Reluctance to attend a Kawasaki 150cc launch proved just how short-sighted I've become nowadays. It's clearly a combination of being spoilt from all the fancy stuff I've ridden, and an inability to realize just how special a 150cc motorcycle can be for a first time rider. But when I knuckled down and considered the Kawasaki KLX150's merits in a proper context, I got a much better impression. In the end I gave it a teen-viewed thumbs up.
Bombing through gaps between dawdling commuters in town proved its worth straight off. As well making solid, time-efficient progress the Kawasaki KLX150 also keeps you longer away from the petrol stations. No matter how much you reckon the little enduro lacks exotic looks, it more than makes up for it in the sensibility and economy stakes.
Being of more ample dimensions, the Kawasaki KLX150 is a bit on-size fits-all, and even near 195cm present had no reason to main from cramped limbs. Good styling helps its attraction, and though the build quality looks a little bit cheap here and there, overall there's an impression it could take a bit of neglect and abuse. That's certainly true of the single-cylinder engine which spends most of its time bouncing off its limiter. And even when you're sampling less than its around 12 horsepower maximum power, it's possible to be competitive with all cars on the road. The rest of the Kawasaki KLX150 is up to the task too, with a featherweight feel and competent enough brakes and suspension helping with briskly-paced commuting.
Ask it to do a bit more out on the open road and you'll quickly realize your ranking in the vehicle food chain. I did get just over 112 km/h out of it. Once. But you're better off going with the flow rather than trying to run ahead if it. Using big, fast roads has most of the world sitting up your tail-light so is best avoided.
A blat round a trail path later in the day showed the Kawasaki KLX150 can actually be hustled a fair old bit, and though its handling felt soft and edgy, fun can still be had. If the entertainment factory isn't enough, then the savings you make from the frugal 22 – 29 km/l (real kilometers per liter) fuel consumption should help...