2023 Kawasaki KLR 650 vs. KLX 300 

Which one is best for your style of riding? 

Hi everybody, it's Peter and in this video we are gonna compare two dual sports street and trail adventure type bikes basically on off-road bikes. And I'm gonna compare them in detail cuz they're closer in price than you think and sometimes people think one is better for a certain activity than another. And we're gonna go through the details. So first of all, this is the Kawasaki KLX 300. We're gonna compare it to the KLR 650 which happens to be a 650. And we're filming here at  Jim Gilberts PowerSports. Jim Gilbert's Powersports gives me complete access to their entire vehicle line. So if you have questions about either of these vehicles, let me know when the comments below and make sure you hit subscribe because a lot of the time I'll take your comments and turn that into a future video that helps you out. 
So wanna thank Jim Gilbert's Power Sports for access to their vehicles. Let's get going with the review. So the appeal to both of these bikes is they're both street legal bikes that are made to handle the dirt, but what type of dirt they can handle can be a little different. Now here's the thing, if you're an magazine rider, you can ride this KLR down any trail you want. For most of us, this isn't gonna hit the same kind of off-road that this KLX will, but we're gonna talk about some of the pros and cons of each so that you can make a decision on which one's best for you. So first of all, let's talk about the KLX 300. Both of these are single cylinder bikes. This one looks a lot more like a dirt bike with lights and other things.

From here you can watch Peters Video by clicking YouTube or read his transcript... enjoy...

So we're gonna take a look at the dash here cuz you actually get in my mind a better dash here than you do in the Klr. The Klr has a lot of history of course, but the Klr is really classed more as an adventure bike and that's sort of a newer term, at least newer than the klr concept. When the Klr first came out, it was just a larger, you know, street bike slash dirt bike, trail bike, whatever you wanted to call it, but it's moved into the adventure class. This one is going to give you some advantages with this new updated, updated look uh, fuel injection now and here it's gonna give you some advantages over a bike like that, but it's also got some disadvantages to a bike like that. So we're gonna talk about some of those advantages by starting with taking a look at the KLX 300 and then moving towards this bike.

So let's first take a really close look at the KLX 300. So the KLX 300 in my mind is really well suited to not just dirt roads but also the trails. This is really a sort of a mature dirt bike. It's ready to go on any kind of roads that you would want, whether that's street, whether that's gravel roads, whether that's just bad roads or if it's a trail. And the first thing you're gonna notice when you slide across this is it's narrowness and it's lightness. It's very lightweight bike that's easy to ride for a lot of people. A lot of people feel this is a great sort of first motorcycle because it's not too intimidating with its power, although neither is the klr. It does seem to be a little tall. But you'll see as I jump across here, it does collapse on the suspension a little bit. It is a fairly tall first bike, but again very, very controllable.

And then the panels on all this are a lot like a dirt bike. So they're very flexible, they can take a little bit of a punishment if you did drop this bike. Nothing is too expensive to repair, you know, a simple mirror, simple situation here. And a lot of this, even if it uh, made contact with the ground, you can kind of pick that bike up and deal with it and keep going. So this bike is a bike that is very good for trails and certainly capable on any off-road where this bike lacks compared to the klr is really in a second passenger allowing them to be comfortable. Although legally you can take one here, it is a much smaller seat and it really doesn't have any cargo carrying capacity as is now. There's things you can do to modify it but again, by the time you start spending the money to modify, you might be into klr money. 
So these two bikes are, you know, about a thousand dollars different as equipped. This one costs uh, a little bit more with its paint scheme here and the klr is the entry level klr. So again, if you are taking extra gear with you going on longer trips, this bike is gonna have some trouble. But if you just want a bike to blast around all kinds of on and off road, this might be a better bike for you. We'll talk about some of those advantages in a second. Let's bring the klr in, I'll show you a couple features there and then we're gonna look at some of the specifics and we're gonna start with the dash on both these bikes because like I said ironically this one might have the better dash over the klr. So back to back. Comparing these two, obviously you know it on camera before watching this video. 

The klr is a much larger bike, but practically speaking some of that largeness comes to this stuff and this overall cargo carrying section is very, very good because not only do you have this uh, this rack back here, which you can equip with various accessories to carry just about everything you need. You also can add side bags, you can add anything you want. And what I like about the overall style of this is the overall panel here is level with the seat. So even if you just wanted to throw on a typical duffle sack that's not motorcycle gear, you've got lots of places to strap this on, make sure it's secure, it just makes everything really simple to take stuff with you. And again, it's a wider seat as well. So I'm gonna jump on this one as well. This is also a tall bike.
Now the difference with this bike is for the same price you can get the K L R S and a lot of our viewers have pointed out, it doesn't say S for shorter because shorter on a typical bike means shorter in length, but the S is really a shorter version, shorter as in lower to the ground. So there is an S version of this that would place me more flat-footed. I am slightly tippy toed, I'm about six feet tall on this and overall you feel a lot of difference on this. It is a heavier bike with a massive fuel tank. This fuel tank I believe is 23 liters. That one is maybe it's less than half, it might only be just a hair over a third of that, but it's, it's a much small, maybe it's not less than half but it is a much smaller tank. So fuel range here is a real bonus on this bike. But a fuel tank that's 23 liters that's filled up can also create more mass

Up high. So there is a different feeling now to control that mass. You have almost laughably wide handlebars. These are by far the widest handlebars of any Kawasaki bike that I've been on. Um, and it is again a real commanding position that allows you to feel like you're very much in control. The other benefit here is wind protection. If you're going on longer highway trips, you do have that extra wind protection. We'll show you the dash a second where the dash itself may not be as good as the klx but the features around do add some flexibility and some features there as well. This bike is gonna be really good on, in my mind, on the gravel roads, that kind of thing, the tighter trails you're gonna make. Wanna make sure you have some skill to handle this. Now again, there are K L R owners for decades that have taken these things around the world where there is no trail, there is no road and they've done just fine on this.

But I think the general feeling for the average rider is that one behind me is gonna be really good for those tighter trails and perfectly fine on dirt roads. This one's gonna be perfectly fine on dirt roads but probably give you a little bit more security. But it's really gonna stretch its legs better on highway, roads on road and it really is the go anywhere on any type of road bike to the average rider. Once you start getting into technical trails, the average rider's gonna be able to handle that a little bit better. So let's look at the dash on both these and compare some of the differences that I think are strengths and weaknesses in each one. All right, so as I'm filming here I'm realizing that my watch, which I also film with, which is a sort of a extra little display screen that my sweatshirt might be touching it and causing it to zoom out or in.
So I hope it's not zooming out so much. Uh, I am running outta time the day to film this again. So hopefully that zooming in, zooming out doesn't affect the video watching too much. I do apologize for that if it's been going on. Let's take a look at the dash here. You've got a little bit of glare here. Let's see if we can just kinda have adjust that. Well we've got with studio lights, not a big deal with the studio lights over here. There is no gear position indicator like you may think that there should be in this type of dash. Let's just come down a little bit and change the angle here so we can try. There we go. There's the better look at the dash. I apologize guys. Like I said, I am working on a tighter schedule today than I normally am.
So over here a lot of people think there should be a gear indicator, there is not. The other thing that's kind of missing from the spike that surprises people is this doesn't have a tachometer. Now this is a single cylinder 650 cc engine. What that means is that this engine creates a lot of torque without having to rev out to the top end of the limit. So something like a Kawasaki ninja is gonna really need you to rev to the top and knowing where the red line is on that kind of bike is important on this kind of bike, you're gonna feel very much to be in the torque and then feel naturally where the shift is. I would still like a tack on this and I feel it's something they've uh, sort of should have put on this that they didn't. But again, it isn't. 

It is what it is. It kind of comes with what it comes with. So pretty basic dash here with the clock, the odometer fuel gauge, which is nice to have. But as we zoom out from this and this time I'll be zooming intentionally. There we go. You will see that this faring offers quite a bit. So we'll come out like this on the adventure model. You could have a u SB portion right here where you could pop that out, plug a U USB in over here on the far side over here you can see on the right there is a space to put switches, which again on the adventure model you would put your um, sort of fog light switches on or driving light switches and there's a place to put a USB port. Those are all sort of pre cutouts, they're sort of dummy areas right now, but you can accessorize this bike with a lot of different things and it's ready to go. 
That wind protection of the wind screen here also is nice. And this little extra bar up here, if you were to add a little gps, you could mount it here on the handlebar, you could mount it up here. There's ways to amount accessories to this. This is much more of a longer trip bike than the klx and that's one thing to keep in mind. If the type of off-road riding you're gonna do involves longer trips from the seat to the wind protection to the accessories in the future, this is gonna be a better bike for that. So taking a look at the KLX 300, this is a more interesting dash to me as you can see as I turn it on there, you've gotta tachometer on the top. So this one really gives you all the same information as the other bike but you lose a fuel gauge. 
Now would you rather have a fuel gauge or would you rather have a tachometer? It still has the fuel light so you will be told when your fuel is very low, but to me, as long as I got a light, I think if I had to have one or the other, I'd rather have the tech oter. So again, neither one is perfect but both are simple or well protected As we zoom out on this bike, we'll come back to this look, you can see there is no wind protection here other than just a little cover for those gauges there. And again, this is less of a good long road bike. Doesn't mean you can't go a long ways on this doesn't mean you can't um, you know, handle this bike for a longer trip. But overall seating space, overall, you know extra things around here, you do have less protection. 
So that's one of the biggest things you're gonna notice between these two bikes is the lighter weight and the less wind protection. Less big tank and less comfy seat for a longer trip is gonna make the KLX less of an ideal uh, trip bike for those longer trips. Now that being said, this is still the one you're gonna wanna choose because it has less of everything that does make it easier to handle on the tighter trails. Let's look at a couple other little features here. So I don't normally talk about pricing on these videos because pricing can change over time and I don't want these videos to go outta date. So bear with me. But at the time that I'm filming this, which is February of 2023, this is a 2023 KLX 300, it does have this Digital Camo paint scheme. So that does cost a little bit extra. It is $7,099 plus fees and taxes. So this one over here is the entry level klr, it's $7,999 with the same pricing structure, not including some of those fees and taxes. So about a thousand dollars difference. But if you start looking at things a lot of time if you had a bike like this and a bike like this and you said

Okay, we're gonna add l e d lighting extra wind protection large fuel tank, that alone would be the price difference. This one here has the halogen lighting, which again is perfectly fine and acceptable, but you start getting into that pricing segment where the adventure bike comes into play. And that's one of the reasons I wanted to do this video. A lot of people are trying to buy this bike and do longer and longer on and offroad adventures when they're forgetting about this bike here. Adventure bikes as a class are usually $20,000 or more and I think sometimes people forget that this klr is a very, very practical bike that allows you to do those uh, longer types of trips. So let's take a couple, take a look at a couple other features within the bikes for off-road and Onroad because again, I've been underselling the KLX and I think the KLX has some really strong points as well.

So let's talk about some of those as we dig into some of the uh, engine transmission. Other areas there where this one's really strong. So I mentioned earlier that both of these bikes have single cylinder engines. Now one of the benefits with a smaller single cylinder is it creates this kind of thumpy sound without creating a ton of vibrations. The larger the single cylinder engine, the more types of vibrations you have at certain speed. So this one is a little bit more of a buzz where the other one's a little bit more of a thump and that thump can turn to a vibration at high revs driving this on the highway, it's a screamer driving that on the highway. It's a thumper and they're different ways. So a couple things I like about this engine, it's small, it's kind of that buzz is kind of dirt bike friendly and this isn't like dirt bike loud, so it's very quiet refined engine and it is liquid cooled so you have that consistency in the temperature that you want.The other thing that I like is this one has some real solid metal bars all around here. So if you're gonna take this off of the roads onto the trails where you've got some real obstacles, you really are well equipped to kind of bash into things. This one has metal foot pegs, the other one has metal foot pegs with rubber inserts. You know, again, one's more highway suited, but again you've got the ability to kind of just drop this bike, pick it up because it's lightweight and keep going. This one is absolutely a blast to take anywhere you want, including going well off road down the trails and fi finding places that you just can't get to without roads. That's where this one is really, really strong. As we look at the klr, you can see the dropping this bike would be couple things. It's a little tougher to pick up, uh, because of the weight. 
It's a little bit more emotionally damaging to see some scratches on this more shiny paint. And although you have some good frame rails underneath here, really you're hitting this plastic as much as anything else here. Rubber foot pegs, again nice for the highway. I may have oversold the vibrations of this on the highway, but I do wanna point out that if you're buying a road highway bike in the six 50 class and you want something with this kind of seating position, the versus six 50 is the way to go. This one is still an all-purpose bike. And when I first did my first video on the KRS here at Wheels and Deals, I talked about how this bike is

Good at everything but not great at anything. So everything that this bike does, there is a way to get a better bike doing that one thing than this. So for instance, if you were just going off road and you wanted lights, the KLX is better. If you were just going on road with a six 50 in one of the wind protection and seating position, the versus six 50 is better. The ability to do both is what makes this strong. It's the true jack of all trades, master of none. So there are compromises with this bike, but the value is really here as well. So again, big thumper engine, not a whole lot of modern technology in this. They did bring in fuel injection, that kind of thing, but this is still the basic same thing they've had since the 1980s. That shouldn't matter to you in a motorcycle. 
Motorcycles, you know, they're not like cars where, you know, sometimes you have to update at that engine just to prove to people you've got the newest, latest and greatest reliability is a piece of this. You know, they're, these things have gone around the world with these engines thumping the whole way and that works great but you have a lot different body work look here. And again that weight, one thing that's kind of nice is, uh, I just bought the um, Z 900 Rs. It's a street bike, it's gonna take passengers, that kind of thing. It has rubber, uh, pads on the front, uh, for the driver on the foot pegs but not on the back. This one has the rubber pads here on the back as well. So again, they're thinking about a passenger on this bike more so than on some other bikes. So there's been a basic overview of each of these bikes and I'm gonna talk next about who these bikes are best for.
But before I go too far, if I haven't given you enough of a review, I've done reviews of each of these bikes in a better detailed view, uh, individually in on this channel. So make sure you search Peter low one, which is my channel, uh, and search the names of these bikes and you'll see everything I've done on them. Because even what I've done so far, I'm gonna continue to make more and more videos on this. So if you're watching this even a year or two from now, I'll have made more and more videos. You can search my channel for that. But let's talk about who these bikes are for. Well, they're for a lot of people, but I think one of the things that I want to point out both of these bikes for is if you want a trail bike or a second bike or something like that, that you can kind of take on the road and do everything, this is probably your best bet.

It is a great value. It is an updated version of a bike. The klr has been updated as well in bodywork and everything else, but most of that engine is still basically the same as it was before. The KLX used to be sort of two 50 s and that kind of thing. They're up to 300 now and that 300 cc makes a difference. You've got the power you need to go full on highway speeds to country highway speeds. And then again, the lightweight comfort maneuverability to do all of that trail type riding. This is something you can stand up out of the saddle, get in the saddle, and have a lot of fun. And like I said, this will take you to places where there are no roads. This one here again, unless you're a super, super skilled rider, it is a large motorcycle. And I think this one will take you to anywhere where there are roads. Now again, there are plenty of trails that are groomed

Enough that I would feel totally comfortable riding this on as well. But the real difference here is this can take you anywhere for a very, very long time. The large fuel tank, the larger seat, the larger wind protection, the larger overall motorcycle makes this better. What's interesting to me is sometimes people are saying, oh I want to add a dual sport or a street and trail type bike to my lineup or I want to, you know, add this to our family of bikes or something like that. And in that case, the price difference between these two might make this something you should consider. It's not that much more expensive. You do see the value in price, like I said, adding those L e D lights, the extra body work, the extra power, the extra luggage capacity, you know, those kinds of things make this a pretty good value over that.

And it really changes the character of the bike where you can still go on and off road, but now you can tour. So I don't know if this is an ad for this bike as a great all-rounder because I absolutely love this bike. You know, I called it my favorite bike of 2023 or 2022 that I reviewed last year. Oh, hit the sign here. Better not do that. But I also love this bike and I always kind of thought this would be a bike I would love to have as a second bike, but for the price difference now I'm not so sure. So again, depending on the type of riding you wanna do, if you wanna have some fun light trails, this thing's great. You're probably not gonna ride this for three days in a row, eight hours a day. If you wanted to, you could do that with this.

So there you go. Let me know what you think. Which one of these is a better bike for you. Which one of these is best? You know, am I wrong? I know some of you guys are gonna say, Hey, this thing's a perfectly capable trail bike and you're probably right. I'm just not sure that I would do that. Uh, but yeah, it just sort of depends on what you're like. So let me know what you think of these bike, lemme know, know your opinions on how you would ride them and which one you'd rather have. If you could have a, as a second bike, you had a street bike for something maybe for performance, but you had to add these, which one would you add? If you could do that, let me know in the comments. And again, if you wanna know more questions, I'll answer them. If you wanna know more about these bikes, I'll answer your questions in the comments and of course in future videos. Thanks to Jim Gilbert's PowerSports. Have a good day everybody. Sorry about the zooming in and out. We had a very snowy day here. I got a little behind, but I'm getting these done as best as I can. We'll catch you in the next one.

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