Kawasaki KLX 140G Review

Kawasaki’s new dirt bike makes trail riding accessible for novices


Kawasaki KLX140G trail ride




Riding a dirt bike on a trail is a good indicator of your fitness levels. For me it was an eye-opener as I struggled to hold on to the bars, as the Kawasaki KLX 140G made short work of and scrambled up the rock-strewn trail.

The KLX 140 G is the fourth off-road trail bike Kawasaki has introduced in India and unlike the KX100 and the KX 250F launched earlier, it is aimed at beginners. The KLX essentially is a mini bike with a 21-inch front wheel and an 18-inch rear wheel. There is an angular approach to the design and the focus seems to be to keep everything as minimalist as possible. The exhaust too is a square-ish unit tucked inside the bodywork. Minimalism is carried on to the handlebars which house just the starter motor and the engine kill switch. The bike isn't intimidating by any stretch of the imagination and the narrow seat despite being set at 860mm, allows even riders of average stature to comfortably place both feet on the ground. This minimalism with the use of lightweight parts ensures the bike has a kerb weight of just 99 kilos, which is way less than the competition. The idea of using a mini bike frame with larger wheels has many benefits. First off are the weight and size that make the bike quite easy to manoeuvre. The large wheels allow you to tackle larger obstacles like rocks with ease. They also increase the ground clearance which is now 315mm.




Kawasaki KLX140G side view with rider




The suspension set-up consists of highly adjustable units. The 33mm front telescopic fork has 190mm of travel, while the rear features a Uni-Trak linkage system and a fully adjustable monoshock rear damper that can be adjusted 22 ways for rebound/damping and allows for 200mm of rear wheel travel.

Nestled inside the steel semi-double cradleframe is a 144cc air-cooled and carburetted four-stroke single. Kawasaki has not released power figures but the performance feels comparable to a 200cc bike. Despite the oversquare dimensions there is a healthy amount of torque to revel in. The motor isn't high-strung but has a wide enough accessible powerband, perfect for beginners and also to improve reliability.




Kawasaki KLX140G front quarter shot




For the ride, Kawasaki India had a two-kilometre trail set up replete with loose mud, rocky inclines and water crossings. I was surprised at how much of a difference weight makes to performance. The KLX 140 is quick off the line, the thin, knobbly tyres scrabbling for grip. The tyres are a revelation. Once you are on the move, the grip offered is exceptional. On the off-road decline, it is easy to stand on the large, spiked pegs, leave the motor in second gear and let the bike descend over the 30-degree slope. The 5-speed gearbox has short ratios and there was barely any need for first gear. In fact, I had to climb the slope in second gear as in first, the rear wheel would spin and lose grip. The suspension soaks up everything, only getting caught out by large rocks. Standing on the pegs, you can see the front end bobbing around but never lose grip. Once you get used to the linear power delivery, it is quite easy to hoon around and make rooster tails. The bike has a quick turn-in but is stable at speed over rocky out-patches.




Kawasaki KLX140G handlebar




The 220mm front and 190mm rear petal disc brakes offer phenomenal bite and lock easily over loose surfaces. While experts use the loss of traction to their advantage, for beginners, it takes some time to get used to. I preferred to keep my fingers off the front brake most of the time and rely on the rear brake.




Kawasaki KLX140G side view




If you are riding on a trail, you will fall off eventually. In fact, hardcore motocross riders say that if you don't fall off, you ain't riding fast enough. Seems as I was doing something right as I did have a spill. It's a good thing that dirt bikes are made to withstand hooning and the eventual fall. Lucky for me, my gear took care of the fall and I was able to pick up the lightweight bike, thumb the starter and zoom off in a jiffy like nothing had happened.




Kawasaki KLX140G one after other




The KLX 140G makes a lot of sense if you are looking to get into motocross or fancy riding around in your farm. It is equally competent for the weekend dirt trail as it is for an amateur motocross competition. The KLX retails for Rs 3.91 lakh (ex-Delhi) and is an excellent dirt bike for beginners. Plus it comes with warranty and service back-up from Kawasaki itself for your peace of mind.