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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.


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 08:22:03 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 10:15:37 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 05:41:37 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 09:06:48 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 09:12:02 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 09:35:56 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 10:08:21 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 10:12:39 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 01:39:39 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 01:48:09 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 07:47:32 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 10:15:22 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 11:18:35 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 11:35:33 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 11:41:36 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 12:14:01 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 05:11:51 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 08:56:14 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 09:34:17 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 10:17:53 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 03:34:12 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 09:45:04 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 01:10:45 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 02:50:19 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 02:52:47 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 04:03:56 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 03:13:51 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 03:17:35 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 01:19:02 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 01:51:35 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 03:34:50 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 08:36:11 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 11:21:12 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 05:28:41 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 05:33:17 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 07:10:26 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 07:25:54 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 07:56:13 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 09:03:05 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 04:20:33 UTC
Keith m said :-
Sorry. That should read why do you prefer the 250 to the 300.
24/09/2017 04:21:53 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 02:42:55 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 01:09:03 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 05:50:34 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 02:34:06 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 02:37:18 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 02:47:02 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 09:11:34 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 02:54:59 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 03:30:00 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 04:11:17 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 01:32:33 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 02:01:56 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 09:21:44 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 02:46:03 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 03:59:57 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 01:55:28 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 07:45:43 UTC
craig said :-
as above
Kawasaki stopping the klr250,250sl etc as they share the same motor albeit in different tune....
26/03/2018 07:50:45 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 02:05:45 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 03:39:47 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
Dave said :-
I have a big Touring bike, big Trail bike and big Muscle bike and then I have my Z250SL. I know what puts the smile on my face on a daily basis as I commute to work, short hops to Europe are also great fun. As I get older and bikes get heavier I will certainly be hanging on to my Z250SL for many years to come :-)
21/04/2018 03:51:22 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I am of the opinion that when Kawasaki created the 300 Versys they used the wrong engine - or bike - for the underpinnings. The 300 is based on the Z300 and Ninja 300 twins. While there are many people enjoying the 300 I personally would like to have seen a Versys 250 single. Along with the (originally off road) 250 single motor if Kwak kept to the "SuperLight" philosophy a 250 single Versys would be fab. Bit like Honda's 250 Rally.

Hmmmmm...wonder if I could "Rally Raid" a Z250SL....
22/04/2018 05:49:08 UTC
martin said :-
Hi Folks,

Nice to see lots of comments from new Z250 owners on here. I feel quite embarrassed that I have to admit to not yet getting the magical 500 miles on my z250 yet. It was last August that I took delivery! Wednesday 11th April was the first day that the bike and myself were in the same place, the snow and the salt had finally gone and I had time for a first run on the bike this year. Amazingly the bike started first try as I had feared the battery might have died during the long hibernation. I only had time for a quick trip out for fuel and about a twenty mile run but it was great to get back in the saddle at last. This winter has been pretty bad for bikes so its a relief that its finally over. I am still short of the required 500 miles running in mileage but I am planning to clear that later this week with a 200 mile round trip after which I can take the bike for its first service and then enjoy 6000 rpm and 60 mph. Hope the weather forecast does not change too much before Thursday. Happy biking.
24/04/2018 06:25:27 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
You mean to say you're not a dedicated hardcore all year round and million miles rider Martin?! I'm shocked. Meh, just ride when it suits, I don't think it's a competition. it...?

If you're worried about the battery I'd suggest one of them there optimate charger thingies. Orrrrr...I have a solar powered trickle charger. It's not powerful enough to charge a flat battery but it keeps a charged battery topped up.

I'm afraid the forecast is wet although not too cold. Whereabout are you from Martin?
25/04/2018 11:48:14 UTC
martin said :-
Hi Ren,

Sorry, I have to own up. I am a fair weather biker. I did ride my GS125 to work for 7 years rain or shine but I bought the Z250 for fun rides on nice days. In my defence I did over 200 miles on the Zed yesterday and am now over the 500 miles mark. In fact I did call into the Kawa dealer in Denbigh yesterday afternoon to ask if they could fit me in for the first service but was told there is currently a three week wait for workshop services. I was even willing to take it there today in the rain but it was no go. It was quite frustrating riding the bike between 3000 and 4000 rpm yesterday as the bike just wanted to go! I was living in Anglesey as you may recall from months back but I have now relocated the bike to a nice dry garage near Oswestry. Unfortunately I now spend most of my time in South Wales but have nowhere secure to keep the bike there. I do have some quality time with the Zed about every couple of weeks and hopefully we will do more miles together now that the weather is more clement. Do you happen to know if I could take the bike to a non Kawa dealer for service without voiding the warranty? Nice idea on the chargers Ren, I will have to think about that for next winter.

Best Wishes

27/04/2018 01:14:03 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Fair weather biker! Pfffft. We only accept hardcore all year round 20,000 miles per year types here. We'll have none of your every now and then nonsense.

Meh, I don't care what you ride how you ride when you ride or what you ride - just as long as it makes you smile when you ride it.

Oswestry? South Wales? You ain't that far from us we'll have to meet up at the Ponderosa or somewhere one day. There's some smashing places in that there Welsh wales.

With regards to servicing. Please note I am not a lawyer - I can only provide the information as I understand it which may be incorrect. As long as the bike is serviced by a VAT registered qualified mechanic and genuine Kawasaki parts are used then the bike can be serviced by non-Kawasaki shops and still keep the warranty. This is to do with anti-competitive laws from what I know.

Having said this... If there were to be a problem and the bike has been serviced by Kawasaki dealers then there is little to no wriggle room for any arguments. If the bike has been serviced elsewhere despite the law being quite clear it gives Kawasaki an opportunity to argue the case.

It is entirely your choice and I would respect your decision either way.

A couple of things to note.

Sharon and I have had the first couple of services done by the shops we purchased from. Both bike are almost out of warranty now so we shall be servicing them ourselves from now on. We half-and-halfed both options.

The initial 600 mile services is basically an oil and filter change. The next service at 3,750 miles is primarily a safety check! The next at 7,500 is a full service including tappets. Don't get ripped off at the 3,750 mile service, basically they'll adjust the chain, check the oil and check for loose nuts. The 7,500 service is a full one, that will cost a bit.

Just because the dealer is Kawasaki don't expect them to be full and thorough. I can't speak for your dealer but there are couple of "bad uns" out there for all marques. Ask other bikers about the reputation of whoever will service the bike.
27/04/2018 03:57:19 UTC
martin said :-
Thanks Ren,

Thats pretty much what I thought would be the situation, same as cars really. I will try to get it booked in for a service with a Kawa dealer but if the wait is excessive then I might consider a local dealer. I have never bothered with dealer servicing previously, I simply serviced the bikes myself from new and never had any problem. For this bike however I took advantage of the 0% finance which stipulates the warranty must be maintained by dealer servicing. Thanks for the info on what the servicing involves, I looked in the handbooks but there is no such information. Is the Ponderosa at the top of the Horseshoe Pass? It would be nice to compare notes some time.

29/04/2018 09:11:13 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Cheers Martin. Now...Sharon got her bike on a 0% finance deal. I was not present when she arranged the deal because she's a big girl now. I don't recall her saying part of the 0% finance deal required that she must have the bike serviced by the dealer though. I ain't saying you're wrong, I'm just shocked they'd do that!

Sharon's handbook for her Kwak is quite comprehensive, it's practically a manual. Most handbooks show you what the clocks do and how to check the chain. Hers has details for removing side panels, wheel removal and quite a lot beside.

The Ponderosa is indeed the cafe atop of The Horseshoe Pass. It's a fine place but there are many other fine places around there too. We are open to suggestions.
30/04/2018 11:25:48 UTC
martin said :-
Hi Ren,

I think these Z250s must be one of the best buys on offer at the moment, I notice they are the same price as a Honda 125 commuter and with 0% finance. You cannot go wrong. I am sure I read the bit about servicing in the small print of the finance agreement, I know its sad that I actually read the fine print! According to the Kawasaki site the nearest Kawa dealer to my bike is in Newcastle Under Lyme, is that near your neck of the woods? I must admit I have not inspected the handbook closely, mine is in multiple languages. Yours may be in english only and more comprehensive. As to the Ponderosa or elsewhere, I retired two years ago which means my weekdays are mostly free but at weekends my good lady expects to spend time with me. She does not share my enthusiasm for two wheels and would certainly not entertain the Zed rear perch! Perhaps one evening towards the end of the week would suit? I will have to get my first service sorted.

30/04/2018 09:24:27 UTC
Keith m said :-
Re: warranty. Martin is correct in that to keep the warranty valid all services must be carried out by an authorised Kawasaki dealer.
30/04/2018 09:43:43 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Now I need to make this clear.

As far as I am lead to understand Kawasaki cannot force you to have the bike serviced by them to keep the warranty.

I imagine Kawasaki might be able to say "If you want this 0% finance deal you MUST have the bike serviced by us. We can't force you to have the bike serviced by us but as part of the 0% deal if you don't you'll void the warranty"

I'm just confused by it all. It's no longer important to Sharon as her bike is almost out of warranty by now.
01/05/2018 10:02:47 UTC
Keith m said :-
Sorry Ren misread the post about the finance deal insisting that the bike being serviced at a franchise dealer.
But have dug my Kawasaki service book and in it says. The warranty may not apply if the periodic servicing is not carried out by an authorized Kawasaki dealer etc etc.
So I thing MAY is the word here. Just as confused as you really.
01/05/2018 07:24:27 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
We'd need the help of someone who actually knows about these things...

02/05/2018 10:25:30 UTC
martin said :-
Yippee! The Kawa is booked in for its first service next Thursday. Having checked Kawasaki's list of dealers I was surprised to find that the closest dealer is actually in Newcastle Under Lyme just 30 miles away apparently. I dont think I have ever been there so that will broaden my horizons. Bet it rains all day, still I will find out what the tyres are like in the wet. Better give it a clean ready for its guest appearance at the dealers just in case they think I dont love it. Ren, what are your thoughts on chain lubrication? Should the chain be left dry or lubed so that it catches all the dust and grit? As delivered the chain was totally dry. I always used to apply spray grease to my chains but I am wondering if that is the best policy. Admittedly the chain on my GS125 lasted 7 years before needing replacement and I kept that greased. Would be interested to know what you think. Thanks.

03/05/2018 10:27:22 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Martin,
Wahoo first service. Time to up them revs. Barphhhh. Good times ahead.
I can assure you that the Kawasaki Z250SL stock tyres perform just fine in the wet so you should encounter no problems. Just observe the usual wet riding rules as in greater stopping distance and being aware of slippery surfaces, eg painted lines, grids, mud etc.
As for lube I will let Ren give you his opinion but I will add my own. Which will be pretty much the same as Ren's as he taught me. ALWAYS LUBE. Never run a bike on a dry chain,it could kink and seize.
I originally went against Ren's advice and used dry spray lubricant on my chain. As Ren predicted it was rubbish and my chain kinked. Once I converted to Ren's special lube formula I have never encountered a problem with my chains.
03/05/2018 11:56:03 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
How to look after a chain is an emotive subject! I think I'll do an(other) article on it. I am of the opinion that lubrication is necessary and I prefer a "wet" lube. You will no doubt at all come across many many other opinions though.

I'm glad your Kwakker shop ain't far away. I just hope they have somewhere to get a brew while you're waiting. The major service including tappets at 7,500 miles will require you to leave the bike overnight with them to let the engine cool down. Might be worth finding out what the public transport is like.
04/05/2018 07:02:30 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I think we've done chains and lubricants before - is there a link? (tee hee)

I can only repeat my experience with the Triumph Tiger 955i with its 105 bhp. I did 20,000 miles on this bike. The only lubricant I used was Wurth chain wax. I adjusted the chain precisely once in that time. I carefully checked the chain for wear and tight links shortly before I sold it and it was like new (X ring type).

Most of its miles were in the dry but I did have several very wet trips - each day after a wet run I'd give the chain a good spray with the wax.

I'm firmly of the opinion that O ring, and more particularly X ring chains don't need copious lubrication as the grease is locked in to the wearing surfaces. Old fashioned chains like those on my Norton are of course a different matter although thankfully we don't have to boil them in grease any more.

This is of course only my experience. Others may differ.
04/05/2018 09:56:39 UTC
Rod said :-
Interesting Ian, I have always used a mixture of melted grease and gear oil all of my biking life. Maybe I should try the spray wax? Is it cleaner?
04/05/2018 01:12:01 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Much cleaner. I always try to apply it just after a run so the chain is warm. Although now I am in the world of shaft drive all these things are behind me.....
04/05/2018 03:51:44 UTC
martin said :-
Thank you everybody for your helpful comments, I will have to use some sort of lubricant on my chain by all accounts. I expect I will go for some sort of spray as I dont do much mileage and it will probably be cleaner than straight oil. Thank you for your reassurance Sharon regarding the wet weather roadholding capabilities of the standard tyres, with my soon to be increased rate of progress thats good to know. Ren, good point about public transport when the major service comes up,will need to check on that.
08/05/2018 10:03:40 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Have you had the first service done now Martin?
09/05/2018 07:44:16 UTC
martin said :-

Got the first service out of the way! This is much more fun, I dont have to keep looking at the rev counter now or change gear quite so often. I am no longer in danger of being passed by Honda 50 step throughs and can even mix it with the less sporty 125's. Took the bike to Newcastle U Lyme this morning for its 600 mile service, after the service I rode to Holyhead. Not much fun on the dual carriageway but got there soon enough. The return trip was a blast as I came back to Oswestry by the A5 through Snowdonia, the bike is ideal for twisty A roads and I had great fun. The weather was kind too, more than I had hoped for. The instant surge from the engine is great for overtaking and I made up a lot of ground where there were road works and traffic lights, straight to the front of the queue. I will have to check when the next service is due having done nearly 300 miles today. I am going to love this bike.
10/05/2018 07:46:37 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
If memory serves me will Martin the next service is at 3750 miles and that's a check over service according to the manual.

It is a most delightful piece of kit isn't it. Just wait till it's fully run in and settled, then it'll make you smile even more.
11/05/2018 07:41:33 UTC
martin said :-
Well, the gloves are really off now. 1000 miles on the clock and no limitations on engine revs. This is so much fun, the only downside is that since I am not usually where the bike is located its going to be a while before the next service becomes due and probably not this year. The good news is that I seem to have a buyer for my old house on Anglesey so I just might be able to spend more time with the bike at the end of the summer. I have had no problems whatsoever with this bike and nothing was picked up at the first service so its all looking good. I have been wearing an open face helmet with visor because the full face helmet I used in my commuting days was prone to misting up in wet weather, I have not really tested the demisting qualities of the open face helmet but it certainly seems less mist prone if rather draughty. I recall having to ride in the dark in falling rain with my visor open with the full face as it was the only way I could see safely though another biker at work had some sort of double glazed visor which he claimed to be mist free though I never tried it. Does anybody have experience of these? Happy Biking.

03/06/2018 09:07:52 UTC
Ross said :-
martin said:- "another biker at work had some sort of double glazed visor which he claimed to be mist free though I never tried it. Does anybody have experience of these?"

Sounds like a Pinlock visor insert, they work better on some helmets than others, but usually make a big difference to visors steaming up but scratch and mark VERY easily I've found!
04/06/2018 07:38:36 UTC
Pocketpete said :-
Yes sounds like a public mine didn't really work o my schuberth helmet but my wife's she says is great on her m1 helmet.
04/06/2018 09:14:24 UTC
Sharon said :-
Yes fun time is now yours to be had. My own Kawasaki Z250SL now has over 12k on her so hopefully you will have many more trouble free miles to come your way.
As for the visor as other have said the double glazed system you describe is most likely a pinlock insert.
My most recent Shark helmet came with one but as I have no real problems with it misting up I have not bothered fitting it.
My previous Shark the Vision R was fantastic because you could open it a tiny notch and lock it. Never ever did that helmet mist up.
My current one the Skwal does open up a notch but does not lock into position so can become shut again when travelling at speed. However I simply nudge it open a crack again and any misting disappears. So far for me personally I have found all the Shark helmets I have had have not caused me a problem with misting.
However just because one person tells you a certain such a such helmet does not mist up for them does not guarantee the same for you. Because your head may be a different shape so air flow is different etc etc. It is one of the reasons I would love to be able to test ride helmets.

04/06/2018 12:55:06 UTC
martin said :-
Thanks Ross and Pete,

I will try a pinlock when I next buy a full face helmet, probably when the weather gets colder! Sharon, you have obviously made the most of your Zed putting 12k on in less than 2 years. Definitely puts me in the shade. What you said about head shape made me realise my problem is quite likely down to my rhinitis, most of the time I cannot breath through my nose! I will try wearing a thick balaclava or scarf under my helmet along with the pinlock. With the open face helmet its not a problem but I think I would prefer a full face helmet when the colder weather comes. I am hoping for a good run on my Zed next week as I need to go up to Anglesey once more, the A5 through the mountains is a delight in good weather and before the holiday season starts. Looking at my back tyre I can tell I have great confidence in the bike as its scrubbed most of the way across the tread. Anybody going to distant places on their 250sl this summer?
05/06/2018 09:13:55 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Martin - we've just got back from Northern Spain and Sharon was on her Z250SL. Is that distant enough for you?
06/06/2018 08:23:11 UTC
martin said :-
Hi Ren,

Yes, I am impressed. I see Sharon has a Kriega solution to her luggage problem now, must have been very handy for a long trip like that. How many stops did you make on the way down? I am assuming the ferry was not direct to Spain?
11/06/2018 08:49:08 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
If you keep an eye on the website martin the whole story will be revealed in the fullness of time. I hope you enjoy reading it.
11/06/2018 10:22:47 UTC
Bob said :-
I'd never actually seen a 250SL in the flesh until today.
They have one in at CMC (Clay Cross).
First impressions - my goodness it is absolutely tiny!
Strangely it didn't feel cramped for my 34" inseem legs and I really liked the look of it.
I did recognise the engine from my KLX, but obviously everything else felt very different indeed. It's slightly heavier than a KLX but the weight is of course much lower down.
I didn't get to ride it, but I'm sure that it would be absolutely demon on the twisties! I'm pretty hard to catch on my KLX, but on the SL without the limitation of long suspension, 21" wheel and knobbly tyres and with the advantage of decent brakes and sticky rubber I would be a GOD!
01/09/2019 06:37:12 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
It is essentially a 125 with a 250 motor in it so yes it's quite small. As for you being a motorcycle GOD!? I'm sure Rossi and Marquez could show you a thing or two.
02/09/2019 10:51:08 UTC
Bob said :-
Nah, they're just playing at it.....
02/09/2019 01:13:51 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I'd like to play at being a MotoGP racer. I hear the pay ain't bad.
03/09/2019 09:15:58 UTC
Martin said :-
Hi Ren,

Glad to see your blog is still here. Is Sharon still faithful to her Z250 or has she been lured onto something bigger? I am ashamed to say my z250 has hardly turned a wheel in 18 months and is unlikely to do so for a while now due to the virus restrictions. I spent the whole of 2019 completing my new house so saw little of the bike and the weather was not often good enough for a even a quick spin. In fact the bike is 67 reg with still less than 2k miles on the clock. I am now hoping to move the bike to my new address once the curfew is lifted (we are a hundred miles apart). I often used to think that a bike mag for lightweight bikes only would be a great idea as not everybody wants a multi cylinder high horsepower reptile. I used to enjoy reading Bill Fowlers UBG which was even to be found in WHS but haven't seen a copy of that in years. Dont know what happened to Bill or UBG, he did talk a lot of sense. Have to say your website goes a long way to fulfilling the need for a sensible bikers mag. Not been on here for a while, will have to catch up. Keep up the good work.

09/04/2020 04:29:46 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Cheers Martin! Sounds like you've been a busy boy. Sharon's still gotten "Zen" the Kwakker 250 with around 25,000 miles on the odometer now.

I used to read the UBG too when I were a lad. Obviously it was too tight to buy my own copy, I'd get hand-me-downs from friends which is probably why it's no longer in print. I... I do wonder if there's an online version these days? If not... hmmmmmmm...
09/04/2020 09:23:28 UTC
Martin said :-
Hi Ren,

I actually got that wrong, it was the Used Motorcycle Guide first published in 1986. I had a copy of the first issue bought from WHS I think. I was staggered by the amount of information therein with no punches pulled. The UBG was a later inferior copycat which later bought out Mr Fowlers original when apparently he went off to Bangkok. Why would anyone leave Cardiff for Bangkok? I found this out from a google search. Apparently there are quite a few issues digitised online. I passed my copies on to my elder son who is a bike nut and works as a riding instructor which he seems to enjoy apart from the idiot factor. Over the years I have periodically packed in biking a few times but always seem to come back to it. On this occasion it looks like I will have finished paying for the bike before it goes for its second service. The bike was an amazing bargain though at the price of a 125 with three years interest free. You cannot lose. I see new bikes are no longer on offer so I am glad I bought mine while they were available. Has Sharon had many issues with Zen? I would be grateful for any tips on what to look out for.

09/04/2020 09:43:37 UTC
Borsuk said :-
You can get it sent direct by email as well.
10/04/2020 01:08:18 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Ta Borsuk me duck.
Great link.
10/04/2020 10:16:07 UTC
ROD said :-
Zen? As an avid reader I thought the 250 was called envy.
Surely the 125 is Zen.

10/04/2020 10:57:12 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
It all comes flooding back to me Martin. Yes the UMG and UBG were very much in the same vane, the UMG was the original, comprising of, if I recall, the first part being contributions about ownership of a certain bikes from readers, the second part being a list of motorcycles with a summary of known issues and a very brief opinion.

It would terrify me, there never seemed to be any model that didn't have some tale of impending doom. From your fork seals going pop within 50 miles of leaving the shop through to conrods popping out of the crank cases after only 8,000 miles. Over the years I learned that motorcycles aren't actually that bad, it only takes 3 hooligans thrashing CB250T's and breaking them for a reputation to be ruined.

As for Zen - nope. Oh oh oh... where the neutral light switch goes into the crankcase just in front of the engine sprocket. The push-fit wire onto the stub of the switch is loose. This means no neutral light and the bike won't start. If you're on the road - wiggle it. We have since replaced the push-fit connector by soldering onto the switch and fitting a spade to connect to the harness.

Yes - good find Borsuk!

10/04/2020 11:05:32 UTC
Snod said :-
I love the UMG, it's one of the few places that actually experiences bikes the same way I do - with everything breaking in the constant rain. The only other place is here at BAT.

As for issues with the Z250SL, I've had a few; some bad, some not so bad. Its recent trick is rotten wiring and a burnt out stator, I should update my blog about it now I've been furloughed and have loads of free time. If only I weren't so very lazy..
10/04/2020 12:37:55 UTC
Martin said :-
Thanks Borsuk and Ren, thats what I was on about. What was different about UMG was they were not scared to offend dealers and manufacturers by pointing out the weaknesses in the bikes they reported on though as Ren points out it was difficult to find a bike they would recommend! Thanks for the tip about the neutral light switch Ren, could be a major cause of heartache that. Now if we can just get shot of this virus.

10/04/2020 04:57:48 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Not Zen NOT Zen. I've been on my own for far too long now. Zen is the 125, Envy is the 250. I am going Lockdown Loco.

Yeah Martin the UMG seemed a bit more "back room publishing" and all the better for it.

Snod - I have time on my hands and I am bored senseless and yet I can't seem to motivate myself forwards to do the things I could and perhaps should be doing. That said I've had the arc welder out several times, I have moved forwards from lumps of snot and bird poop to lumps of snot and bird poop that will actually hold 2 bits of metal together. I've been out on the mountain bike for exercise. And yet yes, without stimulus I struggle to find drive.

Beware of depression. It does not have to mean sitting in a corner of the room crying and wanting to die. It can merely be the slow creeping loss of enjoyment. Stay well folks from both Covid-19 and the daemons we all fight.
11/04/2020 08:27:25 UTC
Slacker said :-
Re: the UMG - amidst rapidly falling circulation figures, rather than close it Bill Fowler sold it to the Frank Westworth of the Used Bike Guide after Issue 96. He ran it for a couple of years (during which time the content went rapidly downhill) before selling it to Mortons, who closed it down in 2003.

The Yewemmgee site has been running for about 10 years now and is still being updated with new (old!) stories so always worth checking back. For those still interested in reading the writings of Mr. Fowler, he's back with a blog here:


12/01/2021 02:05:35 UTC
Snod said :-
Very interesting Slacker, I shall be reading that pronto!

Also interesting is the comments about the neutral switch connector above.. That might be why my bike suddenly decided not to run recently, and then seemed fine later.
12/01/2021 08:11:55 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
So Mr Fowler is still going! I'm glad to read that Slacker, cheers.
14/01/2021 12:36:39 UTC

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