With inexpensive enduros: Honda XL 125, Kawasaki KMX 125, Yamaha TW 200

With inexpensive enduros: Honda XL 125, Kawasaki KMX 125, Yamaha TW 200

Pleasure trip society

Midlife crisis, financial crisis, oil crisis – then forget your 100 hp planer, hit the gas and go up the mountain. This helps. Guaranteed and without side effects.

The tiny sales advertisements can hardly be made out. Between hyper-powerful superbikes and two-wheeled mobile homes beyond the 20,000 mark limit, the enduros for around 6000 marks almost go under. Light as a feather and robust, but only 15 HP strong, the little rascals do not fit into the performance-hungry world. Goal: You are moving. The Honda XL, a minimalist 125cc original enduro in a classic look, the balloon-tyred Yamaha TW 200 borrowed from the same importer, and Kawasaki’s green KMX off-road speedster in sporty crosser dress, imported from gray dealer Konemann, phone 05193/50082, an arbitrarily chosen selection of possibilities for a small escape from the daily grind.
A stony and steep hiking tour through the rough Italian Alps will show where the Bartel gets the Lambrusco. Somewhere between Trento and Milan we run away from the summer tin avalanche that rolls like a thick, hot pulp through the overpopulated valleys. Get out of here. Small, twisting pothole slopes drive away the tourists in a hurry and create space for the hustle and bustle. Faster than 100 km / h is only possible when lying down, and it seems that all three like curves above all else. Narrow tires, hardly any weight: Honda and Kawasaki are completely redefining handling. Schwuppdiwupp, the U-turn is done. Well, the Honda can’t hide its spindly frame during the brisk serpentine dance, it sways, rocks, and squirts. No matter, the flexibility is predictable, you have it under control. The KMX 125, on the other hand, is really stable with plenty of spring travel, a stiff double loop frame with an elaborate spring system and everything else. Somehow really grown up. Like the Yamaha TW 200, which swings somewhat sedately but very confidently through the meandering asphalt on its 130 and 180 millimeter wide pines. If need be, also with a passenger. And the 16 hp TW 200 four-stroke engine pulls another wild card out of its sleeve: a 75 cubic centimeter displacement advantage, which gives the Yamaha drive something like pulling power, while the 125 cc, throttled to 15 hp, only obey when the speed Whip cracks. And that without mercy, because the air-cooled Honda two-valve engine of the simplest design primarily delivers usable thrust, if necessary also in the red area. Ultra-modern, on the other hand, is the water-cooled two-stroke ratchet from Kawasaki, which, thanks to modern exhaust control, offers recognizable pulling power with subsequent promising tearing, but only reaches the top speed with tortured tenacity. So the shift foot whirls non-stop through the gears, and after an hour or two, the endless pedaling on the shift lever is automated. Like earlier on the Kreidler RS, the Hercules Ultra or RD 50 or or or.
And suddenly the three honorable, partly gray, in places even hairless test drivers with an eventful moped past find themselves in millimeter-sharp slipstream duels and hair-raising braking maneuvers. Big grin when it succeeds, wild swearing when the box lurches out of the ideal line. What happens faster than you would like with the Yamaha with the undersized drum brake. The Honda drum brakes of the same design can do that better – and, above all, with more endurance. But if nothing helps, the next hairpin curve is drawn with the rear wheel locked.
If you had your hands free now, you could applaud with enthusiasm. Uphill or downhill, swing is the secret of the happy chase with the little ones. Anyone who twitches the gas hand has already lost, and whoever brakes is last anyway – and that is the worst today. Anyone who still believes that the Swabians will be sensible at forty has not witnessed the daring ride.
We turn off, leave the grippy asphalt and screw our way into the rugged mountains of the Alps at a leisurely walking pace. First, second gear, tight serpentines on loose scree, almost overhanging climbing passages. Little power – little stress. Relaxed trial hiking instead of hectic brawl, and the little rascals are even more fun on this terrain. Above all the TW 200: Like a Haflinger, the Yamaha rumbled through the outback. Only those who are in too much of a hurry on washboard slopes will the TW 200 with its short spring travel really kick the rump. On the other hand, the coarse-tread low-pressure tires bite their way safely into sand and loose debris, and can even carry enduro newbies through thick and thin without any problems. Another plus when scrambling: a seat height of just 790 millimeters separates the rider from the rescue ground.
The KMX 125 is a completely different category. The groovy two-stroke engine and the relatively stable chassis are tempting to go crazy. Elliptical suspension travel and plenty of ground clearance can cope with some insidious transverse grooves. And if things go wrong, the KMX falls into the vegetables without serious damage thanks to its protruding tubular steel protective bar.
The short tank and the sporty, but also high seating position go well with the brisk off-road ride. You can of course also hike with the Kawasaki, of course. But put on the sprinter shoes with the spikes for hiking?
And the Honda? She can do everything a little, but nothing really. But she has a bite. The antiquated four-stroke engine not only starts surprisingly reliably, but also works and struggles bravely through the scree. Fork and shock absorber duo do their best to keep the XL on track at a brisk walking pace, but already quit their work when the athletic pace begins.
Every time a nice experience: the gas station. In the brisk, let’s say almost full-throttle country road operation, just 3.0 liters of fuel are sufficient in the case of the TW 200. Even when scrambling over hill and dale, the Honda sniffs a modest 4.3 liters through the small Keihin slide carburetor. Only the Kawasaki lives up to its two-stroke reputation as a drunkard and consumes over two liters more than the four-stroke engines – plus a good liter of the finest, but also expensive two-stroke oil per 1000 kilometers.
F.For the two four-stroke drivers, the ride is not only a great, but also cheap, pleasure. The only thing you have to bring with you on the happy ride with the little ones: a little more time to ride a motorcycle. But we wanted to take it for a long time – right??

Honda XL 125 (VT) – Honda XL 125

The minimalist way of motorized locomotion. But the spindly frame structure and spring elements of the simplest design do not prevent the XL driver from going on the most adventurous excursions. Light, handy, functional and with a robust, economical, but also antiquated motor, the XL trudges through thick and thin at a leisurely pace. If riding a mountain bike is too strenuous for you, you should definitely consider the matter of the small Honda XL 125.

Kawasaki KMX 125

Not only visually, but also technically, the bright green KMX 125 impresses with the latest enduro technology. The relatively long-legged chassis with comparatively long suspension travel is up to the lively performance development of the two-stroke engine in all situations. On the other hand, the KMX drive is downright wasteful with fuel and lubricating oil compared to the four-stroke engines. An enduro whose character is more suitable for a sporty gallop than for leisurely hiking.

Yamaha TW 200

Good-natured driving behavior and a powerful engine make the TW the ideal hiking motorcycle. With an electric starter, a comfortable pillion seat and, despite the ample tires, neutral steering behavior, the TW 200 is also in good hands in the hustle and bustle of inner-city traffic. The only sore point: the drum brakes with poor effect and strong fading. The rest of the TW 200 technology is also knitted according to the simplest pattern, but without losing any of its functionality.

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