2003 Kawasaki KLX125L Comparison

MotorcycleUSA Staff | August 7, 2003
2003 Playbike Shootout
Our test riders felt the Yamaha had more bottom-end power and the Kawasaki had a slight edge on top.

Kawasaki KLX125L/Suzuki DR-Z125L

The green or yellow Kawazuki (Kawasaki or Suzuki) 125L is the true, direct competition to the Yamaha TT-R 125L. One of the first things you notice about the Kawasaki when starting it for the first time is that the choke works backwards than most motorcycles with the down position being on and up being off. This is necessary due to a linkage system that relocates the choke lever to the more easily-accessible left side. This is often confusing for newer riders. While on the subject of starting, the bike is also very cold-blooded and needs to be warmed up extensively before riding.

The power output is right on par with the Yamaha, with our testers coming to the conclusion that the Yamaha feels a little smoother and powerful of the bottom, and the Kawasaki feels like it may have had a tad more power up top. Honestly, these bikes are nearly identical in every way except for the shape of the seat and handlebars. If a race breaks out between the two, it doesn’t matter which one you’re on  just pick your favorite color.

2003 Playbike Shootout
The KLX125L suspension is stiffer than the Yamaha but it comes in handy when jumping the green machine.

The bike handles fine and the suspension was actually perceived to be just a little stiffer than the Yamaha, which comes in handy for bigger and faster riders. The forks creak on big hits just like the rest of the bikes in this shootout when pushed too hard. Like the Yamaha, the KLX/DR-Z uses a linkage system between the shift lever and transmission, which makes things feel a little spongy, but the tranny shifts positively. The clutch on the KLX seems to be the most prone, though, to fading under abuse. 

Some of the things we really like about the KLX125L are the oil-sight window that makes checking the oil as easy as leveling the bike and looking down, and the wide, soft seat that makes things more comfortable for bigger riders. We also appreciated the large footpegs for grip and comfort. Whether you get the Suzuki or the Kawasaki 125L, you’ll be getting a bike that’s every bit as good as the Yamaha. 

Make:  Kawasaki
Model:  KLX125L
MSRP:  $2,499

MotorcycleUSA Staff