– 2009 Kawasaki KLX250S
2009 Kawasaki KLX250S
THE ULTIMATE LIGHTWEIGHT DUAL PURPOSE MOUNT, THE KAWASAKI KLX™250S
A leaner, meaner and greener lightweight dual-sport machine
The fun doesn’t have to stop at pavement boundaries when riding Kawasaki’s street legal KLX™250S. This lightweight dual-purpose motorcycle is equally at home on the pavement or off-road and always ready for your next adventure. Now, thanks to significant updates that saw refinements made everywhere from its improved braking prowess to its aggressively styled bodywork, the KLX250S is more fun than ever.
A compact, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, single-cylinder engine displacing 249cc, the KLX250S features convenient electric-starting. The engine is mounted beneath a lightweight, high-tensile steel perimeter frame to deliver a low center of gravity and enhanced maneuvering on tight trails.
A gear-driven engine balancer means reduced engine vibration for greater comfort and less fatigue on longer rides. The 34mm semi-flat slide Keihin CVK carburetor boosts throttle response and contributes to improved power. It also helps to provide increased fuel economy. The addition of a new evaporative emissions system allows it to meet strict CARB regulations, making the KLX250S eligible for sale in all 50 states.
Further refinements appear in the transmission. Closer ratios between 5th and 6th gear enhance the KLX250S’ high-speed off-road capabilities, while a reshaped shift cam offers a more positive shift feel and promotes firmer gear engagement.
The rigors of off-road motorcycling dictate additional protection for the exposed underside of most machines. The KLX250S comes standard with aluminum engine guards to protect its crankcase during off road adventures.
Negotiating tight terrain also highlights another off-road reality –heat. The incorporation of dual lightweight, high-capacity Denso radiators and a shallow-footprint cooling fan is an ample solution to potential heat issues.
The rake was increased a degree to 27.5 to boost straight-line stability, which is further enhanced by the rigid square-section frame. Thanks to its short wheelbase, the stability improvements didn’t sacrifice any of the 250S’ outstanding nimbleness or turning aptitude. At the other end of the chassis, a new lightweight aluminum swingarm employs a highly-rigid D-shaped cross section and features new KX racing-type chain adjusters for precise chain adjustment.
For 2009, the KLX250S received revised damping settings and reduced wheel travel at both ends, plus an all-new rear suspension linkage. These modifications help to increase straight-line stability, give a more planted feel in corners and make it easier for riders to reach the ground. The 43mm inverted cartridge-style front fork and Uni-Trak® rear suspension both come with 16-way adjustable compression damping and offer 10.2-inches and 9.1-inches of travel, respectively.
New wheels feature 0.5mm thicker spokes for increased wheel rigidity and enhanced off-road durability. The KLX250S also offers upgraded stopping power from a twin-piston caliper and a 250mm semi-floating petal disc up front and a larger 240mm petal disc at the rear.
Finishing off this reworked package is a completely new set of aggressively styled bodywork, a re-shaped seat with firmer urethane, and a handlebar with a straighter profile.
Riders seeking enduro handling and modern engine performance in a dual-purpose motorcycle designed for effortless street riding will find it at their local Kawasaki dealership. The KLX250S offers serious capabilities in a fun, easy-to-ride package, regardless of where the adventure takes it.
Single-cylinder 249cc DOHC Engine
– Compact engine design is lightweight and high revving, with a broad torque curve
– Good mass centralization for superior handling
– Flat-top piston and pentroof combustion chamber deliver an 11:1 compression ratio
– Lightweight piston, piston pin and connecting rod enable higher revs for maximum power
– Aluminum cylinder features electrofusion coating, which allows a tight piston-cylinder clearance for greater horsepower and offers increased engine life thanks to superior heat transfer and lubrication retention properties
– A gear-driven engine balancer provides smooth power delivery from idle to redline
– Dual high-capacity, vertical-flow Denso radiators provide reliable and efficient engine cooling
– Radiators feature tightly packed cores and a fin design for excellent heat dispersion
– More consistent engine temperatures allow tighter engine clearances for quieter running and sustained power, while promoting longer engine life
– Cooling fan is powered by a shallow-footprint electric motor
Four Valve Cylinder Head
– Provides maximum valve area for optimum flow to boost low end torque while providing improved high-rpm breathing efficiency for more power
Revised carburetor settings
– 34mm semi-flat slide Keihin CVK carburetor delivers the optimum amount of fuel at all rpm, contributing to improved response and power, as well as good fuel economy
– Now available in California, thanks to new evaporative emissions system that meets strict CARB regulations
– Quick and easy push-button starting
– Kawasaki Automatic Compression Release (KACR) automatically lifts one of the exhaust valves at cranking rpm, for reduced starting effort
– Secondary air system helps provide clean emissions
– USFS-approved spark arrester allows the KLX250S to access designated off-road public riding areas
Updated Six-speed Transmission
– Allows engine’s full potential to be used
– Provides excellent acceleration as well as relaxed highway cruising
– Gear ratios amended to set 6th gear closer to 5th for improved performance
– Revised shift cam offers better feeling and allows gears to click into place with more precision
Improved Inverted Front Forks
– 43mm inverted cartridge fork offers excellent rigidity and consistent damping performance
– Reduced travel to 10.2 in. for increased straight-line stability, improved handling in corners and a lower seat height
– 16-Way compression damping adjustment allows tuning for differences in rider weight or various terrain profiles
UNI-TRAK® Rear Suspension
– All new linkage and revised damping settings reduce front-rear pitching motions
– Rear wheel travel reduced to 9.1 in, for increased straight-line stability, improved handling in corners and a lower seat height
– Progressive linkage rate provides a smooth ride and excellent bottoming resistance
– Shock features 16-way adjustable compression damping
– Lightweight, high-tensile steel for amazing rigidity
– No down tubes for lower engine placement and lower center of gravity
– Still has ample ground clearance
– New lightweight, aluminum D-section swingarm is highly rigid and reduces unsprung weight
– New KX racing-type chain adjusters allow precise adjustment to minimize drivetrain power losses
– Revised handlebar is straighter and offers a more relaxed position and effortless control
– Footpegs are positioned close to the bike’s centerline
– New seat shape and stiffer urethane makes it easier to change seating position
– Aggressive new look courtesy of a new headlight and front fender design
– Two-piece radiator shrouds styled like the KX motocrossers
– Rear fender is a two-piece unit featuring a sharp tail light design that offers increased visibility and further contributes to the KLX’s aggressive styling
Narrow Fuel Tank
– Narrow tank design gives riders maximum comfort and control
– All-digital instrument console gives at-a-glance information that includes a digital bar-graph tachometer, digital speedometer, clock, and dual trip meters
Petal disc brakes
– Front and rear disc brakes offer impressive stopping performance
– Twin-piston caliper grips a 250 mm petal disc up front
– Increased rear brake control provided by a revised lever ratio, new pad material and different caliper
– 240mm rear petal disc is 20mm larger than the old model
– New 4.0mm spokes offer increased wheel rigidity for greater off-road durability
– Tires feature smaller blocks for longer tire life and increased grip on asphalt
SPECIFICATIONS USA – 2009 Kawasaki KLX250S:
Engine: Four-stroke, Liquid-Cooled, DOHC, four-valve single
Bore x stroke: 72.0 x 61.2mm
Compression ratio: 11.0:1
Carburetion: Keihin CVK34
Ignition: Digital CDI
Final drive: Chain
Frame: Semi-double cradle, high-tensile steel
Rake / trail: 27.5 degrees / 4.3 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel: 43mm Inverted Cartridge Fork with 16-Way Compression Damping Adjustment / 10.2 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel: Uni-TrakÃ‚® with Adjustable Preload, 16-Way Compression and Rebound Damping Adjustment / 9.1 in.
Front tire: 80/100×21
Rear tire: 100/100×18
Front brake: 250mm semi-floating petal disc with two-piston hydraulic caliper
Rear brake: 240mm petal disc with single-piston hydraulic caliper
Overall length: 87.5 in.
Overall width: 32.1 in.
Overall height: 47.1 in.
Ground clearance: 11.0 in.
Seat height: 34.8 in.
Dry weight: TBD
Fuel capacity: TBD
Wheelbase: 56.7 in.
Color choices: Lime Green, Sunbeam Red
Warranty: 12 months
SPECIFICATIONS Canada – 2009 Kawasaki KLX250S:
Specifications and features are subject to change
MotorcycleDaily.com – Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews
Despite an overall downturn in motorcycle sales, interest in dual sport bikes is continuing to rise. The reasons? That is difficult to say with any precision, but these bikes serve a number of market targets. The lower displacement 250cc bikes appeal to beginning riders, returning riders, experienced riders seeking a second bike and commuters. The price point of the bike we test here, $4,899.00, is another reason for interest in this category.
Changes to the KLX250S for 2009 are not necessarily large in number, but they are significant. The KLX250S has better power this year as a result of a revised exhaust system and new carburetor settings. Gear ratios were tightened by moving sixth gear closer to fifth. Cooling is improved with a new radiator design as well.
A slightly steeper steering head rake is said to improve both stability and turning. A new, stiffer swingarm with much nicer chain adjusters rounds out the chassis changes.
The suspension is revised with new damping settings and a new rear linkage (to compliment the new swingarm). Those suspension pieces hold wheels with beefer spokes and new petal-styled disc brakes (including a larger 240mm disc up front). Ergonomics get tweaked with higher/straighter handlebars and a revised seat shape featuring firmer foam.
A trick new digital instrument panel is very legible, and features a sweeping tachometer, speedometer, clock, odometer, and dual trip meters.
Kawasaki invited us to Death Valley here in Southern California for a surprisingly intense press introduction that sent at least one experienced journalist back to paved roads when he decided the off-road course was a little bit too tough.
Death Valley should be famous for a lot of things, but it is really only famous worldwide for one thing. Heat. We stayed at the appropriately named Furnace Creek Inn near the heart of the valley but traversed many of its paved roads and unpaved trails (primarily, the latter) throughout a day of riding that seriously challenged the skill of the journalists as much as it did the competency of our mount.
After a short stint on paved roads, we immediately dove onto trails full of rocks of various sizes and shapes (including some of the large, jagged-edge variety). If you weren’t comfortable having your bike slide around beneath you (including the front contact patch, from time-to-time), this was a pretty hairy trip. After hours of this stuff, I wondered how yours truly (weighing in at 210 pounds on a good day) had not experienced a pinch flat. I found out that Kawasaki had inflated the dual sport tires to in excess of 20 PSI, both front and rear. Not a bad thing on the street, I suppose, but a prescription for dicey traction on the silty, hard-packed trails we would ride later in the day.
Given my personal background on dirt bikes, I suppose I felt more comfortable than most during this ride. Frankly, I thought it was a blast . . . one of the best press intros I had ever attended. Nevertheless, I had a couple of close calls when I “lost the front” trying to change directions on the loose shale beneath me.
Overall, the new KLX250S acquitted itself extremely well. It wasn’t too long ago that a fast rider of my girth would bottom the suspension of a typical dual sport repeatedly, and frequently, on a ride such as this one. I don’t know that I bottomed the fork or the shock on the KLX250S all day long. Despite this, the suspension felt plush and controlled . . . soaking up the frequent square-edged bumps (despite the high tire pressures) without much complaint.
I would normally want more spring preload in the rear shock, given the fact that I outweigh the target customer significantly. I opted to leave the rear shock alone when I started the press ride, and I did not feel that I had any steering issues despite this. The KLX250S displayed good stability and solid turning capability throughout the day. Despite the overly high tire pressures (and the occasional front end slide), the bike felt like it was balanced well, with the right distribution of weight between front end and rear end. Part of this may be credited to the change in front end geometry. Whatever the reason, it was hard to fault the handling of the KLX250S while riding terrain that would leave the typical dual sport (and its rider) begging for mercy.
The transmission shifted reliably, and presented no issues. At times, I felt like I could use a stronger brake up front on paved sections (which is fairly typical for a dual sport, with its relatively small front disc), but braking was solid and predictable off-road (when I could get the front tire to bite).
Not surprisingly, the 278 pound KLX250S felt light and nimble. The seat height also seemed shorter than most dual sports (and at 35 inches, it is) allowing me to get my feet flat on the ground at rest, and to “dab” when needed on tight, slippery trails.
Despite five hours, or so, in the saddle I couldn’t complain about the seat, either. The width and density of the foam seemed a good compromise between off-road and street comfort, but as stated, we spent little time on the road. If you use this bike primarily as a commuter, you might want a different, after-market seat that is a bit wider and firmer.
Engine power was very good. The powerband was broad, and despite the relatively short gearing, the KLX250S was comfortably able to maintain 70 mph on the highway. Overall, I would say power is down a bit on the new Yamaha WR250R we tested a little while ago, and the Yamaha could carry higher speed on the street, but there is a fairly significant price difference (the Yamaha being $1,000 more expensive).
Still carbureted, but relatively affordable, the Kawasaki KLX250S receives a good dose of performance and refinement for the 2009 model year. The bike is fun, and extremely capable off-road. It also features one of the nicest digital instrument panels available on a dual sport bike. Available in either Sunbeam Red or Lime Green, the 2009 Kawasaki KLX250S retails for $4,899. For additional details and specifications, visit Kawasaki’s web site here.
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2009 Kawasaki KLX250S Review
Page 1 of 3
What is green or red and rides all over? The newly updated 2009 KLX250S from Kawasaki! What is apparent with this ultra -versatile machine is that, barring any single profound change to the bike, cumulative updates add up to further enhance its overall performance. Let me clarify briefly, by “overall” I’m speaking about “overall terrain” performance rather than individual bike niche performance.
Alongside the pleasant sighting of several other new 250cc size dual-sports to appear this year, the KLX ranks high in the pack. Derived from the lineage of what once were termed “trail bikes”, this now termed “dual-sport” is taking the technology and capabilities of those former once “more preferred machines” to a new level.
Photo Credit: TotalMotorcycle.com
Think of a bike that is light, say 275-280 pounds, then give it a nice leggy suspension, say nine to ten inches of travel. Place the rider in an upright seating position that allows for ultimate comfort, control, and minimal fatigue. Make sure the bike has healthy ground clearance, with a profile where the seat isn’t too high. Throw in a six-speed transmission that will perform from a walk-like crawl to above 70 mph with ample torque…and, what do you have? You have a super street bike, and a trailbike! Now you’re getting the picture of a KLX.
The KLX250 dual-sport has been around for about 3 years now. With the latest updates we find the bike has predominantly been sweetened. To begin, let’s look at some features, both frame and handling related.
ON THE BIKE SIDE
For one, the rake has been changed from 27.5 to 26.5 degrees. This accounts for the wheelbase being slightly shorter than the previous model. However, we should note, that among the other new similar sized bikes, the KLX wheelbase is three to four inches longer than its competitors. With the KLX wheelbase, wheel sizes (21 inch front, 18 inch rear), and rake combine to make an interesting situation.
For one, the bike has better stability due to a longer wheelbase when on open highway or outback. In contrast, this may make some tighter switchback trails a bit more difficult. Yet, as a balancing benefit, with a rake of 26.5 degrees, and typical offroad competition wheel sizes, the bike tends to turn responsively on both trails and tarmac.
New smaller block tread Dunlop D605F tires, and beefier 4.0mm spokes further enhance quick turning stability. These tires provide lighter smoother handling, with more grip on street, and greater longevity overall. On dirt, I found these tires to track effectively. They have a sense of durability; however with minimal sidewall height off-road, forgiveness is nominal.
Frame improvements further refine KLX250 handling. For one, the KLX utilizes a lightweight box tube style high tensile steel frame, with a new D shape cross section rear swing arm. This set up provides for rigidity and vibration damping within a rugged design. New racing type precision adjusters mount on the end of the swing arm for finer tuning chain adjustments.
Suspension and braking have also improved. Starting up front, down turned 43mm diameter, 10 inch travel, 16 position adjustable forks have new internals. In the back; a revised Uni-Trak link, with a 16 position adjust compression/rebound damped shock has been retuned to 9.1 inches of travel. Overall suspension travel in this year’s model KLX has lessened by one inch. While this is likely an improvement in the overall sense, for open cross-country offroading we find it a slight pinch of compromise.
Brake refinements include; a 20mm larger rear disc, new petal discs front and rear, different brake pad material, and a revised lever ratio. Together with twin piston front and single KX ™ type rear calipers we find braking has improved power and feel.
Moving to the cockpit, one notices the KLX’s virtually all digital dashboard. The display window is a healthy 6 in. wide by 2 in. high and its well-designed readout makes for easy viewing in all but the worst bright sun-angle scenarios. A bar graph type tachometer spread across its entire width makes rpm viewing quick and excellent. Conveniently, both clock and trip meters are spread apart and at opposite sides of the view screen. In between them, a larger speedometer readout integrates nicely to make overall viewing uncomplicated, clean, and fast. At the bottom of the view screen’ high beam, neutral, oil, temperature, and turn signal indicator lights add further to the simple trim.
Handlebars on the KLX are about two inches narrower, slightly higher, and is highly personal, I found all but the narrower width to be an improvement. Ideally, I feel two inch wider bars would provide better leverage, control, and long ride comfort.
The bike’s new seat contour provides greater comfort and ease of ride position change due to the new shape. However, its firmer and thinner padding began to be noticed at the end of one long, good days ride. All hand and foot levers are tight and responsive. They have good ergonomic feel, they are positioned well, and they actuate cleanly and with little play.
*For a list of other great small displacement adventure bikes, check out our Best Used 250cc Adventure/Dual-Sport Bikes article.
(continued on page 2.)
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KAWASAKI KLX250 (2009 - on) Review
MCN rating3 out of 5(3/5)
Owners' rating3.6 out of 5(3.6/5)
SpecsOwners' reviewsBikes for saleFor sale
- Novice-friendly trailie
- Soft performance inspires confidence
- Aggressive enduro styling
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5(3/5)
Author: MCN Staff
Published: 22 October 2009
Updated: 28 January 2021
The Kawaaki KLX 250 is a tried and tested machine and has been around since ‘06 with its latest upgrade in ‘09. Well-built with a strong engine, the bike does its best work in the bottom to mid-range.
The KLX is lightweight and narrow, making it easy to handle for new riders. Off-road the Kawasaki is very capable, the suspension is soft enough to absorb bumps with ease and feels more composed than the Honda CRF250L But this certainly doesn’t warrant the additional £849 asking price.
In 2016 the Kawasaki KLX 250 was given a major update to keep it current among the handful of 250 trailies still on sale.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
3 out of 5(3/5)
The standard dual purpose tyres are fine on the road, though struggle with very loose or wet surfaces. The suspension is very soft and pitches back and forth, though it means it deals with potholes very well. Heavier riders will need to up the preload to stop the suspension bottoming out off-road. Again, more suited to sedate off-roading rather than hammering around an enduro course.
EngineNext up: Reliability
2 out of 5(2/5)
The liquid-cooled single dates back 20 years, and feels like it. Power is modest, but there’s no danger of it ever catching you out. 70mph is just about flat out – it seems Kawasaki restricts the engine in the upper gears, as it seems to lose its ability to rev in fifth and sixth. You have to be very brutal with it off-road to get the wheel-spinning, and combined with the whisper-quiet standard exhaust it won’t offend rambler as you cross the countryside.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
3 out of 5(3/5)
From a distance the KLX is a smart machine, but look closely and the details is cheap. It doesn’t take much off-road use to damage the finish either – boots rub paint through and everything quickly looks scruffy. MCN’s test bike suffered two mystery electrical faults too – though that’s likely to be unique to this bike rather than a widespread issue.
Our Kawasaki KLX 250 owners' reviews show a mixed bag of opinions, ranging from highly positive to disappointingly negative. The overall score is about average, but it's worth reading them before taking the plunge and buying one.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
2 out of 5(2/5)
If bike prices hadn’t been forced up by the poor exchange rate, the KLX could have been a bargain, but at a quid under £4000 it’s a pricey way to get a soft, basic trail bike. It’s hard to recommend it to anyone – commuter riders would be better off with bikes like Kawasaki’s own Ninja 250R. Off-road riders will be happier with something more up to rigorous riding. The KLX is a pleasant bike – but it’s hard to identify who should buy one.
Group test: Honda CRF250L vs Kawasaki KLX 250 vs AJP PR5 vs Yamaha TT250R.
First published 10 April 2013 by Andy Davidson
The trusty 250cc trailie obediently sat at motorcycling’s side for years. Ready, resilient, hard-wearing and undemanding, willing to shepherd new riders into the fold or accompany the experienced on adventures they wouldn’t risk their pride and joy on. Its reward? Years of neglect by owners and manufacturers. Honda – with its CRF250L – breathed life back into biking’s St Bernard. But has the 250 trailie still got life in it? There was only one way to find out: take it on an trip where bikes with more to lose would never dare – to the end of the green lane, and beyond. We pit the Honda CRF250L against the Kawasaki KLX 250, AJP PR5 and Yamaha TT250R.
The MCN Verdict
The 250s are brilliantly versatile machines, just as capable of delivering on adventure as their bigger-capacity brothers. The Honda narrowly emerges on top, besting the Kawasaki as the most accomplished machine. Both bikes fit the bill well on and off-road, the Honda slightly favouring on-road, the Kawasaki off it. The Honda has the strongest motor and the fact that it is three years newer than the Kawasaki really shows in ride quality and styling. The AJP was the cheapest and lightest bike on test but also had the worst fuel economy. It’s clearly more off-road biased than the rest, and belongs on green lanes. The Yamaha was on test as a benchmark bike, and a nod to the secondhand market. Eight years older than the rest, its age didn’t show, and you should be able to get a good one from around £1500. What you see is what you get with these machines; they don’t take themselves too seriously, and they will take you anywhere. They acted as our key to another world.
2 out of 5(2/5)
The KLX is a simple machine – the LCD dash give the basics, the only storage is a small canvas bag on the tail and the seat isn’t really up to big miles or two-up use – it has pillion pegs, but they’re a token gesture and the bike struggles. But that’s fine – it doesn’t pretend to be a sophisticated machine. As long as you’re not expecting R1200GS levels of kit, then it does exactly what it promises.
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|Engine type||DOHC 4v liquid-cooled single cylinder four-stroke, six gears, wet clutch|
|Frame type||Steel perimeter|
|Fuel capacity||7.7 litres|
|Front suspension||Compression damping|
|Rear suspension||Preload, compression damping, rebound damping|
|Front brake||250mm disc, twin-piston sliding caliper.|
|Rear brake||240mm disc, single-piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||3.00-21|
|Rear tyre size||4.60-18|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||60 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£45|
|Annual service cost||£80|
|Insurance group|| -|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||22 bhp|
|Max torque||15 ft-lb|
|Top speed||72 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||120 miles|
Model history & versions
2009: New model
2011: KLX250 White introduced [£4,539]
Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI KLX250 (2009 - on)
5 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI KLX250 (2009 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Review your KAWASAKI KLX250 (2009 - on)
Summary of owners' reviews
|Overall rating:||3.6 out of 5(3.6/5)|
|Ride quality & brakes:||4 out of 5(4/5)|
|Engine:||3.8 out of 5(3.8/5)|
|Reliability & build quality:||4.6 out of 5(4.6/5)|
|Value vs rivals:||3.8 out of 5(3.8/5)|
|Equipment:||3.6 out of 5(3.6/5)|
|Annual servicing cost:||£80|
21 April 2017by TSCG
Before reading my review note that I’m a novice and have no experience competing in off-road events of any kind. I ride for pleasure and bought my second hand 2011 KLX250 for green-lane riding, and to replace a 1980s Honda CRM (which was stolen from my garage). I put a few thousand miles on the CRM, and have clocked up close to 3k on the KLX (I’d guess 50%+ of all those miles were off-road – i.e. green lanes and local quarries). If the KLX is the first off-road bike you’ve owned, you’ll find it relatively light, quite agile and pretty robust. However, for riders with experience of bikes like KTM250EXCs etc., I should imagine the KLX will feel ludicrously flat, bland and heavy. But such riders will probably never ride a KLX. Instead, it’s far more likely the bike will end up in the hands of those looking for a machine to take out onto their local legal lanes, where the going will probably be good-to-soft and comparatively manageable in general. There’ll most likely be little in the way of rock-hopping, firing out of berms and cresting high-speed woops. No – a British KLX is probably going to spend most of its off-road duties coasting along pleasant, mostly verdant trails in second or third gear. Generally at 25-30mph, circa 4-5k revs. So a soft-tuned, tractable character is desirable – which is just as well, because the KLX doesn’t really do feisty and flighty. Coming off my old but still very dependable CRM, I first had to acclimatise to the KLX’s engine braking. The free-revving, free-wheeling habits of the Honda were replaced – initially at least – by pitching and yawing as my careless throttle hand tried to learn less lazy habits. But this happened soon enough, and I quickly started to bond with the easy-going, well-made Kawasaki. Did I miss the more characterful CRM – with its smoky blue fury up top and its mellow, comfortable obedience down low? Yes. That was a rare bike, remembered fondly by all those who owned one. But if the KLX was one-dimensional and congenitally docile, it felt similar to the CRM in terms of height, weight and immediate rideability. In fact, it seemed perhaps a bit lighter and dare I say it, a tad more accurate. But that’s to be expected of a tight, young bike against an older one that’s had years – decades – of enjoyment wrung out of it. Regarding the KLX’s road-manners, you’ll have to adjust to its docility and soft-centre. The trick is to short-shift, feeling for that little bit of torque at 3k – whip it through the box and arrive quite promptly at 55mph in top. It’ll sit there all day, content and settled, taking the occasional sip of petrol when necessary. Which isn’t all that often. Overtakes will want a bit of forward planning – but that’s a given when riding a 4t 250cc single. Yes, you can rag the living nads off it – but it really is a case of diminishing returns, and what power has been served up initially is pretty much all that’s on offer. Whilst there may be a little more higher up, it ain’t going to amount to much. Better to relax into it, having ridden on the back of those early little blobs of torque. OEM tyres are road-friendly and the bike likes them, will corner surprisingly well on them, but needs re-shodding for mud-plugging. That’ll mean Michelin AC10s then. Once knobbles are in play, the KLX’s polite road manners inevitably start to strain as the bars flap around and the bike wallows and jitters around corners. Such foibles can readily be ridden around, though, and – once off road – the KLX will frolic like a foal on the AC10s. Ally Renthals should also be considered as replacements for the steel, braced OEM bars – especially if decent, armoured handguards are going to be used. Such guards will not only offer good hand protection, but will also prevent branches and hedgerows levering the front brake on. Getting good guards on with the stock bars can be a monstrous faff – hence flatter, unbraced Renthals. Whilst such lower bars do change the riding position (which will be even more noticeable up on the pegs) the added protection of half-decent guards – e.g. Acerbis X-strongs - does help to off-set this change in the bike’s ergos. I personally haven’t felt the need to fit risers to bring the bars back up – though I suppose fussier owners might (assuming such items are available). At any rate, the rigidity of the ally Renthals may feel a little harsher on the hands compared to the more flexible (even though braced) stock steel bars – but then again, this does probably contribute to more accurate handling. Particularly off-road. A further mod – the inevitable end-can. Chuck a Delkovic on there. No need to spend more than that. It’ll sound shite for the most part – but at least it’ll be audible, and seem like the bike is powered by an actual engine, rather than a herd of hamsters on an exercise wheel. Most of the time the resultant tone is rattley and harsh – but there is a slightly mellower thump in there somewhere. Plus of course, the bike will lose a bit of weight – probably more than has been incurred by the addition of hand guards. One other item to consider is a more meaningful bash plate. Expect to pay between £50 and £100, and add half a kilo. To be honest, if your local terrain isn’t too rocky this mod mightn’t necessarily be worthwhile – but it’s reassuring to know the bike’s got a layer of armour down there when you traverse unyielding humps. And at least the additional weight is carried low. Some concluding comments: The KLX’s finish is good, and I’m tempted to say better than the CRF250L. The Kawasaki’s swing arm in particular seems to have a thick layer of enamel baked on, and even a bit of flake in the paint. Good. Plastics aren’t so great and don’t prove overly resilient to scratching – these can soon age the bike a bit, but can be freshened slightly by the application of one or two well-chosen stickers (much cheaper to replace than the plastics themselves, of course). Handling-wise, the KLX is glad to get off road – especially once on AC10s. It finds and keeps a line quite effortlessly and is more than happy to plod along a rutty trail, shrugging off abrupt surface deviations - the bike also has a decent snout for sniffing out a better line and can locate the more navigable parts of a trail before you’ve asked. Such obedient tractability is never unwelcome, and being able to leave the bike to do some of the work while you grab a sneaky sit down after a few hours up on the pegs is great. You’ll probably thank the little KLX for such courtesies. Summarily what seems like a dull bike on-road proves to be a friendly, competent and relatively eager ride when the tarmac runs out. I like this bike a lot and unless competitive riding is in the offing, it’s enough for most (even if they’ll insist otherwise). Easy to pick up when dropped, remaining pretty unflustered through the gnarls, and feeling robust and well-made at all times, the KLX is easily as good as the heavier, dearer CRF250L.
Ride quality & brakes4 out of 5
Engine4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality4 out of 5
Value vs rivals4 out of 5
Equipment4 out of 5
02 September 2016by Andy C
Version: 2016 Fuel Injection
Annual servicing cost: £100
Have had this bike for just under two weeks brilliant little machine, keep on top of the cleaning and it will look good i bought it from new 0% finance £99 deposit 36 £100 a month at £3750 on the road, so i got a bargain. I use this mainly to get to work and popping out to friends or shops and on the weekends i go off the beaten track on green lanes, I've upped and stiffened the rear suspension which is adjustable which is great if you carry a few Ib's extra but what it isn't is a full on MX machine ready to race, the suspension is soft and does dive under breaking if applied harshly i tend to use 60/40 both back and front to mitigate this,it's no race machine 100mph bike, but give it some welly on the throttle and it can be quite perky and for 90 odd miles for 5liters of petrol it's cheap to run and it put's a grin on my face and i like the looks.
comfy enough on short journeys wouldn't want to do any long haul jobs as seat can be a bit hard after an hour lol, but then again you can do anything on any bike these days bigger fuel tank and an iron but i recon you could do some serious miles, light handling fun and easy to handle great fun
give it a bit of beans and it's quite perky it's not going to break any speed records but give it a handful and it goes pretty well has surprised my friends on how quick it picks up you have to work it and in the right gear can pick up nicely.
90 miles to the fuel lite comes on and that's only 5 ltrs used could do another 20 miles i recon but i always re fuel when the light comes on
Value vs rivals5 out of 5
Equipment4 out of 5
Buying experience: great local dealer has been brilliant first service was free only had to pay for oil and filter very helpful adjusted the suspension for me as i carry a little extra weight than the avarage bloke
12 June 2016by Bigs
Annual servicing cost: £50
If you understand what this bike is and what it's for, you'll find it's pretty much perfect. You do need to be quite tall though, at 5'9" I can touch both feet but can only put one foot flat. I've heard in reviews the idea of being low-powered, but understand this is for a reason - reliability. All sorts of mods exist to pep it up, up to and including a 350cc big bore kit, but that rather loses the point of what it's for. It's a true dual-purpose bike, that will poodle around town or country lanes with ease, yet will respond with a silly and eager grin once you go where the roads are rough or non-existent. Is it for 40 foot jumps on a motocross track? No. Is it for 100mph on tarmac? No. Is it for both on road and off road, with goat-like agility with an easy, loping stride? YES!
Soft, plush and comfortable, but the stock seat is a bit too slim. Aftermarket wider ones are available, or try the Coleman ATV seat covers. It can nose-dive a bit under heavy braking but that's expected considering the 10" or more of travel. Unlike it's main rival the Honda CRF250L, the suspension on the KLX is adjustable.
Smooth power, though it doesn't always sound smooth, easy starting, great traction off-road, it inspires confidence and just gets you there. On the street it's punchy enough but obviously not fast on motorways. American riders get a restricted version that does around 83mph, so I'm not sure why the MCN guys say 72 for the more powerful UK version? Still tight and running in?
One of the reasons I got one was friends of mine use them off road her in Borneo, where the twin radiators and supple suspension allow them to survive where "sportier" bikes quickly die.
Expensive for me, as I had to buy 2 to get 1, due to 100% import tax here. They are cheap to run though and parts are a tiny fraction of exotics such as KTM (and it rarely needs any)
There's no fuel gauge, though it does flash the word "FUEL" and an orange light when you're running low - which you will do, as it has the same stupidly small 2.0 gallon (7 litre) fuel tank as the KLX150cc. Happily a 3.0 gallon aftermarket tank is available. The toolbox is hopelessly exposed, meaning you'll take the tools out and not have them when you need them. Locked under the seat would be vastly better.
18 July 2013by joshh465
The KLX250 is/was my first bike, and boy do I wish i just got a restricted 600 instead :P It's fast becoming a chore to ride because it feel so damn sluggish, its light on the suspension and handles alright but the engine is that bloody slow. It revs nicely, and it just about gets by off-road but I'm finding it a tad slow as a commuter. This wouldnt be so bad, but any upgrades you put on it do literally nothing to help it, it accelerates a tad faster, but theres still no top end. It was £4,700 when I got it (Breand new) and a year and a bit old its already dropped £1,700 in depreciation. The only good side I can give about this bike is it's insurance prices. For my first year riding after my test is was £1000, where as the 250 ninja was £4,000 minimum for fully comp. It's stupid I know, but quite frankly I can't wait to get a restricted 600 once my insurance runs out for this year :D A reliable bike, but the performance really lets it down... P.s. It actually sounds like a lawn mower, no joke!
Ride quality & brakes3 out of 5
Engine2 out of 5
Reliability & build quality4 out of 5
Value vs rivals1 out of 5
Equipment3 out of 5
16 March 2012by batcaveracing
Great bike for the money. Mine was bought new, and after running in the engine loosened up nicely. It's great on the road, and handles the green lanes as well as any other more expensive bike. Yes the power is a bit low but the bike will not chuck you about. The engine just keeps plodding on with low maintenance costs as well. The fuel injection provides smooth power delivery and the bike is comfy too. It's a great bike to get on and just ride, it looks good and sips fuel. Yes it's no WR or KTM but it's a fraction of the price with low running costs.
Ride quality & brakes4 out of 5
Engine4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality5 out of 5
Value vs rivals5 out of 5
Equipment4 out of 5
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