By Dennis Chung
Kawasaki will be introducing a new 233cc trail bike for 2020, offering a step up for riders outgrowing the smaller, entry-level KLX140 (pictured above) or KLX110 models. The news comes to us courtesy of the California Air Resources Board which has issued an executive order for the 2020 Kawasaki KLX230 with a green sticker, making it legal for use in off-highway vehicle parks year-round.
Until now, Kawasaki lacked a dirt bike in between the KLX140 and the more motocross-focused KX250. Kawasaki does have the KLX250, but that’s a street-legal dual sport and not a dedicated off-road vehicle. The KLX230 gives Kawasaki a model to compete against competitors like the Honda CRF230F and Yamaha TT-R230.
The KLX will have a couple of advantages over the CRF and TT-R. At 233cc, the KLX230 holds a 10cc advantage over the offerings from Honda and Yamaha. According to the CARB executive order, the KLX230 will also be fuel injected, whereas the CRF and TTR use carburetors. The CARB documentation also rates the KLX230 as putting out 15 kW, or 20.1 hp, which should give it an edge over the CRF230F and TT-R230.
The KLX230 also complies with California’s emissions standards, getting a green sticker that allows them to be used on HOV parks all year. The TTR-230 and CRF230F, however, do not meet those standards, receiving red stickers which restricts them to seasonal use only.
Unfortunately, the CARB document doesn’t tell us much beyond the engine and emission testing results. If the KLX230 follows after the KLX140 with rear disc brakes, that would give it another advantage over the drum-braked CRF and TT-R. We’ll have to wait for official information from Kawasaki to know more about the 2020 KLX230.