So, you have been off the bike for a while, busy with work, having a family, life. But you knew you would always return, one day. What’s more, the kids are old enough now and you really want to get the next generation to experience the joys of getting dirty on two wheels. You don’t want to race, just have some low risk, low maintenance fun. The question is what bikes to get…and what about where do you ride?
We didn’t have to go far to find a family in this position and thanks to Kawasaki, who kindly offered the perfect antidote, three of their spanking new fun bikes. We will follow their journey and answer these questions and more over the next few issues.
Rider: Eli – 11years old,
Experience level: Novice to intermediate
The KLX140 and KLX140L offer two sizes from which youths can choose. Larger than kid’s bikes, and smaller and lighter than “full-size” play bikes. The largest difference between the two KLX youth models is their wheel size. KLX140 comes with a 17” front and a 14” rear whilst the KLX140L sports the larger 19” front and 16” rear.
Seat heights are also a nice compromise between kid’s bikes and full-size machines. The KLX140 is recommended for youths up to 160 cm tall and 55 kg in weight, with a seat height at 780mm, whereas the KLX140L is recommended for youths up to 170 cm tall and weighing more than 55 kg. However, our 11yo 148 cm rider had no trouble on the larger KLX 140L at the 800mm seat height.
The weight of the KLX140 and KLX140L is at a range designed to be
easy for youths to handle.
The bikes weigh in at a claimed 93 kg and 95 kg for the L model.
One of the best things about these bikes is it’s so easy to just get on and go. With electric start, access to fun is a quick push of the button away.
Our rider was really at ease on the KLX140L and was not reporting any major fatigue, he just stayed out there, lap, after lap, after lap. This may be in part due to the linear power but also the plush suspension package. To allow for its higher average speed, the KLX140L features a rear shock with piggyback reservoir. Both the shock body and reservoir are aluminium. The shock has fully adjustable preload, 4-way compression damping and 22-way rebound damping. The high grade KLX140L rear shock can also be fitted to the KLX140 to upgrade the rear suspension.
Rider: Noah – 14 years old,
Experience level: Novice to intermediate
This bike has been a popular model in the Kawasaki stable for a
number of years however the 2020 model has an all new engine. It’s a 233cc
fuel-injected air-cooled single, tuned for low to mid-range power which is
perfect for learning clutch control and having torquey power on tap. The
bombproof low maintenance nature of this engine is perfect for the family or
rider that wants to wheel the bike out and ride without the maintenance
schedule of a highly tuned MX bike.
Our rider felt at home both on fast grass track as he did testing his skills over logs and techy off-road sections of trail thanks to the long travel suspension which comes in the form of a 37mm telescopic front fork with 250mm travel and 251mm rear shock. The KLX230R also has ample ground clearance at 300mm.
KX-Style flat seat design and plastics give the bike good looks and the all-new perimeter frame provides improved stiffness and handling and gives it a little bit of that Eli Tomac look so the kids could get lost in their imagination on the trails.
The KLX230R also comes with large diameter wheels, 21” front and 18” rear, electric start and the front and rear disk brakes that provide ample stopping power.
Rider: Izaac – 18 years old,
Experience level: Intermediate
This bike looked great straight off the trailer and even though our eldest rider has some experience with MX bikes, he couldn’t wait to throw a leg over it. It has a new 292cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke engine and is fuel-injected, delivering crisp response, a quick-revving nature and strong pulling power.
You can tell Kawasaki was looking to build a capable all-day trail bike to suit a wide range of riders with the KLX300R.
Izaac put in lap after lap and felt that the bike enabled him to ride smoothly and confidently and at the end of the day he was hitting corners faster than he ever had before. The capable large-diameter 270 mm front disc (the same size as that of the KX450 and KX250) and 240 mm rear disc provided stopping power. It’s also worth noting that the front master cylinder is from the KLX450R and a rear master cylinder from the KX250 so the Kawi didn’t skimp on the KLX300R details.
We made sure to hit the rough sections of enduro trail that fringes the Pacific Park valley and the bikes’ long travel suspension, a 43 mm inverted fork complemented by Kawasaki’s Uni-Trak suspension at the rear, smoothed the ride and inspired confidence.
As mentioned, there is plenty of KX DNA that comes with this bike and the adjustable handlebar and race inspired bodywork are just the start.
The KLX300R comes with electric start and as a package, begs you to pin the throttle and ride all day, we loved it.