1995-2006 Kawasaki KDX200 / 1997-2005 KDX220 - Used Bikes - Dirt Rider Magazine

These bikes were largely unchanged for the entire run. Early ones were made in Japan and later ones in Thailand, but I never noticed any difference in quality or materials with the change. If anything, the units from Thailand were greased a little better. This model was even Dirt Rider's Bike of the Year one time, thanks to the outstanding value, good performance and amazingly low price. Some dealers still have new KDXs on the floor, so that is why the high end of the price range is $3500. That would be for a new unit. The perimeter-framed generation of KDX was a little more performance-oriented and a solid-handling bike, and the conventional fork design kept it from being too rigid for woods.Some owners have reported 25,000 miles on the stock top and bottom end; you will only get life like that if the engine never, ever eats any dirt. Regardless, these bikes hold up well. Condition is much more important to price than the year of the bike.The 220 would be expected to be the better model, but milder cylinder machining and a smaller carburetor ensure that the 220 has good roll-on torque though it is actually slower than the 200.Buyer Beware
Look carefully at the condition of the bike. Since these bikes were inexpensive and near bulletproof, many are ridden into the ground. Look out for all the chassis and wheel bearings, but especially the lower shock bearing in the linkage rocker arm. If the bearing goes bad, the slop can ruin the rocker.* The airboxes are a little hit and miss from the factory. Some will pass dirt between the air filter mounting ring and the intake boot. Remove the plastic cage from the airbox, and clean the parts well. There is a groove on the back side of the mounting ring. Clean it well, then run a bead of silicone around it. That should ban dirt from the intake.* The gas tank can crack with age, and it is easy to strip the brass inserts in the tank. The stock tank is expensive, but IMS and Clarke Mfg. have affordable oversize tanks.* The seat sacks out quickly. Replacing it with Guts seat foam will help bring back the stock feel.* The handlebar top clamps are separate, and it is easy to twist the rubber-mounted bar in the clamps. A one-piece top handlebar clamp helps.* The 1995-'96 models had weaker clutch springs, so they should be replaced with later-model springs.* The clutch basket will eventually show wear as well, and stock baskets are the only option for now. FRP is looking into having a more durable one soon.* The kickstarter wears out by getting extremely sloppy. FRP has a replacement that lasts longer.* The 220s can break pistons. If you buy a 220 (even new), take it apart and replace the stock piston with a Wiseco. When doing a top end, hold the KIPS actuating shaft when you tighten or loosen the nut that holds the top of the rod to the power valve. It is a left-hand thread, and if you don't hold it tight, it can break off a hardened pin in the bottom end that will damage the engine.* Inspect the top end and clean the KIPS valves every 1000 miles or at about 50 hours. KIPS parts hold up well if you keep them clean. Mix the oil at the ratio the oil manufacturer recommends and not what it says on the bike.* The only crank failures you will see are dirt related. Feed it clean air and these bikes will last a long time.* The transmission should take a full 850ml of tranny oil (at least to the top of the site window) every time you do an oil change.* Loctite the kickstand mounting bolts if you want to keep it on the bike.

Commonsense Mods
* In rocks, fork guards are a good idea to protect the underhang of the conventional fork. Stiffer fork springs are recommended if you weigh over 130 pounds. A lighter shock spring will help for riders less than 170 pounds.* FMF pipes make a big difference. Porting helps both models, but it really helps the 220. FMF's spark arrestor actually makes better power than a straight-through muffler.* Stock gearing is best for most situations. If you change the gearing, don't go crazy. One tooth either way on the rear is plenty.* As always, any used bike benefits from a suspension rebuild with all the parts to tighten everything back up to like-new condition. While you are making the suspension right, upgrading the valving and spring rates for your size, style and intended use is money well-spent.Target Rider
* The KDX200/220 is a race-capable trailbike that's perfect for the rider who wants a two-stroke that's as reliable as they get. You almost can't do off-road any cheaper than with a well-maintained KDX. You will give away performance to modern 200s, but the buy-in is much more reasonable. Run the stock silencer and the neighbors won't know you're riding a dirt bike. Either model KDX is capable of chaperoning kids on playbikes without any drama.Fredette's website is the online source for everything KDX. Check it out at www.frpoffroad.com.