To make the test as meaningful as possible riders with a wide range
of experience and ability were asked to participate and offer their
opinions. As you read through their comments, keep in mind how the
skill level, riding style and physique of each rider relates to
your own. This article will be updated as additional riders are
asked to participate and lend their opinions.
59" / 170 lbs/ aggressive, experienced off road rider
ride: Stroker modified 1997 KLX300.
regularly ride with Jeff so he's seen and ridden my KDX at different
stages of modification and is easily able to make "then"
and "now" comparisons.
package is a major improvement over stock. The bike is light feeling
and very flickable with light, effortless handling.
bike produces power everywhere and is crisp and clean over the entire
rpm range. I've heard the KDX called a bottom end bike. I'd say
its more of a mid to top end bike than its given credit for. The
modified carb is a drastic improvement over the stock set up.
suspension is plush and compliant. Its more plush than my
KLX and a stock TTR250 yet its very resistant to bottoming.
The tall/stiff seat foam improves your ability to move around and
makes it roomier, even for a vertically challenged guy.
KDX is way more fun to ride, way better feeling and way better looking
than it was in stock form and thats saying a lot. If I was
looking for a bike Id have this one.
only complains I'd have is it feels a little light in the front
and the seat to tank junction is a little wide when compared to
my KLX. The FMF rev pipe sticks out too much on the side compared
to the FMF torque pipe.
59" / 185lbs/ professional MX, AA HS
ride: 1998 KX250
KDX really moves. Its got the best/ crispest throttle response
of any KDX Ive ever ridden. The suspension is a little lightly
sprung for my weight and riding style but is a vast improvement
over the stock suspension. Very plush and off-road appropriate.
a difference a pipe makes on a KDX. The FMF pipe is a must have.
really like the rear fender and graphics. Its gives it a really
5'10" 190lbs.Rode an off-road bike as a kid and picked it up
again last year.
He's since introduced his son to off-road riding.
Normal Ride: 2000 TTR250
first thing I noticed about the bike was its slim feel, it felt
very light and easy to handle. The second thing was the power!
It really lights up with the few mods that have been done.
There's plenty of power yet its very manageable even for a novice
like myself. The power wasn't over whelming but lots of fun!
suspension felt as plush as mine and I liked the way it handles
in the corners, though I felt it took a little more technique
coming out of a corner than my 4 stroke. I slid around
on the seat too easily compared to my TTR which made it harder for
me to maneuver over things like roots and logs.
are a ton of aftermarket parts available for the KDX and they're
reasonably priced too. I wish I could find parts as easily.
MX style rear fender and graphics really personalize the bike.
/ 180lbs/ an experienced off road rider back from a 4 year break.
ride: 2000 KDX220.
is this bike fast! Honestly it was hard to believe it started off
as the same machine I'm riding. It handles better, feels better
and down right rips. The thing that amazed me the most is despite
the extra boost it still felt very familiar and easy to ride, just
like my bike. The difference in power delivery took a couple laps
to get used to then I was hooked. This bike is addictively fun and
easy to ride! Though there is plenty of power on hand it never
felt spooky in the trees like many of the MX bikes I've ridden and
rear wheel spin was still very controllable. Ill be
putting an FMF rev pipe on my wish list!
know there was a time I didn't really mind the stock suspension
and couldn't image a need to have your suspension custom tuned.
Was I wrong! The handling is predictable, controllable and down
right confidence inspiring. I can ride the bike faster and feel
I'm in much better control than on my stock bike. I think that's
what I liked the most.
though the foot pegs looked cool right off but didn't expect them
to make a whole lot of difference. I was wrong. You feel more firmly
planted on the bike, more a part of the bike rather than just a
rider. They are a firm foundation and feel great.
FRP hand guards and bush deflectors are the best I've seen. I'm
ordering a set for my bike. In fact I found all the FRP products
to be of excellent quality. The FRP pipe guard gave me a lot of
confidence when riding someone elses bike. The fear of dinging
the pipe never crossed my mind . . . . well ok it did but
it was unfounded. The FRP chain guide looks very substantial. Ill
be installing one once my stock chain guide needs to be replaced.
Its easy to see the FRP products were designed by a long time
KDX owner/racer. They make sense. I really like the look of the
Maier rear fender.
6' 1" 168lbs. 20+ years of riding experience. Aggressive
off-road rider. B-Hair Scramble.
Ride 1998 KDX220
power is still smooth and predictable enough that you can find traction
in the nastiest conditions but has a blast of acceleration at your
fingertips when you need it. The RB Design modified carb makes the
low to mid rpm power delivery even more versatile. The off
idle throttle response is smooth and crisp and easily allows you
to run a gear higher than you would normally. One of the biggest
benefits is your ability to tackle really ugly conditions by lugging
the engine and keeping wheel spin to a minimum then when you need
some thrust to get you going again its right there. The carb divider
offers a much more noticeable improvement than an aftermarket reed
valve at lower rpms.
said it before and I'll say it again. . . The FMF rev pipe is a
must have. It transforms how the engine delivers power and
honestly makes the KDX feel like another bike. Don't make
another performance mod until you've tried a pipe first. The
FMF rev pipe combined with the RB Designs modified carb is my favorate
combination of performance mods on either the 220 or 200.
MX-Tech suspension sets its self apart from the previous system
I used. The handling is predictable and plush enough
to soak up small stuff yet does good job of handling big hits and
light MX action. I use my KDX as a do it all machine and the
MX-Tech team understood what I was looking for. They were
able to deliver a package that's confidence inspiring whether I'm
winding my way through tight wooded conditions, opening it up through
a nasty whooped section or heading out for some light MX riding.
Stiffening the suspension actually made the bike feel lighter.
The suspension no longer blows through its travel when attacking
sand whoops or trail riding at mid plus speeds.
Fredette has been riding and winning on KDXs for a long time so
there's no surprise that FRP produces fit well and make sense.
The FRP Hand Savers and bush guards are the nicest I've seen.
The FRP chain guide is substantial and is a must have especially
in the rocks which can easily persuade the stock guide. I
was pumped when Jeff told me he carried an aluminum kick starter. Not only is it shorter than the stock lever, which allows
you to get a good jab at the starter in really tight conditions,
but its much lighter too.
FRP pipe guard does a good job of protecting the expansion chamber.
I ploughed into a cut-off stump and cringed expecting to see a mangled
guard and pipe. The pipe's mounting hardware was tweaked and
needed to be pulled back into place but the pipe was completely
undamaged. The guard has paid for its self plenty of times
and even gave me the confidence to let Mark ride my bike through
the Rockies LOL. Mark was paranoid he'd damage the pipe
in such rocky condition. I told him nothing it would take
nothing less that a land mine to crush the pipe and off he went.
Now Mark about those abrasions on my bush guards? LOL.
also supplied us with a set of IMS foot pegs and a Baja Designs
skid plate. Like Mark I thought the pegs looked really substantial
but didn't get a full appreciation for them until things got ugly.
I felt firmly planted on the bike and at the end of 4 hours of riding
whoops and natural terrain MX my feet where ready for more. . .
not even a whimper. The skid plate has excellent mounting
hardware, it even has steal inserts in the aluminum clamps, and
I'm sure it would take nothing less than a mine field to damage
the frame rails or the engine's case.
thought I'd compare the test rider's bikes to mine as well so you
might be able to get an idea how my KDX might compare to other off-road
bikes you've been on.
KX was sprung for aggressive MX riding so its likely no surprise
the KDX felt way more trail friendly. The KX deflected off
obstacles in the woods where the KDX soaked them up. Where
the KX felt punishing the KDX was relaxing and confidence inspiring.
I never felt comfortable enough on the MX suspended KX to call its
handling predictable in the woods. I have no doubt it
works great on the track.
power delivery is not friendly in tight wooded conditions.
I really like the KLX. Kawasaki intended it to be the 4-stroke
version of the popular KDX and they succeeded. The KLX is
a turner. I've heard it called the best handling dirt bike
around and I'd agree with that. My goal this summer is to
make my KDX turn more like a KLX.
KDX is a 2-stroke and the KLX a 4-stroke. To see big changes in
power delivery with the KLX you need to put out some serious cash.
It's much cheaper to get more power out of the KDX.
the KDX and KLX have close to the same seat height its easier
to get your foot down on the KLX. The width of the seat behind
the tank is much narrower.
heard people say the KLX is hard to start. Sure it takes a
little more than the KDX, after all its a 4 stroke, I've never had
a problem getting it to fire up on the first or second kick once
shown the drill.
The TTR is electric start and stock it makes a great causal trail
bike. The stock suspension its about equal to stock
KDX suspension though it feels a little mushier on bigger hits and
doesn't hold a line as well. That likely has more to do with
the added weight than anything. Where the KDX hides its weight
and feels light and flickable the TTR's weight is a little more
obvious especially in sandy conditions. I don't think that's
too surprising given the TTR weighs almost 40 lbs more with both
bikes in stock form. Like the KLX getting more power out of
the 4-stroke TTR is going to be expensive.
stock KDX200/220 delivers noticeably more power than the TTR.
I can't believe this is the same bike as I ride. Though it
feels very familiar there is a night and day difference between
my modified KDX and a stocker. You can really appreciate the
modifications I've made jumping from Mark's bike to mine.
Its hard to believe some suspension tuning and a few bolt on parts
could make this much of a difference and I've only made a few modifications
compared to what's available. I don't think I can add to anything
that Marks has already said.
are people who will worry that making their KDX faster and upgrading
their suspension might detract from the fun factor. Not so. The
bike is still grin till it hurts, roll in a tub of warm mud, belly
laughing, eye-crossing fun.
would like to thank Fredette Racing Products, FMF, MX-South,
MX Tech, Maier and RB Designs for their support. It was their gracious
support that made this article possible.