-composed, rock-solid and looks the part, is an engine that feels supersports bike-like than adventure.
Pros: Looks, rock-solid, over-engineered