Many would consider mopeds and scooters for their first bike mainly because they don’t cost arms and legs and have that tendency to be fun every once in a while. Why not include the Kawasaki KLX 150L in the list? Here’s why: A. It’s reasonably priced. B. It looks like one of those bikes in the Kamen Rider series. C. You can ride it off-road like no scooter can.
Unveiled in Malaysia year, the KLX 150L comes four years after the inception of the 150S. At the launching ceremony, Kawasaki Motors Malaysia Sdn Bhd (KMMSB) General Manager and Director Dato’ Jeffrey Lim said the ‘L’ prefix mainly points out to the new model’s larger aluminium wheels – 21-inch at the front and 18-inch at the back. The model it replaces came with 19-inch front and 16-inch rear steel wheels.
The idea of bringing KLX into the market is to provide an alternative to Malaysian motorcyclists – a cheap-to-buy, fun-to-ride and easy-to-maintain alternative that certainly seems more enticing than regular mopeds and kapcais we’re so accustomed of. While the market is growing stronger towards the 250 cc segment, we believe the KLX 150L has what it takes to entice those considering a capable dual-purpose ride.
Apart from the bigger tyre sizes, the ‘L’ in the name also points to the bike’s larger dimensions. The bike now measures in at 2,080 mm long, 770 mm wide, and 1,145 mm tall, making it 105 mm longer, 51 mm wider and 55 mm taller than the KLX 150S. The wheelbase has also grown from 1,285 to 1,340 mm.
Elsewhere, you’ll find the KLX 150L a pretty basic thumper befitting its reasonable price tag. Apart from bigger body and tyres, the new model isn’t much different from the 150S. The bike is kitted with a sharp headlight taken from the KLX 250, same tail light design, and a new two-tone saddle that comes with a slip-resistant top surface. The fairings get a bit of nip and tuck for an even slender look.
Like the 150S, this one comes with the same air-cooled, 144 cc four-stroke single-cylinder engine. The unit has a 58 mm x 54.4 mm bore and stroke, with fuel provided by a Keihin carburetor. No increase in the output – the mill still delivers 12 hp and 11.3 Nm of torque to the rear wheel via a five-speed gearbox. Certainly not much but enough to push the 115-kg bike off the line.
On board, there is a fair amount of acceleration once you twist the throttle wide open but the bike will lose out on power once the speedometer hits the 90 km/h mark. Well, it’s not built for top-speed runs in the first place anyway. Still, its brisk demeanour means you can overtake vehicles and zip through Klang Valley’s horrendous traffic easily that you’d forget you’re riding on a dual-purpose rolling on trail tyres. The bike’s small turning radius makes the task even easier.
While the KLX 150L is not a hardcore, full-on scrambler, the bike feels at home when put through its paces off the road. It loves to play on dusty trails like kids in a sandbox so those looking to dabble in off-road riding can start with this one. We reckon it’s down to the IRC trail tyres, which provide immense grip on soft and loose surfaces as well. On the other side of the coin, the rubbers don’t perform as well on conventional tarmac especially when it’s pouring.
The suspension setup is rather basic but they proved to be capable of taking some beating if needed. Like its predecessor, the KLX 150L gets a 33 mm telescopic fork up front and a Uni-Trak suspension at the rear. Both provide decent suspension travel (175 mm front, 190 mm at the rear, to be exact), allowing the bike to soak up the bouncy bits.
At RM9,389, the KLX 150L is quite a bargain, considering the kind of options it provides. The bike won’t satisfy your craving for speed but it does provide the versatility and reliability expected from a daily ride. Plus, you can always get off the tarmac and tear up the trails with this one.
|Engine Type||air-cooled, four-stroke, single-cylinder SOHC|
|Power||12 hp @ 8,000 rpm|
|Torque||11.3 Nm @ 6,500 rpm|
|Front Suspension||33 mm Telescopic Fork|
|Rear Suspension||Unitrak, 5-way Adjustable Preload|
|Seat Height||875 mm|
|Fuel Capacity||7 Litres|
|Tyres||175/80 R21 (F), 190/80 R18 (R)|