Kawasaki dirt bikes are some of the best on the market: they’re suitable for experienced and beginner riders and offer an impressive ride experience – but which ones are the best models to buy? By nature dirt bikes are simple machines and as such they’re aren’t as many variations in their models as you’d find in the rest of a manufacturer’s repertoire – so in this list, we’ve decided to focus on a wide range of Kawasaki dirt bikes from past and present without focusing too much on one particular model and the various engine sizes that it comes in. A list that predominantly features multiple renditions of the same model hardly makes for interesting or even informative reading…So we’ve narrowed down our findings to offer a more diverse list of quality Kawasaki dirt bikes from the past to the present day.
Also, to make matters more complicated, different riders have different opinions of what a dirt bike even is. For some, a dirt bike is nothing more than a motorcycle with long travel suspension, a small but punchy motor, knobbly tires, very little in the way of riding comforts, and an overall lightweight that makes it fast and nimble, and able to traverse a wide range of terrains. For others, it can mean big adventure bikes with larger engines and a real dual-purpose nature – as long as it can churn up some mud without immediately falling sideways, it still counts. We’re going to leave the interpretation up to you, and cover as many bikes as possible that could fit the bill, traditional dirt bike or not.
Either way, Kawasaki dirt bikes are some of the best on the market and if you’re looking at getting into the world of trail riding, motocross, enduro, or rugged adventuring you can certainly do a lot worse than on a Team Green machine. Young or old, novice or experienced, dirt bike riding is some of the most fun you can have on two wheels…so let’s see what Kawasaki trail bike models are out there! Take some inspiration from this buyer’s guide!
8 Awesome Kawasaki Dirt Bikes You Should Take For A Ride!
#08. The Kawasaki KE100
Old but gold, if you’re on the hunt for an older motorcycle with a long history, buckets of character and a two-stroke motor that pushes out enough punch to thrash around some trails and toodle from A to B on the roads, then you can do a lot worse than this old classic. Essentially, the old KE100 was the original Kawasaki dirt bike of the modern era. And last long it did, with a life that spanned between the years 1974 and 1998, it had enjoyed an unprecedented long life before emissions limits killed it. Armed with nothing more than an un-killable 99cc two-stroke engine, 10 horses, and a fuel economy of about 75 miles per gallon, you can pick these up for next to nothing – and if you’re new to dirt bikes and aren’t concerned with modern technology and don’t want to spend a fortune, this could be the rust bucket for you. Good things come in small packages, especially in the dirt bike world.
#07. The Kawasaki KLX125
Old is good, but new is infinitely better, if you feel like spending a little more of course. The KLX125 is from the contemporary line of Kawasaki dirt bikes first introduced in 2006. Now, this is a controversial choice because there are a number of reviewers out there who have nothing good to say about the Kawasaki KLX125. The truth is that there’s a lot that works in its favor. Everything works on it as it should, the suspension is fantastic, the brakes do their job, the engine is everything you’d expect from a 125cc dirt bike engine – but the overall package is a little on the small size. And that’s only a problem if you’re a taller rider. If you’re of average height or under, the KLX125 is a great bike to start on – and even if you’re taller, it good to ride on a bike that’s small first to help build up confidence. Besides, if you’re unnaturally tall or enormously big, you’ve got no business riding a 125cc dirt bike anyway. We’ve ridden the KLX125 a number of times and find it to be a worthy motorcycle in the Kawasaki dirt bikes fleet.
#06. The Kawasaki KMX125
If the KE100 is too old but the KLX125 is too new, then a worthy compromise would be the Kawasaki KMX125, a good old two-stroke dirt bike that served us well between the years 1986 to 2002. Now, here’s a funny fact for you: according to the UK’s MCN magazine “the Kawasaki KMX125 is one of the most stolen motorcycles in Britain” and everyone that a good thief only steals things that are worth their time, effort and risk – so with that in mind, the KMX125 should interest you. The engine only makes 12 hp in stock form but if you derestrict it, the engine is good for a very, very impressive 23 hp. For an old workhorse, you should be doubly careful buying a second hand one. No one has ever taken care of one of these old Kawasaki dirt bikes, because that wasn’t the point of them. If you can find one that runs and the suspension isn’t completely shot, and the brakes aren’t dangerously bad, invest away. Old school, rough and ready, incredibly basic but a hell of a lot of fun.
#05. The Kawasaki KX500
The Kawasaki KX500 is another one of those old classic Kawasaki motorcycles that has stood the test of time, and with a 500cc two-stroke single cylinder engine, it’s got a hell of a lot more grunt than anything mentioned so far. It first came on the scene in 1983 and managed to stay with us right up until 2004, so it enjoyed quite a long tenure. Many moto-journalists like to remember the KX500 as the most powerful dirt bikes of all time, and that should tell you all you need to know about this old beast, but if you need to know more you can rest easy knowing that the KX500 is one of the more successful of the Kawasaki dirt bikes with quite a few racing accolades tucked under its belt. If you happen to see a used one come up for sale, we would urge you to buy as new a year as you can possibly find. Ideally, the last generation (2000 – 2004) would be our recommendation, purely because it’s easier to source parts for the newer versions than the old. If you can find one, snap it up. You really can’t go wrong with the KX500: one of the best Kawasaki dirt bikes ever made.
#04. The Kawasaki KLR650 Camo
You’ve had the old, so what about the new? If you’ve got a bit more cash at your disposal then you can go and pick up a new KLR650 Camo from your local Kawasaki dealership. More of a dual-sport machine than a dedicated off-roader, the KLR650 Camo still falls into the Kawasaki dirt bikes category – purely because it’s just as good on road as it is off. Unlike the old KX500, this comes powered with a modern four-stroke engine, a 651cc single cylinder unit that’s got plenty of punch to get you across rough terrain and keep up with fast moving traffic alike. Again, it’s not a dedicated dirt bike but if your budget only allows you to buy one motorcycle and you want something that can thrash through the trails on the weekend and still take you to work on Monday then you should consider the KLR650. Especially in Camo flavor. We just like the Camo version because it looks awesome and comes at no extra cost.
#03. The Kawasaki KLR250
Don’t think we’d go an neglect the most important engine category in the dirt bike arena – because when it comes to off-road antics, there’s nothing quite like a 250. The old Kawasaki KLR250 was produced between the years of 1981 and 2001 – and over that twenty year period it managed to carve out a personality as a rocksteady, reliable, easy-going member of the Kawasaki dirt bikes catalog. Fun, economical, enduring, and equally capable both on and off road. Powered by a liquid-cooled, four valve, SOHC engine that kick starts with ease every time, the power delivery is smooth and has more than enough grunt to churn up even the hardest of ground. There is a downside though – while we can talk all day about how much fun and how great the Kawasaki KLR250 was, the question remains whether you can find one that hasn’t been completely flogged to death. Fortunately, the main hardware was built to last and despite being thrashed within an inch of their lives, most second hand ones are in remarkably good condition – all bar the consumables of course. Prices for these old Kawasaki dirt bikes vary, but we don’t recommend that you spend too much on one, even if it’s in good condition.
#02. The Kawasaki KLX250
Like the models above, if you can’t find an old model for sale, or you just fancy something a little more expensive and a little more technologically advanced, here’s the modern equivalent: the Kawasaki KLX50. The KLX250 is quite the oddball though. It’s quite obviously a dirt bike, but for some reason Kawasaki like to advertize it as an adventure bike. It’s true that there’s nothing you from having an adventure on one – because it most certainly is capable of it – but it just looks more at home alongside the likes of other models like the KX250 for example. Either way, the KLX is one of the most versatile Kawasaki dirt bikes in the fleet and will easily appeal to riders of all skill levels. Powered by a sophisticated and economical fuel injected engine that can be started easily regardless of the altitude, the KLX250 is a road legal motorcycle that’s perfect for riding to and from the trails as well as on them. The suspension is fully adjustable to cater to your needs and the nice low seat height makes it a nice and accessible bike for people of all ages (and heights.) With an MSRP of $5,349 you get a lot of Kawasaki trail bike bang for your buck.
#01. The Kawasaki KX450F
In first place, we have what can only be described as the king of all Kawasaki dirt bikes: the KX450 – the bigger brother of the also incredible Kawasaki KX250F. Not only the best dirt bike in the Kawasaki motorcycle stable, but many argue across all manufacturers. Kawasaki certainly enjoy boasting that the KX series lays claim to more AMA National Motocross and Supercross titles than any other company in the business. It’s big talk, but you can talk like that when you’re telling the truth. The real success of the KX450F is down to the combination of its powerful and smooth engine, twinned with its remarkably lightweight frame. This isn’t a bike that you’re going to be doing any grocery shopping on though – its’ a thoroughbred MX motorcycle that has been tuned for competition riding.
To make things even more complicated, you’re probably going to have to swap that exhaust out straightaway and replace it with other Kawasaki dirt bike parts that can dampen that sound a little bit, otherwise you’re in danger of upsetting the neighbors… But that’s the price you pay for owning a motorcycle built for champions. Apart from the beastly (and loud) 449cc four-stroke engine, you can also benefit from Showa suspension, a no nonsense transmission system, and excellent ground clearance – all that wrapped in a package that retails for $8,849. You can even get an awesome Monster Energy graphics kit, too. As far as Kawasaki dirt bikes go, you can do no better.
BONUS: An All New Kawasaki KX350 Two-Stroke?!
If you’re still trying to get some inspiration about which Kawasaki dirt bikes are good and which ones are bad, or you’re wondering which one to buy, you might want to hold off. You see, there’s a new kid that’s about to arrive on the block: the KX350 two-stroke which is set to arrive in 2018. Essentially, we’re looking at new breed of two-stroke dirt bike, complete with an emissions friendly engine that could turn the future of off-road bikes and motorcross bikes around. KTM is still flying the two-stroke flag and improving the technology every passing year. We may be standing on the brink of two-stroke revival… As for the Kawasaki KX350, we’ll have to wait and see how that pans out but we’ve got some pictures to whet your appetite until we find out more. But as good as the Kawasaki KX450F is, there may be a new king in town by the end of 2018.