Kawasaki KLX250S 2009 Review
BY: Buddha, PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Buddha
It might be small, but Kawasaki’s KLX250S is an excellent all-rounder. MTN’s resident chunky monkey Buddha lived with the little green Kwaka over the holidays and had a blast…
In today's multi-task world there is a need for a competent commuting/off-road dual-sport and that's where the light, compact and quick handling Kawasaki KLX250S comes into play.
It's not the best looking or the fastest, but it is a load of fun to ride in a wide assortment of locations - perfect for urbanites wanting a multi-purpose bike they can use to get to and from the orifice and also take out at the weekends for a bit of off-road action. An electric-start, liquid-cooled 249cc single teams with a six-speed transmission, box-section steel frame, aluminium swingarm and all the necessary street-legal bits to make this bike a first-rate dual-sport motorcycle.
Petal-style brakes front and rear are a good addition to the KLX. There's enough feel at the lever to provide aggressive riders the ability to scrub off speed on those gravelly forest roads without the front going squirrly, and they are powerful enough to slow it down quickly on the street.
During my time with the KLX, and also due to the fact my off-road ability is on-par with your average Sumo wrestler's, I didn't tackle a tonne of technical terrain but it was clear the bike is light on its feet and easy to manhandle, even for a pussy like me. An inverted 43mm fork with 16-way-adjustable compression damping does a nice job of absorbing small to medium sized hits but it dives quite a bit on the street under braking. The rear shock features 16-way adjustability for both compression and rebound.
Some dual sports lean more towards the street side of their heritage rather than the dirt side, but the KLX250S is a welcome exception and treads the line between the two worlds really well. You can ride a few hours of twisties with ease until you get to the trails, where this bike tears into the mud, sand and dirt as well as any dirt-only trailie. Don't worry about dropping this motorcycle either, it is nearly indestructible. Not that I dropped it, Mr Kawasaki. No worries there. But, just in case you happen across a dodgy patch of gravel, the KLX comes with aluminium engine guards to protect the crankcase as well as hard plastic sides to prevent any dents or scratches that would harm the working parts.
Considering its intended purpose as an all-around motorbike, the KLX transmits enough feedback to make it easy to go fast. But Kawasaki expects it to be ridden by riders who want to soak in the surroundings, not pass them by in a blur, and the 250S is right at home at those speeds. To be honest I really can't say enough good things about this wee dualy, the very first bike I cut my teeth on was very similar to the KLX250S and it was a blast to ride.
There certainly looks to be a growth in the dual-sport market at the moment, and it's clear why we need these types of bike. They are unobtrusive, easy to ride and capable of going where few people have gone before. It opens the door for casual riders to explore places that most would never dare to go on road bikes and venture further than many four-wheeled vehicles. And at rrp of $8495, this dual-sport offers a smile-per-dollar ratio that's pretty damn hard to beat.
Engine type: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, single
Displacement: 249 cc
Bore x stroke: 72.0 x 61.2mm
Compression ratio: 11:1
Fuel system: Keihin CVK34
Starting system: Electric
Frame type: Tubular, semi double cradle
Rake/trail: 26.5 °/105 mm
Suspension front: Inverted telescopic fork
Suspension rear: Uni-Trak
Front wheel travel: 255mm
Rear wheel travel: 230mm
Front tyre size: 300-21 51P
Rear tyre size: 4.50-18 63P
Brakes: front/rear Petal disc/Petal disc
LxWxH: 2200 x 820 x 1205mm
Fuel tank capacity: 7.7 litres
Seat height: 890mm
Dry weight: 126kg
Max power: 23PS @ 8500rpm
Max torque: 21Nm @ 6500rpm