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2020 Kawasaki KLX230 First Look: New Dual-Sport Motorcycle

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ABS LIGHTWEIGHT DUAL-SPORT FOR ON- AND OFF-ROAD FUN

     All-new from the ground up is the 2020 Kawasaki KLX230 dual-sport motorcycle. A lower-cost, more-accessible alternative to the completely different KLX250, the 2020 Kawasaki KLX230 is intended to appeal to newer riders interested in taking to the dirt, while still retaining street-going capability.

     The 2020 KLX230 is Kawasaki’s latest, all-new dual-sport motorcycle, and is aimed squarely at new riders wanting an easy to use dual-sport or at experienced riders wanting to venture into their first dual sport or off-road motorcycle.

     Using a 233 cc air-cooled SOHC single, the KLX230 is estimated to produce between 15-20 crank HP and about 10 lbs-ft of crank torque.

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     When Kawasaki stated that the KLX230 is all-new, they meant everything is all new. New frame, new engine, new suspension, new handlebars, everything bespoke to this motorcycle. In the USA and Canada, you can get the KLX230 with or without ABS, but in Europe, only the ABS model is available.

Kawasaki KLX230 specifications:

  • Engine type: 233cc, 4-stroke, 1-cylinder
  • Power:15-20 Hp
  • Wet weight: 393 lb
  • Seat height:8 in

SALIENT FEATURES

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1.Everything is new on the 2020 Kawasaki KLX230, from the chassis to the motor.

     The motor isn’t a downsized KLX250 powerplant. Instead, it’s a way simpler SOHC design with two valves and air cooling. The chassis is considerably smaller than the KLX250, with the KLX230 offering a lower seat height (two inches), less sophisticated suspension (no damping adjustments), and lighter weight (13 pounds).

2.The KLX230 comes in two flavors-with ABS and without. You’ll pay an extra $300 for ABS, and the, therefore, ABS model weighs an additional two pounds. Kawasaki claims this is often a “revolutionary new dual-purpose ABS” by Bosch that works on both the road and in the dirt.

     Kawasaki says that the ABS comes on a bit later than a street-only ABS setup, allowing some sliding of the tires before activating. It’s worth noting that the ABS version features a 265mm disc, while the quality KLX230’s front disc is just 240mm in diameter. Both models have a 220mm disc in the rear.

3. A standard 18-/21-inch wheel pairing is used. Rubber is budget IRC Trails GP-21F and GP-22R, which also are found on the Honda CRF250L. They should be fine on the road, though dirt-oriented riders will want sometime better suited to off-roading. The wheels are aluminum to assist keep the KLX230’s curb weight below 300 pounds.

4. Suspension travel is a tad less than nine inches at each end for a lower seat height. Except for spring-preload on the shock, the KLX 230’s suspension is non-adjustable. The shorter travel helps keep the seat height at an approachable 34.8 inches.

5. Power should be balanced on the very slightly oversquare motor. Air-cooled and sporting a cylinder head with a SOHC and two valves, the powerplant is pure simplicity. The power delivery likely won’t be intimidating to a new rider. There’s a six-speed transmission to make sure the proper gear is usually available.

6. Anyone should be ready to start the 2020 Kawasaki KLX230. It has an electric start, alongside a comparatively low compression motor. Along with the small motor comes a compact steel perimeter-frame chassis.

     The wheelbase is simply 54.3 inches (two inches shorter than the KLX250) for agility. However, to make sure the new bike doesn’t surprise the rider with overly responsive handling, the rake is a relaxed 27.5 degrees. Ground clearance is a workable 10.4 inches.

7. Feel free to bring a passenger along. The KLX230 features a two-person seat and passenger footpegs.

8. If you’re mechanically minded, you’ll be happy to understand that the bike comes with a toolkit. Even better, the toolbox compartment is lockable and uses the same key because of the ignition.

2020 Kawasaki KLX230 Review

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     KLX230 are pavement-legal, and both bikes are designed for light-duty off-road riding and commuting, but our guess is that most people who are interested in either one of these two motorcycles are more than likely going to spend a majority of their time on the dirt rather than on the pavement.

     But instead taking advantage of that metal license plate on the rear fender just to get them from one trail to the next, or providing transportation to the local grocery store and back, albeit at home or at the RV park or campground.

     The KLX230 is a surprisingly capable motorcycle both on and off the road. It makes enough power to stay ahead of the cars on the pavement and is geared well enough to keep it humming along nicely right around 60 mph; you just don’t want to hang out at that pace for too long, but it’s nice to know that it can do it for a while without feeling too guilty.

     And Kawasaki did a great job keeping vibes to a minimum, which can be a problem with small-bore singles on the road.

2020 Kawasaki KLX230 Features

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ABS (Anti-Lock Brake System)

     Kawasaki ABS systems use front and rear wheel sensors to constantly monitor wheel speed. Should information from either of the sensors indicate that wheel lock has occurred, the ABS ECU directs the pump in the ABS unit to modulate brake fluid pressure (releasing and reapplying pressure so that traction can be regained) until normal operation resumes.

     ABS offers rider reassurance that contributes to greater riding enjoyment.

2020 Kawasaki KLX230 Specifications

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MSRP: $4599 / $4899 ABS
Engine: Air-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC, single
Displacement: 233cc
Bore x Stroke: 67.0 x 66.0mm
Compression Ratio: 9.4:1
Fuel System: DFI w/ 32mm Keihin throttle body
Transmission: 6-speed
Frame Type: High-tensile steel perimeter
Front Suspension: 37mm telescopic fork
Rear Suspension: Uni-Trak linkage w/adj. spring preload
Front Wheel Travel: 8.7 in.
Rear Wheel Travel: 8.8 in.
Front Tire: 2.75 x 21 in.
Rear Tire: 4.10 x 18 in.
Front Brake: Single 265mm petal disc w/ dual-piston caliper
Rear Brake: Single 220mm petal disc w/ single-piston caliper
Rake: 27.5°
Trail: 4.6 in.
O/A Length: 82.9 in.
O/A Width: 32.1 in.
O/A Height: 45.9 in.
Wheelbase: 54.3 in.
Ground Clearance: 10.4 in.
Seat Height: 34.8 in.
Curb Weight (claimed): 293.3 lbs (297.7 lbs. CA)
Fuel Capacity: 2.0 gal.

2020 Kawasaki KLX230 (ABS) Specs

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Engine:

Engine: 233cc, 4-stroke single, SOHC, air-cooled
Power: 15-20 Hp
Bore x Stroke: 67.0 x 66.0mm
Compression Ratio: 9.4:1
Fuel System: DFI® with 32mm Keihin throttle body
Starter: Electric
Lubrication: Forced lubrication, wet sump

Chassis:

Suspension Front: 37mm telescopic fork/8.7 in
Suspension Rear: Uni-Trak® linkage system and a single shock with adjustable spring preload/8.8 in
Brakes Front: Single 265mm petal disc with a dual-piston caliper
Brakes Rear: Single 220mm petal disc with single-piston caliper
Tires Front: 2.75 x 21
Tires Rear: 4.10 x 18
Fuel Tank Capacity: 7.5 L (2 US gal.)
Color: Lime Green

Electronics:

Ignition: TCBI with digital advance
Headlight: LED
Tail Light: LED

Dimensions:

Overall Length: 82.9 in (2,105 mm)
Overall Width: 32.9 in (835 mm)
Overall Height: 45.9 in (1,165 mm)
Wheelbase: 54.3 in (1,380mm)
Ground Clearance: 10.4 in (255 mm)
Seat Height: 34.8 in (880 mm)
Curb Weight: 293 lbs (132 kg)
Warranty: 12 Month

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