The Kawasaki KLX line has been this Japanese giant’s flagship dirt bike forever. Not only are the off-road looks aggressive in a take-no-prisoners way; it is also a super fun bike to ride. We are going to go through each model’s pros and cons and I'm even going to tell you how they feel when you ride them. Yes, this lucky writer is also an amateur dirt rider and got to fill his tracksuit with mud to bring you fresh data. The Kawasaki KLR is arguably the most famous dirt bike in the market, and we are going to see exactly why.
Besides talking about the Kawasaki KLX series, I'm also going to tell you about three accessories that you should try out. Strap on the dirt suit, because we are in for a ride!
Kawasaki took the market like a storm when releasing the KLX and KLR motorcycles. The difference between them is the fact that they are off-road only or multi-purpose. Let me take you on a trip to the past. Moreover, let me explain to you how it all started in this category. For most of modern times, all riders (including you and me) wanted to ride professionally. This is to say that we wanted to sit on the leather seat of racing motorcycles. Being a daredevil going fast and jumping high. The year was 1987 and Kawasaki introduced to the world the now-famous Kawasaki KLR 650. We will talk about it later on as the KLX R650 as it was known as well. This was one of the first truly off-road bikes you could buy, hence, it started a revolution.
Since then, not only Kawasaki but every major motorcycle builder in the world put out their version of an off-road bike. Here is where the concept of a bike being street-legal comes to play. Bikes that are meant only for the track do not need to abide by the current transit laws in your country. On the other hand, you can´t ride them on the streets. I will make this distinction on each of the motorcycles you are about to read. We will go from the very bottom of the capacity all the way to the top, the stellar comeback of the Kawasaki KLR 650.
If you are an off-road enthusiast, you are going to love these bikes, so read on and enjoy.
First in the line is the low-seat and really tiny Kawasaki KLX 110 but that is almost a toy bike. I mean, don´t get me wrong and buy one to your kid, but it is not for the serious rider. Plus, it is a tad too small. The brand used to also have the Kawasaki KLX 125 between 2011 and 2013. Sadly for fans, that model went out of manufacturing and now you can buy a used one if you like. That being said, to me the KLX 140 is a superior ride. Bear in mind that it is not street legal. The engine is maybe too small for the highway anyway, but it could be a lot of fun on the streets. There is a kit you can install to it to convert it if you like.
Don´t let the size of this motorcycle fool you. Just like if I was writing a Kawasaki KLX 125 review, it is a fun dirt bike to ride. Let´s begin by saying that I just love that Kawasaki included three different sizes for this bike to accommodate younger riders. It is still a manual clutch, a five-speed gearbox machine, which might prove too much for entry-level. All three models have the extra touch of the KX racing team design. This is something you won´t see everywhere; Kawasaki used the best of the best to design entry-level price. The result is a very capable machine (actually, more like three).
I was able to climb on top of a Kawasaki KLX 140G, which is the regular-size model. Thus, the feel and riding possibilities were just like my other dirt bikes. The high-revving engine was a blast to ride and the dual-calliper petal-shape brakes were very capable. I kind of missed the extra oomph of bigger engines, but I can see why it is an entry-level motorcycle. It has all the features you need to learn how to master to ride a 300cc without breaking a bone. But packaged in an easier-to-handle motorcycle that can give you hours of fun.
I would recommend this bike for those who are getting into the off-road motorcycle riding world. It can be a tad daunting or hard to handle a five-gear, manual clutch ride, but mastering that is mastering the track.
Going up 100cc we have the first of the off/on road bikes in this line. The Kawasaki KLX250 is a dirt bike but it is also a very capable city bike. The way that the layout is built, the riding position and the wheel size is not definitely off-road. There are two aspects that make the Kawasaki KLX 250 stand out against the competition. The first of them is the price at almost $4000 less than the KLM version. The second in line is definitely comfort.
The riding position is not so demanding, the suspension is soft and the seat comfy. Finally, the bike is almost noise and vibration-free. It is, by all means, a fun bike in the dirt, but it will never be a two-stroke pureblood. The four-stroke engine, in fact, is tuned for comfort and easy riding rather than jumping. The question then comes along: can you do some off-road with it? Of course, you can and even better, you can drive this street-legal bike all the way there.
I would say after riding several incarnations that those of us who want it all should get this bike. If you want a pureblood with outstanding dirt performance, this is not it. It can be super fun, durable, easy to maintain, comfortable, and occasionally dirt-friendly. Moreover, it will grant you more fun on the streets than on dirt. That being said, it can handle most tracks you can ride it through. Taking the Kawasaki KLX 250 for a Sunday spin, taking a detour, and going for the mud is always a choice. Unlike some of its competition, the bike and the rider are equally comfortable riding through both terrains.
You should play Eminem´s “Without Me” in the background because this legend is back with us. The KLX 300R is back to fill a void in the motorcycle manufacturing world. The good news is that what made it great is still there. The even better news is that it received a major upgrade. The fact that an off-road bike has EFI for fuel distribution makes it more powerful.
Let´s start by saying that the Kawasaki KLX 300R is the largest displacement bike from a major manufacturer ready for trails. It even has the green sticker to ride it in California. The combination of these factors makes a statement and starts a new niche in off-road motorcycle riding. Also, the price tag is very affordable, far away from other major manufacturers out there.
As far as the looks go, it is a full-on dirt bike but it doesn´t have to go through all the maintenance schedules purebloods do. In fact, it is closer to the KLX 250 concept in terms of being multi-purpose. I can imagine a country vet tired of riding uncomfortably and paying high maintenance on off-road bikes switching to this. The Kawasaki KLX 300r is also a bike that outdoes the 250cc lines by most manufacturers with the power at hand. It will get you out of most situations you can ever be at.
The keyword that best suits this bike is not performance, but fun. Most of the off-road rides out there don´t focus on this category. Moreover, with the price tag attached to the handlebar of this motorcycle, you won´t have to break the bank. While other brands like KTM focused on manufacturing the highest-end dirt bike, Kawasaki focused on fun. The low maintenance schedule, the power at hand, and the balance are crucial. You don´t feel like you have to fight the bike like you do when you ride other, more aggressive ones in the same vein.
The Kawasaki KLX 300r opens up a new idea, a new way of thinking a dirt bike successfully.
The big difference between the KLX450 and the rest of the line is that it is closer to an enduro bike. Let´s start by saying that it is not a street-legal bike but you can transform it into one. The Kawasaki KLX 450 is capable of some serious power. Moreover, the bottom end is as torquey as it gets. Yet, the four-stroke engine feels steady and manageable. I definitely loved the low and middle sections of this bike´s power. The top end of it is also adrenaline-oriented although it feels a little flat. To say it in a different way, it excels in the dirt road needs but it is not so amazing when you need to be fast.
That being said, the Kawasaki KLX 450 is definitely a fun and very capable motorcycle. Not being street-legal really narrows down its potential. Although you can transform it, not all of us love to make modifications to our rides.
I would say that if you are a country-side lover who can ride it in nature trails, this bike definitely needs a try. On the other hand, if you want a fast bike to do some on and off-road work, you need a street-legal bike. Finally, it could use some more high-end torque and speed.
Let me introduce to you the most indestructible bike anyone ever manufactured after the Honda CAP. If you don´t believe me, check out this hilarious video of the Highlander of off-road motorcycles, the Kawasaki KLR 650. The original model created in 1987 suffered many modifications to reach the current version. The world definitely changed and so did the rider’s needs and likes. What still remained was Kawasaki´s idea of an on and off-road machine that could perform under any circumstances. I know many riders and most of us owned one of this at one point in our lives. The original, non-discontinued epic run of the Kawasaki KLX R650 went from 1987 to 2018. It made a stellar come back in 2020 revamped and as trusty as ever. Beyond that, the price tag is still among the most affordable in the market for a bike this capable.
I would say that if you are in the search for some serious fun on board of a true legend, you have to ride it. In fact, every Kawasaki KLX R650 review concludes that it is good news that Kawasaki revamped it.
These are not Kawasaki KLX accessories but universal ones that can help you save lives including yours. Let´s take a look:
You know that most of us riders do smooth transitions using only the gearbox. This doesn´t engage the braking light and you can´t tell other riders and drivers about your upcoming manoeuvre. This little gadget engages that red light when it senses you´re losing speed. It is a definite must, in fact, it should be a factory standard.
The STS It is another genius invention from the same company. What it does is also super simple yet astonishing. It will disengage your turning lights when it senses you have completed your turn. Again, this is a standard for cars and should definitely be the same for bikes. Letting other people know of your intentions can save many lives.
The Vigo Smart Track is a new generation motorcycle tracker. Not only it will track your bike to avoid someone stealing it, but it can also save your life. It features the fully automatic SOS notification, which will be activated if you have a crash. At that moment it will call the emergency contact listed in the app and provide the exact accident location information. Adding to that a riding scoring system will definitely make you a better rider. This accessory is a definite must to solve many problems in a single investment.
Are you also intrigued by these motorcycle accessories? You can fill in the form and check if they are compatible with your bike 😉
The Kawasaki KLX is, perhaps, the most affordable high-performance off-road line available today. Some of the flagship models such as the KLX 250, the KLX 140, and the KLR 650 are great options to get into the dirt world. On the other hand, they do not excel in performance; they won´t give you that pureblood adrenaline. To be honest, I don´t think that was ever Kawasaki´s idea.
For those looking for a motorcycle that is a lot of fun in the track, and has a low maintenance schedule; this might be it. For those looking for the best of the best as a one-trick pony might have to look for a different price range in another brand.
This was my verdict on the Kawasaki KLX, what do you think of it? Have you been on one yourself? Tell me all about it in the comments! Feel free to share this with other fellow riders or post it on social media.