I love this bike!!! I've owned it since this Spring and it's been amazing. Here's my review of it...just my thoughts and opinions really along with a brief history of my dirt biking experience. Perhaps this rambling review will help someone somewhere with questions that they may have before buying a KDX.
I bought this 2005 KDX200 in the early Spring. It has an aftermarket pipe and FMF exhaust, had some simple jetting done to it, a Scott's steering stabilizer, and came with new tires, chain, pulleys...really it was set up right and ready to ride.
I'm 6ft and weigh 175lbs and have been riding dirt bikes since 1985. I would describe myself as a four stroke rider in style. The only other two stroke I've owned was a 1986 Yamaha Tri-Z 250 three wheeler...a real beast and a great machine...but that's another story.
My first bike was a 1985 Honda XR100, my second was a 1987 Yamaha TT225 which was awesome for a young teenager with its headlight and easy to ride manners. In the early 90's I purchased a 1988 Honda XR600 which I still own. The Big Six is a great bike but after riding the nimble KDX I realize how difficult it was riding the large XR due to its weight. The bike just wears me out in tight areas where maneuverability and slow speed riding was priority. ...and living here in the Appalachian Mountains of Eastern Kentucky that is the largest percentage of my riding. And another problem with the 600 was its difficult starting, especially after a drop. ...not so with the KDX. One or two quick n easy kicks and it fires up!!!
So...onto the KDX.
It's just sooo nimble and quick!!! I love that I can flick it around so easily on tight trails. It's lightness just makes it a breeze to ride on slow trails and roads. It's plenty quick enough for me as well. I was riding beside the highway on the way home the other night and was easily staying with the nearby highway traffic. ...my skills are just fine with its speed performance in the dirt.
The ease of starting this bike amazes me. A quick kick and it's happily idling and ready to take off.
Another great trait of the KDX is its ability to go slow. We've had a lot of forest fires lately and I was riding in burned fields and thru close trees with the under brush now burnt away and it was no problem keeping the bike in first gear and just lugging thru that area. If necessary a quick tug on the clutch and a blip of throttle and the powerband was up and ready to launch me away over a ditch or obstacle. It was really a good feeling weaving in and out of the trees in those fields and then goosing the bike a bit and releasing it's energy letting it pick me up and getting me quickly thru those open areas. And while I do know that one has to watch it when it comes to lugging a two stroke around because of the concern of fouled plugs I haven't experienced that problem with the KDX. Let's hope this continues because it seems to be my riding style. ...guess it's the years of riding four strokes. But don't think I don't use that powerband. I like the high revs plenty and there's nothing like a two stroker!!!
And speaking of power, I'm very happy with the engines performance. With the revs up and ready there's always a good burst of 'get me outta here' power that makes two strokes so fun. Blip that throttle and the bike is taking off. It's no problem wheeling over obstacles in second and third gear when out on the trail. ...and I really like that feeling of launching the bike off of a small ledge or raising the wheel up and over a log or upcoming rock. We have plenty of old abandoned/reclaimed surface strip mines around this area and they make for great open desert-like riding with wide hard pack roads and long sweeping curves. I never tapped the bike out while racing down some of these roads and there was always plenty of power left while scooting along them. I gotta say this bike has enough get up and go for any and all of my needs.
The brakes have no mush in them at all and feel solid and slowing down quickly was never a problem with this bikes light weight.
The suspension does a great job of keeping things stabile and the ride comfortable. I'm not a big jumper so I don't think I'll ever have to worry about bottoming the suspension out. The small jumps and ledges I've launched off of have all felt perfectly fine upon landing on terra firma. Also, my bike has a Scott's steering stabilizer installed and I'm sure it's helping a lot in that department. ...it's my first dirt bike with this feature and perhaps it's one of the reasons this bike feels so quick and nimble with zero negative handling issues.
An important feature I require of a bike is a headlight. I love riding at night and never did like having to worry about hurrying up and getting home before dark. ...no reason letting the adventure end just because the day is ending!!! I noticed how bright my headlight is and I do not know if it's a stock or an aftermarket bulb but it's bright enough for my riding speed and skills.
There's only two things I don't like about the KDX...and I can't even call them complaints. ...fact is I have zero complaints with this awesome machine!!!
The first one is that the lightness of the bike can cause it to get knocked off track when one hits solid objects on the trail. I noticed a slight deflection when riding on rocky roads. ...but perhaps that's because of my non-experience with light weight two strokes and comparing the KDX to the tank-like weight of my XR600. I got jerked sideways several times when hitting large rounded rocks with the bike...especially glancing blows at speed. But I've gotten used to that feeling and have learned to trust the bike and ride loose letting the suspension do its work.
My second fault with the bike is simply that one has to mix oil with the fuel. Hey, it is what it is and it's a two stroke...right? But I miss that ease of just pulling up to a gas station after riding a nearby long trail and just fueling up quickly. I suppose that's just me coming from a four stroke background and I really don't mind that extra fueling step. And speaking of fuel, I know that the bike will easily get at least 60mi on a tank of gas with hard riding and with what I saw left in my fuel tank I know it's got even more range than that. And that is quite a good ride for this Eastern mountains rider.
So, there it is....my experience with this amazing bike!!! There's tons of awesome dirt bikes out there and I hope to one day have ridden them all. But if I don't...I'll be happy with the KDX200 in my garage.
Hope y'all are riding lots out there and maybe one day we'll ride together. Braaaaap!!!!