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Kawasaki KR1S Sports Motorbike Review

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Kawasaki KR-1S
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MCN overall verdict rating is 5

Kawasaki’s KR-1S was the quickest mass-produced, 250 two-stroke ever (139mph being recorded in a 1990 speed test), being quicker than both Suzuki’s RGV and even Aprilia’s later (but RGV-powered) RS250. On the downside it came with slightly questionable reliability and handling that could tank slap you into casualty. Dangerous, but hugely addictive.


MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 0

In many ways you could be very mean and rate the Kawasaki KR-1S’s engine as poor. The preceding KR-1 suffered from iffy reliability, and KR-1S got nickel plated cylinders which are expensive to re-bore or replace. That said, if you service the engine regularly and use quality two-stroke oil, you have the quickest 250 two-stroke out there. 

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 0

Again, the Kawasaki KR-1S is very ying-yang. On the one hand it’s very light, flickable and tiny, like riding a mini race bike. But on the flip side it’s capable of sending the bars into a mighty tank-slapper. The rear shock is on the soft side, and the suspension basic, and you were stuck with a 18inch rear wheel.  But once set up with a good steering damper the Kawasaki KR-1S was a flyer and rewarding to ride fast.


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 0

The Kawasaki KR-1S never had the mouth-watering appeal of the RGV or RS 250 from Aprilia which copied the lines of their 250GP bike relatives, so, looks-wise, the KR-1S is slightly disappointing. Nor are there any special parts, like the sculpted swing arm of the Suzuki or twin high race exhausts of the Priller. That said, the KR-1S’s brakes are not half bad. Compare and buy parts for the KR-1S in the MCN Shop.

Kawasaki KR-1S (1990-1992)

Detail Value
Engine size 249 cc
Power 53 bhp
Top speed 139 mph
Insurance group 10 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 5 rating is 0
Engine rating is 4 rating is 0
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 0
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 0
Quality & Reliability rating is 3 rating is 0
Value rating is 4 rating is 0

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 0

1988-1990: Kawasaki KR-1: with different wheels, brakes, non-Nikasil barrels and other detail changes


MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 0

Kawasaki’s KR-1Ss seem to be increasing in price consistently as good examples become rarer. Early models at less than £1500 might seem attractive but you’ll be buying problems. Instead, find a low mileage, well looked after, late model and it’s sure to go up in value. You’ll have a bargain, true mini race bike that can still cut it on track today, with a true two stroke race engine – just be sure to cover that clutch! Find a Kawasaki KR-1S for sale.


Insurance group: 10 of 17

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Model History

1990: Kawasaki KR-1S introduced
1992: Model deleted

Other Versions


Top speed 139 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 53 bhp
Max torque 25 ft-lb
Weight 131 kg
Seat height 755 mm
Fuel capacity 16 litres
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 10 of 17
Engine size 249 cc
Engine specification Liquid-cooled two-stroke parallel twin, 6 gears
Frame Aluminium twin beam
Front suspension adjustment pre-load only
Rear suspension adjustment Single shock fully adjustable
Front brakes 2 x discs, four piston calipers
Rear brake Single disc, twin piston caliper
Front tyre size 110/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 140/60 x 18

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 0(0 reviews)

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thats fast for a 250, nice looking bike too.

18 June 2010 16:33

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