Kawasaki KLX110 First Ride Review

03 February 2017, 12:38 PM Ranjan R. Bhat

What is it?

Launched over a year ago, the Kawasaki KLX110 is a compact dirt bike for kids.  The KLX110 in principle is a stepping stone for a young rider’s first experience in the dirt, to get him acquainted with the basic concepts of riding. It also doubles as a fun minimoto for adults for a quick bash around the backyard. Kawasaki recently invited us to get a taste of its KLX range of beginner dirt bikes at a private track. With its tiny proportions and docile engine, the KLX110 helped me blow away the cobwebs and get accustomed to riding off-road before I moved on to the full-sized KLX140G.

How does it ride?

Despite being meant to haul kids, the 112cc air-cooled four-stroke single-cylinder engine never felt stressed while carrying my weight. Power peaks at 7bhp, which might not seem a lot on paper. However take into account the punchy power delivery and the KLX110’s feathery 76kg wet weight, and the performance fits the bike to a T. The power delivery throughout the rev range is smooth. There is abundant torque at low revs, enough to keep you going even when you are a gear higher than needed.

Kawasaki KLX 110

Kawasaki KLX 110

  • Displacement112 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)7.14 bhp
  • Kerb Weight76 kg
  • ;

Ex-showroom, Mumbai

 2,99,500

At a dirt track, you hardly need a motorcycle with a high top speed. Being fast is all about adopting proper body language and carrying momentum. Right from the word go, the KLX110 felt light and peppy enough for me to flick it around the dirt track. The quick throttle made it easy to keep the taps wide open even while tackling the bends. However, the small proportions of the KLX110 got me overenthusiastic in no time. I gradually increased the pace at which I entered corners, even losing the rear at exits a couple of times. But even in such situations, kicking the bike back up and regaining your composure without dropping the motorcycle seemed like child’s play. And even if you do happen to drop it, the KLX110 has been built to take a lot of abuse just like its brethren.

The KLX110 rides on knobby 14-inch front and 12-inch rear tyres with 30mm telescopic front forks and a rear mono shock. The 4.3-inch travel at the front and the rear and the 8.5-inch ground clearance give the KLX110 decent off-roading capabilities, though we stuck to the dirt track for the most part. The front tends to move around, but it does not feel scary at all. While suspension does offer decent bottoming resistance, I did get the rear to clunk on a couple of occasions (read, jumps).

The slick all-up four-speed gearbox doesn’t get a clutch lever, all you need to move through the cogs is shut the throttle and shift. While you would prefer to have a clutch for serious off-roading, its absence doesn’t really matter on a dirt track. The gear ratios are closely stacked and you always have enough juice to pull through tight corners. Even though it doesn’t have enough grunt at the top end, the smooth power delivery allows you to hold the gear through these corners. The KLX110 only gets drum brakes at both ends, though they offer enough stopping power for the kind of performance the bike can dish out.

Anything else I should know?

The KLX110 is so well proportioned that it is difficult to identify that it is a mini bike through the photos. However, in the saddle, the KLX110 feels too cramped for an adult, which means you have to stand up and ride most of the time. The KLX110 is not road legal, and it doesn’t get a headlamp, tail lamp, turn indicators or even an instrument cluster. 

The KLX110 gets an electric starter with a kill switch to make it easy for beginners. In case you have drained the battery, there’s the good old kick starter to get you back in motion. However, the placement of the kick start lever is a bit odd. It kept interfering with my foot whenever I stood up, forcing me to place my foot slightly further ahead than usual.

Should I buy one?

The light weight, lively engine and ergonomics make the KLX110 a perfect tool for your child. Once he (or she) comes to grips with riding on the dirt, you can step up to something bigger like the KLX140G. This bike provides a natural progression as the rider grows in proportions and experience.

However for grown-ups, the KLX110 is nothing more than a really expensive toy. It might be fun on dirt tracks, but lacks the serious off-roading abilities of a full-sized dirt bike. Spend an additional lakh and get yourself the KLX140G instead. Or if you are brave and have some experience with dirt bikes, for a little more you can have the bonkers two-stroke motocrosser - the KX100F.

Where does it fit in?

The Kawasaki KLX110 is priced at Rs 2.65 lakh (on-road, Delhi). Both the mini bikes and mini dirt bikes segment in India are still in their nascent stages, and the Kawasaki KLX110 enjoys the monopoly of being the only option for kids (and their parents). Well, at least until someone figures out a way to get knobby tyres on the Honda Navi.

Photography by Sagar Bhanushali

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