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.
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. Open the throttle and the revs soar freely to 12,000rpm - the KR-1S feels raw, zingy and quick.
The KR-1S was never known for its reliability, as it was a model plagued with issues when new. Although time, recalls and upgrades will have sorted those teething problems., a 26-year-old, lightweight two-stroke sportsbike is never going to be the most robust - so you'll have to enjoy maintenance as much as you enjoy riding.
The KIPS valve linkages on the cylinder head are notoriously fragile and prone to breaking, likewise the valves themselves are prone to coking up.
Away from the engine look out for fragile bodywork - the sides of the fairings around the mounting bracket are especially prone to damage from the rider's legs.
Kawasaki’s KR-1S 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.
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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.