Kawasaki announced a KLX230 model for 2020, a new dual-sport motorcycle slotting in alongside the KLX250 that is also returning for 2020. But is there room for two KLX models separated by just 16cc? Kawasaki seems to think so.

The big difference between the two is the KLX230 is powered by a SOHC 233cc air-cooled Single, whereas the KLX250 uses a liquid-cooled 249cc DOHC Single. The KLX230 is also the first dual sport from Kawasaki to come with an ABS option. For good measure, and Kawasaki also announced an off-road-only version in the KLX230R, which we’ve previously reported has been green sticker-certified by the California Air Resources Board.

According to Kawasaki, the 233cc engine offers ample low-to-mid-range torque plus a strong pull at smaller throttle openings. A digital fuel injection system offers precise throttle response, and plays a big factor in getting the off-road version its green sticker. The KLX230 is equipped with a six-speed transmission and a tapered muffler with oval cross section.

Kawasaki designed a new high-tensile steel perimeter frame alongside the engine, optimizing rigidity and center of gravity. The frame was also crafted to make it easy for riders to grip with their legs for improved control and feedback.

The KLX230 comes with a 37mm telescopic fork offering 8.7 inches of travel. That’s not as high as the KLX250 (with a 43mm fork offering 10 inches of travel) but still plenty for most trail riding duties. The preload-adjustable Uni-Trak linkage rear shock with 8.8 measures up similarly with the 250.

The KLX230 has the same wheel sizes as the KLX250, with a tall 21-inch front wheel and an 18-inch rear wheel.

Kawasaki worked with Bosch to develop the KLX230’s dual-sport ABS. The system is less sensitive than a regular ABS designed for the street, with a later intervention timing to provide a more natural feel riding off-road, with more slide before the ABS kicks in. The ABS version uses a 265 mm petal-type rotor on the front wheel, whereas the non-ABS model uses a smaller 240mm petal-type disc.

Other highlights include digital LCD instrumentation, 55/60W halogen headlight, electric start and a 34.8-inch seat height. Kawasaki claims a curb weight of 293.3 pounds with ABS (291.1 pounds without), which is about 10 pounds lighter than the KLX250. Pricing starts at $4,599, with ABS raising the price to $4,899.

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