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So why should you buy one? A good question that, and not an easy one to answer. I enjoyed riding the TSER and I wouldn't have noticed its lack of useable power so much if we hadn't had the Yamaha and Kawasaki around for direct comparison. I liked the way the heavier bike rode the bumps with less pitching and a softer engine can make things smoother on the rough when you can't always exercise as much control over your right wrist as you'd like to.
For tarmac riding, the Suzuki has more of a big-bike feel in comers and the seat is much more generous if you want to survive a long run. There isn't much room for two people on the smaller trail bikes. But ultimately the s make more sense, for serious off-road work at least.
When you have to resort to dragging yourself and your bike out of a mess there's no substitute for low weight and the lightest bike is also going to be the least tiring at the end of a long day, assuming roughly equal engine and frame performance. WITH 'electro-fusion' bore, box section swinging arm, CDI ignition and a broad power band exhaust system, the latest Kawasaki trail iron promised to be an interesting ride, especially off road.
Even so, we were surprised and delighted by the KED2's nimble nature on a wide variety of sticky going and were equally impressed with its tarmac performance. As most trail bikes spend 90 percent of their lives on the road, and many never see a trail at all, this track advantage puts the Kawasaki clearly in the lead. But all trail bikes are a compromise between off-road ability and on-road suitability, so from past experience we guessed the Yamaha was saving all its glory for the trails, where it would outshine the KE.
Yet the Kawasaki was not to be outdone on the rough by any of the other three puddle-jumpers we took along on our exploration of the forgotten byways of Salisbury Plain. Rigorous ordeal. The test started with the neat blue moto-cross styled D2 being pounded over miles to MIRA from our Poole office, followed by a hard thrashing up and down the timing straight and then another blast back to Poole.
The Kawasaki not only survived but passed this rigorous ordeal with flying colours. With a top spee. The five ratios were well-spaced to make full use of the wide power band which stretched across 55mph in top against the Yamaha's 46mph. This flexibility was clearly demonstrated at the track.
Whilst the time taken to accelerate in top gear from mph was only half a second quicker than the Yamaha, the Kawasaki jumped from mph in 8. On the road this meant the Yamaha rider would need to go down one, or even two of its six cogs to overtake, while the Kawasaki rider just opened up in top fifth and zipped past with ease. According to Kawasaki, the KE's engine power output has been substantially modified to produce this broader spread of power. Reed valve induction and a new exhaust system have helped peak power to be achieved lOOOrpm lower, and peak torque, up from 1.
The Kawasaki's brakes were just under 10 percent better one up and over 20 percent better two up. Perhaps the most surprising feature of the Kawasaki's peppy 16bhp motor was its fuel efficiency. Only blemish on the Kawasaki's faultless performance and efficiency record was a miles-per-pint oil consumption, but even this may have been partly caused by the KE's engine failure, which developed following a drowning on the first day's trail ride.
Merril 'Boobytrap' Boulton decided to give Neil a good soaking when the effects of his lunchtime o'booze session became unbearable. This involved Merril and KE taking a lusty plunge into the stream Neil was busily filling, but the water was deeper than it appeared. As merril and the Kawasaki disappeared below the surface, all that could be heard was Merril'S" hysterical giggling and the bike's spluttering exhaust.
The CDI electrics were so well insulated that the engine continued to run until it filled with water via the air intake under the seat and even then one of the winkers could be seen stubbornly flashing two feet under water. After draining the motor, carburettor and airbox, we were amazed when the Kawasaki fired up and ran perfectly after two prods on the kickstarter.
The bike ran happily for the rest of the day's trail riding and only revealed its true disgust at being used as a submarine on a long, fast road bash to the next set of trails the following day. Clouds of smoke. After about fifteen miles, the motor started faltering and pouring out clouds of dense white smoke. The oil injection system was functioning correctly, so we deduced that the smoke was the result of oil being sucked into the crankcase from the gearbox via a strained gasket.
The plucky little stroker still managed to limp back to base, even if it did blot out a sizeable portion of Wiltshire en route. Before the Kawasaki threw in the towel however, we had had plenty of time to assess its off-road capabilities on gravel, deep sand, mud, ruts, and a scrambles course, not to mention streambeds.
The engine flexibility which made the bike so pleasant to ride on the road, gave endearing qualities on the rough stuff. Up on the pegs and manoeuvring round obstacles was a doddle with bottom gear pulling from 3. An early problem with stiff steering was overcome when we readjusted a tight steering head bearing.
The KE would also aviate the front wheel in second and third gears with a pull on the bars, useful when potholes appeared underneath the front wheel. It was almost impossible to be caught in the wrong gear and third and fourth were suitable for smoother lanes, although it was fun to drop one gear and step the back wheel out under power for bends. Gearchanging was light and easy thanks to the gear shift drum being mounted on ball bearings in this latest KE.
Even clutchless changes, when a finger daren't be spared from gripping the bar to operate the equally light clutch, were smooth, but there were some false neutrals, particularly between third and fourth which were annoying. Good damping The leading axle front forks and laid-down rear shocks with 8in.
Even the worst surfaces tackled at speed did not manage to confuse the suspension into throwing the bike off line or into letting the shocks get through to the rider. As we have frequently noticed with trail bikes, the suspension gave better ride and handling on the road than many roadsters.
Suspension for road-only machines can be designed to operate under much more limited conditions, so it suggests there is a lot of road suspension development work going undone. Tyres were a good compromise, being progressive when cornering on the road, and reasonably grippy in most off-road conditions too.
Box section swinging arms seem to be all the rage this year, and Kawasaki have even painted their's silver in contrast to the black frame to make sure you notice it. As well as aiding torsional stiffness, this feature matches well the overall moto-cross styling of the D2.
Other MX styled features have varying degrees of merit. The high-level exhaust system is tucked well clear of the rider, allows good access to maintenance areas and is difficult to dent, even in a fall. Lightweight conical hubs and alloy rims reduce unsprung weight, but there are no security bolts to prevent tyre creep and rip-out punctures when running low tyre pressures for extra grip in the mud. High impact resistant plastic is employed for mudguards and engine covers, giving a useful weight saving.
But the front guard is too short at its rear to prevent mud clogging the motor when the going gets sticky. Also, there is nowhere to store the handbook. The sleek tank and seat design looks good, but there is no comfortable knee-gripping point when up on the footrests, so difficult sections soon get tiring.
The tank's slim looks belie its 2. The Yamaha's 1. Despite the KEs many weight saving wonders, the DT slips in just 71bs. We weren't very impressed with the trip meter, which required its digits to be cancelled one at a time by laborious twiddling and none of us were sorry when the knob got fed up and dropped off. The toolkit supplied was the bare minimum, but average for trail bikes. Qverall standard of finish was good. In value-for-money terms it's a giveaway.
YAMAHA'S DT range of trail machines has earned quite a reputation in recent years for highly efficient off-road performance, combined with excellent tarmac characteristics. And the DTI75 has established itself as the firm favourite with thousands of bikers in Britain.
Firstly, the monoshock rear swinging arm is constructed of square section tubing for mainly cosmetic reasons, but might even improve its strength too. A larger air filter box and different carburettor internals give smoother running and crisper acceleration. Somewhere along the line, the MX'80 has gained an extra 1. A new Autolube cable has been fitted to all the '80 DT singles which removes the need to ever reset the oil pump. A ratchet and pulley wheel, combined with a junction box, does all the adjusting for you automatically.
Fresh colour scheme The only other changes are a new chain guard and fresh colour scheme and graphics. Clearly none of these changes can be considered a retrograde step, but Geoff and Merril no longer consider the DT to be top dog. What has happened is the competition has caught up and overtaken Yamaha's top seller.
While Geoff is prepared to admit that his economy-sized posterior takes some accomodating on small bike seats, he found the DT's uncomfortable after 40 miles and by the time he got to our hotel near MIRA, needed several pints before he could talk about anything else. Others agreed the seat was harder on bums than the other three trailsters and there was barely room for a pillion passenger. Maximum speed sitting upright at t lie test track was 64mph.
Although the speedo's unusual tendency to read low means this was ;i truetwmph. Perhaps, we thought, the Y am aha has lots of low torque to enhance its off-road abilities, but the KE had a lower non-snatch speed, despite a higher first gear, as well as achieving a higher top speed at lower revs than the DT.
In short, the MX '80 model is not so flexible, although it should be remembered that its spread of power would have been considered excellent only a couple of years ago, such is the rate of progress in trail bike design,. When the Red I. The tyres gripped adequately on tarmac but had some unsettling tendencies. The light front end and sensitive steering let the rider feel every block of the front tyre as it bit into the road which gave a juddery feel to the bars.
Leaning for bends was a three-stage affair as the weight transferred from centre tread blocks to shoulder blocks then sidewall blocks. Not surprisingly the tyres whitelined badly, too. On the trails, the tyres were excellent. The DT flew up a stepped hill covered in loose sand without wheelspin, while the KE ran out of grip and dumped Merril half way up. Bob decided it was time to show Merril that skill and technique were the only things preventing her from getting to the top and proceeded to charge the hill on the KE as he had with the DT.
Much to Merril's delight, he landed in a heap only a couple of feet from where her excursion had ended. A second attempt failed even earlier and proved conclusively so Bob said that the DT's tyres were infinitely better than the KE's in deep loose sand. They were also very efficient at dealing with mud, allowing the bike to climb out of a stream up a wet muddy bank without wheelspin where all the other bikes had to be legged up.
The tyres' efficiency could be further enhanced by safely lowering tyre pressures thanks to security bolts fitted to both front and rear steel rims. Traction at the rear was undoubtedly aided by the De Carbon monoshock rear suspension, which gave 5. The effect was deceptive. The rear felt soggy but never bottomed, absorbed all bumps and coped with everything from fast deep ripples to hefty jump landings without getting upset. The nitrogen-filled suspension unit had five pre-load settings.
Gasping and wheezing The front forks were also softly sprung and damped, closer to trials suspension than moto-cross, but didn't bottom on the downhill steps of the scrambles course. They were fitted with gaiters which could be heard gasping and wheezing like a bronchial octogenarian.
Any manufacturer who produces a trail bike without fork gaiters plans to sell a lot of spare fork stanchions, bushes and oil seals, so Yamaha should be congratulated for their honest practice. The steering which felt so light and sensitive on the road paid off on the rough, where wheelies came easily and slow speed manoeuvrability was excellent.
Steering through the deep water of a river bed was simplicity itself at less than walking pace and the engine kept chugging away at low revs despite being part submerged in cold water. The turning circle was noticeably smaller than the Suzuki The brakes took a good deal of drying out after the stream riding and squeaked their protest thereafter, hut the single-leading-shoe drum stoppers were not very impressive before we went trailing. At MIRA they gave the worst solo stopping distance at feet from BOmph, and were hopelessly inadequate with a passenger, taking feet to stop at the same speed.
If the brakes did not encourage two-up riding, the fuel consumption did not suit long distance touring either. Geoff had to stop three times for petrol on his epic bum-busting burn-up to MIRA with only 77 miles before reserve. Our Petrometa tests showed why:.
At a steady 60mph the Yam burned a gallon for every 40 miles, compared to 53 for the Benelli and Suzuki and 63 miles for the miserly Kawasaki. The overall 38mpg figure is low because most of the miles involved were on the trail, but even so an owner should expect no more than 45mpg with normal road use. Oil consumption was also heavy at mpp.
What was the DT doing with all this juice and lube? Although the Kawasaki beat the Yamaha in the flexibility stakes, the cc Suzuki flunked the top gear acceleration tests taking 13 seconds from mph and The Yamaha spent 8. The Yamaha's six speed gearbox gave slick and smooth changes, both with and without the use of the wet multiplate clutch.
The lever was well placed to operate with the toe of your riding boot while standing on the pegs over nadgery stuff — very handy. The 'dog's leg' clutch lever was light, as were all the handlebar controls and the switchgear was up to Yamaha's usual high standard.
The electrics were fed by a 6-volt, 4-amp- hour battery, kept topped up with power from a flywheel magneto which also housed the capacitor discharge ignition. Earlier MX's had a 6-amp-hour battery. The clearly calibrated speedo and rev counter were illuminated by a soft, green glow which prevented glare. Bright 17 watt indicators winked at night without the headlamp dimming in sympathy. The Yamaha looked smart and purposeful in its latest colour scheme, but the styling was somewhat conservative and it was not so eye-catching as the Kawasaki or bright yellow Suzuki.
Overall standard of finish was high. Despite being overshadowed by the completely new KED2, especially on engine performance, the DTMX '80 still excells on suspension thanks mainly to the 'Monocross' cantilever system at the rear. The Yamaha's tyres are much better off road than the Kawasaki's, although they feel a little less stable on the road. Bob God. Home Manufacturer Contact. You want to know The main population of Salisbury Plain is a strange race of men with dark blotchy faces and small trees growing out of their hats.
Benelli Enduro Benelli's Enduro looks so odd after the stereotyped Japanese trail bikes, you can't help feeling that it must be terribly good at something in particular. Summary I've never done an enduro, but I wouldn't fancy my chances on the Benelli. Now so average Leading axle forks are now so average that they're becoming commonplace on street bikes. Summary So why should you buy one?
Neil Millen Kawasaki KE WITH 'electro-fusion' bore, box section swinging arm, CDI ignition and a broad power band exhaust system, the latest Kawasaki trail iron promised to be an interesting ride, especially off road. Rigorous ordeal The test started with the neat blue moto-cross styled D2 being pounded over miles to MIRA from our Poole office, followed by a hard thrashing up and down the timing straight and then another blast back to Poole.
With a top spee d around 70mph 72 prone, 67 upright the KE buzzed along the roads without running short of breath. Clouds of smoke After about fifteen miles, the motor started faltering and pouring out clouds of dense white smoke. Summary The sleek tank and seat design looks good, but there is no comfortable knee-gripping point when up on the footrests, so difficult sections soon get tiring.
Bob Goddard. In short, the MX '80 model is not so flexible, although it should be remembered that its spread of power would have been considered excellent only a couple of years ago, such is the rate of progress in trail bike design, When the Red I. Our Petrometa tests showed why: At a steady 60mph the Yam burned a gallon for every 40 miles, compared to 53 for the Benelli and Suzuki and 63 miles for the miserly Kawasaki.
Summary Despite being overshadowed by the completely new KED2, especially on engine performance, the DTMX '80 still excells on suspension thanks mainly to the 'Monocross' cantilever system at the rear. Any corrections or more information on these motorcycles will be kindly appreciated.
Uni-Trak single-shock. Rear Wheel Travel. With the standard gearing Kawasaki claimed the KE could climb a degree slope—no mean feat. But this was definitely a ride for the slow-pokers, those who were not in any hurry to get in any sort of trouble. More serious riders gravitated toward the various models. Until , when Kawasaki sprang the new KDX enduro on the unsuspecting public with an entirely new chassis and engine.
The biggest news was the Uni-Trak single-shock rear suspension, which offered almost 10 inches! And the all-new engine put out a genuine 20 usable horsepower, though consuming gas at a rate of 25 miles to the gallon. Oh,the good old days. Simplicity,fun,common sense engineering. Analog gauges, a look and style that never will get old in my opinion.
I still have a Green Kawasaki KE I forget what year but i think or newer. I bought it at a Sheriff auction as it was stolen and recovered. Probably not. The F7 has center port exhaust, the KE exhaust to the right of center. The expansion chamber will probably be in-line with the frame downtube. Great article.
I am in the middle of rebuilding a KE Any ideas or resources. I can put premix and drive it but trying to go as original as possible. You have to bleed the oiler. Do not pre mix. Once you bleed the oiler line the marks up on the oil adguster whilst the bike is at idle. I picked up a , KE at a yard sale. Id prefer a whole new carb, as I had to jb weld the bulb cheesey I know, but just wanted to get it running.
Regardless, having a hard time finding a vmse carburetor.. I just finish my KE; nice bike. Ebay prices are most of the time crazy, The KD has the same base. Andy, you have a check valve in the oil circuit before the crankcase: coukd be block or bad purge of air before the pump…. I am having the same problem with the oil pumping into the crank case as well. I have a 76 and just ordered a new clutch kit. I have a chestnut brown. Single owner. Very low miles.
It runs but could use a bit of work. What might it be worth? Want to restore it someday.. Found myself stuck in Colombia for the quaranteen. So many lonely gals. Yeah, I know. So to heal the hurt, I found a ke It does not have 17 digits. Trade my little black book for help.
Hi guys just change the clutch plates on my ke ,B1, Kawasaki, put it all black together like for like with new clutch plates , now there is no clutch pressure at all , Any ine able to help with som advice. Sean, did you align the inner and outer basket? Happy trails! A friend of mine had an early 70s version that was pretty darn fast, so the state of tune of those rotary valve engines had a lot to do with it, as that was basically the same layout as Can Am used, and they were far and away the fastest bikes in their classes back then.
The KE went to a reed valve in the early 80s, while the still used the rotary valve. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Northeast U. South Central U. Southeast U. West U. Subscriber Login. Sign in.