The standard dual purpose tyres are fine on the road, though struggle with very loose or wet surfaces. The suspension is very soft and pitches back and forth, though it means it deals with potholes very well. Heavier riders will need to up the preload to stop the suspension bottoming out off-road. Again, more suited to sedate off-roading rather than hammering around an enduro course.
The liquid-cooled single dates back 20 years, and feels like it. Power is modest, but there’s no danger of it ever catching you out. 70mph is just about flat out – it seems Kawasaki restricts the engine in the upper gears, as it seems to lose its ability to rev in fifth and sixth. You have to be very brutal with it off-road to get the wheel-spinning, and combined with the whisper-quiet standard exhaust it won’t offend rambler as you cross the countryside.
From a distance the KLX is a smart machine, but look closely and the details is cheap. It doesn’t take much off-road use to damage the finish either – boots rub paint through and everything quickly looks scruffy. MCN’s test bike has suffered two mystery electrical faults too – though that’s likely to be unique to this bike rather than a widespread issue.
If bike prices hadn’t been forced up by the poor exchange rate, the KLX could have been a bargain, but at a quid under £4000 it’s a pricey way to get a soft, basic trail bike. It’s hard to recommend it to anyone – commuter riders would be better off with bikes like Kawasaki’s own Ninja 250R. Off-road riders will be happier with something more up to rigorous riding. The KLX is a pleasant bike – but it’s hard to identify who should buy one. Find a Kawasaki KLX250 for sale.
The KLX is a simple machine – the LCD dash give the basics, the only storage is a small canvas bag on the tail and the seat isn’t really up to big miles or two-up use – it has pillion pegs, but they’re a token gesture and the bike struggles. But that’s fine – it doesn’t pretend to be a sophisticated machine. As long as you’re not expecting R1200GS levels of kit, then it does exactly what it promises. Compare and buy parts for the KLX250.