I was scouting around for a modern day tripper, was intrigued by the BMW 310R, but it was months from being available. Then I started reading about Kawasaki's new teeny Versys, the X-300. I liked what I read and what I heard from others on the ADVRDR forum. So in November 2016 I put a deposit down on one. A riding buddy, Cecil, decided to do the same. I decided on the gray and he loved the lime, so we were good.

Come late March after a call from the dealer, Ride Now, we towed my little trailer 100 miles Ocala. Major disappointment. The green bike lacked the promised ABS, the gray was still in the warehouse and would not arrive for a few hours. Then they brought out the papers. The out the door price was $2,100 over MSRP, no haggling. We got our deposits back and left, more angry than dejected.

A little internet search time and Cecil got a return call from Champions Honda Kawasaki in Cocoa. They had both bikes, both with ABS, and were willing to deal at least a bit. We busted down there and a couple of hours later, here we are, locked and loaded.

The first ride confirmed that is more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow. Grab it by the throat and thrash it. Good fun.

I quickly added a Marsee tailbag, and wired in a mount for the Garmin. I quickly realized the gearing is very short, so I replaced the 14T front sprocket with a 15T from the Ninja. That drops revs about 6% through the range. I expect that when chain replacement is due, I may drop a tooth or two on the back as well. Cecil and I found some very nice, bright LED lights on Amazon and mounted them into the existing front reflector bosses. One issue remains, the seat is a brick. Until the aftermarket provides an option, I tossed my old Alaska Leather sheepskin on it.

After a few weeks of break in we headed out on an overnight mini-ADV tour to a fish camp over on the gulf. The trip totaled 550 miles and the little bikes were just superb; surprisingly comfortable at highway speeds, light and handy elsewhere.


In March of 2018 I found myself looking at Yamaha's latest MT-07. I felt this bike could be a suitable replacement for both the Versys and the Tiger 800. No longer doing coast to coast touring, the Triumph was getting little use. The Kawasaki was fun around town but a little sketchy on the interstate. The Yamaha promised a nice balance of performance (70 HP) and light weight (400 LBS). Subsequently, I traded both towards a 2018 Mt-07.