Buy a used Kawasaki EL 250
Milde Reiter GmbH
Despite its wild appearance, the Kawasaki EL 250 has rather gentle fans: women and beginners. The reasons: low seat height and low weight.
When looking at the Kawasaki EL 250 for the first time, most viewers cannot help but smile – like a children’s motorcycle that was inspired by a famous competition machine for the mini version.
When Kawasaki Germany placed the EL 250 on the German market in 1988, it initially caused irritation among the addressed clientele. At first glance, the components of the EL 250 hardly wanted to match one another: In a frame with conventional spring struts and a wheelbase of almost 150 centimeters, a water-cooled four-stroke twin with just 248 cm³ does its job. But by no means inconspicuous, almost with half the lungs, but with daring speeds of up to 13,000 rpm and correspondingly high, haunting expressions of life. As an ultra-short stroke, the GPZ 250 R engine offered in Japan as a sport bike achieved almost 36 hp. And the whole thing in an outfit – with conspicuously relocated elbows and angled exhaust ends – that seemed to fit more on a US dragstrip than in the good scenery of German driving schools and beginners.
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Buy a used Kawasaki EL 250
Milde Reiter GmbH
EL 250 was delivered in the Federal Republic – it weighed only 160 kilograms.
Over time, driving schools became aware of the Kawasaki. And their students had become so used to the unproblematic, agile vehicle that they often bought one themselves for the first season after completing their apprenticeship. Because beginners under 170 centimeters in size felt at home with the EL 250 straight away with a comfortable, not too sporty sitting position and a tolerable distance to the floor for the length of their legs. The fact that an electric starter promised a comfortable start to the motorcyclist’s career also contributed to the well-being. In the eight years that the EL 250 has been on the market, this concept has found more than 6500 buyers, around 4000 of which are still approved today.
The Mini-Eliminator, originally designed as a single-seater, was given a tiny, spartan padded emergency seat for the German version that only cynics would call a ride. The solo pilot, on the other hand, feels comfortable on the EL thanks to the touring seating position with an upright upper body and a moderate leg posture that is not positioned far forward in the chopper manner, even on longer journeys. Once the driver has learned to cover up the lack of torque in the four-valve twin without fear of high engine speeds, the small lighter is definitely suitable for brisk driving. It is all the more regrettable that Kawasaki did not mount a tachometer on the EL 250, as it would make sense to check five-digit speeds.
Despite the relatively long wheelbase, the chassis is convincing on the country road. The good performance of the front disc brake also finds praise. However, the rear drum brake, which is only 160 millimeters in diameter, is often criticized. In order to encourage them to decelerate appropriately despite their modest dimensions, Kawasaki probably did a little too much of a good thing when choosing the brake pad. In any case, many EL drivers complain that the rear wheel tends to lock when pressed hard. Even more annoying is the tendency of the brake pads to stop working completely after a long break in the rain and only to start their deceleration service satisfactorily after some time with deliberately active brake lever pressure.
Praise and blame also for the spring elements. The telescopic fork responds sensitively, which cannot be said of the spring struts with five adjustment options for the spring base. Comfortable cushioning: nonexistent.
For Kawasaki, however, these points of criticism were not a cause for change. The facelift is limited to optical retouching. In 1988/89 the EL 250 was only available with cast-spoke wheels, from 1990 Kawasaki delivered the EL 250 with the wire-spoke wheels that are very popular in this country. In 1992 and 1993 there was parallel to this the version 250 E with again cast rims, on top of that a small handlebar-mounted cockpit fairing and a spoiler as fairing under the engine. Since the cruiser look was obviously not as popular with German buyers as the model with spokes, the parts are now only available as a retrofit option.
The 27 hp version can be dethrottled to 33 hp for around 400 marks including entry. This makes sense especially with the performance characteristics of the little twin, because the transmission of the sixth gear is otherwise too long and can only be used as an overdrive. Between 6000 and 8000 tours the engine annoys with a clearly noticeable lack of torque. In any case, things only really take off when the speeds reach five digits. From 1990 there was also a version that was throttled to 17 hp, but it contained the temperament of the Twin so decisively that it was hardly popular. Due to the drastically narrowed inlets, the two-cylinder only gets up to speed with great difficulty, the connection of the individual gear steps no longer fits perfectly, the six-speed gearbox becomes a farce. With all EL 250 models, there is still criticism of the insufficient capacity of the battery, whose acid level has to be meticulously monitored so that it delivers enough power for the starting procedure. The dosage of the choke is also a bit tricky. Experienced hands keep their hands off the throttle grip when pressing the starter until the engine has really started.
On the other hand, there are no teething problems for prospective buyers, as the range of used EL 250s is relatively large and there are no special features to look out for. The machines barely have more than 20,000 kilometers under their belt. The years 1998 and 1990 are offered around 3500 marks. Models built between 1991 and 1993, depending on the condition, start at around 4500 marks. From 1994 onwards, between 5500 marks and more must be offered. As of this year, only the modified EL 252 model for 8,360 marks is new in the range. Ultimately, the second-hand buyer can smile because he has bought a very reliable and problem-free motorcycle for relatively little money.
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