Okay, let's get something straight right from the start, this is not a bike for an old bloke! If you're an old bloke and you ride one of these you'll either die of embarrassment, or scare yourself to death! Or kill yourself by crashing it! In fact, even as a young bloke this isn't a bike I would have bought; because back in my dirt-bike days I was into trail-riding rather than motocrossing.
So how did The Old Bloke get to ride this? It's all down to my son-in-law.
My son-in-law grew up riding dirt-bikes - chopped-up trail-bikes or proper (small) motocrossers. When older and married, after a foray into road-bikes he got back into motocrossers again. He'd always liked Kawasakis, so a Kawasaki was what he got for a dirt-bike. The bike he got (and thus the one I rode) wasn't new, but it was close enough to being current for me to include it in this section.
When he got it, he was keen to give me a ride. I'd had a ride on his previous bikes, and driven all the cars he'd had, but I think in offering me a ride on this he was motivated as much by the prospect of seeing me scare the life out of myself, as he was by a sense of sharing!
When he first told me he was getting a 125, I thought it was a mistake. I reckoned he'd have it for a couple of months and then he'd be looking for something more powerful. "A 125 will never be powerful enough for you!" I told him. You see, he's a bit of a rev-head is my son-in-law. He drives a V6 Commodore, with some slight engine mods, but wishes it was a V8. He's the kind of guy who reckons a car isn't really accelerating unless the tyres are smoking! So this guy isn't going to be happy with a 125 is he! Well, after seeing him own this for a few months, and after having a brief ride myself, all I can say is 125s aren't what they used to be! These days they are seriously fast!
Like most motocrossers, the bikes are built tall. They have a seat-height that comes up to somewhere around your shoulder - almost anyway! Even a lanky bloke such as myself will be on tip-toes to touch the ground.
Okay, next thing is to fire it up. By kicking, of course. And this bike managed to embarrass me before it even started! Because I couldn't get it started! Now, I'm used to 2-stroke trail-bikes where you kind of prod the lever with the right foot and they burst into life. Not this Kwaka. After quite a bit of kicking it still remained silent. So my son-in-law came over and started it for me. (I think he was beginning to enjoy seeing me ride this -and I hadn't even moved yet!). To explain, it does need a very healthy kick to get it going. And it also helps if the last time you rode it, it was screaming it's little lungs out. Low revs, as you would expect, causes the plug to foul; which will make it hard to start next time.
Now, moving off. Well, you can't just "move off"! If you try that, you'll stall it. (I did -a couple of times!). The first time I rode the bike was in his back-yard. Yes, that's right, give an old bloke a motocrosser and tell him to ride it around the backyard; great idea! I think my son-in-law wasn't just trying to embarrass me, I think he was probably trying to kill me! To my credit though, I did manage to get enough revs on board and then slip the clutch to get it moving slowly inbetween the clothes-line and the garden-shed (I told you he was trying to kill me!). I even stood up and tried to ride it like a trials-bike! And I did manage to do a couple of laps of the back-yard - in trials fashion - before handing it back to him. But that isn't the way you are supposed to ride them, of course!
The first thing is you need to be out on a track - or at least in a big area. Then you can fang it away without hitting something! To get the bike going properly you really need to give it a handful of revs and take off like you've just stolen it and the cops are chasing you! That's the way motocrossers are meant to be ridden. Do that and, once it's got itself into the power-band, it goes like a cat with it's tail on fire! This is crazy - 125s don't go this quick! Well, these days, they do. Suffice to say my son-in-law has been riding it for a few months now, and he's still impressed with how fast it is! Out on the track, he's often beaten older models of larger capacity - motocrossers have got so much faster over recent years that a 250 of a few years back will struggle keeping up with a current 125.
My son-in-law has also discovered a truth that relates to road bikes too - bigger and more powerful doesn't always mean faster! It has a lot to do with the way they are ridden. Lighter bikes are more nimble, and so are easier to throw around and put where you want them to go. Another aspect is that the more power you have, the more skill you need to handle it. If you are "Mr. Motocross 2005" then of course you are going to be quicker on a bigger bike. But if you're just an average, every-day type rider, the greater power of the larger-capacity bikes can get you into trouble. On a bigger bike it is much easier to over-cook the amount of throttle - and land on your backside on the track! Meanwhile something like this Kwaka 125, with it's more manageable power, has the rider still hanging on and screaming past the fallen "Mr. Motocross wannabe".
So, there are a couple of things to say in summary. Firstly, if you're an old bloke, don't kid yourself - this isn't the bike for you! Secondly, if you are a younger and fitter sort of person and you want to go motocrossing, but you aren't a professional racer, don't dismiss something like this "because it is only a 125", because as I said, 125s aren't what they used to be!
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