Turning the Kawasaki Versys-X 300 Into a Real-World Traveler

Project bikes come and go, but some are harder to let go than others. That’s been the case with our 2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300, a lightweight and capable on- and off-roader that just gets better the longer we ride it. At $5699 with ABS, it tips the scales at under 400 pounds wet, carries 4.5 gallons of fuel, and is powered by a spunky 297cc parallel twin, making it not only fun but practical for anything from commuting to weekend trail rides. As good as the Versys-X is, though, it can better with the addition of some carefully chosen accessories from Twisted Throttle.

Versys X-300 Aux Lighting

Nobody’s going to claim the Versys-X’s lime-green paint job is hard to see, but more conspicuity is always better than less. Leading the way is a set of Denali D4 2.0 TriOptic LED lights and a set of Denali DM Micro LED lights to help you see and be seen. The D4s include two flood lights and two spot lights for a comprehensive pattern of illumination, and the DMs are lightweight and easy to mount. Together the D4s and DMs light up the Versys-X without taxing the electrical system.

Versys X-300 Crash Protection

The Versys-X is a friendly backroader, but back roads themselves aren’t always friendly, especially to exposed parts. The X’s header pipes hang low, close to the front wheel where they’re vulnerable to debris kicked up by the tire. SW-MOTECH Pipe Guards bolt onto the headers and keep those round pipes round by fending off rocks and other trailside nastiness.

On the road or on easy trails, the Versys-X is an easy traveling companion.

If things turn really nasty you could find yourself—and your bike—on the ground. That’s when you want a set of SW-MOTECH Crash Bars/Engine Guards between you and terra firma. They protect the engine cases but more important shield the fragile and expensive plastics from damage.

As good as the Versys-X is, it’s not without a few faults. One is that it’s geared too short, making it buzzy on the highway. The gearing can’t be changed too much without triggering an engine code, but a 15-tooth countershaft sprocket sneaks under the electronics’ radar, and raises the gearing just enough to make the engine feel less frantic at freeway speeds.

Tasks like changing gearing, or oil or tires, and adjusting and lubing the chain, are all easier with a centerstand. SW-MOTECH’s Centerstand for the Versys-X is made of rugged steel powder-coated black for corrosion resistance and durability. The foot lever combines with optimum geometry for easy lifting. No drilling, cutting, or permanent modifications are required to install it, and all the necessary hardware is included. For stability on the sidestand, we fitted the SW-MOTECH Side Stand Foot Enlarger as well.

Versys X-300 Luggage & More

The Versys-X is well suited for travel and adventure––all it needs is luggage to carry your gear. A pair of DrySpec D20 Saddlebags and a provide a total of 78 liters of capacity and work together as a modular system. Each is made of 22-ounce waterproof RF-welded nylon to keep your gear safe and dry, and they come with rigid core construction so they don’t look like empty garbage bags after you unpack them.

There’s no denying our Versys-X project bike can lay down the lumens, with a pair of DENALI D4s and a pair of DMs to light the way.

The D38 mounts to the Versys-X using an SW-MOTECH ALU-RACK connected directly to the bike, and a Quick-Release Soft Luggage Adaptor. The adaptor lets you use soft bags, Givi or TraX hard cases, or cases and luggage from other manufacturers.

The Versys name comes from “versatile system,” and the Versys-X 300 shows off its versatility by excelling not only as a mini-ADV bike but as a commuter and daily rider as well. The SW-MOTECH Quick-Lock Evo City Tank Bag is a great way to take along your phone, tablet, heavy gloves, and whatever else you need to get you through the day. It’s designed for the sloped profile of adventure-style gas tanks, and the Quick-Lock release system does away with straps and buckles for fast and easy on-off. The 11-liter bag expands to 15 liters and has weather-resistant cable ports front and back for your phone or MP3 player.

Sometimes little things make big differences, like SW-MOTECH Mirror Extenders that extend the mirrors outward to clear big shoulders or loose-fitting jackets with flappy sleeves, and a TomTom 400 GPS Map System to keep you on the straight and narrow, or the tight and twisty, as circumstances dictate. Finally, the stock tires are just OK, but Continental TKC70 60/40 Dual Sport tires are better; we fitted them in the stock 100/90-19 front size and 130/80-17 rear size. They provide traction on iffy surfaces, have great wet-weather performance, and on a small, light bike like the Versys-X 300 will probably last a very long time.

Finally, although we didn’t have them installed in time for our video on the Versys-X, we have ridden with the new BarkBusters Storm hand guards and they’re wonderful.

You can find all of these and many other ways to make the Versys-X 300 even better than it is without busting your budget at TwistedThrottle.com.

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what side mounts are you using to mount the saddle bags? I have some soft saddle bags, but they dont seem to want to be very secure without some sort of rigid mounting behind them for support…. I can see there are some rigid mounts behind the side bags in your video, but you never mention which ones you are using.


As per above…The D38 mounts to the Versys-X using an SW-MOTECH ALU-RACK connected directly to the bike, and a Quick-Release Soft Luggage Adaptor. The adaptor lets you use soft bags, Givi or TraX hard cases, or cases and luggage from other manufacturers.


Is there a link to this quick release soft luggage adaptor? I can’t seem to find any info on it anywhere.