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1986 KX125 purchase

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Hi guys!

 

New to the forum and an old timer that wants to get back in shape. What better way than to "get dirty" again. I'm 65, soon to be 66, and have been way too "useless", for way too long. Need to get myself back in some semblance of physical condition. Hate to walk or jog, but raced a Honda Elsinore CR250M back in the mid '70s and loved it, at least until I forgot to respect the bike - LOL. I weighed 140 and in the military then, now I'm 130 and not nearly as strong. 5'8" and a 30" inseam.

 

Anyway, I have a son who had bought a KX250 2 stroke about 6 years ago and I tried it out one day. 1 - couldn't kick start it! 2 - couldn't reach the ground with both feet standing still! 3 - Felt like it weighed 300 pounds (my CR250M weighed 209 dry I think) and way too much of that weight up too high.

 

So, when I started thinking about getting another dirt bike to mess around on and get some muscle tone back, My first thought was weight and kick starting, so the 125 2 stroke seemed the smart thing to look for. I looked around locally but found nothing that I couldn't live without. Went on "Craigslist" and found an ad for a 1986 Kaw KX125 not too far away. I emailed the owner and he said the bike was in "excellent  condition" and after asking him about the bike it seems like it is ready to ride. I've posted a pic from the add and it really looks clean for an '86. Think the plastic and seat are not from '86 from looking around on the net, but not really a concern as it's for riding not restoration (at least not yet anyway).

 

As I said, I raced a CR250M 2 stroke back in the day and am wondering if I am going to be terribly disappointed with this 125.

 

The price is negotiable from an asking price of $950, according to the owner (I'm hoping $800-$850), who is 66 years old and says he still rides.(?)

 

What do you guys think, and are there some things I need to know about the '86, or look for in particular, before purchasing it?

 

Thanks, and hope to be a dirt biker again soon!

 

Ray

1986 KX125.jpg

Edited by Raybo

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Welcome back, stay away from that spray bomb special. Not much difference in seat height between that and your sons 250. As long as your not going mx-ing, you should be shopping for a KDX. Lower seat height, older rider friendly suspension, great power delivery, excellent resale value, and long model runs that make parts abundant and cheap are main reasons why. Prices are all over the place, but a keen, watchful eye can fish out clean models with papers for $1000. That 86 has been spray painted while fully assembled and the brake line should NEVER be mounted OUTSIDE of the fork leg. Maintanence on this almost 30y/o machine was secondary, I promise. Thats a $500 bike, at best. A clean, rideable, 86 kx125 is worth 900. That bike is far from clean. Little things like suspension link bearrings can cost big $$$ alone

Edited by ickfinger

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Welcome back, stay away from that spray bomb special. Not much difference in seat height between that and your sons 250. As long as your not going mx-ing, you should be shopping for a KDX. Lower seat height, older rider friendly suspension, great power delivery, excellent resale value, and long model runs that make parts abundant and cheap are main reasons why. Prices are all over the place, but a keen, watchful eye can fish out clean models with papers for $1000. That 86 has been spray painted while fully assembled and the brake line should NEVER be mounted OUTSIDE of the fork leg. Maintanence on this almost 30y/o machine was secondary, I promise. Thats a $500 bike, at best.

500 on a good day. I'd be in the 350-400 ball part.

 

Sold a restored CR125 (1987). Best, and only cash offer I received after 2 months on craigs list was 400 bucks. I took it.  When I say restored.. It was new, top to bottom.  Only thing not replaced on it was the pipe really. 

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Wow!! I guess that's what I get for thinking this bike was "clean" and in "excellent condition". I never noticed the brake cable routing but you're right about that. The owner says the frame is powder coated, not sprayed, but I haven't seen the bike in person so can't say. Now, I suppose I need to call him and tell him the bad news.

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That looks to be an 87. 86 had a different side panel and airbox.

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I know the 250 and 500 did. I had a 86 250. I dont think the 125 had it though. The 125 seemed to be a step ahead in those years. 84 and 85 may have.

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As I stated in my original post, the plastic and seat cover do not look like '86, the '86 seat cover had "KW" on it not "Kawasaki", which I believe the '87 had, and the plastic, which looks almost new may be from an '87 also. Just looking at the picture it appears the bike has been "upgraded" in some ways, the front brake cable routing is definitely not as it should be, and according to the ad the frame has been "powder coated".

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Powder Coated! Oh Crap, that just means it will be hard as hell to make it not look like a stolen bike!

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Just an FYI, that 125 isn't going to be any shorter than your son's KX250.

 

Yes, I know that and that was a bit annoying but not really an issue, as once you get underway that seat height problem is no longer an issue. If I remember correctly I had a bit of the same thing with my old CR250M, at the line, but once underway it wasn't a problem. My main issues today are bike weight and difficulty kick starting these newer bikes. Maybe it just takes some getting used to.

 

I've decide not to pursue the KX125, for several reasons, some of which were mentioned in this thread, and I'm leery of these super high revving 125s anyway. They don't have the low end grunt of the 250s which I really liked about the CR250M I had. I think I always used to use 2nd gear at the starting line, sometimes 3rd depending on the track surface, which meant I was accelerating while others were busy up-shifting, and even in the tight turns could use a higher gear and still explode out of the turns without bogging.

 

I have done some research on the later CRs and it appears that in 2000-2001 they had lots of torque but the suspension was weak, then in 2002 they improved the suspension but got rid of much of the previous power band advantages. Too bad they didn't use the 2000-2001 engine on the 2002 suspension. I think the championship at that time was won because of Ricky C and not because of the CR. The YZ appears to have been the bike during those years.

 

Anyway, I'm leaning towards a 250 2 stroke now, if I can find one that doesn't weigh much more than the weights from those 3 years of CRs. But, not locked into a CR. Just want something that I can work my way back into, I know it will take some time and I don't really expect to be able to get the most out of them, but the more I think about the super high revs of the 125s the more I'm against buying one. The 4 strokes are out of the question, I just never even liked the idea of a 4 stroke on the dirt, or the maintenance and expense if/when things break. I know, they have changed and are the bike of choice nowadays, but I just don't want a 4 stroke.

 

What do you guys suggest? I'm old school, true, but not on my death bed by any means. I plan to ride 3-4 times per week and build up my strength and condition that way. Maybe even one day ride in some senior events, if there are any in my neck of the woods.

 

Thanks!

Ray

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Are you going to race MX or ride on a mx track? If not, you are a prime candidate for a kdx. The way a 250 mx bike "comes on the pipe" can be quite a handful. Modern 250's put out approx 2x the power of that old 250m! Yeah, you can trail ride a mx bike, but as I get older Id rather take a trip in a lincoln (KDX) versus a mustang (MX bike).

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Are you going to race MX or ride on a mx track? If not, you are a prime candidate for a kdx. The way a 250 mx bike "comes on the pipe" can be quite a handful. Modern 250's put out approx 2x the power of that old 250m! Yeah, you can trail ride a mx bike, but as I get older Id rather take a trip in a lincoln (KDX) versus a mustang (MX bike).

 

 

I find it hard to locate used KDX bikes for sale. Also, how do the weights compare between the 2 models, and what about the overall handling of the 2 models? My knowledge of these, I assume , "dual purpose" bikes is very limited, as I have never ridden a dual purpose bike. I went straight from a street bike to racing motocross with the CR250M. I know at the time that the CR came on the pipe extremely quick and violently and it took a few weeks to get used to it. So, I guess I'm saying that, even though the power of these newer bikes may be twice the horsepower, compared to 1974, it probably would be something I could overcome, if I don't kill myself first. Going from a street bike to the CR was a pretty dramatic, and harrowing, learning curve, but didn't take me long to start winning motos.

 

I don't know, and won't know until I experience it, if I can handle a more modern MX bike or not. But, I do know that I want a bike that I will not be disappointed with, regarding power and bike weight/handling. Knowing my competitive nature, it wouldn't surprise me if I eventually wanted to actually compete in races, even though my primary motivation for getting a dirt bike is to get back in shape. I would not enjoy owning a bike that would hamper my running as hard as I am physically, and psychologically, able to handle.

 

I know, a 65 year old man should be more concerned with being safe than being crazy, but that's always been a problem for me, to a degree, in everything I've ever felt passionate about. As I said earlier, I quit racing because I didn't know how to not run wide open all the time (and being in the military at the time posed a problem with non-service related injuries), and I suspect that will again be an issue, to a degree. Maybe I end up breaking my neck, who knows.

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If you get a 2 stroke. You could always throw on a flywheel weight, sprockets, and get it setup for you.

 

You could get a 4 stroke bike, and it would be plenty powerful enough.  You can cut the seat foam down on either, and make it a little shorter. You can get lowering links for newer bikes.  You can setup suspension sag and such too, that will help squish the bike down when you sit on it.  Now days, with the newer bikes... They make electric start even on the 2 strokes!  At least the KTM and another brand I saw (can't remember which).

 

Yamaha, KTM still make 2 stroke bikes as well as maybe Husky or something of that sort? 

 

 

Here's a good bike.

http://www.ktm.com/us/enduro/250-xc-usaeu/highlights.html#.U1nYRVddumE

 

6 speed, kick and electric start. Geared amazing, handles nice, bigger gas tank for longer riders... It's meant to get out and ride the trails. Plenty of power to shit and get.  You could get an older bike and rebuild it, or just pony up the bucks and get a new bike and enjoy it with regular maintenance.  Shoot even getting one a year or two old could save you some money and still be a great bike.  Tho I don't see many for sale lol.

Edited by izzo

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Before you start trying to choose a bike, you need to decide what kind of riding you want to do. Do you want to do motocross or off-road? This is a very important distinction, as an off-road bike isn't very good at motocross, and while you can (and many do) use a motocross bike for off-road, a dedicated off-road bike is much better suited to the task.

 

You also need to simply forget about your Elsinore days, as modern dirt bikes are orders of magnitude better in ever imaginable way. A modern 125 two-stroke MX bike makes more power over a broader range than your 250 Elsinore did. Most young people today have no idea just how brutal and violent the "hit" was on those old bikes, going from 10 horsepower to 25 horsepower in a 250 rpm range. The phrase "light-switch-power" realy was appropriate back then.  Modern power-valve-equipped two-strokes utilize far more sophisticated port layouts, ignition curves, carburetors, and exhaust and intake resonance tuning to spread the power over a wider rpm range, and the power ramps up in a much more linear fashion than those bikes of old. And modern bikes have much better handling, brakes, and especially suspension.

 

Modern motocross has also changed drastically from those days, becoming more of a jump-fest than anything else. Natural terrain tracks are a thing of the past.

 

But you also need to find out, if you want to do off-road, what sort of riding areas do you have within reasonable distance of you?

 

 

Compared to that old Elsinore, you won't be disappointed with ANY modern dirt bike.

Edited by Chokey
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I would suggest a 1995 and newer 250 first.  I think a KX, RM or YZ would be a good choice because they have alot of low end and just the torque makes them easier to ride.  You can ride trails or play on a track without winding the snot out of the engine.  The suspension on the newer bikes (95 and newer) can be tuned to ride anywhere.  Also, it's alot easier finding parts for those bikes unlike the 86 KX.

 

Depending on the terrain you ride a newer 125 would be an "ok" bike.  My KX and (sold) 02 YZ125 have good low end. I barely ride mine pinned all the time since they have power to pull another gear.  But I also owned a 96 RM125, 1980 RM125 and rode a 2000-something CR125 that you pretty much had to wire tie the throttle back to go anywhere.  Comparing to modern 250's, the only issue I found with my 125 was hill climbs.  I rode KX250's since 1994 and feel more comfortable on my 125, not to mention the permanent grin riding the thing.  

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Before you start trying to choose a bike, you need to decide what kind of riding you want to do. Do you want to do motocross or off-road? This is a very important distinction, as an off-road bike isn't very good at motocross, and while you can (and many do) use a motocross bike for off-road, a dedicated off-road bike is much better suited to the task.

 

You also need to simply forget about your Elsinore days, as modern dirt bikes are orders of magnitude better in ever imaginable way. A modern 125 two-stroke MX bike makes more power over a broader range than your 250 Elsinore did. Most young people today have no idea just how brutal and violent the "hit" was on those old bikes, going from 10 horsepower to 25 horsepower in a 250 rpm range. The phrase "light-switch-power" realy was appropriate back then.  Modern power-valve-equipped two-strokes utilize far more sophisticated port layouts, ignition curves, carburetors, and exhaust and intake resonance tuning to spread the power over a wider rpm range, and the power ramps up in a much more linear fashion than those bikes of old. And modern bikes have much better handling, brakes, and especially suspension.

 

Modern motocross has also changed drastically from those days, becoming more of a jump-fest than anything else. Natural terrain tracks are a thing of the past.

 

But you also need to find out, if you want to do off-road, what sort of riding areas do you have within reasonable distance of you?

 

 

Compared to that old Elsinore, you won't be disappointed with ANY modern dirt bike.

 

 

Chokey,

 

I appreciate your response! Yes, I know I need to forget about the "old days" and my "loved" CR250M, but dang, that's hard to do, so many memories come flooding back, all the competition and excitement, etc.. You're right, those early Jap 250 2 strokes were a handful, even when you compare the power of those "relics" to more modern MXs. Taking a 180 tight turn that went directly into a bumpy uphill climb of 60 degrees, in 3rd gear, was pure pleasure!

 

I also appreciate the fact that it would be smart to decide what kind of riding I will be doing, but right now, I have no idea. I won't know that until I have some time on the bike and can then evaluate how much of my former skill and abilities will return. A more modern 125 may indeed have a broader power band than the 125s of that time frame did, but I'd hate to buy one and then find out that I really want a 250.

 

I'll most likely start my renewed dirt riding experience on trails and home grown tracks around this area. I've been doing some checking and there are several places where people ride dirt bikes and ATVs just a few miles from my house, so those areas will be my starting point. However, if I can handle the much longer "whoops" sections and doubles, at least, I won't be a bit surprised to find myself wanting to do some racing on real MX tracks. Not saying that is my goal, I do have to be realistic regarding my age and lesser strength and stamina, for sure, but I don't want to throw down a lot of money on something like a newer 125 and find that I really want to ride a 250 instead. I must admit that the 15 minutes or so of my riding my son's KX250 a few years ago, was not a "cowtrailing" session, I really did some nailing of the throttle and some roosting in the berms. Kind of surprised me how quickly my competitive nature asserted itself. The only problem I really had, once I got it kicked and going, was washing the front end out in a berm, with the wheels towards the top of the berm, and my inability to lift the bike off the ground without dragging it down to level ground. That was frustrating to me, having not ever had that problem with the CR250M. The weight was so low on that bike that lifting it with the bars was not hard at all, even with the wheels above the bars.

 

At this point, I think that I want to have a "long range" goal of riding hard on a real track, and not just cowtrailing, because I know how I am, "gotta go as hard as I can, as long as I can". That's just the way I'm made, realistically or not.

 

The guy with the '86 KX125 just emailed me this morning and asked if I was still interested in the bike, and I told him I wasn't, unless he would take half the asking price. If he will take $450 or so, and after checking the bike out in person and riding it first, I might take the chance, but I have doubts that all that will happen. I'm checking around for 250 2 strokes now, late 90s  to early 2000s, in good shape, of course. $1000 to $1200 is what I'm topped out at, so chances are I won't get one that is perfect, but maybe one that I can do some basic maintenance and adjusting on and get it setup pretty well.

 

Ray

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I would suggest a 1995 and newer 250 first.  I think a KX, RM or YZ would be a good choice because they have alot of low end and just the torque makes them easier to ride.  You can ride trails or play on a track without winding the snot out of the engine.  The suspension on the newer bikes (95 and newer) can be tuned to ride anywhere.  Also, it's alot easier finding parts for those bikes unlike the 86 KX.

 

Depending on the terrain you ride a newer 125 would be an "ok" bike.  My KX and (sold) 02 YZ125 have good low end. I barely ride mine pinned all the time since they have power to pull another gear.  But I also owned a 96 RM125, 1980 RM125 and rode a 2000-something CR125 that you pretty much had to wire tie the throttle back to go anywhere.  Comparing to modern 250's, the only issue I found with my 125 was hill climbs.  I rode KX250's since 1994 and feel more comfortable on my 125, not to mention the permanent grin riding the thing.  

 

 

That's my thinking now, a late 90s to early 2000s 2 stroke real MX bike. My reading thus far about those model CRs doesn't sound good, as most either had poor suspension, or poor power, or both. Seems like the 96 CRs and the 2000-2001 CRs weren't too bad. KXs and YZs seem to be the better bikes of that era. A 125 2 stroke or 4 stroke in the early 2000s isn't out of the question, if I can find one I can afford. I have no experience on 4 stroke MXers, at all, so have no idea what they feel like. I keep getting these bad images of guys trying to race XRs back in the 70s, what a joke, I really felt sorry for them. I know the newer 4 strokes are light years ahead of those early 4 strokes though, but my understanding is that they are much more expensive to maintain, and they weigh quite a bit more than the 2 strokes of the same displacement. And, watching Ricky, and Bubba, and Ryan, and all the other pros trying to restart them after crashing just turns me off completely, I never had to kick my CR more than  twice to restart it. The CZs back then were a bear to start, having to lay them down for a bit before kicking them would never have been acceptable to me. So the 4 strokes don't inspire confidence regarding my liking them. Maybe I'm totally wrong about the newer 4 strokes, I don't know.

Edited by Raybo

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A more modern 125 may indeed have a broader power band than the 125s of that time frame did, but I'd hate to buy one and then find out that I really want a 250.

 

I don't miss mine.  You really should try riding a newer 125 like the KX or YZ, you'll be surprised.  I know your thinking on the old ones, my '80 RM125 powerband was:  nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, BWAAAAAAAAAAH!  :lol:

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