New rider tips, guides, and reviews on great starter bikes.

Kawasaki KLX250S Review

The Kawasaki KLX250S is a dual sport that does everything well, and if you decide to add a couple modifications it does everything exceptionally well! If you want more of the street look, you can check out the KLX250SF or do your own mods to turn this great bike into a supermoto.

The Engine

The KLX S and SF version are both powered by 249cc 4-Stroke, Liquid-Cooled motor with a 6-speed transmission. This engine is perfect for a beginner straight from the factory, this is mainly because the E.P.A. has enforced restrictions that limit it's potential.

The good thing about the restrictions is the bike is pretty forgiving, also you will be able to get 70+ miles per gallon out of this little monster. That's definitely nothing to sneeze at!

The Thin Line

Some dual sports lean more towards the street side of their heritage rather than the dirt side, this motorcycle seems to be a welcome exception and treads the line between the two worlds really well. You can ride a few hours of twisties with ease until you get to the trails where this bike tears into the mud, sand, and dirt as well as any knobby tired dirt bike.


It handles great in the street, but if you really want to have some fun you can pick up the KLX250SF version which comes with street tires and slight modifactions to make it handle much better on the street. It makes it perfect for cruising around town, riding up fire trails, or making your way down back alleys. 

Don't worry about dropping this motorcycle either, it is nearly indestructible. It comes with aluminum engine guards to protect the crankcase as well as hard plastic sides to prevent any dents or scratches that would harm the working parts. In fact if you drop it in your truck I would be more worried about the truck bed than the motorcycle!


YSH070BG1430003L_0.jpgAs I said before this motorcycle is great right out of the factory doors, especially if you are a new motorcycle rider. If after a few months you want to try and wring some more power out of this little workhorse you will be pleasantly surprised at how drastically you can change the performance with just a few mods.

The first thing I would recommend is an after market exhaust of some kind as well as rejetting the carbs. Emission standards make the bike run lean from the factory, so once you have more fuel going to the engine you will notice a noticeable increase in power. People seem to have really good experiences when attaching an after market Muzzy Exhaust system to this bike, it not only increases power but the sound it provides will bring a smile to your face.


I really can't say enough good things about this motorcycle, the very first bike I rode on was very similar to this motorcycle and it was a blast to ride. This bike is perfect for a new rider that is afraid of dropping their bike, or someone that wants to start small but still have a motorcycle that they can tinker with and increase the power as their skill improves. With the added 6th gear you can take this motorcycle for short stints on the freeway without a lot of problems, although it is more in it's element on surface streets or the dirt.


  • Runs lean from the factor which is great for a beginner.
  • This motorcycle is a tank! No need to worry about dropping it.


  • Kind of a small gas tank, but the fuel efficiency makes up for that.
  • You will have to spend more money on parts if you want to increase performance.


  • PRICE: $4,699.00 MSRP
  • ENGINE: 4-stroke, Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valve, Single-cylinder
  • DISPLACEMENT: 249 cc
  • BORE X STROKE: 72.0 x 61.2 mm
  • IGNITION: Digital CDI
  • TRANSMISSION: 6-speed
  • WHEELBASE: 56.5 in.
  • SEAT HEIGHT: 34.8 in.
  • GROUND CLEARANCE: 11.6 in.
  • DRY WEIGHT: 262 lbs.
  • FUEL CAPACITY: 1.9 gal.
  • FRONT SUSPENSION: 43 mm Inverted cartridge fork with 16-Way compression damping adjustment; 11.2 in. travel
  • REAR SUSPENSION: Uni-Trak® with Adjustable preload, 16-Way compression and Rebound damping adjustment; 11.0 in. travel
  • BRAKES: Disc


Anonymous's picture

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

Hey there! I just wanted to say that I've found your site VERY useful as an aspiring rider, with lots of great reviews and information in a very easy to read format. My only suggestion is that you add forums! It'd be great to have a nice little place to talk about beginner motorcycles.

Personally, I was curious about the Suzuki DRZ-400SM as a beginner bike. I am really in love with the aesthetic of Supermotard-style bikes, but I can't really find anything on the internet about how they'd be as a first bike. I'd really like a Husqvarna SM610, but that seems to be widely referred to as a racebike for the streets and I certainly don't want to get in over my head, it's rated at 52hp and 314lbs. The Suzuki DRZ-400SM is 33hp and 318lbs, so that seems to put it in line with other beginner bikes, though I'm unsure as to whether the whole Supermotard style of the bike would preclude it from consideration as a beginner bike.

Anyway, keep up the good work, and thanks in advance if you get around to the DRZ400-SM!

Ben's picture

Submitted by Ben on

Thanks :) Haha, forums are IN THE WORKS as we speak. I also plan on adding a few other features to the site, but forums will be the big one this month. Just keep checking back and tell as many people as you can about the site!

Oh yeah, the DRZ400 is the next bike on the list to review :)


Ben - Editor and Owner of BBM

julienome's picture

Submitted by julienome on

Yeah, I agree with the user here. Your site is really useful for people who are looking for motorcycle and the tips of course in choosing the best quality. I read somewhere from online journals about Kawasaki Z1000. Can you make some detailed information? I am looking forward to it. Hope you will write about that. Thanks and more power. =)

Anonymous's picture

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I just went from a KLX250 to a DRZ-400. The KLX is great if you want to take a few shortcuts or you want a single bike to true dual sport. If you're willing to stay out of the dirt the DRZ-400 is the way to go! It came play almost as tame as the KLX, but is usable for a more than a few miles on the freeway, where the KLX is just no fun, not even safe if you can't keep up with the cars. For a commuter I love them both!
Neil B.'s picture

Submitted by Neil B. (not verified) on

It's good to hear the DRZ-400SM review is coming... with the very few sub-600cc bikes out there, it's one I've been especially curious about. Great site by the way... Keep it up!

Ben's picture

Submitted by Ben on

Thank you very much Neil :)


Ben - Editor and Owner of BBM

Kyle's picture

Submitted by Kyle (not verified) on

Can anyone comment on the bigger brother the KLR-650 as a beginner bike? The Complete Idiot's Guide to Motorcycles says it is a good beginner bike but I can't find anyone elses comments anywhere. It is a large bike but supposedly has gearing and throttle response that are good for a beginner.

Ben's picture

Submitted by Ben on

I haven't reseached it personally, but I have seen other people recommend it as a decent beginner motorcycle. In my opinion it wouldn't be as bad as a 600cc supersport, but dual sports do have a lot of torque available, more so than the SV650 I believe. That might make the bike less beginner friendly, but then again if you drop it since it IS a dual sport, it should be relatively unharmed. I'll try and research this more and see what I can find out.



Ben - Editor and Owner of BBM

SpeedisaVirus's picture

I would say it would be a good beginner bike but only if the rider was a taller person. There is a lot to be said for being able to firmly place your feet on the ground when you still aren't comfortable on two wheels. Otherwise, it would make for a great beginner bike in my opinion.

deff_lepp's picture

Submitted by deff_lepp on

You can ride a few hours of twisties with ease until you get to the trails where this bike tears into the mud, sand, and dirt as well as any dirt only motorcycle.

Anonymous's picture

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

Awesome in the SingleTrack! Feels even lighter than it is. Good on the road.. Don't take it over 60mph, or in the wind.

It's also a little underpowered, but for a small dual-sport from the factory, it's overall EXCELLENT.

joe lacroix's picture

Submitted by joe lacroix (not verified) on

I am a first time rider set to buy a dual sport by around March of 08. So far I have found your web site to be the most informative. I especially love the info on the Suzuki Dr200se and the KLX250S as they are 2 of the bikes I'm looking at. I am hoping that you might review bikes like the 07 Super Sherpa 07 Yamaha xt225 & it's new replacement the Yamaha xt250. I am looking to do a lot of riding straight through the bush (over logs, stumps & large rocks as well as through mud and water and up anything it will climb) so speed is not my top priority. I do however want a bike that is still useable as a second vehicle (commuting as well as 1 or 2 road trips per year). I am 5'10'' and like thees bikes because they are light and I can get my feet down. I've sat on a Sherpa & it's near 33 inch seat height is perfect. Any how, let me know if any of those reviews are coming & (or) let my know which bike you think is the closest to a ATV on 2 Wheels. Thanks a million. Keep up your awsome sight!

Ben's picture

Submitted by Ben on

I haven't heard of the super sherpa but I will be sure to check it out. I will make an effort to review some more dual sports (specifically the sherpa and at least one yamaha) this month. Thanks for the compliments on the site, helping people pick out the best moto for them is my goal, and it looks like I am succeeding even if it is slow going sometimes :)



Ben - Editor and Owner of BBM

Eric Fielding's picture

Submitted by Eric Fielding (not verified) on
The Kawasaki KILX 250s is a sleeper bike. I have a 2006. Under powered? Put a pipe, Twin Air filter, rejet the carb, This bike is the same as the KLX 300. I am currently puting a 300 cyilinder on it with a 11.5-1 piston. This will give this bike more power across the board that we all want, with no reliability problems. Alas it is sad that Kawasaki can't leave the best duel sport bike ever built for us mortals alone. It can be made to run much better with not too much money. The 2008 and newer have less suspention travel and I suspect not the good fork the KLX300 has which the 250 s is the same those two years. So if you have these year modles then hang on to them because the new ones cannot be modified to run better. Mine runs very good and the suspension works as good as any 250f I have riden with. It is alot cheaper also. If your interested in what I have done then E-mail me and I will be happy to share anything I have done to it.
Eric Fielding's picture

Submitted by Eric Fielding (not verified) on
I also own a 2006 KLR 650, and I love this bike for what it is. It isn't a dirt bike, but it is outstanding on dirt and gravel roads. One needs to change the stock tyres if they are going to ride on dirt roads. If the stock tyres touch mud they will be all over the place. If one runs on the pavement only, the stock tyres are fine. For serious adventure riding on mountain dirt roads, change your tyres to IRC's "trials tyres". These are not the trials tyres you see on the trials bikes. They have a soft rubber and will last around 2000 miles or so. As to being a beginner bike, I guess it could be on for the street; but it does have alot of power for a beginner bike. It is too soft in the fork and must have the springs changed to stiffen them up. This makes it handle alot better. I realy like this bike as it has a 6 gallen tank and gets 50 mpg running it hard. When I slow down and cruise, I have got as much as 60 mpg. For you adventure guys who run on mountain dirt roads in the middle of nowhere; use a Michilin desert tyre. I got a nail in my new tyre and road home 36 miles on a complete flat at speeds of 50mph. It is made to get one home from in the middle of the desert and will work. Imagine trying to fix a flat on a 400 lb bike alone. Put aluminum hand guards on the250 with plastic covers. They not only protect your hands from cold wind and things. but they tie in the handlbars and will keep them from bending in a crash as well as protect your levers from breaking. I use them on my KLR 650 also. Enjoy your new bike which ever you buy. ERK
SuperMotoRider's picture

Submitted by SuperMotoRider on
The 2009 KLX250S looks awesome! I want one! The designs for the headlight and taillights are pretty badass!!!
Zenvolution's picture

Submitted by Zenvolution on

Sounds like the drz400 would be better on the highway and longer I right in assuming this?

Scott's picture

Submitted by Scott (not verified) on

I really like the 250S from what I have seen. However, two things deter me. 1. Small gas tank. 2. No luggage rack available that I know of. Can anyone else comment on this. Thanks

Anonymous's picture

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

i have riden 2000 miles on my 2009 KLX. Great fun. 70-75 MPG, 110 miles switch to reserve. I keep a couple of 5 gallon gas cans in my garage, this makes it simple to refill anytime i want. i ride 150 miles each week to work, the seat is some what firm but thats it for cons. Get a rucksack to carry stuff, i do, and i strap on fairly large cooler on the back works fine looks strange but i don't care having too much fun GET ONE

Anonymous's picture

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

I've been searching high and low for a rack for my new kls since I got it about a month ago . Truth is , the bikes are so new none of the accessory manufacturers have had a chance to develop one yet. So is the story from the dealer any way. Give it a few months and they should be coming out with a few. I did see a luggage bag on twisted throttle that might work. I also saw some pics of some riders who made some makeshift racks out of pvc pipe! I might try that for now.

Tim's picture

Submitted by Tim on offers a rack for the Kawasaki KLX250S for $149.00. I have not seen it other than on-line and cannot offer input or critique.

Anonymous's picture

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

I'm very tempted by a KLX250S as my first bike. However, the stock knobbies don't look great for cornering on the street. How do they work? Would a dealer swap them out for a more road-specific tire if I bought the bike new? Thanks.

BouncingRadical's picture

Submitted by BouncingRadical on

The KLX 250 SF is a real street friendly model of the klx250 its a little more expensive but it looks sweet with tis solid black body. -It has smaller wheels and more smooth tires with more street friendly contact patches, it looks like they would lick the road heh. -f you want a more street friendly duel sport the KLX250SF motard is a good bet.

Anonymous's picture

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

I've looked at both the klx250s and the Yamaha XT250. I'm not real tall, about 5-8, and have some concerns about the seat height of the klx. I think I'd prefer that bike to the XT but the XT fits me better. Does anyone know if the klx can be adjusted to bring the seat height down? Maybe adjusting the back spring and front shocks? Thanks.

A's picture

Submitted by A on

Standing still on a dual sport bike can be difficult for the vertically challenged.

One would need to get in the habit of sliding off the seat to one side of the moto and sit on the seat iwth thigh before coming to a stop. Usually the dual sport motos are lighter in weight, there is no need to stand over the bike try to tip-toe while sitting on the seat of the moto, put one solid footing when you come to a stop would be better than tip-toe IMO.


adam2009's picture

Submitted by adam2009 on

I really love motorcyles, but still do not have one.. I am not a good driver acctually this is why I think I need smth cheap... puty I don't think Kawasaki KLX250S will be good for me.. any suggestion of smth slower and not so very much 'angry'?:)

IBA270's picture

Submitted by IBA270 on

If you're not a driver, you should probably find something else to make you happy. Poor drivers=equal hurt motorcyclist, regardless of which side of that you fall on.

Allen Dye
MSF Rider Coach
Track Day Instructor
Ironbutt Rally Finisher '03-'05

mauriciogordon847's picture

Submitted by mauriciogordon847 (not verified) on

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Submitted by Shiv Ji (not verified) on

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