MXA’S TWO-STROKE TUESDAY: KAWASAKI KX125

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IMG_2004 KX125The rounded plastics of the 2004 Kawasaki KX125 give away the real age of this bike.

The Kawasaki KX125 was released in 1974–the same year of the first Supercross series (a three round venture that Pierre Karsmakers won). It was also the year 125’s were added to the AMA Nationals. The KX125, like many of its time, was based off a scrambler that used a metal gas tank and dual shock rear suspension. Unlike most of the competition, the color remained much the same, as it sported a green gas tank. While the front fender was white, by 1978 all of the key parts had been painted or colored green. “Gassin” Gaylon Mosier would be the first rider to take his Kx125 to victory at Metrolina Speedway Park in 1978. It would take a decade for the KX125 to become one of the best bikes in its class. While the forks left much to be desired, and the Honda clearly handled better, the KX125 had the best power output and brakes out of all of the 1984 models. Where the 1984 KX125 really shined was in its low-to-mid powerband. A year later the Kawasaki was still the superior bike. 1984 was also the first year the KX125 topped the standings with a young Jeff Ward putting on a dominant display.
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1993 was the last year the KX125 was considered the best in its class. Quite a bit had changed. It had become a much better handler and more stable in rough sections. The Kayaba forks certainly added to the overall suspension package. At the time we reviewed the bike many of the changes were adaptations from the bigger brother KX250. In 1991, Mike Kiedrowski would win the AMA National Championship. Kawasaki didn’t abandon their efforts to improve the bike, as they handed over most of their 125 racing efforts to Mitch Payton and Pro Circuit. Ricky Carmichael won the 1997 AMA 125 National title in 1997, and repeated that success two more times. Carmichael would also have a perfect 125 East Supercross season on the KX125 in 1998. Another great–James Stewart–had repeat wins on the bike, winning in both 2002 and 2004. Bubba wasn’t on the Pro Circuit team, but instead was a in-house Kawasaki factory rider. Unfortunately, the factory efforts didn’t trickle down to the production models in a substantial way until it was too late. Kawsaki finally updated the horsepower and suspension in 2004, but it couldn’t keep up with Suzuki and Yamaha. Two years later the bike was put out to pasture, as the KX250F four-stroke had taken over. The KX125 died on the vine.

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