KDX 200 Refresh, Part 2: Acerbis Hand Guard and Plastic Upgrades
In search of an inexpensive, yet reliable, off-road trail bike, we had narrowed our search to a Kawasaki KDX 200. After a few weeks of searching, we picked up one in good running condition for under $1,000. The bike ran great, had new tires and a clean engine, but it could use some updates, maintenance and a few part upgrades to get it back up to speed.
In the first part of our KDX 200 Refresh project, we focused on updating the front and rear sprockets and replacing the chain with new units from Rental. We also swapped out our old bars for a new set of RC High Renthal bars that are a little more suited to our height. For the second part of our project, we want to focus on updating some of the worn plastic, adding some heavy-duty Acerbis hand guards for the trail and also perform some basic maintenance.
For starters, the stock hand guards found on the KDX 200 donít offer much serious protection for heavy branches, rocks and other trail debris and obstacles. We turned to Acerbis, a staple in the off-road dirt bike scene since the early Ď70s. Acerbis made its name making replacement plastic pieces to improve upon the OEM units found on bikes. It now offers replacement plastic, fuel tanks, hand guards, numbers plates and more for just about every off-road dirt bike on the market (and actually produces a good amount of plastic for OEMs).
A large number of off-road, motocross, freestyle and ATV racers utilize Acerbisí products, especially its heavy-duty off-road hand guards. We wanted something that offered good protection for trail riding so we went with the Multiconcept X-Pro, which actually attaches to the end of the handlebars for a secure and sturdy fit. The installation is fairly straightforward and can be adapted to standard 7/8Ē bars or oversized 1 1/8Ē bars.
We didnít plan to replace every bit of plastic, but the front and rear fenders were both pretty scratched up. We turned to Acerbis again for the front replacement. Acerbis doesnít offer a rear fender for the KDX, and we didnít come up with a great number of options. Our 2000 KDX 200 was originally a potential dual-sport bike, meaning it could be used for both on- and off-road use if it was registered and plated for the street. Therefore, the original rear fender included a taillight, though a high-clearance motocross-style fender was replaced by the previous owner.
Unfortunately, this two-stroke-powered bike can no longer be used on the street in our home state of California due to the stringent California Air and Resources Board (CARB) emission standards. But with our limited options for rear fenders, we ended up contacting Kawasaki directly for a rear replacement. Although itís not always the cheapest option, finding original parts from the manufacturer can sometimes be the best bet since thereís no question the parts will fit and work for the intended application.
The OEM rear fender has a spot for the aforementioned rear brake light, and although we canít take it on the street we went ahead and installed the light since we still had the proper wire connections and wanted a clean look. The OEM fender also originally had a spot for a tool kit that is no longer available. We went ahead and spent a few bucks on some nice stainless-steel bolts to cleanly plug the holes and give it a finished look as opposed to leaving them open.
Once installed, we actually like the original look of the KDX 200 fender. The previous owner installed a shorter motocross-style fender, but the stock unit offers plenty of clearance and gives the bike a clean profile. If we ever want to dual-sport the bike down the road in a state in which we can, the taillight is ready to go as well. At least itíll give us the option.
File this one under regularly scheduled maintenance, but we were due after a few rides to clean our air filter. This is maintenance that many bike owners donít do enough, but airflow to the engine directly impacts performance. We grabbed our UNI filter cleaner kit and got the dirt out. The directions are straightforward, but itís important to note that after using the foam cleaner that you do not rinse the filter with a high-pressure stream of water. Strong water can damage the filter and create holes in it, allowing dirt to makes its way into the engine and cause damage. A slow stream of water is all thatís needed to rinse the cleaning solvent.
Once the filter is rinsed, let it dry (probably overnight) naturally before applying filter oil. Once the filter is oiled and ready for installation, be sure to apply a small film of grease to the base of the filter so it creates a proper seal once seated in the air filter compartment.
Since our bike can sit a few weeks between rides, we also used some Lucas Oil Chain Lube on our new Renthal chain. Although the new chain is still greased up since it only has a few rides on it, the chain lube will also help protect it from moisture and rust while sitting.
For our next installment, we finally find a seat cover option in our own backyard at Stomp Designs (http://www.stompdesign.com/) and fix our dented FMF Gnarly Pipe with Pacific Crest Pipe Repair in Oregon (http://www.piperepair.com/). We also make a few more upgrades along the way. Be sure to check the first part of our KDX 200 Refresh here.
Uni Dirt Bike Filters