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Kawasaki KLX140G First Ride Review

24 January 2017, 06:34 PM Ranjan R. Bhat

What is it?

A mid-sized dirt bike for first-time riders, the Kawasaki KLX140G is built around a simple four-stroke engine with a chassis and suspension setup that can make even an amateur feel like a professional motocross rider. The price tag might raise a few eyebrows, but take a closer look at the rest of the Kawasaki’s off-road range and the KLX140G actually sounds like a bargain!

We took the KLX140G for a spin around a specially laid trail littered with steep inclines and drops, dusty straights, bumps and logs to jump over, rocks to crawl over and even a small stream, where we got a chance to find out how beginner-friendly this bike is.

How does it ride?

Weight would be a good starting point for this discussion. Tipping the scales at just 99kg, the Kawasaki KLX140G is lighter than a few of my team-mates. This lightness and the narrow profile play a major role in making the bike feel nimble. Even when standing up on the KLX140G, the proportions and lightness give you the confidence to manhandle it. It encourages you to push yourself and ride aggressively without feeling like you will get yourself in trouble. The narrow tyres snake their way through all obstacles without breaking a sweat.

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Kawasaki KLX 140G [2017-2018]

Last known Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 4,06,598

There is enough grunt in the 144cc air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine to tackle the variety of conditions that we were faced with. While going up the inclines, the generous low-end toque allowed me to keep climbing a gear higher than I should ideally have. Even through the rest of the rev range, the KLX140G has a smooth and linear spread of power. The delivery is not scary though, and necessitates a generous use of quick-throttle to get the most out of the engine. We do not have the exact power and torque output as Kawasaki refused to reveal these details. 

The handling is relaxed and confidence-inspiring, with incredible front-end feedback and plenty of grip available at both ends. The front 33mm forks do a very credible job with the 190mm of travel, but the rear is where the magic lies. The rear monoshock offers preload, four-step compression and 22-step rebound damping adjustability. The suspension helps the bike maintain its composure even as it ploughs through the steep inclines and drops. Even after spending a couple of hours in the saddle, my back had nothing to complain about. The ergonomics felt spot-on for my height, and both the hand and foot levers were easily accessible irrespective of whether I was standing or resting my butt on the seat. 

The brakes use a 220mm front and a 190mm rear disc. The front brake is progressive and coupled with the fantastic grip of the tyre and the suspension travel, allowed me to confidently dab the lever at any time. Even the rear has good stopping power. It also allowed me to slide the rear and have a good laugh.

Anything else I should know?

 

The G in KLX140G stands for ‘Giant’. The wheels are the same size as of those in the full-blown dirt bikes, but the seat height is a few inches lower and the power output is friendlier. The KLX140G gets 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels. 

 

Crashing isn’t fun, or easy on the pocket. But the ugly truth is that once you take up off-roading, you will end up dropping the bike every now and then. However, the KLX140G has been designed to be robust and take a fair amount of beating. Almost all of us had a fall or two during the course of the day and despite these the test bikes kept soldiering on.

 

One thing I found surprising was the absence of a kick starter. It gets minimalistic bodywork (which means fewer things to replace in case of a crash), no instrumentation, headlamp, turn indicators, tail lamp or mirrors. Even the fuel tank can hold only 5.8 litres of fuel.

Should I buy one?

The Indo-Thailand trade pact has allowed Kawasaki to price the KLX140G at Rs 3.91 lakh. Still, that is a lot of money for something which cannot be ridden on the road or doesn’t even have a headlamp. The advantage is that the on-road price is same as the ex-showroom price and you save a significant chunk of money in registration and other charges.

You can probably spend that money setting up a small dirt track in your backyard. So if you are new to off-roading, plan to take it up seriously and have access to private land, then yes, the KLX140G would be the pick of the lot for you.

 

Where does it fit in?

The KLX140 currently occupies a niche space in the Indian two-wheeler market. Until the other manufacturers catch up (and how we wish they would!) the KLX140 will stay unrivalled in the Indian two-wheeler industry. For this kind of money you can also buy two Royal Enfield Himalayans, one in each colour. Of course, you would be able to ride them on the road as well, but will you be able to have so much fun in the wild? No way!

Photography by Sagar Bhanushali

Click here to read Kawasaki KX250F First Ride Review

Click here to read Kawasaki KX100 First Ride Review

Click here to read Royal Enfield Himalayan vs Hero Impulse Comparison Review

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