By Ryan Adams Editor Score: 86%
2021 Kawasaki KLX300SM
Editor Score: 86%
The 2021 Kawasaki KLX300SM might be the best new beginner motorcycle on the market. Did that get you fired up? Lemme ‘splain. It’s obvious that the new KLX300SM can be a lot of fun for riders of all levels, but there are some clear advantages of a supermoto-style motorcycle for the uninitiated.
First, the price isn’t bad. It’s not the cheapest, with even Kawasaki’s own Ninja and Z 400 undercutting it by a grand, but $5,999 isn’t too expensive either. Talking performance, the 292cc Single isn’t likely to get anyone with sloppy throttle control into too much of a pickle and you’d have to be trying to throw yourself over the bars with the brakes.
Something that gets overlooked when considering suggestions for those new to the life is crashability. Tip-overs happen. For new riders – or most riders really – it’s a bummer to see a big ol’ scuffed fairing due to a silly mistake. The KLX300SM will take that damage just like a dirtbike – meaning better than any street bike laden with plastic fairings. Even if you do go down you’ll probably scuff some small areas and maybe break a lever (install wrap-around handguards to lower this potential). Even if it happens, your bill for replacement parts will be nil.
And then there is maintenance. Most single-cylinder machines are easy bikes to cut one’s teeth in the art of motorcycle maintenance, but a supermoto like the KLX300SM will be about as easy as it gets when performing open-head surgery (which will need to be done every 7,600 miles) on a four-valve DOHC engine.