KAWASAKI KMX125 (1986 - 2002) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 3.6 out of 5 (3.6/5)
Power: 12 bhp
Seat height: Tall (34.1 in / 865 mm)
Weight: Low (243 lbs / 110 kg)

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

That the Kawasaki KMX125 is one of the most stolen motorcycles in Britain should tell you all there is to know about it. The Kawasaki KMX125 is tough, cheap to run and cheap to fix and very capable off-road (handy when doing a runner from the law). Spares are plentiful and de-restricted versions can twist a dyno to a heady 23bhp.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
2 out of 5 (2/5)

By now even pampered Kawasaki KMX125s will feel tired. And no-one pampers a Kawasaki KMX125. Head races will be squared, fork oil thin and the shock out of damping. Fortunately none of that’s too dear to sort. Once fettled the Kawasaki KMX125 can well handle on and off-road action (with the right tyres). If the brakes feel poor they probably just need a bleed and fresh pads, but if you're buying a Kawasaki KMX125 check the hoses for bulges and the discs for wear.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
3 out of 5 (3/5)

As bog stock the Kawasaki KMX125's two-stroke SOHC motor makes just 12bhp, though the KIPS induction valves means that the power is evenly spread and not tightly jammed at the top end. It’s important to keep these valves clean, but thankfully it’s a simple job (just remove the exhaust and cylinder head, dig out the valves and clean them with a wire brush). De-restricting the Kawasaki KMX125's motor involves removing a welded-in washer in the exhaust pipe and using a softer spring to let the KIPS actuator open fully.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Kawasaki KMX125 isn’t fussy about which stroker oil you use, so long as you keep it topped up. New pistons and rings for the Kawasaki KMX125 are cheap (£25-30) and the motor’s good for going on for 50,000 miles, though de-restricted ones can be very unreliable.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Kawasaki KMX125 is a blinding wee bike. Never pay more than a grand, though and be very careful to check the legal status of any Kawasaki KMX125 with a call to MCN’s Bikecheck hotline: 01722 435555. Checks cost £35.95. Find a Kawasaki KMX125 for sale.

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

The Kawasaki KMX125's clocks are good (tacho, speedo and a fuel gauge) and there’s a luggage rack. Basic but good, that's the Kawasaki KMX125 .

Specs

Engine size 124cc
Engine type 4v single, 6 gears
Frame type Tubular steel cradle
Fuel capacity 9 litres
Seat height 865mm
Bike weight 110kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Single 230mm disc
Rear brake 210mm disc
Front tyre size 2.75 x 21
Rear tyre size 4.10 x 18

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 55 mpg
Annual road tax £22
Annual service cost -
New price -
Used price -
Insurance group 5 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 12 bhp
Max torque 9 ft-lb
Top speed 71 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 18.4 secs
Tank range 110 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

1986: Kawasaki KMX125 introduced.
2003: Kawasaki KMX125 discontinued.

Other versions

None.

Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI KMX125 (1986 - 2002)

5 owners have reviewed their KAWASAKI KMX125 (1986 - 2002) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your KAWASAKI KMX125 (1986 - 2002)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Engine: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Reliability & build quality: 3.6 out of 5 (3.6/5)
Value vs rivals: 3.6 out of 5 (3.6/5)
Equipment: 2.8 out of 5 (2.8/5)
4 out of 5 Great reliable bike
11 July 2022 by Hubert

Version: German

Year: 1997

The suspension and brakes are significantly better than the klr 250 or the Suzuki dr 125 and it feels very similar to a dt 125 1997 but still a lot softer than a early mx bike/hard enduro bikes the engine is also fairly fast with 15hp as as it’s also quite light weight

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Brakes are decent suspension is also fairly good always stable not great for motocross tho and very good on enduro I prefer it over the harsh suspension of the yz on enduro

Engine 5 out of 5

Best feeling 2t for the road little to no vibration and fairly quick the bottom end also is fairly good better than the dt

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

The only problems I had with it was that the idle screw was blocked and it didn’t idle properly

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

The maintenance I’ve done where a top end every 10k and transmission oil change every 1k and air filter clean every 400km still parts are very cheap just it’s quite complicated to work on compared to the dt

Equipment 3 out of 5

Not much of equipment has a oil gauge but I have it disconnected because I removed the oil injection exact same equipment as the klr and the Kawasakis from this period

Buying experience: Bought it sight unseen

2 out of 5
20 June 2022 by KamikazeLau

Year: 1997

Sadly the WORST bike i ever had, a money pit (and im mechanic), was completly full of problems, electrics, brakes, engine, carburetion,etc The only good stuff Is the suspension, the handling Is poor on close spaces, awfull actually, the fuel consumption dosnt worth the performance it has, the oil leaks on the exhaust are pretty normal, the kips system another pain to play with, even if it has disk brakes in the front and on the rear the perfromance Is really poor

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

3 just of the suspension 0 for the brakes, my bike with drums do it better

Engine 1 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5
Value vs rivals 2 out of 5
Equipment 1 out of 5

Buying experience: I dont recomend this motorcycle to any person.

5 out of 5
17 January 2021 by carson maiden

Year: 2001

My favorite first bike,very capable and agile,lightweight,fantastic centre of gravity,I could stop at traffic lights and not have to put a foot down.wish I'd kept it

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Very comfortable on all surfaces

Engine 5 out of 5

Fantastic performance engine pulled well in all gears running it derestricted on synthetic oil both in gearbox and engine would sit all day at 90mph

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Very well built solid little bike. I used to strip it down and white greese all the aluminum and steel bolts and fasteners once a week,the exhaust pipe would easily corrode from downpipe so was repainted frequently.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Cost me a little bit more as I ran mine on fully synthetic 2 stroke oil but ran dry no oiling in pipe or the usual smoke

Equipment 4 out of 5

The luggage rack was a useful part

Buying experience: Bought my first one brand new,it was a grey import but got stolen after 2 weeks! Insurance replaced it with a UK spec

5 out of 5 kawasaki kmx 125r 2002
21 April 2012 by jakesouth07989

hi MCN readers. i have had my kmx 125 for 6 mounts. this bike is grate and i really enjoy riding it every day. not sure why MCN rates the handling as tired. its good on the potted roads of Britain and smooth off road to. it even has a preload adjustment setting on the monoshock for your custom wight. also im sure 2 stoke bikes done have valves. only a reed valve. not to pick but you don't get a fuel gauge on this bike i use the trip meter under the mile o meter every time i fill up around 60 miles and retest. this is a fast 125 and wont lag on acceleration. capable of motorway speeds or more if de restricted. i would spend over £1000. or it wont be in good condition. but i do recommend a HPI check as these are deadhead magnets. overall i recon this is a smashing motorcycle! i hope this was helpful.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
3 out of 5 First ever
06 July 2008 by staffsknot

This was my first bike and I look back on it with nostalgia, as a first 125 it takes some beating if you like a spot of green laning. It did have its little moments, but most of these could be sorted out in seconds. A really cheap, rugged and mostly reliable hack.

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
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