Ready to teach kids a thing or two about off-road riding are the 2010 Kawasaki entry-level off-road bikes, the KLX110 and the all-new KLX110L. Packed with bulletproof mechanics and frame, but still reliable and easy-to ride, the smallest Kawi trail bikes are upgraded for 2010 while their bigger siblings remain stuck in 2009.
Characterized by green team’s light handling and life-long reliability, the KLX110s can be never ending fun sources for both kids that are craving for experience and adults who simply need to shake the stress away a little bit.
7.3-hp carbureted single-cylinder engine
There can be no simpler recipe than the one applied when creating the 2010 KLX110 models. The 111cc four-stroke, SOHC, two-valve single-cylinder engine might seem pretty much the same as on the 2009 model year, but it now has revised valve timing, a new ignition system and lowered piston-ring tension, while being fed through a Mikuni PB18 carburetor rather than the Keihin one of the same type and breathing much easier out now through the new muffler.
Kawasaki claims the engine’s revision resulted into a 15 percent power increase, so they upgraded the gearbox from the three-speed unit with automatic clutch to a new four-speed transmission to cope with the extra power and the small bike comes with a centrifugal clutch to help kids learn their way on the trails and back with little effort and the large one has a manual clutch.
As the previous KLX110 generation, both 2010 bikes are equipped with the same high-tensile steel frame that is ready to withstand not only rough riding, but also severe falls. All you have to do is wear your protective gear so that you’ll be ok too, not just the bike.
But speaking about chassis bits and pieces, we must mention that the 2010 Kawasaki KLX110 comes with a 24.8-degree rake and 2.0-inch trail, 43 inches of travel both front (from the 30mm hydraulic telescopic fork) and rear (swingarm with single hydraulic shock), while the bike is pretty low overall (37.6 inches), offers decent ground clearance (8.5 inches) and also a low seat (28.6 inches from the ground).
2010 Kawasaki KLX110L
The all-new 2010 Kawasaki KLX110L is different by having a 24.2-degree rake and 1.9-inch trail, offering more wheel travel, 5.2 inches up front and 5.1 inches at the rear, while overall height (39 inches) and ground clearance (10.4 inches) are significantly bigger. Also in this case, the seat is positioned at 28.7 inches above the ground.
Both bikes weigh 168 lbs wet, have a 1.0 gallon fuel tank and stop thanks to mechanical drum brakes.
Because these KLXs are ridden by kids, they come with a series of safety features: the engine off switch is within easy reach on the left handlebar, where you’ll also find a screw-type throttle limiter. And by the way, they won’t start unless they’re in neutral.
The first Kawasaki KLX110 was produced in 2004 as part of the manufacturer’s plans to enlarge the off-road lineup and be a strong competitor for the other Japanese makers that have been producing such models much earlier. Its engine developed 6.3 horsepower and 6.9 Nm, so it was perfect for what the manufacturer intended to declare it capable of.
Under the motto “Don’t change it if it ain’t wrong”, the green little beastie hasn’t changed from its first introduction, except in matters of graphics.
Brand new for 2009 was the Monster Energy model. Stylistically different, but mechanically identical (this is the case of all Kawasaki dirt bikes and off-roaders), this new addition is the second biggest move towards enlarging the off-road line and giving potential customers second thoughts about a Honda or a Yamaha.
This brings us to the model’s opponents. One of the most potent of them is the Honda CRF100F, a machine which’s light body is moved by the fairly smaller (99cc) air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, which is fed through a 22mm piston valve carburetor that compensates for the displacement difference. Also, what makes the CRF net superior compared to the KLX is the five-speed tranny and manual clutch, but that kind of breaks the beginner bike pattern, doesn’t it?
Keeping on digging, you’ll get across the Yamaha TT-R110E and find this bike being, not only situated in the same class, but featuring very appropriate components. The engine is an 110cc air-cooled four-stroke, SOHC and the carburetor, a Mikuni VM16. Most important, the Yamaha makes a further move and adds a constant-mesh four-speed/wet, multiple disc transmission, which will push it further than the Kawi, as far as the throttle limiter allows it.
Suzuki stays out of this battle and there are no intentions of filling the fairly insignificant gap between the RM85 and the DR-Z125.
2010 Kawasaki KLX110L
Better or worst than the competition, the Kawasaki KLX110 was originally designed as an attractive piece of machinery that would never make you look bad either riding it on the track or along the campground.
Inspired by its motocross siblings, the KLXs feature aggressive bodyworks that stand further apart from the competition also thanks to the 2010 color scheme and graphics, not only thanks to the engine’s increased performance.
The special 2009 Monster Energy model, which was Ebony painted is now replaced by the all-new KLX110L, which gets the Lime Green fenders and graphics, while the side panels and the gas tank are all black. This is precisely the combination you’ll find on the standard-sized model.
"Twist the throttle and its upgraded engine delivers more oomph than before. The power boost came in the form of different valve timing, decreased piston ring tension, updated ignition timing and a less restrictive exhaust." - motorcycle-usa
"Never really getting outta second gear on the 0.2-mile track, the powerband is relatively shallow (compared to a street bike) but juicy enough to pull from tight corners and blast down the back straight faster than this rider needed to be going. Full throttle, fully fun!" - motorcycle
"For more advanced riders, the KLX110L ups the ante with a heavy-duty manual clutch that lets you ring every drop of power out of the high-revving engine. At 28.7 inches, the L-model’s seat is nearly 2 inches higher than the standard KLX, opening up the ergonomics for larger riders." - motorcyclistonline
"...overall, it definitely had a bit more grunt than a the previous 110, and it actually didn’t feel like it was horribly undersprung, even over some of the small doubles and tables on the Fox facility. Of course, Kawasaki recognizes that plenty of adults ride these as well, and took that into consideration, boosting the spring rates on both ends." - vitalmx
So if you’re willing to be in tone with the latest in entry-level trail riding, this won’t have a significant influence on the money that you spend. While the normal version costs $2,099, the large one comes with a price tag of $2,249.
In 2010, Kawasaki has taken the KLX110, an already competitive bike, and brought it up to date, setting new standards for the class. Not only that, the KLX110L is a new entry that should make it possible for Kawasaki to recruit more, mainly bigger kids in their green team.
All 2010 KLX 110 and 110Ls receive revised valve timing, a new freer-flowing muffler, a new ignition system and reduced piston ring tension for up to 15 percent more power and torque than an ‘09 KLX110
Pushbutton electric starting makes it easier than ever to get rolling, but a reshaped kickstarter that clears the rider’s leg better is included for back-up
The starter button and kill switch are located on the left handlebar for easy access
KACR (Kawasaki Automatic Compression Release) keeps one exhaust valve open for easy starting
KLX’s compact lay-down engine design is perfect for engine cooling and a low center of gravity
An ignition timing inspection hole was added for easier maintenance
A redesigned choke knob on the 18mm carburetor is easier to grab with gloves on
Four ratios are spaced to help exploit the engine’s increased power: While the overall top-gear ratio is nearly the same as last year’s KLX110, that extra gear is combined with a short final drive ratio to effectively tighten the gaps between each gear, while also widening the available range of operating speeds that extra gear is combined with a shorter final drive ratio to effectively tighten the gaps between each gear, while also widening the available range of operating speeds
A manual clutch makes it easier to squeeze maximum performance out of that powerful little engine
A redesigned shift drum cam groove and positioning spring, and a smoother cam surface result in improved shift feel and more positive gear engagement under all conditions
Safety Features and Parental Controls
The KLX110L will only start in neutral for added safety
The engine off switch is within easy reach on the left handlebar
A screw-type throttle limiter allows adult supervisors to control kids speed while learning
Expanded Performance Envelope
The bike’s 30mm telescopic fork with 5.1 inches of travel is tuned to deal with the 110L’s increased performance over a 2009 KLX110
Tapered roller bearings at the lower steering stem add durability
The 110L’s handlebar bend fits a wide variety of rider sizes
A longer rear shock controls the rear wheel through a swingarm with a lower pivot. Stiffer spring and damping rates control the rear wheel through 5.2 inches of more firmly controlled travel, with greater resistance to bottoming
Lowering the swingarm pivot point accommodates the longer shock and increased stroke
14-inch front and 12-inch rear knobby tires on strong, steel rims provide great off-road traction and durability, and keep the seat low
The rear brake rod is more rigid for better braking and feel
Big KX Style, Built to Last
The high-tensile KLX steel backbone frame is strong, lightweight and built to take years of abuse
Four strategically placed heat shields provide protection from the exhaust pipe
A 28.7-inch seat height accommodates a broad range of riders
KX450F-style fuel tank, seat, shrouds, side panels and fenders look fast even sitting still
KX-style half-waffle grips provide better control
A convenient side stand makes life easier
A USFS-approved spark arrester comes as standard equipment
The KLX110L meets California Green Sticker requirements, for year-round riding fun