Kawasaki successfully tries to make the KLX140 and KLX140L feel, look and perform like full-sized off-road bikes that should never miss a chance to make a great impression out on the terrain which they were built to conquer. And because they’re still destined to kids and teenagers, they stand as smooth translations between mini bikes and the real thing.
Kawasaki’s tricks involve building these machines as close in size to their KLX450R sibling, but keep the displacement at 144cc so that a ride would be an absolute thrill due to the fact that they can go wherever big off-roaders go, without the scaring effect that those motorcycles would normally have on somebody that has just began riding. That is why you’ll be seeing 17” front and 14” rear on the normal model, respectively 19”front and 16” rear on the “L”.
The electrically-started 144cc four-stroke, SOHC, two-valve single-cylinder engine is built for efficient throttle response with no jerks. When turning off the machine, an orange LED remains lit, reminding you that the electric power is on and your battery is going down.
Power is expected to be perfectly workable with all through the rev range, especially due to the five-speed gearbox. A rare thing on off-road bikes, this unit is suppose to set the KLX140 further apart from small bikes and offer a complete idea about full-sized trail machines. Of course, that would have never been possible without the manual clutch. This features a spring damper providing a progressive, two-stage engagement and makes possible half-clutch use for low-speed riding.
With a high-tensile steel perimeter frame and bulletproof suspensions, this bike would be without blemish. And while the frame is indeed there, the suspensions require a bit of more profound studying. The 33mm front fork features spring rate and damping settings and at the rear, the UNI-TRAK linkage equipped rear shock is 5-way preload adjustable. Most important, it receives the more advanced shock from the KLX140L so it would keep excitement at a high rate even when the kid added a few more years on its identity card.
As there are still new on the market, these two Kawasaki models would have to deal with Honda’s 2008 CRF150F, a more popular machine, almost synonymous with the beginner’s off-road riding solution. And by checking out its features, you don’t even wonder why. Power comes from a 140cc air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke, SOHC, two-valved engine which, like in the case of green manufacturer’s bikes, is appended at a five-speed transmission, also with a manual clutch.
Comparable with the KLX140 in every point of view, the CRF150F features 35mm leading-axle Showa fork with 9.1-inch travel and Pro-Link Showa single-shock with 8.9-inches travel.
The red trail bike’s engine is also electrically-started as it addresses to teen-size riders that are willing to ride it for recreational purposes, not necessarily closed-course competitions. MSRP is $3,149.
In order to sell the things as intended, Kawasaki not only packed them with life-long engines and chassis, but also made sure that they’ll look much alike the KX motocross models and there was nothing simpler than that.
The bodywork is sleek and aggressive, but details such as the cross shrouds and the two-tone seat cover make all the difference. Stunning, but the KLX140 doesn’t feature a headlight as you would expect to see on an off-road bike. It does offer the Lime green coloring and racing graphics instead.
Fitted with RK EXCEL aluminum rims with petal shaped rotors, both models stand out on the trails as being Kawasaki’s latest in matter of dirt spreaders.
And the best thing is that they have company. In a good way, that is. In 2009, the Monster Energy versions came up with their brand new Ebony coloring and a little bit peppered prices.
While a normal version of the KLX140 is priced at $2,799 and the KLX140L at $3,099, their Monster Energy alternatives go a little bit higher. So you will find that the first will require $2,999 in order to enter in its possession, and the second, $3299.
Offering such variety from a single starting point, Kawasaki intends offering an alternative for all small riders out there. Either you wish a small, cheap bike to “make your hand on” or a larger, more financially demanding and specially painted model, the green team is there to provide it.
Considering the fact that they all feature the same engine and frame, you can now see how thin the line that defines the different motorcycle categories is.
Engine and Transmission
Engine: Four-stroke, SOHC, two-valve single
Bore x stroke: 58.0 x 54.4mm
Carburetion: Keihin PB20
Compression ratio: 9.5:1
Transmission: Five-speed with wet multi-disc manual clutch
Final drive: Chain
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame: High-Tensile steel, box-section perimeter
Rake / trail: 27 degrees / 3.3 in. (3.8 in. on the "L")
Front suspension / wheel travel: 33mm telescopic fork / 7.1 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel: UNI-TRAK® linkage system and single shock with 5-way preload adjustability / 7.1 in. (with piggyback reservoir, fully adjustable preload and 22-way rebound damping / 7.1 in. on the "L")
Front tire: 70/100-17 (19 on the "L")
Rear tire: 90/100-14 (16 on the "L")
Front brake: Single 220mm petal disc with a dual-piston caliper
Rear brake: Single 186mm petal disc with single-piston caliper
Overall length: 71.7 in. (74.6 in. on the "L")
Overall width: 31.1 in.
Overall height: 41.3 in. (42.3 in. on the "L")
Wheelbase: 49.6 in. (50.6 in. on the "L")
Ground clearance: 9.3 in. (10.0 in. on the "L")
Seat height: 30.7 in. (31.5 in. on the "L")
Curb weight: 205.0 lbs. (209.4 lbs. on the "L")
Fuel capacity: 1.5 gal.