Since we first introduced our KLX250S project bike last October, we’ve tinkered here and there with it. March marks out first major update to the bike which sees us install a new bar, bar risers, sprocket, chain, new hand guards, grips and skid plate. It adds up to quite a lot and all of it was done with one goal in mind – making the KLX250S more capable off-road.
Let’s start at the rear. We replaced the OEM chain (which hadn’t been looked after by the previous owner) with a nice RK chain. We’re going with a clip type master link which while isn’t as reliable, will serve a purpose – more on that later. More importantly, we replaced the OEM 42 tooth sprocket with a 48 tooth one from States MX. This is a hybrid steel/alloy sprocket – steel on the teeth and allow elsewhere to create a great combination of longevity as well as weight reduction. It also comes in pretty Kawasaki green.
Now, going for a 48 tooth sprocket when the stock one is 42 is a big jump and it most certainly comes with compromises. The biggest downside is obviously when on the highway – our KLX250S now gets close to redline while in sixth gear when doing 110 kph. That’s neither comfortable or economic – but there is method to our madness.
Having the bigger sprocket now means we can crawl along in either first or second gear off-road without having to play with the clutch lever. It’s been a godsend on the more technical terrain, although if we’re honest, first gear is probably somewhat useless now – it doesn’t allow enough speed with our new setup. However, it does help with engine braking while going down steep declines.
Ultimately, we may go down maybe to 47 or 46 in the future when off-road, or we might wait to see how the dynamics of the bike changes when we eventually increase the bike’s capacity to 350cc. Either way, we do need to factor in how the bike performs on the open road, which we’ll get to later.
Up front, we’ve changed just about everything to do with the controls. The biggest change is our new bars – a set of fat bars from Kwala which helps a lot with off-road riding while standing up. The new Kwala bars, aslong with the risers from Spex, mean total handlebar height is now around an inch higher. Both items seem to be top quality and ooze strength.
We know rising the bars so much isn’t ideal for sharp and quick handling, but even with this new setup, I’m still having to bend my knees to comfortably hold onto the bars while standing on the pegs. Being 6’3″ does that. The Kwala bars seem extremely strong and from all reports, the OEM bars they’re replacing bent on first impact.
We’ve also put on some Kwala grips which are quite a bit more comfortable than the stock ones. We’ve also replaced the Barkbusters with a set of plastic guards from Polisport. No doubt the Barkbusters provided better crash protection, but they were bulky and quite frankly, rather ugly with their multiple attachments to actually connect to the bars. We save a bit of weight with the Polisport guards and they’ll provide protection for all but the worst impacts.
Speaking of impacts, we’ve now also greatly improved the crash protection to our engine. Our new skid plate actually provides protection to some of the most expensive bits of our bike. Why things like this don’t come standard on dual sports we’ll probably never know.
So, why have we decided to sacrifice the KLX250S’ performance on the road? That’s because on our next update, we’ll be showing off our supermoto setup for the bike. What we’re hoping to achieve is a roll off, roll on setup where we can quickly change the bike from an enduro machine to a daily street machine in a matter of minutes. With this we hope to show how you can have a one size fits all motorcycle with just a little bit of effort.
That means a separate set of wheels with their own properly sized sprocket for the street, and thus with a clip type master link, removing the off-road chain and putting on the supermoto chain will be quick and easy. That at least is the plan…