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Kawasaki Z 250 SL Review

Review Date 22 August 2016

By Ren Withnell

Now Sharon's shiny new Kwakker Z250SL has 2,000 miles on the clock the engine should be run in. After sorting a puncture for her the bike is at my house. Hmmmm...the temptation is overwhelming.

So what is a Z250SL? Basically it's the all new Ninja 250SL without any clothes on. DO NOT confuse this with the Ninja 250 from a couple of years ago. The old Ninja was a parallel twin that morphed into the Ninja 300 twin. The new 250 is a single cylinder engine which, if my information is correct, is taken from the KLX250. Certainly the crankcases are the same but I cannot comment on the internals.

Z is the Zed range, the naked or street models from Kawasaki. 250, durgh. But "SL"? Super Light, apparently. At 148kg for the non ABS version that Sharon owns it is indeed lighter than Suzuki's Inazuma (183kg), Honda's CBR300 (164kg), Yamaha's MT03 (168kg) and even Kawasaki's own Ninja 300 (174kg). That said compared to Honda's old and much unloved/misunderstood CBF250 at about 150kg wet it's not like Kawasaki has re-invented the wheel here. It's light, but not super light. Power wise 28ps (27.6bhp) seems quite spritely for a 250 single.

It looks fabulous. The tubular trellis frame hints at Ducati, the angles are so sharp you could cut yourself and it carries on the latest trend of looking all mean and hunched up like a cartoon British Bulldog. I'm not a fan of the side pods either side of the tank on most modern bikes as they serve no function other than looks. Except on the SL. One side holds the coolant tank the other from what I can tell holds the regulator rectifier and perhaps some other electronics. I'm not going to take Sharon's bike apart to find out for you.

The trellis frame on the 205SLThe exposed trellis frame for all to see.

It is small though. For Hobbitses like Sharon this is precisely what she requires but what about regular sized 5 foot 8 blokes like myself? Even though Sharon's bike has been lowered by 30mm it is an acceptable fit for me. It feels much like a meaty modern 125. There's only a short reach to the bars and the pegs are fairly high but my knees don't bash into the tank like they do on Sharon's Keeway. If you're taller than myself I'd strongly recommend you sit on one before considering it, if you're over 6 feet then I suspect it'll feel like riding a child's bicycle. 

The Z250SL next to 2 much larger Honda 500sComparing the 250 next to 500s makes it look tiny.

Fuel injection, water cooling and fully computerised ignition means it starts with a short prod of the button and slowly settles into a steady beat. You can tell it's a single as the piston slugs it's way up and down the barrel you feel each pulse. It does so noticeably at tickover although there's nothing to worry about, it's not painful.

There are 2 major things that set this 250 apart from the CBF250 I once owned. Firstly is the motor. The power might not be huge, especially when compared to the MT03 or the Ninja 300, but it is there, present, ready, willing and strong. There's no flat spots, no waiting and no fluffy mis-fuelling. The engine needs to be kept above 3,000 rpm otherwise it gets lumpy but anywhere above 3k then just a tickle of the throttle grip and you're away! It gives it's best performance over 6.5k then it's all over well before the red line. The response and the fuelling are excellent. 

The engine of the Kawasaki in the bike. There's a refreshingly perky level of grunt in this unit.

The acceleration is misleading. The revs do rise but being a single it never screams. There's only a firm but gentle pull on your arms and you don't slide back in the seat like you would on a 1000cc machine. It doesn't always FEEL fast, it feels like a 250. Then you look at the speedo and realise you've got up to the speed limit far far quicker than you anticipated. Whoa! The light weight, the single cylinder torque and the seemingly under-stressed nature of the engine could easily get you points on your licence so watch those numbers.

Another reason the acceleration and sensation of speed are confusing is the suspension. I'm rarely able to comment on suspension as my riding isn't fast enough but this bike seems to set new boundaries for me. I'm reminded of a BMW R1200 I once rode years and years ago. Under braking there's little dive, under acceleration there's little pitching back. I seem to glide over bumps in the road. All this makes me feel like I'm not going at speed and yet the numbers on the dash tell me otherwise. A sporty bike like this is usually harsh and jarring not sublime and smooth.

The rear suspension of the bike that works so well
Smooth and subtle which is impressive for a light machine.

So it's set up for comfort? No. No I can't put my finger on it. It's firm and taught and tight and sharp and yet...yet it's smooth and silky and plush. This is putting my new CB500X to shame. How can Kawasaki take a light motorcycle that should either be sporty and uncomfortable or soft and bouncy and make it feel so - gosh - er - right?

This leads me onto the second difference. The handling. As I ride the bike I've just fitted a new rear tyre due to a puncture (more to come on that from Sharon I'm sure). I can't throw it into a corner as I'm still scrubbing in however this seems to matter none to the Super Light. I don't need to lean it much to maintain a high corner speed and this defies all the laws of physics as I understand them. I'm traversing my favourite local twisty road and while I'm not at ten-tenths I can keep the pace right up without ever stressing the new rear tyre or pushing the front at all.  

It is a most peculiar yet also pleasant experience. I'm going swiftly without pushing hard. I'm feeling the road without being knocked about. I'm squeezed into this small machine but not cramped up. I'm working the engine although it's not begging for mercy. It feels like an ideal compromise between my easy to ride 125 and the additional go of my 500. Have I bought the wrong bike?

Erm, no, but it's a close call I can tell you. The main problem with the Z250SL for myself is the impracticality. The rear seat is nothing more than a hump with a thin veneer of padding. It would be fine to take a mate to the local shop but not much more than that. The rear plastic cowls around the seat are sharply angled and not suitable for saddle bags unless you love the scratched paint look. Sharon has found it to be incredibly comfortable with no aches or pains over an all day 260 mile ride, I however suspect I might find it a bit cramped for all day riding. 

A bag fitted to the rear seat of the Kawasaki Z250SLThe bag and some protective matting is the best Sharon can manage for luggage as yet.

So what's the Z250SL about? Have you ever seen reviews on the Morgan 3 wheelers? Most journos agree it is not fast like a Ferrari or a Caterham 7. Most agree it is somewhat impractical for your daily driver. But they all agree it is a wonderful thing to drive, bringing the very essence of driving back to the whole experience of driving. The Z250SL will not win races nor will it set the road on fire. It's not big or butch or tough or manly. What it will do is remind you why you ride motorcycles, it is the very essence of the 2 wheeled experience. It is fun and fast then light and friendly.

Ridden gently it will return at least 90mpg, Sharon has achieved 100mpg at times. You can't argue with that can you. As Sharon likes to go touring with yours truly which usually involves camping and lots of luggage there are plans afoot to turn this funky but presently impractical machine into something that's still just as funky but with more practical accoutrements. Watch this space.


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Reader's Comments

Pocketpete said :-
One thing you don't mention is the really nice paintwork. For a small bike kawasaki have put some real effort into the green paintwork.

It seems really thick paint with a sort of metallic finish. It seems to have more quality than my inazuma. And more depth to the the paint than my cb500x.

It seems kawasaki can teach honda a few tricks. I was impressed with the way the hobbit ish Sharon rides. Had no problem keeping up around Derbyshire and managed the off the track bits as well. I hope that wasn't the cause of the puncture.
26/08/2016 20:22:03 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
The puncture was several days before we met with your good self Pete. Paint? It has paint? Next you'll be telling me it's a nice colour too. I suppose some readers like to know about how it looks but for me it's all about how it rides, how practical it is and how long it will last.
27/08/2016 09:03:55 UTC
Pam said :-
Thanks! This sounds perfect for my 4'11 (54 yr old) frame..Sharon you had it lowered too?
Great upgrade from Honda MSX do you reckon?

01/09/2016 07:44:13 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Pam,

Yes I had it lowered.
Details are available in Sharon's blog - Z Day...Hello Kawasaki Z 250 SL

or in

Bike reviews - Kawasaki Z 250 SL First review

I personally think it is a good bike for us smaller riders. Not that the height is especially low but more the fact it is so light compared to other models currently on the market. My best advise is get yourself to a Kawasaki showroom and go sit on one and push it around as bike choice is a very personal thing. I never had this model on my list of possible bigger bikes but once I sat on it I was pretty sure it was the bike for me. Like my first bike the Keeay RKS 125cc it just fitted me.

I also personally think it is a great upgrade from a 125cc. It has more than enough power to keep me happy but not too big, scary and heavy to dent any of my hard earned confidence that I gained on my 125cc.

Good luck and have fun looking for your upgrade Pam. Please let me know how you get on and what you choose in the end. Information for the smaller rider is hard to come by and any contributions are invaluable.
02/09/2016 10:16:04 UTC
Andy said :-
At 53, I'm probably a lot older than this bikes target audience.
I've been riding for 35 years continuously, and also own a BMW R1100RS, and a rare Yamaha GTS1000A.
I went in to my local dealers to find a scooter for commuting to a new job in the city, and came out with one of these.
Actually mine is the faired version with clip on bars, but it is essentially the same bike.
Believe when I say, it's huge fun, even for the experienced rider.
You have to work hard to make progress but therein lies the fun.
Fantastic little bike.
OK I wouldn't want to have it as my only bike.
You wouldn't want to load it up with luggage and tackle the alps.
Nor would you want to carry a passenger.
It does have a pillion seat and pegs, but these are a token gesture.
Don't even try.
It's fine for my height and weight which is 5ft 10 inches, and 14 stone.
It's surprisingly solid on the motorway as well, easily maintaining the national speed limit.
Only time will tell of course, but it looks pretty well built.
Nothing is screaming "cheap and nasty" at me.
It's very well put together,
Oh and the icing on the cake is about 90mpg, even when ridden moderately hard.
This class of motorcycle is one of the best things to happen to motorcycling in recent years.
14/02/2017 22:15:37 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Andy. Talking to the salesman at the local Kwak dealership he regrets to inform us that sales are very poor of the Z250SL and he's not sure if any more are coming in to the UK. I think this is a reflection of the UK and the west in general's notion that bigger is always better. Nonsense! The Z250SL is a superb motorcycle ideally suited to both busy towns and cities as well as countryside blasting. It will reach the speed limit and then some, with speed traps everywhere why the hell would anyone go any faster than that?

Oddly enough the salesman as told us many purchasers of the 250 and 300 machines are in fact older gentlemen, older than yourself. They find their 1100s are too heavy for them to manoeuvre and much prefer the light and yet still spritely performance of the 250-300cc motors.

If you're going to tell us that you can't tour on a small motorcycle and you need a big've come to the wrong website! If you read around you'll see Sharon and I often tour on 125s so her 250 and my 500 are BIG beasties compared to what we're used to.

As for the GTS1000A - am I correct in remembering that's the hub-centre-steering tourer? What a fascinating machine. I've never ridden one so I can't comment on it but I am curious what the hub centre setup feels like to ride.

Enjoy your riding, whichever bike you pull out the shed.
15/02/2017 10:44:52 UTC
Borsuk said :-
Andy, you are definitely not too old for the target audience, some of us are coming into biking in our downhill years.

What bike is it you bought, I don't see any pictures of it.
15/02/2017 17:41:37 UTC
Andy said :-
"If you're going to tell us that you can't tour on a small motorcycle and you need a big've come to the wrong website"

You can tour on any motorcycle, but we need to be realistic.
If it were just me, and I was travelling very light, then maybe
However I usually go to mainland Europe at least once a year, sometimes more, and expect to cover about 3,000 miles in a couple of weeks per visit.
My Wife will be on the back, along with three Givi cases crammed full, along with camping gear.
To suggest that the 250SL would be ideal for that would be a bit naïve.
It is what it is.
A great city commuter, with the ability to make you smile around the country lanes.
There's no shame in admitting that any bike will have it's limitations.
My Yamaha and BMW are a handful in town, and are completely trounced by the little 250, but out on the open road they are far superior.
Of course, because that's what they are built for.
Much as I love this little Kawasaki, I would not entertain it over my other two big bikes for touring.
No Way.

"Andy, you are definitely not too old for the target audience, some of us are coming into biking in our downhill years".

I'm not "coming into biking".
I'm 53, and have been riding continuously since I was 18.
That's 35 years in the saddle.
That's what I meant by not being in the bikes target market.
I'm prepared to bet that most people who buy this type of bikes are relatively new to riding.

15/02/2017 21:06:48 UTC
Andy said :-
Forgot to answer this.
"As for the GTS1000A - am I correct in remembering that's the hub-centre-steering tourer? What a fascinating machine. I've never ridden one so I can't comment on it but I am curious what the hub centre setup feels like to ride".

That is correct.
It uses the FZR1000 motor detuned for more midrange over outright top speed.
It is a sublime tourer.
Nothing phases it.
Here's mine

15/02/2017 21:12:02 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I'd have to agree that the Z250SL might not be up to doing a a 2-up trip around europe with camping kit. Sharon struggles to load hers with just the basics because of the angular back seat and the fact we can't find luggage for it.
15/02/2017 21:35:56 UTC
Andy said :-
Don't get me wrong.
I'm all for touring on a run what you brung basis.
I did my first ever continental trip on a Honda 250 Superdream back in 1983.
But then I was young, single, and tended to wear the same clothes for says at a time LOL
By the way, I fitted a Givi tank ring to my 250SL.
It's a clever system.
Basically, you fit a special ring to the filler cap surround, that allows you to attach any one of Givi's quick release tank bags.
They come in a variety of sizes from small, packet of fags and your sunglasses size, to a full size touring.
Here's what the tank ring looks like.
The bag just clicks in place with no straps.

15/02/2017 22:08:21 UTC
Andy said :-
Here's the bag.
This is a medium size.
You can get bigger, but this does me day to day.
I can't see how to attach more than one image

15/02/2017 22:12:39 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I've seen the ring mounted bags I think they're a great idea. I'll see what Sharon thinks. We still need to work out *some* sort of a solution at the rear though, there's only so much you can put into a tank bag.

Yes you can only upload one image at a time. Also as Ian Soady has learned I don't offer emoticons, multiple links, forum code and many other forum style offerings. This is but a humble site run by my own self in my spare time.
16/02/2017 08:12:05 UTC
Andy said :-
Here is the Kijjima rack for our bike.
It's a Japanese company but I daresay you could easily order it.
Might give you a bit more luggage capacity ...
16/02/2017 09:26:29 UTC
Andy said :-

16/02/2017 09:28:28 UTC
Ross said :-
Doesn't look very substantial, wonder what the load capacity is? Ren/Sharon, have you tried contacting Renntec? I know they don't list your model but they may have plans to produce one or you might be able to talk them in to making you a one-off! I've got one on my Suzuki Inazuma, but that is on their model list.

PS Love the look of your GTS, Andy! :)
16/02/2017 13:39:39 UTC
Andy said :-
The rack would at least enable you to strap a longer bag the length of the pillion seat extending over the rack.

16/02/2017 13:48:09 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I've seen the Kijima rack advertised elsewhere but not here in the UK. As Ross says it's not very substantial but it could be a good start to build from.

Sharon's covered a lot of this on another post see link ...
16/02/2017 19:47:32 UTC
Sharon said :-
I am currently still looking for luggage options for the Kawasaki Z250SL so once or if I find anything suitable I will let you all know. Unfortunately due to low sale figures on this bike in the UK I am no longer holding out for a bike specific option.
16/02/2017 22:15:22 UTC
Andy said :-
Fabricating a couple of side rails to support soft bags (stopping them fouling the back wheel), would be a very straightforward job.
I may well look into doing something myself.
I just need to get the plastics off to have a good look in behind and see what can be utilized for mounting.
16/02/2017 23:18:35 UTC
Andy said :-
"Comparing the 250 next to 500s makes it look tiny".

Oh I don't know.
Next to my other two it looks pretty good I think.

16/02/2017 23:35:33 UTC
125Tony said :-
I really liked Doug's idea of using a another pillion seat as a platform for a pannier rack. That would be really easy to fabricate and easy to remove aswell.
16/02/2017 23:41:36 UTC
Andy said :-
Not so sure about that.
The pillion seat is secured by a plastic lip at the rear, and a feeble lock at the front.
I'd be a bit concerned over bumps with the rear bouncing up and down, that it could actually snap that plastic lip as it tries to lift off.
I do agree though that this is an ideal location for a rack, but in order for it to be safe it needs to be secured to the rear sub frame somehow.
17/02/2017 00:14:01 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I do understand what you mean regarding the seat Andy. The strength is there in a downward motion to support a fully grown (albeit very uncomfortable) adult, upwards though a light breeze could remove it. If I were to construct something from a spare seat there would be 2 options.

1. Make sure the luggage is securely bungeed down to ensure that no upward motion from bumps causes the seat to be ripped off.

2. The flimsy piece is the plastic lip at the back. Perhaps there's a way to bolt the seat-luggage thingy in place.

I have suggested that Sharon lets me create something for the side panniers just as you suggest, to keep the luggage away from the wheel and indeed the plastics to some extent. If you look around the site I am very good at bodging solutions BUT I am hopeless at making things look pretty.

Sharon trusts my engineering she fears that the rear of her beautiful Z250 will end up looking like a rat bike or a scaffolding yard. right.
17/02/2017 12:03:56 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I'm sure it would be possible to fabricate something cantilevering off the pillion subframe, and maybe also using the pillion footrests, which should be substantial. Make a prototype in your inimitable "built like a brick ****house" fashion then get a decent welder to make a pretty version.

Having seen your handshields I can understand why Sharon may be a bit wary.....

If you rely on accessory manufacturers you may have a long wait.
17/02/2017 12:42:59 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Form before function Ian, form before function. While my engineering skills lack precision or any actual engineering knowledge to compensate I work along the lines "Too much rather than too little."

I have offered many times to try things but Sharon still holds back. I've promised this would just be an exploratory inquiry into possibilities rather than a final solution but still she has no faith in me. I feel there is a trust issue in our relationship.

I've also offered to carry out the surgery that the NHS is unwilling to push through for her. She seems to think I'm not qualified or I have no notion of what is inside a human being but I have watched Casualty before now and I've promised to clean my penknife before I go in there. I've seen the underside of a CB500X petrol tank, the mammalian body can't be any more complex surely. I feel there is a trust issue in our relationship.

My friend has curvature of the spine, he seems unwilling to let me fit a piece of stainless steel bar I have in the shed to straighten him back up again. You just can't help some folks.
17/02/2017 17:11:51 UTC
Andy said :-
Where there's a will there's a way.
This guy has cleverly engineered as solution to, in this case an older 250R twin but it's a good example of what can be achieved with a bit of ingenuity. ...
17/02/2017 20:56:14 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
The chap in the link has done a really tidy job there. Ideally it would have been great to see some more of the engineering so I could steal some of his ideas.

Like you say Andy I'd have to take the plastics off the rear end to see how it all fits together to then work out a solution. The problem is Sharon keeps on riding the darn thing she loves it so much.

Just in case anyone reading doesn't know - I can't copy the smart solution in the link directly because the 250R while similar to the 250SL is certainly not the same.
18/02/2017 10:22:21 UTC
Keith m said :-
Nice review. Always liked small bikes brought up on 250 and 350 2strokes. Still not sure about this or the z300. But why do people always refer to them as beginner bikes?
17/04/2017 21:34:17 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Because Keith..."my willie is bigger than your willie". You ain't the big man if you ain't riding the latest greatest fastest biggest powerfulest motorcycle. Despite the fact 250s are lighter, more economical, more fun and capable of exceeding all our speed limits.

It's not just men either. Many female riders seem to be on the "bigger is better" treadmill.

I've ridden the Z300. I'll add a link to the review. In my humble opinion while the 300 has more power it lacks bottom end usable grunt, the 250 is 125 fun with delightful additional punch.

It is physically small though, check it fits your build. ...
18/04/2017 05:02:28 UTC
Keith m said :-
Thanks. Just had read of that, another well written review. I managed to quickly get into my local dealer before they closed. The 250sl is tiny but at 5'8" and 10 1/2st i fit quite well. It is a beautiful looking thing. The 300 is obviously bigger initial thoughts, high straight bars fall straight to hand, foot pegs higher than expected. Good looking bike, although not so sure about the side panels over the engine. Need to go back with more time in hand. Thanks for the reviews, I think i need to dig deeper into this web site.looks good.
18/04/2017 22:17:53 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Cheers Keith. If I were you I'd also look at the Yamaha MT03. It seems to match the grunt of the Z250SL with almost the same power as the Z300. It does have that big bike feel which may or may not be to your liking. I'll add a link to that as well. ...
19/04/2017 15:34:12 UTC
Keith m said :-
Thanks for that. Will have a look at weekend. Don't mind the big bike feel having ridden Fireblade and Gsxr in the past, but just don't see the point of the massive excess of power. And my license won't last long either. Just like bikes that have to be ridden. Thanks for advice.
20/04/2017 21:45:04 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I totally agree Keith. My 500 with a "paltry" 47 bhp only gets the taps opened for a second or so at most before the speed limits, Sharon's 250 has no problems keeping up with me.

1000cc is all very good but it's like using a sledgehammer to crack an egg.
21/04/2017 06:59:41 UTC
John said :-
Little bit off topic but I have spent months trying to find a bike that suits my physical limitations, the Z250 so would be perfect if not for the high back end, I have trouble getting my leg up high. Plenty of Chinese retro bike's that would fit me, I don't write them off, in fact I have one now, but in 250 size many are equal to or greater price than the Kawasaki but using 30 year old technology.
The nearest dealer to me actually stocking the bike is sixty miles away, how the internet has changed our society. Anyway, do you think it would be possible to cut the rear frame and have it redone to take a flat seat?
I know that you are not going to be able to give me a definitive answer but you may be able to say not possible or maybe.
Cheers Ren
18/05/2017 13:10:45 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi John. Anything can be's just a question of how much work is involved.

The rear subframe comes right up tight under the rear seat. As such the back end of the subframe under the rear seat would need to be totally removed and rebuilt. Then there's the lights and mudguard to rethink.

Directly under the rear seat there's no major parts from what we can see. I'll add a link to a diagram of the frame and upload an image of what is under the rear seat.

Yes - it can be done but it's not an afternoon job in you're back yard. If you decide to go ahead we'd LOVE to see what you create!

Underneath the rear seat of the Z250SL ...
18/05/2017 14:50:19 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Hi John.

That's something that puts me off loads of modern bikes especially as my joints age and become less and less flexible. There's no good reason for it other than fashion IMO as the clearance above the back tyre is way more than is needed for suspension movement.

It's one reason I ditched my (otherwise very nice) Honda SLR 650 for the current Super 4 400 although that does err in the other direction!
18/05/2017 14:52:47 UTC
John said :-
Hi guys,
I totally agree with the fashion statement, it seems all the big four are under the illusion that everyone who throws a leg over a motorcycle want's to pretend they are off to the starting line or beginning a round the world trip.
I will study the diagram and look into the viability of this (by which I mean the cost lol).
I have been looking at CBF 250 and YBR 250, not many about and one's that I would consider are only £500 - 750 less than a new Kawasaki, and probably around the price of when they were new.
Ian, totally with you on the sticky joints, could possibly struggle on but the image of falling to the floor to dismount kind of takes away some of the appeal of riding again, that bloke is too fussy I hear someone say but while my ego is considerably reduced these days I do yet retain a little bit.
Onward and upward, albeit slowly and carefully ????
18/05/2017 16:03:56 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
If I was looking for a new big bike I'd certainly be considering something like the Honda CB1100..... ...
19/05/2017 10:38:58 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Or maybe even a Bonneville.

There are lots of more sensibly sized 125s but physically too small for me (and unlikely to be able to drag me along).
19/05/2017 10:40:03 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Regrettably it seems that ageing riders who struggle to throw a leg over are perhaps not the target market these days. The Z250SL has not sold well in the UK due to our perception that biggest is best. It has sold in Australia for example because there it's a learner legal machine and in the East as it's just about affordable. I suppose both these markets are filled with people trying to resemble Rossi and Marquez hence the styling.

Here in the UK you are supposed to fall into one of 4 categories. Firstly you've watched "Long Way Round" and want to look like you're about to tour the world when really you're out posing. Secondly You've just watched MotoGP and WSB and you want to look like you're doing 180mph when really you're out posing. Thirdly you once watched "Easy Rider" and you want to look like you're well 'ard when really you're out posing. Finally you once hankered after a Norton or BSA in your youth and now you've cut the apron strings you want something with classic styling that won't scare the wife.

There is a fifth category. You're a commuter and you're not really "into" motorcycles therefore you won't mind riding a scooter style machine or a CG125 look-alike. I won't have a bad word said against the scoots though - they may not have the style that motorcyclists like but they sure are great motorcycles these days.
19/05/2017 15:13:51 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I doubt this would be your thing John (or Ian) but speaking of excellent scoots how about Honda's X-ADV? ...
19/05/2017 15:17:35 UTC
Henrik said :-

238 kg, small wheel's, lots of body-parts to scratch and break in pieces

That's an adventure for sure :-)
20/05/2017 08:15:35 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Shhhhh! Don't spoil the illusion Henrik! Remember it's only pretend.

Anyhow despite it's shortcomings in the off-road department it still looks like a funky bike.
20/05/2017 09:33:34 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Yes, can't really see the point. All style and no substance.
20/05/2017 09:35:38 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Underneath the scooter clothing is basically an NC750. Long stroke motor, single point injection, low revving, frugal and so far seemingly reliable. Screw locknut tappets, 8k service interval. Dual clutch transmission with auto/semi auto gearbox. 17" front wheel. Storage.

Come on - as far as modern machines go this is about as practical as it gets.
20/05/2017 10:01:11 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
"as far as modern machines go this is about as practical as it gets."

Maybe that's true. In which case I'll stick to my obsolete bikes.

Oh, hang on - that's what I'm doing anyway......
20/05/2017 10:51:50 UTC
Borsuk said :-
Must admit I am in the same camp as Henrik regarding the scoot. Small wheels + lots of plastic + off roadingish = years before bedtime I think.
I am somewhere between groups 4 & 5. I did like the looks of the old bikes back in the day so I want something with classic looks, modern reliability, easy access for repairs and maintenance, light handling with a comfortable riding position with my legs below me not stuck out in front like cruiser's have and a decent mpg and range without having a crazy tank size.
The CB 1100 is a good looking bike and if they did it in 500 cc it would be on my shortlist. If it was air cooled as well it would be near the top. As it is it has a bigger engine than my car and probably less mpg so the miser in me is not impressed.
Did the falling to the floor to dismount thing on Tuesday night. The road and I had an argument earlier and by the time I got back my right hand side had stiffened to the point where my right leg wouldn't? take any weight or lift up, it normally drags over the seat anyway when dismounting but it was on strike completely. So the neighbour held the bike steady while I crawled off, not the most embarrassing moment of my life but I wouldn't like to have to do it every time I dismounted. Still wondering why I am putting myself through all this. Back to work tomorrow so sorting out the bike will have to wait till next time I get back.
20/05/2017 13:19:02 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Oh, and with regard to categories - you've missed those of us who've been riding for 50 years or so and don't try to emulate anybody at all (except maybe Geoff Duke or Sammy Miller in my more unrealistic moments).
20/05/2017 13:51:35 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Borsuk - you can get later versions of my NC31 "Big One" Super Four eg like the link below. It's effectively a mini version of the CB1100.

But I know you're not interested in used bikes...... ...
20/05/2017 15:34:50 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I listed the categories you're supposed to fall into Ian, the ones manufacturers create motorcycles for. If you're going to be awkward and not be in one of these categories then I'm afraid there ?won't be any motorcycles suitable for you. I imagine you are deeply upset and distressed by this.

What is genuinely frustrating is if your body doesn't neatly place you into one of these categories. To tall, too short, too stiff and too old.

I think I'll start "Ren's Adaptations". It'll be a place where you can bring your motorcycle of choice and have it adapted to suit your physical requirements. It will be extremely expensive and the workmanship will be appalling, regular readers have seen my engineering skills.
21/05/2017 06:24:57 UTC
John said :-
Henri, Borsuk, Ian and Renew, good points made by all of you thank you for helping me think wider
I perhaps should have been clearer on my parameters.
Budget, £4000
Weight, around 170kg but better and safer at 130 - 150. Heavier is fine when moving but I have to get the bike up and down a slab sized path to store it, tree's one side and a drop, varying from nothing rising to around 30cm, already managed to drop the Benelli scooter I had first to find out if I could still manage to ride, currently have a Chinese Lifan 200 trailbike which is good for the weight but does carry it high, also vibey at 50 to 60.
I sat on the Honda CB 1100 at motorcycle live and loved it but way-outside my budget.
Honda NC 700 I tried around a dealers yard, would love this, much easier to ride than my lifan but pushing it around would be a problem.
Do any of you know anything about a Herald 450 seen as a prototype at 2015 motorcycle live?
Sorry this is so long only realised when reading back through so cutting it off now. ...
21/05/2017 06:50:34 UTC
John said :-
One bike I forgot to mention, Sym wolf 250, five years warranty and great build quality but I can't get a test ride so am reluctant to put money down on speculation
Cheers all
21/05/2017 06:53:47 UTC
Borsuk said :-
John: Haven't seen anything about a 450 from them, only the 125's and 250 versions. The do look quite tidy I must admit.

Ian. The 400 looks good. I would prefer a new bike but if push comes to shove and I find the one I really really want is used then if necessary I would get it and do it up as required. That option is in my list right alongside chewing my leg off to escape from a meeting at work. Not as low as you might expect as I always carry some tomato sauce with me just in case I need more flavour.
Maybe I could employ you to restore it and Pocket Pete to feed you. ;-)
21/05/2017 09:25:13 UTC
Sharon said :-
One thing to remember is that with the high rear seats on many modern bike you do not have to go up and over. Rather than trying to get your leg over maybe the oldies need to accept a leg through is your best bet. :-)
21/05/2017 09:29:06 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Sharon: leg through is even harder when the hips & knees get to an advanced state of seizure..... which is why eventually a super scott (or maybe a C90!) may beckon.

Borsuk: I believe the Super Four is available new in Japan, south east Asia and Australia (see link) but whether it's possible / feasible to import I have no idea. Maybe if your maritime voyages take you out that way you could sneak one aboard? ...
21/05/2017 09:35:07 UTC
Mike said :-
Andy mentioned he's fitted the Givi Tank Ring to his 250SL. I use the same system and would like to do the same. However, I've looked online and I can't see a specific ring for the 250SL. Which one did you use Andy? I guess it was for another Kawasaki motorcycle?
24/05/2017 20:36:11 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I'm 90% sure something like the Z300 will be of similar size - but not 100%. If I were you Mike I'd pop down to your local Kawasaki dealers with a tape measure or a cardboard cut out of your tank ring and compare it with the other Kwakkers.
25/05/2017 09:31:52 UTC
Borsuk said :-
Just had a close look at the CB1100RS, and it is air cooled which surprised me. Never realised something that size would be air cooled. Me likey. Me maybe bin self imposed size restriction. Me better stop drooling over keyboard. Might have a wander round to the local Honda shop when i get back and see how near my feet come to the floor.
06/06/2017 23:21:12 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
BORSUK! Test first will ya? Concentrate man, focus, don't start coveting flashy new motorcycles until you have that full licence. I found when I was an instructor that even the most mature, calm and cool customers would pile pressure upon themselves by building massive dreams of delightful machinery.

I have been labouring under the misconception that large capacity air cooled motorcycles were nigh-on impossible to engineer due to modern emission levels. Seemingly not, I wonder how difficult it was for Honda to achieve this.
10/06/2017 07:32:36 UTC
Martin said :-
Hi Ren/Sharon,

Thanks very much for your excellent website. I have been ogling the Z250sl for a couple of years now since I parted with my Rieju 125. Like you I prefer a smaller lighter bike and rode a 125 to work for years. I went on an enduro experience day a couple of years ago and rode a KLX 250 which has a similar engine to the Z250 and loved it so I was really pleased when the Z250sl came out. Reading your blog encouraged me to take the plunge and I have ordered my bike today for delivery in September. Hope you are enjoying your riding.
23/08/2017 17:28:41 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
OH heck! I'm panicking now, what if Martin doesn't like the Z250SL we've recommended? Is he going to come and find me and tear a strip off me? I'm going into hiding.

That's great Martin. We'd like to hear how you get on with your new Kwakker. We are enjoying our riding far too much this year, we're spoling ourselves.
24/08/2017 10:52:10 UTC
Martin said :-
Hello Again Ren and Sharon.

Well the big day finally arrived and my shiny new Z250sl arrived today. First impressions were that yes it is small but just a little bigger than most 125s. Wheeling it around it felt much like my old GS125 which I did about 27,000 miles on. Love the green metallic paintwork. The delivery driver assured me that I had chosen the best make for quality and long lasting reliability as he is a Kawasaki fan himself. I chose to have the bike delivered from Kawasaki Preston as its a long way to ride at 40 mph which equates to 4000 rpm in top gear, especially as the M6 is just about the only choice and a single rail fare from Holyhead was £55 as against £100 for delivery. I do remember riding my GS125 when it was new in 2001 from Aylesbury back to North Wales at a steady 30 mph and would not wish to repeat that experience. Z250sl's are a bargain bike at the moment with a large discount and 0% finance on offer. I was very pleased with the service I received also. As it was a nice sunny day I thought I would start putting some miles on the bike. First trip was a short one to fill up with unleaded at my local Texaco garage as I avoid supermarket fuel where possible, don't want to gum up the Kawa with that nasty supermarket gunge. Having accomplished this and noted how easy the bike is to manoeuvre I returned home and got kitted up fully for a longer ride. Lucky I did as about fifteen miles into the ride it positively threw it down. This didn't bother the Kawa but I ended up with wet drawers, evidently my 20 year old over trousers are no longer waterproof. Have to say that riding at 4000 rpm in top is a pain especially as the engine does not like pulling at anything below 3000 rpm. This leaves a narrow power band to ride within needing lots of gear changes to avoid either labouring the engine or over revving it. I am very much looking forward to completing the bikes first 500 miles as it takes a lot of concentration to keep the engine revs in the correct band. While I did not have much opportunity to test the bikes handling and braking particularly as the tyres are new I did find the bike vice free and the brakes fine with no snatching though I have not yet needed to stop in a hurry. As other reviews have mentioned the pillion seat looks very like an instrument of torture though the rakish angle of the rear end of the bike does make it look very sharp. So far I am very pleased with the bike, need to get some miles in now.
13/09/2017 17:33:17 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Check the manual for the run in schedule Martin, I don't remember going quite that slowly with Sharon when she first collected the little Zed. Anyhow you'll soon have those miles rattled off.

Will you be taking the bike back to Preston for its services? That's a fair trip I hope there's someone local for you.

Whoop whoop!! New bike time is a good time. We're currently camped in Tywyn so we're only down the road tonight :)
13/09/2017 19:10:26 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Martin,
Huge congratulations on your new Kawasaki Z250SL. How exciting. I am looking forward to your future updates.
I kept to the 4000 revs for the first outing of 50 miles. After that I allowed it to go up to 5000 so 50 mph as I was waiting to get to the 500 mile mark. Not constant but I did not worry too much about not going over 40mph.
You will get far more from the bike once you are allowed to open that throttle. That will put a grin on your face for sure.
I am still surprised by what my Kawasaki is capable of. Strong head wind the other day on the motorway going to Wales did not bother her at all.
I have 9000 miles on mine now. Probably due an updated review. I still love her, more than ever actually. Despite what some people may have advised I am sure not bored with her.
Hope you love yours just as much.
14/09/2017 19:25:54 UTC
Martin said :-
Hi Ren & Sharon,

Thanks for your kind words. I am in the process of moving house at the moment so this evening was my first opportunity to get back on the bike. I have now doubled my mileage to 75 as it was dry on Anglesey tonight. I cannot help thinking how much like my old GS125 the bike is, it just feels so natural as if I wasn't having to get used to a new bike. It definitely feels as if there is going to be a lot more poke once I can start using the revs. One further thing that is a decided improvement over the GS is the seat, thin it may be but its a sight more comfortable than the old 125. About fifty miles was all I could manage on the Suzy but tonight after 37 miles I didn't feel it was going to become uncomfortable. My longest run is likely to be around a hundred miles so I am hoping to be able to do that without having to stop for a "comfort" break. The nearest Kawasaki dealer to Anglesey is in Denbigh so I will probably take it there once I have done the miles. Yes, Sharon I am sure I am going to love this bike. Its just so manageable and a pleasure to ride. Hope you enjoyed your camping weekend in Tywyn. I always fancied a Ducati 250 single because they were fast and economical though you could break a leg trying to start one apparently, the Z250sl is a fairly close match to the Ducati on performance and economy and of course has the advantage of electric start and probably far superior electrics. I feel its what motorcycling should be about, I just don't "get" the need for multi cylinders and car size engine capacities. Perhaps I am missing something?

Happy Biking
19/09/2017 19:56:13 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Most of the need for bigger, faster and more powerful engines stems from a need to prove one's manhood?

As I said in the review the Z250 is the very essence of motorcycling. Unless you're over 6 feet tall or you need mega luggage then it's all you'll ever need.

I'm saddened to see that Kwak have chosen the 300 motor for their new small adventure style offering. I understand why, in a world of numbers the 300 numbers are bigger. It's just the 250 single motor is better in the real world. We're in a minority Martin.
20/09/2017 21:03:05 UTC
Keith m said :-
Why don't you prefer the z250 engine over the z300 Ren? As an owner of a z300 I really like it.
24/09/2017 16:20:33 UTC
Keith m said :-
Sorry. That should read why do you prefer the 250 to the 300.
24/09/2017 16:21:53 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Keith. The Z300 engine needs to be revved to access the power. The 250 lump just gives power at the first turn of the throttle. The 300 beats the 250 on power, no doubt about that but I always prefer my engine to respond immediately rather than waiting for the revs to rise or dropping gears.

It is of course a personal thing. Many riders revel in winding up the engine to feel that surge of power and some prefer the softer less aggressive bottom end as it makes town riding easier. Just not me!
25/09/2017 06:28:55 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
So a side valve as we were discussing earlier would suit you down to the ground......

Related to this, I'm really enjoying the Guzzi after the Honda 4. It's a delight to be able to take off with virtually zero revs and feel it "pushing" me along with the clutch almost immediately fully home rather than with the Honda needing 4,000 rpm and copious clutch slipping to get off the line.

The Honda definitely had its plus points but I much prefer the old style approach. Maybe an age thing.....

Mind you once the Norton is on the road I expect I will see the Guzzi as something of a revver.
25/09/2017 09:02:21 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I had my Super Four when I was instructing. It was ideal for that as the soft bottom end made the relentless town work easy. That bike could be U-Turned on a dime.

Would I be correct in thinking old Brit thumpers that were low revving would have rather large flywheels? In comparison to modern motorcycles at least. When I see an old single ride past thudding out the occasional power stroke I know my modern machine would slap the chain and shudder to an ungraceful halt.
25/09/2017 14:42:55 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Yes indeed - both large and heavy - and that's exactly what the Honda didn't have hence the very sensitive throttle response.

"Modern" Japanese thumpers like the SLR650 / Dominator etc also have very light flywheels so can't be plonked like the old Nortons, Matchlesses etc. So as you say, low revs = a lot of juddering and clattering.

One reason why I struggled with low speed riding at first with modern bikes as I'd never needed to learn how to slip the clutch and keep the revs up. And to be honest, I still don't really like it even though I know modern clutches are built to take it.

BTW you didn't answer my question about CG125 indicator switches.......
27/09/2017 09:53:46 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
And as well as the big / heavy flywheels (for example the Norton's is around 10 Kg) you also have undersquare engines (Norton is 79 x 100mm) giving high piston speeds at low rpm, generally lowish compression ratios (Norton 7:1), small carbs and inlet valves (Norton carb 1 1/16" - say 27mm) - which are almost dictated by the narrow bore. All these combine to give an engine with a very flat torque curve which will pull very well from low revs but run out of puff at higher rpm.

In the early 1950s Norton's Manx 500, which by then had around square cylinder dimensions, was putting out in the region of 50 bhp but very much at the expense of low speed pulling and needing a megaphone exhaust system to give a usable power band. 30 years later, 100 bhp / litre was commonplace in road bikes, although almost all very oversquare and multi cylinder, many with 4 valves per cylinder.

It's almost always a trade off between flexibility and ultimate power although things like variable valve timing can help.
27/09/2017 13:09:03 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
You'll have to remind me regarding the CG125 indicator switches Ian?

I find it a little frustrating that nearly all engine development in the motorcycle world until very recently has been performance driven. "MORE POWER" is the cry. Not more usability or more economy. I know I'm not in the majority here so I'm peeing into the wind.

So I need to find a sidevalve 500 with a massive flywheel that fires once every lamppost. Of course it must also be fuel injected, economical and reliable. Hang on, I think there's a dumper truck diesel that might fit that description...
27/09/2017 17:50:34 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
CG125 indicator switch - I did send you an actual email but you're probably too busy....

The question is whether the indicator is the usual push to cancel or whether you have to manually centre it.

The reason for asking? The Guzzi switchgear is notoriously poor - the indicator in particular has a travel of about 3mm between off and each direction, allied with a dim warning light. So you can ride along for ages trying to cancel it without overshooting.

Plus the horn / light flasher are operated by the same button, which is a rocker affair - push one side for horn, other for flash. A recipe for disaster if you're approaching a junction and want to give a quick beep but end up flashing someone out, especially if you're still indicating left from the last attempt to cancel......

So I'm looking for an alternative but it must also have a light switch as such which rules out most recent larger bikes as they have permanent headlight on. I suppose I could live with that but prefer not to. The CG125 seems to fit the bill, although there are dozens of cheap Chinese switches for around £6. I did try one but it was incorrectly wired, and also didn't have the push to cancel feature. I asked you as the recognised authority on small bikes....

WRT the side valve, I'm sure it would be relatively easy to adapt the FI system from one of the Chinese Honda 400 clones eg the Mash to fuel something like a 16H or M20. All you need is a few sensors and a 12v system to power everything. And just think of the admiring glances you'll get rolling up at your local café on such a beast! In terms of economy and even performance, such a machine would probably equal a modern 125. And as for reliability, they were used in hundreds of thousands in WWII and despite the worst Hitler and ham-handed squaddies could dish out most kept going.
28/09/2017 09:38:21 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Oh, and you will of course be aware of the diesel powered Enfields. ...
28/09/2017 09:39:45 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
The CG125 switchgear I once had in a box in my shed was a rocker type indicator switch which you had to manually centre. The CG125 ran for YEARS so later versions may have the push-to-cancel system.

Most light switches - as in off-park-on were on the throttle side before the always on lights became almost universal. There were only a few Jap bikes that had an actual light switch on the same side as the indicators. You could of course just fit a switch under the tank or something if you INSIST in being able to turn the lights off.

I think this is what you'll be looking for - this is from a CB Hornet 160R which is an Eastern model, not for sale in the UK

CB160R switchgear
29/09/2017 14:34:06 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
There are similar units for UK models but what sets this one apart is the flash button, most small motorcycles don't have a flash.

Now...Sharon's Keeway does have a flash and push to cancel and even a proper dip/main beam switch rather than the silly button. It does lack the actual light switch on the left side as this is on the right. Hmmmmm...
29/09/2017 14:37:18 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Not that bothered about a flash which is always tempting to use to "reprimand" someone. And of course the HC states that it should never be used to "let someone out"......

This is the kind of thing I will probably get (link to ebay item below) although I may risk a few quid on another Chinese one. ...
29/09/2017 14:47:02 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I'm sure you'll find something suitable. How well made are the rest of the electricals?
29/09/2017 21:11:34 UTC
Borsuk said :-
My bike light switches are set up the same as Sharons, including flash switch.
Might be an Asian market thing.
30/09/2017 01:31:29 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
The wiring and connectors are standard stuff but the switchgear is fairly poor. Starter motor (a huge car-style thing) is Valeo and much of the ignition is Bosch so should be fairly reliable. But as it's all 30-odd years old it needs a good going over. There are some well-documented shortcomings including fuse box and starter relay which will receive attention.

Tank and other painted parts are off ready to take to the painter when I return from our trip to Greece, and stainless exhaust system also stripped to be taken to be polished.

Borsuk - I think that is the fairly standard layout for most bikes these days. I don't want to change the right hand switch however as it's integral with the twistgrip. Not the best layout......
30/09/2017 09:25:51 UTC
Martin said :-

Gentle readers you may be shocked to learn that after one month of ownership of my Z250sl I have still only covered 160 miles. My excuse is that I am in the throes of house moving and spend only half my time where the bike is and am busy all day on house chores. This week I have managed just one evening outing, on Tuesday it was very windy on this sceptred isle but it was dry. I took the bike out for about a 40 mile run (sticking mostly to the 4000 rev limit being a boring old git - 64). I was really pleased that the bike was not at all troubled by side winds, I remember a Suzuki GSX600F which I used to own (didn't like it, too heavy) on a trip across the island being leant over at about 10 degrees all the way to Bangor and all the way back but then it was rather a slab sided device. Must admit I do find it difficult to keep below 4000 rpm when accelerating away from a stop (there do seem to be an awful lot of roadworks about at the moment) as it doesn't take long to get from 3 to 4k. I was a little disappointed to find that the low fuel indicator began flashing as 160 miles came up, I had brimmed the tank when I first rode it but had not noted the amount put in the tank and the owners manual does not state the tank capacity. I had hoped for a 200 mile range, especially when riding the bike as gently as I have been with the speed restriction in force. Perhaps the tank is smaller than I thought or the engine is still "tight" and the economy will improve as the mileage increases. Have to say its a really nice bike.
12/10/2017 14:54:59 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Sharon finds she's ready to refuel around the 160 mile mark but that's being over cautious. We estimate around 90 - 100 mpg but then Sharon is only 7.5 stones and offers little wind resistance.

There really is only one way to get those revs up - you're going to have to put the miles on! I'm sorry but I don't accept excuses such as moving house or not being where the bike is. I suggest using the 250 to move house. You can bungee the settee onto the back seat and put the fridge on top of that, I'm sure you'll be just fine.
12/10/2017 15:30:00 UTC
Martin said :-
Thanks Ren,

Had not thought of that, I am around 14 st so that must make a difference. good idea about using the bike to move house, I wonder if I could fit a sidecar? I will cancel the van. Its dry again tonight so will have to get out there again. I just realised that after the 500 mile service I am supposed to keep to 6000 rpm for the next 500 miles, not too bad on A roads. At least I will be able to use it for longer trips then. Just found out the tank capacity is 11 litres so almost 2.5 gallons. Its not really a problem anyway as I wont be doing more than 100 miles at a go. Happy Biking.
12/10/2017 16:11:17 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I think a sidecar fitted to the Z250SL would be perfect! Sharon could take all the outfits and hair dryers and shoes she could ever want. That's it, that's my next business venture - sidecars for 125 and 250cc motorcycles. Thanks Martin, I'm going to be a millionaire!

Yeah 11 litres. When Sharon's starting to panic and flap because there's only 1 bar left on the fuel gauge I tell her to chill but she won't. When we pull into a station and she puts 7.5 litres in that means there's still at least 3 litres left, enough for 60 miles I reckon.

Are you moving far or a local move?
13/10/2017 08:02:49 UTC
Martin said :-
Hi Ren,

Good luck with your sidecar business, don't forget that's how William Lyons started out and look where he got to. I refilled the tank carefully and worked out the bike is doing around 90 mpg, perhaps that will improve once the engine has bedded in a little. Then again I wont be riding so gently. Life has been pretty hectic recently so the mileage is still only just over 300, that includes a 100 mile trip to the Kawa's new home near Oswestry in Shropshire. I did that yesterday and managed the trip without a comfort break so the bike is definitely more comfortable than the GS125 which was agony after 50 miles. The bike is a delight on twisty A roads like the A5 through Snowdonia and I think the tyres are fine, it doesn't seem bother by leaves on the road or wet conditions. I am hoping to get the mileage up to the required 500 for the first service before the frost starts and salt is on the roads.
26/10/2017 07:07:58 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
90mpg sounds pretty good to me Martin. You might get a little more as the motor settles in and stop doing wheelies on the A5.

Yeah it's a cracker in the twisties. It feels like a planted 125 with the extra zip of power to pull you back up to highway speeds. Sharon was perfectly happy with the Dunlops on hers so that's good.

Will you put it away from winter to keep it all clean and shiny or risk the greasy salty roads?
26/10/2017 12:47:47 UTC
said :-

31/10/2017 13:32:33 UTC
Martin said :-

As I said I will try to get the first service out of the way before the frosts arrive but you're right, I wont be taking it out on salty roads. Luckily where the bike is now there are lots of minor roads which wont get salted so if I do get the odd good day I hope to take advantage of it. Come next spring I will then be able to use the bike to its full potential. I seem to spend a lot of time on the A5/A49 borders route so next summer the bike will come into its own as passing caravans and artics will be much easier on a small, agile bike than it is in a car.
31/10/2017 14:01:56 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Well Martin we had the first frosts this week so you might be a little late to avoid them. I've not seen any gritters out so far though. Don't you be getting too giddy with the overtaking, we'll have none of the shenanigans I witnessed this morning. A pair of riders on remarkably ordinary 90's bikes pulled a right idiot's trick in a rush to get past an articulated truck, I was fearful I'd be approaching a mess. Luckily they got away with it.
01/11/2017 10:29:16 UTC
Martin said :-
Hi Ren,

No, I always stick to legal speeds so no crazy overtaking though I have to admit trying to pass artics on A roads with a GS125 was challenging! Hopefully I can maintain a reasonable cruising speed on the Z without having to resort to silly overtaking manoeuvres. The extra power should make all the difference. As you say the first frosts are upon us, it might be a challenge to get the next 200 miles on before the gritters are out. Luckily my house moving activities are now drawing to a close for the moment so I hope to get back on the bike shortly. Your allusion to the two bikers reminds me that bikes in groups can tend to start doing silly things "to keep up". Personally I have never indulged in group riding though ex colleagues of mine did and the tales of what they got up to did nothing to encourage me to join in. As they all had 600s or larger I thought that was one more reason to sell my 600 which I never liked anyway in case I agreed to join them in a moment of weakness! Do you and Sharon ride all year round? I did while using the 125 for commuting and to be fair the GS stood up to the punishment well considering. As the Z is brand new and I don't need it for everyday travel I intend to treat it with consideration particularly as Kawasaki may not continue to import them here, this bike may have to last me for the remainder of my biking career. Happy biking.

04/11/2017 21:21:44 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Sharon and I ride all year round. Sharon doesn't use her bike during the working week though whereas I use my bikes for commuting as well as pleasure. Sharon has a strict and thorough cleaning policy, I tend to wash the odd bits here and there if I'm bored. If you look around you'll see the CBF125 is something of a mess. It's had a hard hard life.

Group riding can be fine if IF if the group is a sensible group. Keeping a group together is a nightmare so it helps greatly if everyone knows where they're going. Sharon and I ride together a lot and we have our protocols - primarily NEVER EVER sacrifice safety to keep up. In this day and age of mobile phones if we get separated we can easily get back together again. I'll sometimes scoot off ahead on a set of fun bends then ease off, she'll only be a few seconds behind me.

You'll find the Z will achieve legal speeds without issue. It will also get to those legal speeds very sharply too. As such at legal speeds it's as fast as any 600 in the right hands. While I'm not exactly "Rossi" I move along nicely enough and Sharon has no problem keeping pace.

I enjoy the ride and the scenery if there's vehicles slowing me down. I'll only overtake when I'm quite sure I'm happy, if in doubt chicken out.
06/11/2017 11:16:46 UTC
mick austin said :-
22/12/2017 12:42:06 UTC
Sharon said :-
HI Mick,

New bike how exciting. We shall look forward to hearing how you get on with your errr "New toy". I am not sure my own Kawasaki Z250SL Envy would appreciate being called a toy so we shall whisper that quietly. :-)

I sincerely hope that you enjoy the bike so much that those few hundred miles you are planning a year become a few thousand at least. It breaks my little heart when bikes are not out having fun all the time. That said maybe I could buy it off you one day as a super low mileage bike at a bargain price ehh wink wink.
22/12/2017 14:46:03 UTC
Phasmatis said :-
I bought one 18 months ago to commute to work on, only a short journey of 4 miles each way but absolutely love it! Just had 600 mile service but am seriously considering taking it to Europe and leaving my big toys in the garage!
21/02/2018 05:46:41 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Just wait until it has 2-3 thousand on it Phasmatis. At 600 miles the motor hasn't loosened up yet. It'll happily drag you around Europe.
21/02/2018 15:59:57 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Phasmatis,

My Kawasaki Z250SL is 19 months old and now has over 10,000 miles on her. Pure pleasure miles I use the car for the commute.
As Ren pointed out there is even more pleasure to comes once the bike is fully run in at around the 2000 mile mark. As you have discovered this little bike is very addictive. It is so much more than you would expect. I adore mine(hmmm must do i review update, sorry folks to much fun riding rather than writing)
As for taking it to Europe YES do it. I am taking mine to Spain this year. It handled the NC500 route in Scotland no problem at all. The Kawasaki is very versatile and just a absolute pleasure to ride.

24/02/2018 09:12:53 UTC
Steve from Essex. said :-
Hi Ren and Sharon.loved your reviews of the Kawasaki, have had mine about 3 months now and absolutely love it!. Fantastic fun to ride a small capacity bike quickly and don't miss my 2017 aprilia tuono factory as I could never get on the thing without going 100mph every time I opened the throttle!. Felt awful to ride slow. My 250 sl is so much fun, so light and nimble and capable of exceeding the legal limit far quicker than you expect can keep up with anything in tight twisty stuff with the strange sensation of no great lean angles needed. I think that is due to the fairly narrow back tyre. Would recommend the SL to anybody and cheap to buy and run. Forget the engine capacity you dont need it unless luggage and pillions are involved. Just get one you wont regret it.
17/03/2018 05:22:51 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Cheers Steve. That's a fair old comparison against a Tuono ain't it.

If you plan to keep your licence the Z250SL is more than fast enough. In fact now Sharon's got to grips with the bike it's nigh-on impossible for me to leave her behind when I'm on my 500 if I'm to keep to the speed limits. With the smaller motor I find it to be more thrilling, I feel like I'm actually riding the bike, pushing it and working it rather than gently tickling the throttle.

It doesn't eat tyres, the chain is lasting well and it returns good fuel economy too. Save for the luggage it's ideal.
17/03/2018 13:55:28 UTC
craig said :-
hi ,thanks for your great comments on here about the 250sl.
I've been drawn to one of these machines due to lightweight, the frame design, and the single cylinder engine.
I've been riding for many years and own a gsx750f and a gp100.
I get more enjoyment from riding a small lightweight bike like to gp than the gsx750 anyday.
I find a lightweight machine a more involving ride and the thrill of keeping corner speed and the engine working to its maximum a true pleasure which is often lost on a big machine.
It amazes me how many so many people are willing to snub these style of machines as they aren't of 1000cc nature.
I'm a fan of anything on 2 wheels and I'm willing to give most bikes a try.
I think the uk bike market is missing a trick with these bikes and its a shame it hasn't been more popular. I remarked to the Kawasaki rep in the shop the other day that these machines will be future classics, he practically laughed me out of the store!
Sadly the new euro 4 emmisions regs and poor uk sales has finished this motor and Kawasaki aren't selling the klr250 anymore in Europe.
I was going to buy one,maybes I'll buy 2 now lol .....
Kind regards,

26/03/2018 19:45:43 UTC
craig said :-
as above
Kawasaki stopping the klr250,250sl etc as they share the same motor albeit in different tune....
26/03/2018 19:50:45 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Kawasaki has turned the original 2 cylinder Ninja 250 into the 300 and now the 400. It's a bit like Vauxhall's Corsa. That was a small car, now it's a medium sized car. Or the Mini. Or the Fiat 500. And so on and so on.

Manufacturers are in the business of selling stuff. As such they need to keep on "improving" and "innovating" the products otherwise why would we the people buy a new one that's the same as the old one. When it comes to motoring it seems bigger is always better.

I am aware that it is slightly harder for large capacity single cylinder engines to meet the ever tighter emission regulations. I struggle to understand why a 250cc engine would struggle though - a 1000cc 4 cylinder motor is just 4 250cc engines in a row and they pass.

Until British, European and Western mentalities change we are destined to have a score of learner legal options (125cc in the UK) and a plethora of "big" bikes. The in-between capacities are deemed pointless, you're either a learner or a "proper" biker.

125cc is just enough, 250 is about right and 500 is excessive. But still we'll greedily devour over 100bhp and over 150mph motorcycles to use on congested roads with ever decreasing speed limits and rising fuel prices.
27/03/2018 11:20:34 UTC
Craig said :-
Agreed,I think a lot of big bike culture manifests from ego.
There's nothing more enjoyable than sticking with a 1000cc machine through the corners.
The look of astonishment when they realise it's a 250 or smaller is priceless!ok I'm sold,I'm going to order one,where else could you buy a dedicated lightweight sports bike for £3000ish brand new with a 2 year guarantee?
I will update you with my experiences soon.
Kind regards Craig ??
27/03/2018 14:05:45 UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
Yes, I quite agree Ren. For me the sweet spot is between 250 and 400cc. Light weight, punchy performance which is enough in the real world, and low running costs. Being a tight git, I've owned far more bikes in this range than any other, although a close second comes the 125/150cc class which I've also owned a fair few of. I've only ever owned 4 bikes of greater than 500cc....
27/03/2018 15:39:47 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
The problem is that I'm preaching to the converted. The masses with the big is better mentality wouldn't be reading a "quaint" little blog about twee camping trips and biking on a budget. They'll have their copy of Performing Berks to entertain them.

Anyhow when Citizen Parker leads her glorious revolution there will be libraries with proper books on every corner and we'll all be issued with the "PeopleMotos 150". It will have a seat height of 600mm which may be an problem for tall people like Mr Soady.
28/03/2018 06:06:54 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I'm sure I'd be able to sort something out........

But then I wouldn't be having one of her new bikes anyway.
28/03/2018 09:07:45 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
You might not have a choice under the new regime.
28/03/2018 09:10:31 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I am sure that Sharon, as a committed democrat, will listen to reason.
28/03/2018 11:09:24 UTC

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