You also need…

If you’ve fol­lowed up on ev­ery bike we’ve sug­gested, then your shed will be pretty packed with a va­ri­ety of of­froad mo­tor­cy­cles by now. The good thing about dirt bikes is that gen­er­ally they’re quite light and it isn’t dif­fi­cult to con­struct a shelf which

Classic Dirtbike - - Contents - Words: Tim Brit­ton Pics: Tim Brit­ton

…a Kawasaki KX125C1 in your shed, and it will do more than sim­ply keep the Yam com­pany.

Why a 125? Well, in the world of dirt bikes, big­ger isn’t al­ways bet­ter, in the same way smaller isn’t al­ways eas­ier to ride – at least that was the case once the Ja­panese started tak­ing an in­ter­est.

The world of GP rac­ing in­cluded a va­ri­ety of classes, with the 250cc and 500cc classes be­ing the premier ones. How­ever, there had been grow­ing in­ter­est in the 125cc class in both the USA and Europe, where ini­tially the youth scene was the place where 125s were to be seen. Kawasaki pro­duced a fab­u­lous bike which had all the at­tributes of the big­ger ma­chines and be­came a leg­end in its own right.

This was no kids’ toy but a full-size race ma­chine able to mix it with the best and in or­der to en­sure their bike would mix it Kawasaki made sure it had the best bits on it… af­ter that it was up to the rider.

We looked at this 1984 125 KX model at West­coun­try Wind­ings a while back, as it was be­ing fin­ished off. Ea­gle-eyed read­ers will note the ra­di­a­tor cover is miss­ing on this liq­uid-cooled model, but apart from that it’s just about ready to go. Why liq­uid cool­ing? Well, best power is pro­duced at a cer­tain tem­per­a­ture and liq­uid cool­ing en­sures the en­gine re­mains as close to the op­ti­mum as pos­si­ble.

Sus­pen­sion, too, had en­joyed a mas­sive boost and even a few years be­fore the rear and front spring­ing was rel­a­tively short-stroked, un­til the world re­alised stick­ing two dampers on the rear was lim­it­ing per­for­mance.

In 1980, in came Kawasaki’s Uni-trak. While it didn’t per­form bet­ter than the twin­shock sys­tems at the time, it showed the po­ten­tial for de­vel­op­ment which was avail­able to this type of sys­tem, whereas the twin­shocks were at their limit. De­vel­op­ment po­ten­tial was aimed at pro­vid­ing a smoother ride on the smaller bumps while al­low­ing the full po­ten­tial of al­most a foot of travel for keep­ing the bike on line af­ter the big­ger stuff. Same with the front end too, as in or­der to keep this matched, longer units were used and the spin­dle fit­ted fur­ther up the slider to keep the ride height in the realms of san­ity.

Brakes too were re­ceiv­ing at­ten­tion and it was noted the drums were on their limit and discs had to be the way for­ward, but it wasn’t ex­actly a smooth tran­si­tion as there was a pe­riod when discs were poor and drums were good.

How­ever, for 1984 Kawasaki had pro­duced a bike where all the bits worked and they were about to reap the ben­e­fits of hav­ing what was of­ten re­ferred to as the best 125 of its time…which is why we say you need one in your shed... 

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