Kawasaki’s KLX110 has long been a great little dirtbike for the munchkins, and with the addition of the KLX110L, even the bigger kids (aka, parents) can join in on the fun. Both models are still in Kawasaki’s lineup, only $200 more than they were in 2010, when MO’s Alfonse Palaima got to ride them at Fox’s backyard dirt track. How did a grown child like Fonsie take to the little Kawi? Read on to find out. And for more pics, be sure to click the photo gallery.
One of the coolest backyards I’ve ever seen is hidden deep in a secluded and secure parking lot of the Fox headquarters in Irvine, California. Kawasaki once again trucked in a great party, this time to launch the redesigned-for-2010 KLX110 lineup. With sharper and more aggressive KX-style characteristics, the new KLXs are lookin’ good!
While Kawasaki re-engineered the KLX110 base model with more power, more performance, and more control by changing the package from the ground up, they opted for two birds with one stone and made one for the “big” kids, too.
With two versions now stuffed under the model’s moniker, a KLX110 standard and a new KLX110L with long-travel suspension, there’s a little green monster for everyone in the family.
For the junior or misses, the standard KLX110 comes with an 26.8-inch saddle height, 111cc of Kawasaki four-stroke, SOHC, single-cylinder fun and one more gear than last year’s 3-speed. For the parents, or “adult” kids in the family, the 110L now has all that and 0.9 inches (0.8 inches at the shock) more suspension travel over the 110’s 4.3 inches. Naturally then the L model has a taller saddle (28.7-inches) and also comes with electric start. Catering to a performance-oriented rider, the 110L is now equipped with a manual clutch in place of the standard 110’s auto clutch.
My first ride was on the “small” bike, the shorter suspension and auto-clutched neutral-on-the-floor/ four-up KLX base model. Peppy and light, it’s easy enough to flip around the pits by picking it up and yet powerful enough to propel even a 190-pound rider across the track gaps.
Nothing like a tiny little track to test a few different muscles. Momentum, body language and wide open throttles are your tools for success at winning a friendly session of mini moto, cause you’ll never need your top speed on a course like this one.
For my second session, I hopped on the taller 110L to enjoy the manual clutch control and longer suspension travel.
Despite using the exact same frame and engine, the L seemed more powerful, I nearly blew out of a few turns, entering too hot. Placebo affect, I’m sure, as the bikes are nearly the same. The fork and rear swingarm are the primary differences. It’s probably the roomier rider triangle, near-2-inch taller saddle, and more-familiar clutched gear control that had me more comfortable in the saddle. Luckily the front and rear drum brakes have plenty enough stopping power to save me.
Never really getting outta second gear on the 0.2-mile track, the powerband is relatively shallow (compared to a street bike) but juicy enough to pull from tight corners and blast down the back straight faster than this rider needed to be going. Full throttle, fully fun!
With a 15% power increase over the previous model, it feels like twice the engine (maybe it’s all that mud that bogged me down before). Power now peaks at 7.3 pferdestärke at 7500 rpm (that’s metric horsepower, term used in Germany and Japan), or 7.2 horsepower for the American readers.
While there was no mini-moto invitational at this particular event, there were still a few celebrity riders on hand to spice up the pace and keep the motos exciting to both rider as well as viewers. AMA Motocross and Supercross champion Jeff Emig was on hand to rake the track for us, before kicking the newbie’s asses to the dirt. AMA Hall of Famer Gary Jones was also on hand to offer helpful pointers.
And when the sun went down, the party didn’t stop. The yard was lit up with a field of starlights overhead so the little Thumpers could continue to rampage ‘round the track into the night.
The all-new electric starter is a keyless system with a left-handed on/off switch and push-button starter. There’s also a friendly switch indication that lights up for quick looks to see if you, or the kids, left the bike in the ON position. And if you drain the battery, there’s the old reliable kickstart lever to get you back in action.
All in all, Kawasaki has not only improved on an already good thing, but also revised dozens of little things both internally and externally with the new KLX110s, from increased rear shock spring rates to tapered roller bearings in the lower steering stem to adding an ignition timing inspection hole. There are just too many updates to mention here, but they’re all good.
At the end of the day, hopping back on my KLR to head home, I was amped up and looking for berms at every intersection – elbows up, leg out, turning lane and green light, I was outta place for the street – boo indeed! Guess all the fun is at the track; I wanna ride again tomorrow.
Thanks Kawasaki, you’ve created a monster in me! And thanks for putting on a great party!
| || |
|New Styling||New Styling|
|Electric Start||Electric Start|
|Improved Suspension||Long Travel Suspension|
|Automatic Clutch||Manual Clutch|
|26.8” Seat Height||28.7” Seat Height|
|$2,099 MSRP||$2,249 MSRP|
|Full Specs||Full Specs|
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