Skip to Content

Kawasaki KLX 140 Review – Which Size Is Right For You?

Wondering if the Kawasaki KLX 140 is the right dirt bike for you? Whether you’re looking for the best beginner bike for you or for your female partner, you’re in the right place!

In this article, I’ll show you differences between each KLX140 model, which one is right for you, and what to expect when buying one so that you save time and money.

What is the KLX140?

The KLX140, which is now the KLX140R, is a 144cc air-cooled 4 stroke trail bike with a 5-speed manual clutch and transmission. It has 3 different wheel sizes and seat heights, all aimed at beginner riders of different sizes.

It is still carbureted and not fuel injected. But it does have electric start, removing some of the frustrations if you’re a new rider learning to ride.

The KLX140L is the closest rival to Honda’s CRF150F. It has mid-size wheels and a simple, reliable 144cc air-cooled 4-stroke engine.

A clean stock 2008 Kawasaki KLX 140 is a great beginner bike to learn to ride on.

How tall is the KLX 140 & which size is right for you?

There’s 3 different KLX 140 models to choose from. Kawasaki made virtually the same dirt bike but the wheels and seat height are different sizes based on your height.

Previously called the KLX140, KLX140L, and KLX140G – they’re now called: KLX 140R , KLX 140R L, and KLX 140R F.

Are the new model names any different?

Kawasaki just updated their trail bike model names for the 140cc trail bike for some reason to make it more confusing for us…
The sizes I list for each dirt bike are estimates based on your height, but your inseam is going to make the biggest difference on whether or not you can touch the ground with one foot.

KLX140R (small wheel)

The KLX 140 is now the KLX 140R, but nothing has changed other than the letter added. It’s the shortest and smallest model 140cc, making it the smallest dirt bike with a clutch from Kawasaki.

The KLX140R has 14/17″ wheels & tires with a 30.7″ seat height. This makes it good if you’re a 4’8″-5’0″ tall.

KLX140R L (large wheel)

Updated from the KLX140L, the KLX 140R L has slightly bigger wheels. It’s not only taller, but it handles obstacles on the trails a little better because the bigger tires roll over them more easily.

The KLX140R L has 16/19″ wheels & tires with a 31.5″ seat height. This makes it good if you’re 5’0″-5’4″ tall.

KLX140R F (big wheel/full-size)

Previously named the KLX 140 G, the KLX 140R F is still the same bike with full size wheels. This is a great dirt bike for beginner adults that want the shortest full-size bike. It has the least amount of power, making it easy to ride, but the 21 and 18 inch tires make it handle much better over logs and rocks on the trails.

It still doesn’t have the stability of bigger adult size dirt bikes because of the geometry and wheelbase is shorter, but this bike isn’t meant to be ridden at high speeds anyway.

The KLX140R F 21/18″ full-size wheels & tires with a 33.9″ seat height: 5’4″-5’8″ rider

Is the KLX140 a good bike?

The KLX140 is one of my favorite dirt bikes for beginners. It’s great if you’re just starting out and want a quality bike that’s super easy to ride.

The suspension is nice and plush, it starts easy, and it handles very well. It may not have EFI, but I recommend using non-oxygenated gas and you shouldn’t have dirty carb problems.

Kawasaki 140cc engine characteristics

It’s a 144cc 4-stroke air-cooled engine that is built to be very forgiving and to last a long time. The KLX140 makes good, smooth power from idle to about 8000 RPM, but it’s happiest at a low to mid RPM.

Having a predictable power-curve makes it perfect if you’re new to riding because it’s not going to easily jump out of your hands like a big enduro bike would.

Keep the engine full of oil (but not overfull) and the air filter clean, and the KLX140 engine will last many years. It’s comparable to the old Honda XR trail bike engines, if you’re familiar with their reliability.

Suspension – what to expect

As a budget trail bike, the forks and shock are pretty simple and low-performance – but this isn’t bad. They’re nice and soft for absorbing bumps and obstacles at low speeds for better comfort, and they’re very reliable.

Stock forks

The fork seals will last a long time because the boots cover up the upper legs, but they’re easy to work on if you do have to do some routine maintenance.

The downside is that they’re soft on all of the models and not externally adjustable. Each bigger model KLX 140 has slightly stiffer forks, but if you’re over 180 lbs, you’re going to bottom them out easily.

Stock rear shock

The rear shock has some compression adjustment on the large wheel and big wheel/fullsize models, but the standard small wheel has no adjustability other than the shock preload to adjust your sag/ride height.

The rear shock is fairly soft as well to make it balanced with the front. The adjustable shock on the bigger wheel models can help stiffen up the rear by slowing down the compression.

Weight – The lightest, most compact package?

The KLX 140L has a one inch lower seat height, and almost 2 inch short wheelbase than the CRF150F. Coming in at 209lbs wet and ready to ride, the 140L is the lightest bike in it’s class.

It’s an excellent dirt bike for teens, females, riders 5’6″ and shorter, or if you just want to start out on a nice, compact set of wheels.

Is the KLX 140 reliable?

Yes, like most 4 stroke beginner dirt bikes, it’s very reliable because of its simplicity and low-performance. This makes it great if you’re just getting into dirt biking and want to do as little maintenance as possible.

Just fill up on gas, check the oil and air filter, and you’re set for a hours of trail riding. If you want to make your KLX last as long as possible, you need to do regular oil and air filter changes or else the engine will wear out and seize.

KLX140 vs TTR125

The KLX140 definitely has more power, but does that alone make it better vs the TTR125? It’s just as reliable and I like the ergonomics and handling a little more.

The only problem is the KLX 140 is harder to find used and usually cost several hundred dollars more.

KLX140R L – Is it your next dirt bike?

Lowest seat height? Check. Electric start? Check. Cheap to buy? Check. If you’re looking for the best mid-size beginner dirt bike, the KLX140L is as good as it gets.

Pros:

  • Lowest seat height
  • Great handling; lowest CoG
  • Lightest on the list
  • Electric start
  • Simple, reliable
  • Quieter than most dirt bikes
  • Low cost, new and used

Cons:

  • Smaller wheels (compared to a full size dirt bike)
  • Small chassis; not good for tall riders
  • No back-up kick-start
  • It’s green? (or maybe you like the color green!)
Kawasaki KLX140L Review

Kawasaki KLX140R F

Wait, didn’t I just read about the KLX140? Yep, but the KLX140R F (AKA the KLX140G) is a newer version that Kawasaki updated for riders that want a full-size dirt bike, but still like everything else about the little 140.

Kawasaki KLX140G Beginner Dirt Bike
Kawasaki KLX140G

The 140G has full-size wheels (21/18″), so the seat height and wheelbase are taller and longer. It only weighs 9lbs more, so it’s still lightweight compared to the rest of the pack.

KLX140R F Final Impressions?

The KLX140G has the lowest seat height and is the lightest full-size 4-stroke dirt bike on this list. It may not have a lot of power, but it will be the easiest to ride.

With an MSRP of well under $4,000, this is a very affordable beginner bike. They’ve already been around for a few years, so waiting to find a used one can save you even more cash that could be spent on proper riding gear and gas.

Pros:

  • Very low seat height (33.9″)
  • Only 218lbs wet
  • Full-size wheels
  • Electric start
  • Low CoG
  • Reliable
  • Cheap for a full-size dirt bike

Cons:

  • Low power output
  • Similar cockpit size as the KLX140L
  • No back-up kick-start
  • It’s green?
Kawasaki KLX140G Review

How much does a KLX140 cost?

These are the new MSRP prices of each Kawasaki 140:

  • KLX140R: $3,499
  • KLX140R L: $3,749
  • KLX140R F: $4,049

How much is a used KLX140?

The value really depends on your local market, the specific model 140, what condition it’s in, and which year you’re looking to buy. A used KLX140 is going to be in the $1500-3500 price range based on these factors.

Will the KLX140 make you a better & safer rider?

The KLX140 is a fantastic bike to build your confidence riding off-road, but that’s just the beginning.

You must learn proper riding technique and body position to have real control over the bike in the woods or out in the bush, and I want to help show you how to do that quicker. Click here to get started learning proper off-road techniques.