2004 Kawasaki KX 125 - First Test & Review - Dirt Rider

Today's four strokes have a smoother, broader powerband and are even more dependable than the dinosaurs we call two-strokes. For those who don't care and still have a passion for the two-stroke power, you will be happy to hear Kawasaki shares your sentiments. They went full force into improving last year's KX125, which was a great improvement for Kawasaki - it was the first time in many years that they had a competitive 125cc bike. With the many changes and improvements, the KX 125 is ONCE AGAIN an incredible machine.Suspension and Chassis: The KX 125 received a serious overhaul in this department. The seat is 8mm taller with a gripper seat cover to improve your rear end traction. Along with the raised seat height, the foot pegs are 3mm higher. The suspension works great. It tracks and handles similar to last year's 125 but seems to be more comfortable and the less cramped rider compartment help to improve cornering characteristics.Motor: It has lots of power off idle and plenty of midrange pull. Novice to Intermediate level riders will love the bottom-end power and the mid range punch. The top end power is not as impressive as the RM or YZ but keeping the engine in the power sweet spot takes less effort. The KX has the power to short shift and not fall off the pipe. Flat slick corners are usually a big hindrance on a 125 but the new KX has so much tracking power that its similar to a mini thumper in that the smooth power and bottom end tracking gives you a feel of confidence.As for features the Kawasaki got plenty of them. One of the noticeable changes was the Graphics. Kawasaki heard the cries for graphics that don't self-destruct at the sight of a knee brace. This year, their not just Bold New Graphics, but thicker and designed to have a gripper feel to them. After hours of knee braces rubbing against the radiator shrouds, the graphics were still intact and looked as though they may hold up as good if not better than aftermarket graphics.FEATURES****Engine•Reshaped combustion chamber
•Higher compression ratio
•Piston ring locating pin moved to rear of piston to evenly distribute ring pressure at front of piston
•Improved KIPS design provides better seal to piston
•Reshaped expansion chamber provides more power and is recessed from rider's leg
•Two-stage reed valve increases low-end flexibility, prevents over-flexing at high rpm
•New carburetor settings
•Straightened air duct and carburetor holder
•Revised ignition
Durability Improvements •Increased clearance between connection rod big-end and nylon crankcase "stuffer", increasing lubrication
•New connecting rod made of stronger steel
•Left crankcase casting is more rigid, clutch cable-to-case now sealed with an O-ring
•Stronger radiator side brackets help prevent deformation
•Engine bolts made of stronger steel
•Stronger exhaust silencer mounting brackets and stronger igniter bracket
Chassis and Suspension•New UNI-TRAK(r) rear suspension link is anchored on the swingarm, drastically reducing front-to-back movement of the shock, resulting in smoother, more stable action and improving traction at the rear wheel when accelerating
•Forged, one-piece actuating rod for UNI-TRAK replaces two-piece extrusions
•Frame construction is lighter due to suspension loads being absorbed by the new 20mm longer swingarm
•Upper cross tubes and engine mounts are modified to idealize stiffness balance for enhanced cornering performance and improved durability
•New semi-sealed cartridge fork provides better damping and fork action
•More compact front axle brackets feature new clamping method
•Adjustable rubber handlebar mounts help reduce vibration
•Flatter seat improves riding position and raises seat height 8mm
•Textured slip-resistant seat cover helps keep rider in place
•Foot pegs raised 3mm to improved the riding position
•Rear brake pedal pivot is mounted 11.5mm higher for increased ground clearance
•Fuel tank uses oblong mounting hole for easier maintenance
SPECIFICATIONS•Engine: Two-stroke single cylinder with KIPS(r)
•Displacement: 124cc
•Bore x stroke: 54.0 x 54.5mm
Cooling: Liquid
•Carburetion: Mikuni TMX38x
•Induction: 6-petal carbon fiber crankcase reed valve
•Compression ratio: TBA
•Ignition: Digital CDI
•Transmission: 6-speed
•Rake/trail: 27.5 / 3.9 in.
•Suspension adjustments, rear: Spring preload, 16-way compression and rebound
•Wheel travel, front: 11.8 in.
•Wheel travel, rear: 12.2 in.
•Tire, front: 80/100-21 51M
•Tire, rear: 100/90-19 57M
•Brakes, front / rear: Hydraulic disc
•Dry weight: 191.2 lbs.
•Fuel capacity: 2.2 gal.