Last Wednesday, we met with Kawasaki off of Ortega Highway for a day of riding the latest model to their KLX lineup; the 2017 Kawasaki KLX140G. The 144cc machine features full-size 21” front and 18” rear wheels; larger wheels on any mini bike will make the motorcycle feel more stable. It’s obvious the engineers worked to make this bike friendlier to new riders by shaving off the heavyweight feeling that most bikes in class have. This bike stacks up against the Yamaha TT-R230 and Honda CRF230F with the aforementioned wheel size, yet weighs over 30-lbs less (according to Kawasaki’s figures) than its competitors. Power to weight ratio may be something to look into here. The Kawasaki feels light and nimble, it’s fun at the push of a button (electric start only). Though electric start is fairly reliable on modern bikes these days, don’t venture off too far the beaten path if you fancy a kickstarter as a backup plan since there is not one on this motorcycle.
At a petite 5’3, I could touch the ground with both feet thanks to the low seat height of 33.9 inches (again, using Kawasaki’s figures). The saddle is perfectly comfortable for someone of my size and almost feels like a mini bike morphed into a larger bike. The KLX140G is one that I might take on a trail ride when I want to challenge myself; I can touch the ground with ease, it is lightweight and nimble feeling. It never once seemed sluggish when climbing the small hills of the Wildomar OHV area. Adults who enjoy riding mini bikes every once in a while might find this bike a load of fun.
No suspension complaints here, the bike seemed to react how I wanted it to and wasn’t too stiff or too soft. Just right like Goldilocks likes it. The set-up is welcoming and doesn’t need a lot of adjustment for a 110-lb trail rider.
The narrow frame really makes the bike’s appearance stand out from the standard wide-trail bike look, and Kawasaki even noted that it was designed with inspiration from the KX motocross bike.
This is most definitely the motorcycle that I would teach a friend (new to motorcycles) how to ride on. This is just a first ride review after a few loops aboard the bike, so stay tuned to DirtRider.com as we’ll be looking to put quite a few testing hours on our 2017 KLX140G this year.