Kawasaki KLR 250

Enduro motorcycles make great first motorcycles. The big benefit with learning off road is that you'll usually have no vehicular traffic with which to contend - a big safety thumbs up. And, because riding off road is much more physical, your riding skills sharpen exponentially quicker than strictly street riding.

Kawasaki KLR 250

Years Available: 1902-current
Engine Size: 249cc
Motorcycle Style: Enduro - Dual Purpose
Good Beginner Motorcycle? YES
As long as you can manage to throw your leg over its high seat!
Pros: Liquid cooled, 6 speed transmission, protective skid plate, attached rear pouch.
Cons: Pricey little number, kick start only, heaviest of the beginning enduro motorcycles
Price: 2005: $4,249.

The Kawasaki has the largest engine of the three beginning enduros (249cc vs Yamahas XT 223cc vs Suzukis DR200SE 198cc.) It is by far the heaviest of the trio (20 full pounds more than the next.) It's the only entry-level model with liquid cooling, which is a great feature, especially if you plan on riding in your share of paved traffic. It does have the best suspension travel, 9.1 inches both front and back.

As with the other 2 entry level enduro motorcycles, Kawasaki outfitted the KLR with a disc brake on the front fork with a drum style brake on the rear wheel.

As an enduro motorcycle, the KLR will serve you well on gravel or unimproved roads, fire roads, and APPROVED City/County/State/Federal off road motorized riding areas. Also, you'll be a different kind of motorcyclist if you choose to ride dual purpose machines. Suzukis DRZ400 has been widely acclaimed as a cliff-jumping bike made street legal - I also really like (as do the professional reviewers) Suzukis DL Strom pair of cycles (the 650cc and the 1000cc flavor). A new moniker - Adventure Bike - has been given to dual purpose rides quite recently. The Indiana Jones in you may be the one writing the check when you choose to buy an adventure bike. Life is short; why not have a DP and a regular street bike, too, for the best of both worlds?