2018 Kawasaki KX65

Rung one on the KX motocrosser ladder.

2018 Kawasaki KX65Kawasaki

Ever since launching the Team Green amateur motocross support program in 1981, Kawasaki has stood behind young riders all the way. Proof of this is found in the KX65, a long-running mini-motocrosser that gives fledgling racers a platform to grow their skills. Just about everything on the KX65 is kid sized, including its diminutive 64cc liquid-cooled two-stroke (yes!) engine, compact 14-inch front and 12-inch rear wheels, adjustable suspension with 8.3-inch front and 9.4-inch rear travel, a wet weight of just 132 pounds, and a fairly manageable 29.9-inch seat height.

The performance gap between the KX65 and a typical 50cc four-stroke trailbike is as different as the compositional approaches of Eminem and Barry Manilow. Once it’s on the pipe, the KX65 flat out rips, requiring riders to learn the art of shifting the six-speed gearbox and feathering the clutch. Likewise, front and rear disc brakes require additional skills that will translate to bigger bikes later on. For kids who show riding aptitude, focus, and responsibility, the KX65 is ideal. More timid riders should stick to trailbikes.

Likes: A ready-to-race minibike at an affordable price

Dislikes: Old-school conventional fork, lack of regular updates

Verdict: A ripper for your little ripper

2018 Kawasaki KX65 Specs and Pricing

MSRP $3,699