Introduction - Project KLX110 - Pit Bike

Jun. 01, 2004 By Eric Tabb
Pit-bikes have grown into an adult phenomenon over the last few years. Whether at the track or in the desert you can spot plenty of adults cruising around on mins. Having owned an XR75 in the past I know how much fun it is to be able to come back from a good ride on the big bikes and then jump on the pit-bikes with friends and go for a cruise. After a recent outing to a local sandpit with some buddies and their XR50s I caught the fever and decided it was time to get on-board and buy a pit-bike.
 Why A KLX110?

When considering which dirtbike to buy, the XR50 was the first choice that came to mind. With all the aftermarket accessories available getting the little Fifty setup for me wouldn't be a difficult task. Upon riding a few more of them however I realized the tires are so small that in the desert sandwashes and rough terrain the 50 might not be the best choice. Since my main factor in buying a pit-bike was to be able to get as much ride time as possible in the desert and on the track the Kawasaki KLX110 started to look more appealing. With bigger wheels the KLX would be able to handle the desert terrain, that I spend a lot of time in, a little easier than the XR50.

On top of that the little Kawasaki KLX is an automatic clutch with a three-speed transmission stock. It already has a 4th gear installed but you need to modify, or replace, the shift-drum to make it work. Having more power from the start would mean easier times getting through the sand and up hills without big-bore kits that are common in the 50 arena. Finally, the KLX already has quite a bit of travel on both ends to soak up obstacles on the trail or at the track. Seeing how much some of my buddies have spent on suspension for the 50s the KLX would require less money to dial it in for my weight.
 Finding A KLX...

Once I was convinced the KLX110 was the bike for me I preceded to talk a friend into buying one as well, figuring why not share the fun and make someone else spend some cash as well. Surprisingly, we actually had to call around a few places until we found a couple bikes in stock. Both Kawasaki and Suzuki are making a killing on these 110s and I bet a lot of the sales are for adult purchases. While purchasing the bike I decided to go ahead and pick up some Tag bars, spider grips, a longer front brake cable and a shorty front brake lever. These initial modifications would put the ergonomics in better tune with my size and offer more comfort. Getting the bike home I quickly installed the parts and made plans for a break-in ride at Elsinore MX Park in So Cal.
 First Impressions

Upon arriving at Elsinore the following Saturday a friend and I unloaded our new 110s and headed to the mini-track for a nice easy break-in ride. We took it easy for the first few rounds and let the bikes cool off a few cycles. After the bikes were broken in we started to pick up the pace to get a better feel of the bikes. It became immediately apparent from bottoming the forks over the small whoops that the stock suspension needed to be firmed up before we could attempt a whole lot. Power wise the bikes don't offer a lot of low-end but once you get the motor into the mid and top-end they do just fine for the mellow track we were riding.
After putting a few hours in the saddle I started to realize how much you have to rely on momentum through the turns to get enough speed for the tabletops. Fortunately the bike rails the berms with ease and makes you feel like a superhero. Even with stock suspension we were able to jump most of the tabletops and avoid bottoming by being sure to land on the down side. The best part is watching the faces on the dads standing around the mini-track supervising their kids. You can just sense that they wish they were having as much fun we were battling back and forth for laps on end.
 Project Plan

Over the next few articles we will be making updates to improve the suspension, ergonomics and performance of the KLX110. Our goal is not to build the baddest 110 around but to build a track & pit bike that is comfortable, reliable and one that can be ridden both at the track and around the campfire. I have no regrets on my choice of bikes and look forward to improving on an already great pit-bike. If any of you riders or aftermarket companies have suggestions, or want to be a sponsor on our KLX110, shoot me an email, I would love to get more input on making this project bike better.
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