Kawasaki has long had a strong contender in the dual-sport category with its KLX range of dual-sports. Availabile in a variety of configurations across the international market, the most popular of which is the KLX 230 range, which has been updated for the U.S. market for 2023.
Kawasaki's array of street-legal dual sports is getting better with updates and new models in the market this year. The 2023 KLX 230 receives improvements to its style and engine tuning. However, the biggest update is the introduction of a new variant called the KLX 230 S, which contains features intended to make off-road riding for rookie riders safer and more fun.
The KLX 230 S is constructed on the same chassis as the KLX 230 but has a lower seat height of 32.7 inches to allow riders to reach the ground more easily. Kawasaki reduced the fork length by 2.4 inches by using shorter dual-stage springs with a stiffer spring rate than the standard KLX 230 in order to account for this decrease in seat height.
Similar modifications are made to the shock as well, reducing suspension travel by 2.1 inches. The S's front and rear suspension travel is 6.2 and 6.6 inches, respectively. Additionally, the S's curb weight is 298 pounds without ABS or 296 pounds with ABS, while the standard bike tips the scales at 291 pouns. The ground clearance is 8.3 inches—versus the standard version's 10.4 inches, and the wheelbase is also shorter at 53.5 inches versus 54.3 inches on the base model.
The ABS function, which is not present on any other KLX 230 model, is another significant improvement to the KLX 230 S. In order to create a more natural braking feel off-road, Kawasaki claims that the KLX 230 S' ABS intervention time is later than typical on-road ABS. Of course, there is a switch on the left side of the handlebar that can turn off ABS completely. The variant with ABS also has a bigger 265mm front brake disc in place of the 240mm disc found on the standard KLX 230. Lime Green and Battle Gray non-ABS KLX 230 S models cost $4,999 each, while Battle Gray ABS models cost $5,299 each.
As for the standard KLX 230, the bike receives the same updates to engine tuning and aesthetics. The dual-sport is now equipped with a new LED headlight housed in a smaller, more compact housing. There's also a redesigned front fender which gives the bike a sportier, more aggressive look. As previously indicated, the KLX 230 is exclusively offered without ABS. It is available for the same $4,999 suggested retail price as the non-ABS KLX 230 S variant.