Next year, Kawasaki is offering two KLX110 models to accommodate a wider range of riders. Both feature a reliable air-cooled engine, electric start, and a reasonable price tag.
Finding a dirt bike that can be ridden by the entire family, regardless of age, size or skill isn’t easy. Kawasaki eases this would-be buyer’s decision by offering both a revamped 2010 Kawasaki KLX110 and an all-new 2010 Kawasaki KLX110L off-road motorcycle. The standard KLX110 is designed for smaller riders, while the L model is intended for use by those of larger stature. Both motorcycles feature a smooth yet peppy engine, 4-speed gearbox with automatic clutch (manual clutch standard on L), low curb weight, and most importantly a reasonable MSRP—quite the recipe for entertaining everyone in the family.
Scooting this entry-level machine forward is an easy-to-maintain air-cooled 111cc 4-stroke engine. Getting it started is easier than before, courtesy of its keyless push-button electric start that receives juice from a maintenance-free battery. A manual kickstarter is also standard, which can be used as a teaching tool or a back-up starting method. It uses a reshaped lever that provides easier operation and is less intrusive on the rider’s leg. Lastly, the engine’s auto-decompression-system has been reworked for further easier starting.
Push button electric starting makes it easier than ever to get rolling, but a reshaped kickstarter that clears the rider’s leg better is included for back-up.
Twist the throttle and its upgraded engine delivers more oomph than before. The power boost came in the form of different valve timing, decreased piston ring tension, updated ignition timing and a less restrictive exhaust. Kawasaki claims that these changes equate to a claimed 15% boost in engine torque. Although the engine still uses a carburetor, it runs impeccably with zero hesitation and a smooth confidence-inspiring powerband. For those who are learning, the KLX110 employs a screw-type throttle limit which allows a parent to limit rider speed.
Changing gears has also been improved via a new 4-speed transmission (one more gear compared to its predecessor). Inside features new internals designed to improve shifting action. The shift lever has also been reshaped to better accommodate more rider’s feet. An automatic clutch eliminates the need for a clutch lever and makes changing gears as easy as lifting up or down on the shift lever. For those who enjoy using a conventional clutch, the L model uses a manual set-up, with a traditional one-down, three-up shift pattern. Both systems work well, and give the 110 increased versatility wherever it’s ridden.
14-inch front and 12-inch rear knobby tires on strong, steel rims provide great off-road traction and durability, and keep the seat low.
Compared to the engine, the chassis sports even more modifications aimed at accommodating a wider range of riders. The seat has been reshaped and boosts seat height by more than an inch. A new handlebar with more comfortable grips works in conjunction with the seat and gives riders more control. The updated ergos are a big welcome for adult riders.
While the steel frame remains the same, the steering head uses an improved head bearing design, said to increase overall durability. A 30mm hydraulic non-adjustable fork graces the front end. The rear suspension is comprised of a longer hydraulic shock absorber. The spring rate has been increased for better bottoming resistance. The shock works via the same steel swingarm; however its pivot point has been lowered to accommodate the increase in suspension travel.
The L model takes things further by offering over two additional inches of wheel travel up front and 1.1 inches more travel out back. This boosts the L’s seat height by nearly two inches to 28.7 inches, making it the mini-bike of choice for taller riders.
Both machines use the same wheel sizes. The front measures 2.5 x 14 inches, while the rear measures 3.0 x 12 inches. Front and rear mechanical brakes ensure fast and reliable stops. The actuation method of the rear drum-style brake was also tweaked to provide improved performance and feel.
The entire package is wrapped in new bodywork that more closely resembles Kawasaki’s motocross bikes, including the KX250F and KX450F (to learn how these race bikes perform in the 2010 Kawasaki KX450F First Ride and the 2010 Kawasaki KX250F First Ride).
Perhaps the neatest thing about the new KLX is that the MSRP only increased by $250, bringing the base price tag to $2099. For that price you’ve got a fun, little motorcycle that’s perfectly suited to showing kids the joy of riding a motorcycle. And for those bigger kids, the L model, with its taller seat, manual clutch, and longer travel suspension will set you back an additional $150. So if its family fun that won’t break the bank, Kawasaki has you covered.