The $4399 KLX230R is the dirt-only version of the KLX230.
Photography by Kevin Wing
Kawasaki has expanded its family line of entry-level KLX off-road and dual sport motorcycles by introducing three new models for 2020. Welcome the street-legal KLX230, and off-road-only KLX230R and KLX300R, which now join the KLX110, 140, and 250 (street-legal) models which are already a part of Kawasaki’s off-road and dual-sport family.
As you can see, Kawasaki pretty much has all of the bases covered now when it comes to filling the variety of needs of those new to the sport or getting back into it. If you have a family that wants to start getting into riding dirt bikes, Kawasaki now has something for everyone, except for, perhaps, the family pooch.
2020 Kawasaki KLX230R Review
The $4399 KLX230R is the dirt-only version of the KLX230. This means that the 230R is stripped of all the necessary equipment that keeps you from getting a ticket for riding on the street. You won’t see things like a headlight, tail light, mirrors, added emissions do-dads, LCD dash, keyed ignition, or passenger pegs, among other things, on this bike. Without these things, though, you get a nearly 40 pounds savings in weight. That’s huge! Plus, since this bike will only be ridden on the dirt, it needs stouter suspension, so there is more wheel travel at both ends and stiffer settings. A downfall to all this is an inch-and-a-half taller seat height, but at 36.2 inches, it’s still acceptable for an entry-level motorcycle.
With more wheel travel, stiffer suspension, and 40 pounds less weight, the 230R feels quite different than the street-legal 230. The 230R a far more capable off-road bike than the 230 and can be ridden much harder and more aggressively on the dirt. And taller riders will like the slightly increased legroom.
With full-size wheels, a 36-plus-inch seat height, the 230R is approaching full-size status, but it still feels quite small between your legs, but my 6’1″ frame didn’t feel too cramped on the 230R. Smaller riders won’t have a problem muscling around this motorcycle, that is for sure. The 230R also feel much lighter than the 230 and way more agile.
The new KLX230R is an excellent entry-level motorcycle that will double-up as a remarkably capable off-road fun machine for the experienced rider who just wants to keep things simple and wants to have a great excuse to get away and explore the nearby hills, and doing so without breaking the bank.
Kudos to Kawasaki for doing an excellent job filling in the gaps in its off-road/dual sport entry-level line with the KLX230, and 230 and 300Rs. Anyone looking to get into dirt bike riding for the first time or getting back into it again should put these three very good motorcycles on their shopping list. CN
2020 Kawasaki KLX230R Specifications
||Air-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC, single
|Bore x Stroke:
||67.0 x 66.0mm
||DFI w/ 32mm Keihin throttle body
||High-tensile steel perimeter
||37mm telescopic fork
||Uni-Trak linkage w/adj. spring preload
|Front Wheel Travel:
|Rear Wheel Travel:
||80/100 x 21 in.
||100/100 x 18 in.
||Single 240mm petal disc w/dual-piston caliper
||Single 220mm petal disc w/single-piston caliper
|Curb Weight (claimed):
||253.6 lbs. (258 lbs. CA)