KDX 200 Refresh, Part 2: Acerbis Hand Guard and Plastic Upgrades

Jul. 20, 2011 By Josh Burns
The stock hand guards are pretty hammered. Most importantly, they only offer minor protection on the trails. We wanted something sturdier.

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.

The Acerbis Multiconcept X-Pro kit offers more serious protection from trail debris. The kit also includes fitting for both a standard 7/8Ē bar and oversized 1 1/8Ē bars.

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).

Since the Multiconcept X-Pro hand guards attach to the end of the bars, the end of the grips and throttle tube must be cut to accommodate it.

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.

Aside from attaching the hand guards to the bar ends, this piece mounts the metal hand guard frame to the middle of the handelbars. Once catch: If youíre using a stock-sized clutch lever, the ball-end will have to be ground down to fit. The other option is to replace the clutch lever with a shorter piece.

Once the guard is pieced together it is fit into the handlebar end and can be tightened using an Allen Wrench. Fully tightening should be avoided until the hand guard frame is properly positioned on the bars.

Once youíve found the right place for the middle bar mount for the hand guard frame, tighten the bar end.

With the hand guard frame fully installed, the last step is to attach the plastic hang guard covers. Acerbis includes both small and large plate covers, so install whichever suits your type of riding or personal preference.

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.

The old fender (bottom) has seen its share of trail time, so the new Acerbis (top) front fender will be a welcome replacement.

The new Acerbis front fender is secured via four bolts. Itís installation is simple and it is a welcome esthetic upgrade.

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 previous owner of the KDX 200 replaced the rear fender with a motocross-style piece (left), but it was held on with mismatched bolts and washers. It was worn and ready to be replaced. We went with a OEM replacement fender from Kawasaki (right).

Only a few bolts and the rear fender was installed. There are two cavities on the OEM bumper Ė one for the taillight and another on top for a tool kit.

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.

Although we unfortunately cannot make our two-stroke-powered KDX 200 street legal in California, we went ahead and installed the rear taillight. Although Kawasaki no longer offer the tool kit for the rear fender, we purchased some stainless-steel bolts to plug the holes and give it a cleaner look.

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.

After a few rides, we needed to clean our dirty air filter. We used UNIís air filter cleaning kit to get the dirt out.

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.

After the filter has dried out and is ready for oiling, we greasing the filter end so it sits flush in the air box to prevent dirt sneaking through into the engine.

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.

Since our bike will oftentimes sit a few weeks between rides, we used Lucas Oilís Chain Lube to keep our chain lubed and help inhibit rust and corrosion. It also is safe to use on our O-ring chain.

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.

CONTACTS
Acerbis
http://www.acerbis.com/

Kawasaki
949/770-0400
http://www.kawasaki.com/

Lucas Oil
800-342-2512
http://www.lucasoil.com/

Renthal
877/736-8425
http://www.renthal.com/

Uni Dirt Bike Filters
714/535-6933
http://www.unifilter.com/

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