Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas
KS 125 - 1974
A feisty lightweight
Having long concentrated only on the US, Kawasaki realized in 1974 that the trail bike market had really taken off in Europe (and in particular, France, where each year tens of thousands of 125cc trail bikes were sold). The unchallenged champion in this fast-growing sector was the Yamaha DT 125; to make its mark, Kawasaki had to roll up its sleeves.
Excellent Beginner's Machine
The KS was the perfect answer, for it combined a fiery temperament with first-class cycle components. Its new engine incorporated the classic induction system by rotary-valve, long typical of lightweight Kawasakis, and thus developed 13 hp at 6500 rpm. More highly-tuned than its rival, the KS was unhappy during low-speed maneuvers, off-road or in town, and was less of an all purpose machine. On the other hand, it was an excellent beginner's machine for endure and was class-leader when it came to covering rutted stages rapidly.
More Comfortable and Refined
Redesignated the "KE" for 1976, the 125 Kawasaki trail bike became more comfortable and refined (but lost 2.5 hp in the process). A stylistic freshening kept it going into 1979, but it gave way in 1980 to the new KE 125 A, which was more powerful (13.5 hp) and more sporty and took its layout from the marque's motocross machines Â– it had greater suspension travel.
Engine: 124cc (56x51mm) air-cooled single-cylinder; flywheel magneto ignition
Power Rating: 13 hp @ 6500 rpm
Valves: two-stroke; rotary intake valve
Fuel System: 24mm carburetor
Transmission: 6-speed, chain final drive
Suspension: telescopic forks (front); swing arm with twin spring/dampers (rear)
Brakes: 4.7 inch drum (front); 5.1 inch drum
Wheels: 2.75x21 inch (front); 3.50x18 inch (rear)
Weight: 230 lb
Maximum Speed: 82 mph
With its striking iridescent metallic green fuel tank, the eye-catching Kawasaki KS 125 was aimed squarely at the youth market.