When we just arrived to Thailand, I thought I need nothing but scooter. Yes, I noticed strange small mutant bikes lookштп like mix of sport and enduro bike. But I thought them to be some unserious toys for strange Asians. And, apropos, first generations of that bikes with their simple green design looks unpleasant.
But after year of living in Thailand I met friend who told me: “I just bought a nice bike and do tuning of it. Guess, you aren’t familiar with this class of bikes, it’s called ‘mini-supermotards’”. It was that strange small bike, Kawasaki KSR. From my friend I learned about big community of KSR-lovers. Barely, I found a motorbike rental with KSRs and took one for a week, to test drive it. Than I understood – it’s my bike and bought the new one.
So, what does KSR represent? Of course, I can copypast specifications here, but you can easily find it on KSR website. I don’t like specifications, because they don’t give understading why this bike is different or why it so popular. So, I’ll try to explain it without parameters and numbers.
It’s mini, but it’s still supermotard
Supermotard – enduro/motorcross mixed with a road racing bike. From a motorcross it has shock absorbers with long wheel travel, frame with high centre of gravity, low weight. From a road bike – fat slick wheels, stronger breaks, optics. So, with motard you can ride public roads, but you have extended abilities: you can jump, ride off-road, you will miss rock and holes on bad roads.
But if you are a novice driver, you may have some problems. Supermotards, like their offroad fellas, are very high. If you not tall enough, your feet will not get ground when you seat on bike. Plus you need to use to switch gears in this condition! And, of course, a big and heavy evil supremotard bike looks frightening for a newbie driver.
As a solution of this problems, the new class of small bikes was created. It’s calls “mini motard” or “mini supermotard”. Kawasaki KSR is the most popular in Japan and Thailand mini motard. Its’ weight is 85 kilos only (Ducati Hypermotard, for example, weigh about 180 kilos), seat height is 750 mm only (Ducati Hypermotard have 845 mm seat height). Of course, KSR has small, 110 cc engine. And it has very good option for newbies – it’s half-automatic. Means, you can switch gears, but you don’t need to care about clutch.
KSR has only one problem – comparing to usual Thai bikes, it’s not so useful for everyday life. Stock bike even hasn’t footsteps for a passenger. Of course, you can equip bike for carrying a passenger or a luggage, but not a passenger and a luggage in the same time! And it’s totally imposible to carry same amount of luggage that Thai scooter is able to carry.
Now you can ask me: “man, if bike not useful – what to do on KSR?”
I’m not a fan of bike stunt, but KSR is the best base to make a stunt bike and then learn how to do tricks. It’s cheap, light and small – a nice combination. There are many KSR stunt clubs in Thailand.
Change tyres to off-road, install luggage rack and voila – you have an easy to use, cheap and comfortable bike for jungle adventures.
Touring on KSR is not so comfortable. I passed 750 kms in 3 days and still remember strong pain in my ass. But if you became an enthusiast of KSR, and I can’t persuade you to cancel your 1000 km trip, please, care about purchasing special motorcycle pants – it will save your ass undamaged.
Yep. There are special racing tournaments among mini motards and among KSRs. Do performance tuning with Takegawa parts and go practice to closest racing circuite!
The main secret
I forgot to say about “small” detail – tuning shops sell enormous, big variety of different, ready to use tuning parts and customisation services. I’ll tell you about the tuning market in next posts.