Kawasaki KDX200 Specs and Review (Enduro Dirt Bike)

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The Kawasaki KDX200 is a bonafide do-it-all machine. Its prowess as a two-wheeler extends from casual weekend rides to braving International Six Day Enduro (ISDE) events, being one of Team Green’s top-selling bikes. Given its off-road reputation and 23-year production run, it would be interesting to know what this highly-acclaimed dual-sport wheeler has to offer.

The KDX200 was an Enduro-style, 198-cc 2-stroke motorbike produced by Kawasaki between 1983 and 2006. Featuring inverted front forks, Uni-Trak® rear linkage, and a modified KIPS (Kawasaki Integrated Power Valve System), the bike offers plenty of power perfect for tight, technical single tracks.

Even today, the Kawasaki KDX200 continues to blow off-roading enthusiasts away with its excellent, approachable power and woods capability. Its solid design, uncomplicated features, and spirited nature comprise such a winning formula – so much so that KDX inspired the KLX series.

There is so much more to this machine that has rightfully earned its place in the dirt riding scene as an irreplaceable, well-loved bike – so stick around until the end of this guide.

Green 1987 Kawasaki KDX200 Dirt Bike

The Unparalleled KDX™200

The Kawasaki KDX 200 is Team Green’s U2 of trail bikes. It is a dead-reliable 2-stroke machine that can rip through wooded trails, dirt roads, or rock gardens like nobody’s business.

One of Kawasaki’s longest mainstays, this Enduro-MX two-wheeler is designed to offer predictable handling and a tractable, broad powerband in a mid-weight, compact bike. And just like the band’s (sometimes) underrated but ageless music, the KDX200 successfully made a surprisingly lasting impression with followers despite its basic MX styling and non-changing Lime Green color.

For some motorcycle savants, the KDX200 shared similar undertones with Suzuki’s PE175 – tough, agile, and Enduro-oriented. For others, it was the perfect trail bike. It supported a KDX 200 top speed of 70-75 mph (113-121 km/h) and had the right balance of low-end/mid-range power that made the wheeler undiscriminating towards both advanced and casual riders. In technical riding situations, this flexibility made for the bike’s better performance against more tech-advanced YZs, Husqs, and KTMs.

An Enduro Rider’s Dream, Or Was It?

There is still more to be had with the bike’s steering accuracy and terrain adeptness. Many believed the lack of a major design overhaul and the return to conventional, cartridge-type suspension for the 23-year-old bike was largely to blame for these flaws.

Kawasaki eventually did introduce a 220-cc model in 1997 with a slightly larger brake disc diameter and piston displacement. But sadly, the said motorbike did not prove to be functionally better than its 200-cc predecessor. Nor was it at the receiving end of highly-coveted suspension updates.

Nevertheless, the KDX200 performed formidably as a dual-sport, even in stock form. As a secondhand bike, it does not disappoint in power delivery, tenacity, and race-readiness. With the right aftermarket mods and in the hands of a skilled driver, this machine can outperform even 250-cc and 300-cc counterparts.

1995 Kawasaki KDX 200 Specs & Features (KDX200H1 Model)

Engine

The Kawasaki KDX200 is powered by a 2-stroke, single-cylinder piston reed valve engine. It had an air-cooled power mill when it first came out but changed to liquid cooling in 1988. Bore-stroke ratio is 66 x 58 mm (2.60 x 2.28 inches), while compression ratio is 7.9:1. Piston displacement is 198 cm3 (12.08 in3). A Keihin PWK-35 carburetor handles the air-fuel mixture.

Torque and power delivery are unspecified in the service manual. But per online resources, the KDX spews a horsepower of 38 hp/38.5 PS (28.3 kW @ 8,000 RPM) and has a maximum torque of 34.3 Nm (25.2 lb-ft @ 7,000 RPM).

Fuel & Lubrication

Like most Kawasaki motorcycles, recommended fuel for the KDX200 is regular unleaded gasoline with a minimum PON 87/ RON 91 rating. Tank capacity is 11 L (2.9 US gallons), and the use of fuel variants with > 5% MBTE, > 10% ethanol, or > 5% methanol is preferred for best results.

Lubrication-wise, it requires a 32:1 ratio of gasoline mix and 0.65 L (during an oil change) or 0.70 L (when completely dry) of transmission oil. The recommended oil viscosity is SAE 10W-30 with an API classification of SJ or higher meeting JASO T903 MA standards, but this can change following ambient temperature.

Drivetrain

Power travels via a six-speed, constant-mesh return shift system mated to a wet multi-disc manual clutch assembly. The final drive is delivered by a DID520DS O-ring-sealed chain (108 links, joint endless; with 13/47T front and rear sprockets).

It also features an all-new Kawasaki’s Integrated Power Valve System (KIPS) that spreads the bike’s power over a wide RPM range. KIPS was first introduced in the 1986 production model before being redesigned for the 2nd time in 1995. This power valve design combined Honda ATACS’s resonance chamber with the Yamaha YPVS variable exhaust port.

Primary Reduction Ratio2.864 (63/22)
Transmission Gear Ratio – 1st2.692 (35/13)
Transmission Gear Ratio – 2nd2.000 (28/14)
Transmission Gear Ratio – 3rd1.533 (23/15)
Transmission Gear Ratio – 4th1.235 (21/17)
Transmission Gear Ratio – 5th1.042 (25/24)
Transmission Gear Ratio – 6th0.870 (20/23)
Final Drive Reduction Ratio3.615 (47/13)
Overall Drive Ratio9.002 @ Top Gear

Ignition

It has an electronic CDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition) with a primary kick-start system. Ignition timing is 21° BTDC @ 6,000 RPM. It requires an NGK CR8ES spark plug with a 0.7-0.8 mm (0.028-0.031 inch) gap and has a 12V 3Ah/(10 HR) YB3L-A battery. A single-phase AC magneto serves as the machine’s charging system and power source for electronic accessories.

Tires & Brakes

Wheels are equipped with tube-type Dunlop® K490 80/100-21 51M tires at the front and Dunlop® K695 100/100-18 59M tires at the rear. Recommended tire pressure ranges from 80 kPa (0.8 kgf/cm², 11 psi) to 100 kPa (1.0 kgf/cm², 14 psi) – depending on whether the terrain is muddy, sandy, slick, hard-pack, or rock-laden.

For heavy dirt-road application, tires can be swapped out for Kenda Trakmaster K760 DOT Front Tire (view on Amazon). Finally, KX™-inspired 220-mm front disc with dual-piston calipers and 190-mm rear disc brakes provide its halting stopping power and complete the motorbike’s tire-and-wheel assembly.

Suspension

The suspension consists of conventional, temperature-compensating 43-mm Kayaba forks at the front, with the rear consisting of the same Uni-Trak® linkage-assisted rear suspension found on other Kawasaki motocrossers. Both front and rear setups provide a generous amount of wheel travel of 290 mm (11.4 inches) and 300 mm (11.8 inches), respectively.

The wheelbase is 56.5 inches, and the minimum ground clearance (unloaded) is 13.4 inches. Overall, the bike’s suspension units lend to improved fade resistance and tighter cornering while aptly handling the demands of aggressive riding.

Dimensions

Overall dimension of the KDX200 are 83.5 x 35 x 48.4 inches (2,120 x 890 x 1,230 mm – L x W x H). These measurements are almost similar to Kawasaki’s very own 125 Dirt Bike. The bike’s seat height is 36.2 inches (920 mm) – perfect for taller riders. Dry weight is 101 Kg (222.7 lbs.), while curb weight sans aftermarket KDX 200 parts is 108 Kg (238 lbs.) – making the 1995 model slightly lighter than pre-1990 KDX200 versions.

Exterior

It has a semi-double-cradle tubular steel frame (26.5° caster angle, 108-mm trail) and plastic body panels in Kawasaki’s signature Lime Green (with a blue-colored seat and matching springs). Standard inclusions are adjustable handlebars, grips, and a buzzard beak front fender – to name a few.

The motorbike did not receive as many upgrades to its styling as it did with its chassis and drivetrain. Accessories such as handguards and a rear caliper guard would be great additions to the wheeler to make it look better equipped for off-roading fun.

Improvements Post-1980

Green 1992 Kawasaki KDX200 Dirt Bike

Throughout its lifetime, the KDX200 underwent four (4) generational upgrades in its standard features, frame, body panels, fuel tank, and oil injection – among others. Here are the said revisions in further detail:

Kawasaki KDX200A (1983-1985); KDX200B (1984-1985, unconfirmed)

  • Piston displacement increased (via longer stroke) from the KDX175’s 173 cm3 to 198 cm3 beginning in 1983
  • 6-speed gear ratios were updated, and one more plate was added to the original clutch assembly
  • Suspension units changed from 36-mm steel tube conventional dampers to 38-mm aluminum Kayaba forks with adjustable damping
  • 1984 KDX200A2 frame was available in green or black with red body panels
  • The 34-mm Mikuni carburetor changed from an oval-bore/flat-slide to a R/round-slide type in 1985

Kawasaki KDX200C (1986-1988)

  • Production models used the new KIPS (Kawasaki Integrated Power Valve System)
  • 43-mm conventional forks and a new rear shock replaced the old suspension setup
  • Expanding drum brakes were replaced with same-size hydraulic discs at the front
  • The KDX was the first to receive a front disc binder across all production models

Kawasaki KDX200E (1989-1994)

  • The bike received liquid cooling
  • Carburetor changed from Mikuni VM34SS to a Keihin PWK-35
  • Final drive ratios changed from 13/48T (3.692) to 13/47T (3.625)
  • Further modification of KIPS with larger expansion bottle/valves, heavier crank/clutch springs, and additional clutch plates
  • The frame was remodeled with a modern-style bottom-link Uni-Trak design
  • Suspension units were upgraded with 16 compression and 16 rebound adjustments and a KX125-based shock
  • Half-liter reduction of fuel capacity – now 12.0 L (3.2 US gallons)
  • 1993 and 1994 models had 41-mm inverted forks

Kawasaki KDX200H (1995-2006)

  • The KDX received modern styling and a redesigned KIPS, larger valves, revised porting, plus a central power valve in the exhaust manifold
  • The first generation to have a KX™-inspired twin-spar or perimeter frame
  • Inverted forks upgraded to 43-mm conventional cartridge-type Kayaba forks
  • The compression ratio increased from 7.7:1 to 7.9:1
  • Larger radiators, clutch, and dual disc brakes
  • Taller seat height
  • Fuel tank capacity further reduced to 11.0 L (2.9 US gallons)

Kawasaki KDX200 MSRP

The Kawasaki KDX200 list price ranges from $1,649 to $4,249, depending on the bike’s model year. There is little movement in its retail value, with increases amounting to a total of $2,600 throughout its 23-year run (or barely a $115 rate increase per year). The ’88 and ’95 versions had the biggest price jump (almost $400), while the 1996 KDX200 was the most expensive at $4,249. Meanwhile, the KDX base price stayed at $3,999 from 1997 to 2004.

Kawasaki KDX200 Pricing (1983 – 2006)

Year – Trim – Model NumberList PriceRetail/Trade-In Values
1983 KDX200A1$1,649$405 – $535
1984 KDX200A2$1,699$405 – $3,990
1985 KDX200A3$1,799$405 – $3,990
1986 KDX200C1$2,049$405 – $3,990
1987 KDX200C2$2,099$405 – $1,045
1988 KDX200C3$2,449$405 – $3,270
1989 KDX200E1$2,699$405 – $2,985
1990 KDX200E2$2,849$405 – $2,985
1991 KDX200E3$2,899$405 – $2,195
1992 KDX200E4$2,999$250 – $1,550
1993 KDX200E5$3,249$295 – $1,830
1994 KDX200E6$3,599$295 – $1,975
1995 KDX200H1$3,999$405 – $1,620
1996 KDX200H2$4,249$350 – $1,720
1997 KDX200H3$3,999$315 – $1,500
1998 KDX200H4$3,999$365 – $1,600
1999 KDX 200H5$3,999$385 – $1,630
2000 KDX200H6$3,999$405 – $1,950
2001 KDX200H7$3,999$405 – $2,250
2002 KDX200H8$3,999$405 – $535
2003 KDX200H9$3,999$480 – $630
2004 KDX200H10$3,999$520 – $685
2005 KDX200H11$4,099$640 – $845
2006 KDX200H6F$4,199$730 – $960
(Source: Nada Guides)

As for auction listings and trade-in values, the price range falls between $650 and $7,599 for 1984 through 2005 production models. The first and final production year models are tremendously difficult to find, especially those with less than 5,000 miles and in near-mint or perfect racing condition. Fortunately, there are plenty of mid-mileage, decent-working bikes throughout North Carolina, Montana, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, and California in the used market.

KDX200 Customer Reviews

Pros

The KDX 200 mostly receives positive feedback from owners and Enduro aficionados. For these folks, the two-wheeler is one of the best trail bikes ever produced. Gearing is more than adequate in the woods. Its motor is monstrously powerful. Plus, the bike surprisingly offers plush suspension and holds up easily off the ground in 1st and 2nd gears.

Uncharacteristic of most MX-style bikes, the KDX is stealth-quiet – making it suitable for use in riding areas where excessive noise is not allowed. It is not immediately street-legal off the assembly lines but can be registered with a bit of help from aftermarket kits and provided the changes meet state regulations. It also has an excellent low-range pull and an already impressive top-end that could be made even better with a performance-enhancing pipe and silencer.

Cons

On the downside, the stock chain stretches like rope after break-in and is advisably for discard – lest drivability concerns may occur while riding. Earlier versions were observed to vibrate a lot, with the vibration increasing as engine mount bolts gradually loosen due to riding. Because the first three (3) gears of the KDX200 are short and the last three (3) are long, the bike needs to do a lot of shifting in tight conditions. Front forks are likewise set a bit tall from the factory and need to be slowed down on rebound damping (this is possible with the use of a heavier fork oil).

But the biggest flaw of the 200-cc motorcycle has to do with the Uni-Trak rear suspension. This linkage system has hem joints for its exposed rear pivots, which are prone to severe wear as they cannot hold lubrication for long. The central pivot of the Uni-Trak arm that runs on a fiber bushing is equally flimsy, more so if the bike owner is not diligent with maintenance. Sadly, improved bushings for succeeding KDX200 models barely made any difference to the quality of the linkage system.

About Kawasaki

Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. is the maker of the Kawasaki KDX200 and a globally renowned manufacturer of off-road vehicles, side x sides, watercraft, and motorcycles. Founded in 1878 by Shozo Kawasaki, it began its journey in the automotive field alongside the Sumidagawa River in Tokyo as a supplier for shipbuilding businesses.

Kawasaki has established itself as a well-respected powerhouse focusing on the continued improvement of aerospace and energy systems, hydraulic machinery, ATVs, transit, motorized vehicles, and new technologies.

Conclusion – Kawasaki KDX200 Review

Never mind that it was a 2-stroke or that it had a weak rear linkage. Never mind that some owners felt it had insufficient low-range pull or failed to keep up with stringent emissions requirements. The Kawasaki KDX200 is arguably the best two-wheeled trail bike the riding community has ever seen and experienced. And even to this day, this 200-class bike continues to be the Enduro rider’s dream.

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