The Indian market is yet to accept the culture of motocross motorcycles, which coincidently happens to be one of the most practical motorcycle segments for the Indian market, given the varying conditions of tarmac in the Indian sub-continent region. Though, the Indian motorcycling culture has always been more of naked commuters and faired motorcycles, this particular segment of motorcycles is yet to catch up its pace here in India.
It all started when Hero MotoCorp decided to kickstart this segment properly with its first indigenously developed motorcycle post its split from Honda, the Impulse. However, no matter how brilliant the Impulse is, the fact that its underpowered engine doesn’t complement its brilliant chassis has curbed its popularity.
Now, Kawasaki tries to grab the growth-maker of this segment by venturing into this segment with the KLX 110. Now, the KLX 110 might not be a street-legal motorcycle as the Impulse or any other motorcycle in its segment, but Kawasaki has launched it in the Indian market to make it as a good learner’s motorcycle for all the budding off-road enthusiasts, with its very promising chassis and power-to-weight ratio. Here’s our quick review of the Kawasaki KLX 110, which also happens to be the most affordable motorcycle from Kawasaki in India.
The Kawasaki KLX 110 looks just like every other dirt motorcycle which is built for the conditions where roads doesn’t exist – minimal bodywork happens to be the beginning mantra here. The motorcycle doesn’t qualify to be ridden legally on the streets, which is why Kawasaki has tried its best to make it as hardcore as possible, even when its minimal engineering and small powertrain is taken into consideration.
At the front, the KLX 110 misses out on a proper headlamp and turning indicators, which are replaced here by a flat-appearing hexagonal shaped plastic panel, which gives some kind of person to its front stance. Like every other dirt bike, the KLX 110 does get a high mounted beefy looking front fender.
From the sides, the KLX 110 does carry a sense of outrageousness and go-anywhere ability with its slim fuel tank and side profile. The slim fuel tank does get sizeable fuel extensions to give some mass to the motorcycle, whereas the slim profile of the motorcycle is accentuated by the thin-looking plastic side panels, which do get a high mounted single piece seat. Like the front, the KLX 110 misses out on proper lights at the rear as well, with the rear of the motorcycle ending up in a raw and pointy looking panel behind the seat.
The spoke wheels are small in size, but due to the presence of off-road tyres, it looks as badass as any other big capacity dirt motorcycle. The side mounted exhaust is placed at a height near the seat, and gets a large white colored cover for prevention against dirt and pebble splashes. The single piece handlebar is mounted highly so as to make the riding ergonomics as focused as possible. The motorcycle gets only one sided switchgear on the left hand side, which incorporates engine kill switch, starter switch and horn switch. The KLX 110 misses out on a proper instrument console and rear view mirrors as well, another aspects which explains it’s very focused nature. The foot pedals are made up of aluminium, whereas the motorcycle gets a kick starter as well – the only Kawasaki motorcycle in India to get this feature!
Overall, the KLX 110 looks like it is built and designed for only purpose – to take on whatever condition of the tarmac it is going to conquer, with ease, thus keeping the real world comfort creatures at the backseat.
The Kawasaki KLX 110 sources its power from a small but potent four stroke, air cooled, carbureted, 112cc engine, which is smallest in the entire Kawasaki portfolio for the Indian market. The figures which this engine churns out are 7.3 PS of maximum power and 8.0 Nm of maximum torque.
Though all these numbers make it look like just another commuter oriented engine tailor-made for Indian conditions, here’s a catch – the KLX 110 weighs just 70 kgs, thus giving it an incredible power-to-weight ratio – making this motorcycle a fun to ride machine. This engine is mated to a slick 4-speed gearbox, with short ratios to make the optimum use of power from the engine at higher rpms, thus giving the motorcycle to come out of whatever the condition it gets stuck in, with just one wring of the throttle.
The KLX 110 is not your ‘just another commuter’ made for your daily riding conditions or office commutes. The overall ergonomics of the motorcycle may take some time to get used to, as the motorcycle is smaller in size in comparison to what all motorcycle we are familiar with. The motorcycle sits on a steel backbone frame, and gets a set of 30mm telescopic hydraulic forks at the front and a single monoshock at the rear, which do get longer suspension travel to crawl on all kinds of riding tarmac.
The KLX 110 rides on small 14-inch wheel at the front and a 12-inch wheel at the rear, both of which are spoked and small, but they are wrapped with proper off-road tyres. This setup gives the KLX 110 the ability to ride on all kinds of rough roads and muddy terrains, however, the ride quality of the motorcycle on proper streets is questionable. That doesn’t matter anyhow though, as the KLX 110 is not meant to be ridden legally on the streets. To bring the motorcycle to a halt, the KLX 110 does get a 90mm drum brake at the front and a 110mm drum brake at the rear. Though these brakes are good enough given the puny size of the motorcycle, we would have liked to see a disc brake setup at least at the front. Also, the lack of ABS makes this motorcycle lose out on some points of technical advancement.
The Kawasaki KLX 110 can be booked and bought from any one of all the authorized Kawasaki showrooms in India, however, it is strictly not meant and licensed to be ridden on the streets, but on a secluded off-road zone or track. The motorcycle is brought to India via the CBU route, which explains its higher-than-expected price tag of Rs. 2.65 lakh. The KLX 110 is available in only one variant, which comes painted in dual tone livery of green and white.
The KLX 110 is the only entry level proper dirt bike which can be bought and ridden in off-road conditions of India, at its price tag. However, as we mentioned in the beginning of this story, there is one more motorcycle which somewhat tries to match its off-road credentials, while at the same time, can be used for your daily office commutes as well – the Hero Impulse. In terms of looks and equipment, the Hero Impulse is more value for money, given the fact that it gets a lot more equipment and features at just one-third of its price.
In terms of performance too, both the motorcycles are quite close to each other. The four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 149.2cc engine of the Impulse is obviously the more powerful and bigger out of the two in comparison. However, the fact that the KLX 110 weighs a lot lesser than the Impulse, thus translating into a higher power-to-weight ratio of the former. In terms of ride and handling, the Impulse can take of both the on and off-road conditions with ease, however, the KLX 110 is tailor made for off-road conditions, which makes it a more opt-worthy choice out of the two, when you strictly want a motorcycle only for off-road riding for your weekend getaways.
The Kawasaki KLX 110 may not be the ‘every other motorcycle; kind of machine which you can use for your all kinds of usage. But then, it manages to succeed in the sole purpose for which it is made – to conquer all kinds of off-road conditions. The motorcycle with its bare-bones appeal and incredible power to weight ratio, complemented with its diminutive size, is a perfect tool for all the beginners who want to hone their off-road riding skills. This particular motorcycle may not be the poster-boy of many riding enthusiasts, as it is purely made for one single purpose and doesn’t get bonkers of electronics and a powerful engine as well. But then, there is no other motorcycle in the Indian market right now, which can give you the ease of understanding the off-road riding skills with which the KLX 110 makes you learn.