Having recently tested a Kawasaki KVF on its own, we were keen to see how it faired against the rest of the group. Unfortunately, due to availability and time constraints, the manufacturer could only supply us with a two-wheel drive KVF 300.
As expected, on manoeuvrability and agility it literally ran rings around the others. Having only 2WD – and light steering as a result – it was easy to handle. Even when coupled to various trailers, it maintained a high degree of control, especially in and out of buildings and around the yard.
It was only let down slightly when pulling a laden trailer up and downhill. The ascent required plenty of revs from the 271cc motor, and the descent needed a lot of braking action due to little engine retardation.
However, as our fuel test shows, it drank the least fuel, both with a laden trailer and without. We can only conclude its lightweight nature contributed to this, especially when towing on the flat.
Traction only became an issue when it got really boggy, but compared to the bigger bikes, which tended to sink, the nimble KVF skipped over the wet patches.
Even when it did get stuck, its pint-sized proportions meant it could easily be man-handled out of sticky situations.
Its lightweight character makes you feel in control at all times, unlike one or two of the heavier bikes, which tended to dictate to the rider where they wanted to go.
As for the transmission, being able to see the lever’s gates allows easy selection of high and low ranges and neutral and reverse.
However, there is no park position, but it does have an easy to use over-centre lever for the handbrake, which can be flicked on and off. We did find it did not hold the bike very well and probably just needed adjusting.
For storage, a handy sealed box up-front provides enough room for small tools, while a pocket just in front of the rider’s right knee could accommodate medicine bottles. However, it was exposed to flying mud and the elements.
Kawasaki’s latest generation of ATVs is a world away from previous models. But is it a step in the right direction? In terms of looks, it depends what floats your boat.
Transmission wise, the CVT is super simple to operate, but you cannot help thinking a few less revs would be required with a sequential ‘box’.