2021 Kawasaki KLX230R S

To round out Kawasaki’s motorcycle lineup for 2021, we have the KLX230R S (yes, with a space between the R and S). A staple in Kawi’s lineup for those looking for some recreational fun outdoors on trails or in the woods, the KLX230R is a basic, simple, and fun little play bike. With the addition of the S suffix for 2021, Kawasaki isn’t gracing us with a Sport version of the bike. Instead, we’re assuming the S stands for Short. The reason is pretty simple: the suspension has been reworked to bring the seat height down one inch. 

Using the standard KLX230R as the reference, you’ll see its 37mm fork provides 9.8 inches of travel and the shock’s travel is 9.9 inches. This lets it confidently traverse whatever terrain lies ahead (within reason of course). But that also brings with it a 36.2-inch seat height which might scare away shorter riders. The 230R S addresses the inseamly challenged by shortening those 37mm forks so they only provide 8.7 inches of travel. The shock also gets travel reduced to 8.8 inches. The result is an overall seat height of just 35.4 inches, which should hopefully attract more riders to grab a bike and have a little fun off-road. 

Otherwise, the KLX230R S remains basically the same as the standard KLX230R, as evidenced by Kawasaki’s press release below:

Begin press release:

The Kawasaki KLX family of off-road recreational motorcycles are widely popular for their rider-friendly character, incredible capability on the trail, and overall reliability. For 2021, Kawasaki adds a new model to its KLX lineup with the KLX230R S.

Keeping pure off-road performance in mind, the KLX230R S is based off of the KLX230R model introduced in 2020, with modified front and rear suspension that lowers overall seat height by one inch from the KLX230R. The KLX230R S off-road motorcycle has been purpose-built for serious fun in the dirt and appeals to riders who prioritize a lower seat height and ample ground clearance while offering a full-size recreational trail bike option.


A 37 mm telescopic front fork handles the suspension duties up front and offers 8.7 inches of travel that contributes to a high-level of controllability when navigating challenging terrain.  On the rear, a Uni-Trak® linkage system and single shock with adjustable spring preload provide 8.8 inches of wheel travel, aiding in excellent handling and bump absorption. The new front and rear suspension settings result in a lower overall seat height than that found on the KLX230R, which allows a wide range of riders to take on off-road trail riding with confidence.


The four-stroke air-cooled single cylinder engine offers smooth, reliable and durable performance in a compact package. The engine has a bore and stroke of 67.0 x 66.0 mm, with a displacement of 233 cc. The long-stroke offers robust low-mid range torque for smooth and easy handling. A simple SOHC two-valve design was chosen for an easy-to-use power character and reliability.

Fuel injection ensures consistent fuel delivery regardless of outside air temperature or elevation. It also enables the use of an electric starter, for easy starting at the push of a button, whether the engine is hot or cold, and contributes to clean emissions. The fuel injection system utilizes a 32 mm throttle body, which delivers precise response. Exhaust pipe length was selected to contribute to the engine’s low-mid range performance. To match the aggressive off-road look of the KX-inspired bodywork, the exhaust features a tapered silencer with an oval cross-section.

A smooth-shifting six-speed transmission offers a gear for every type of condition on the trails, while also allowing for more comfortable cruising on long open straightaways. A short final gear ratio (46/13) was selected, enabling riders to continue moving forward even when navigating challenging trails.


Built from the start for dirt riding, the high-tensile steel perimeter frame offers the optimal handling needed for enjoyable trail riding by a wide range of riders. By designing the engine and frame together, engineers were able to achieve a low engine height, ideal chassis rigidity balance, and a low center of gravity, all in a compact chassis. The short 53.1” wheelbase contributes to the bike’s maneuverability, allowing riders to more easily navigate the trail.


Full-size aluminum wheels, measuring 21” at the front and 18” at the rear, help riders navigate trails, greatly contributing to trail-riding performance.

The KLX230R S motorcycle comes equipped with petal disc brakes, front and rear, which provide sure stopping power. A 240 mm front disc gripped by a twin-piston caliper offers strong, easy-to-control braking. Slowing the rear, a lightweight, KX-type, rear master cylinder with a unitized reservoir and single-piston caliper grips a 220 mm disc.


The frame, seat, and tank of the KLX230R S motorcycle were designed with a combination of form and function in mind, making the frame easy to grip with the legs, offering superior chassis control. Thanks to the compact design of the KLX230R S and updated suspension, a low seat height of 35.4 inches was achieved.

Similar to the KX lineup of motorcycles, the flat design of the tank and seat give the rider greater freedom of movement when changing riding positions, and facilitates sitting farther forward. In addition to trail riding, comfort was also a consideration when deciding the seat shape and thickness. The seams between the shrouds, seat, and side covers all fit flush, making it much easier for the rider to move around on the bike.


The KLX230R S takes its styling cues from Kawasaki’s line of KX motocross motorcycles, which gives the bike an agile, aggressive look to match its trail-riding prowess. A 1.9-gallon fuel tank allows the good times to keep rolling over the course of a long day.

An easy-to-read instrumentation dash is mounted at the center of the handlebars, which includes an ON/OFF button, indicator lamp, low-fuel warning lamp, and FI warning lamp.

The California model is Green Sticker compliant, allowing it to be ridden off road year round. Instead of an ON/OFF button, California models feature a key-type ignition cylinder and an on ON/OFF indicator lamp. The steel fuel tank has a 1.98-gallon capacity and is equipped with a lockable cap and meets strict environmental regulations. 


Riders can personalize their KLX230R S motorcycle to meet their needs, with numerous Kawasaki Genuine Accessories to choose from, such as: skid plate, frame covers, hand covers, fat-type handlebars, handlebar pad, and black alumite rims.


The 2021 KLX230R S is available in Lime Green.