My name is John. I’m 54 years of age, I’ve owned 12 motorcycles since 1983. And, I love motorcycles!
I started looking for another motorcycle nearly 18 months prior to me buying my KLX250S.
I know of the KLX250 machine because I fancied owning one back in the early 1980’s. The old round headlight, twin shock green enduro model.
Anyway back to my search that saw me buy the latest KLX.
Originally I was going to buy a used sports bike like a Ducati or something Italian, but cheap. Considering my age, and the uncomfortable riding position of these steeds I then seemed to gravitate towards a used sports tourer along the lines of the Honda VFR. I nearly bought one of these a couple of times but ultimately canned the idea - I was never going touring on a bike, and, the heavy weight of a tourer pushing it in and out of my driveway to the garage would tucker me out. Canned that idea. I have a CBR900RR, a bike that’s far more powerful as well as far lighter than the tourer. But not as comfy.
Anyways, I’ve always had Honda XR’s. I still own a 1985 XR600R. As an off-road bike it’s still sweet, but on the road it’s a bit of a beast. No creature comforts, too low gearing, on/off nature of the power delivery, and way too tall. And... Try kick starting a 600cc single...
I just wanted something that looked cool, has some creature comforts (read user friendly), has good adjustable suspension, and strong brakes. Something to just potter around on. With occasional off-road trail bike riding like what the XR can provide, but I wanted to be able to arrive back home after a couple of hours riding not scared or fatigued. The bike needed to be economical to buy and run. Also, I wanted the bike not to include any complex electronics that I would hardly ever use.
I came across the Kawasaki kind of by chance on an online motorcycle sales site one Friday afternoon. The things that struck me was how attractive the bike looked in the photos, and the recommended retail price. I could have a brand new bike for the price of a 5 year old tourer bike.
After spending the weekend online reading about the KLX’s features, and reviews, compared to the Honda CRF250F I thought I’d go have a look at one at my local Kawasaki dealer. These two machines are known as “dual sports”. For an old timer like myself they seem to sit in-between the old Honda XR enduro and XL trail – having nice comfort, but proper enduro style brakes and suspension. Please excuse me as I’ve always owned Hondas up to now.
Seeing the KLX250S in the flesh for the first time was great! I thought it looked very attractive (kind of butch) – the black seat and lime green plastics, and very well built. The local dealer spent much time going over the bike with me. I liked the adjustable suspension, the lower seat height, and the light nimble feel of the bike as I wheeled it around the dealer floor. Of particular note was the digital instruments combining speedo, tacho, odometer, two trip meters, and warning lights. I just love the design of this unit! The best I’ve ever seen in any car or bike that I’ve ever owned.
It’s funny how sometimes things just click. The KLX just did it for me, so I bought the bike there and then. You just know when something’s right. The sales guy seemed surprised at my quick decision as I didn’t even test ride the bike. The dealer was kind enough to deliver the bike to my residence.
I’ve now owned the bike for 6 months and travelled about 1,600kms. It’s a machine that in my opinion, delivers a lot more than the sum total of its parts. These days, that’s a pretty rare experience. First of all, the power that makes the bike so engaging and charming. I was initially concerned about this but since the bike has “run in”, and my riding style has adapted by revving and gear changing it’s one of its strengths. It can’t hold 100km/hr going uphill on the highway in top gear. It’s most comfortable doing 80km/hr so I tend to avoid highways and fast acceleration when riding. The bike takes a while to “warm up” which is another criticism of the carby equipped bike, but I don’t mind as I put my gear on whilst it warms up.
I’ve been riding the bike only on sealed roads. On the tight twisty “B” roads in the southern Adelaide Hills the bike puts a huge smile on my face. The handling is FUN. The steering can be a little twitchy at times but I put that down to the bike’s small dimensions. Making best use of the bike’s power, and with stock tyres, the bike reminds me of my old Mazda MX5 car. It’s so much fun changing gears and flicking the bike through those corners. But you are never speeding. And the car never had suspension this good. The headlight illumination is also very good.
The bike has practical features that I’ve come to appreciate; electric starting – remember me saying this was for wimps on an off roader, low fuel warning – my CBR road bike doesn’t have this. Helmet lock etc. I can see how much motorcycle suspension has come so far in terms of being able to absorb bumps yet maintain good levels of comfort. I managed to lock up both brakes out on a ride but the bike remained upright and stable. I arrive back home after my two hour ride with minimal soreness and fatigue. I find I take the KLX out on those routine errands instead of my car. Also, people have come up to me asking about the bike and they share their stories of when they owned a Kawasaki back in ‘74 or ‘92.
So there you have it, the bike is just right for me though I’m yet to ride it on a dirt road or mud. That’s something we’ll do a bit later on. Apparently the KLX makes a pretty good lightweight touring bike.
I trust my story as to how I came to own and enjoy riding this fine machine spurs others to have a good look at the KLX250S. I’ve finally come to realise that you don’t really need the most powerful, fastest, technological marvel, most expensive, and prestigious bike to appreciate the joy found in motorcycles.
The Kawasaki KLX250S: Recommended. Thank you to Mr. Simon Young of Coast Powersports of Morphett Vale, South Australia!