Play bikes...

MTVR

Well-known member
Years ago, my wife and I purchased a Yamaha TTR90E for our daughter as an off-road play bike when she was little. We also used it as a pit bike at our local motorcycle road racing course. It was great, in both roles.

Fast forward to today- we are now retired, empty nesters, and in the process of purchasing a ranch in Texas.

My wife has expressed an interest in having a small motorcycle appropriate for off-road use on our property.

She is about 4'11" and 100 pounds, and because of my admittedly high degree of lecherousness, she is decades younger than most retirees.

She is not new to motorcycles- she took her novice road racing class on a Supersport-prepared Suzuki SV650 that we referred to as the "Halfabusa". She had an HRC (Honda Racing Corporation) NSR50R Grand Prix racing bike that she used at local go kart tracks. And she currently has an utterly pimped Honda MSX125 with Michelin tires, full Ohlins suspension, Sato Racing rearsets, superbike handlebar, carbon/stainless race exhaust, custom ASV levers, and so on.

That said, we are not looking for a motocross race bike, per se. There is something very approachable about an air-cooled 2-valve play bike.

Then again, I can afford a small motocross race bike for her, which would net her a lot more power, significantly lighter weight, vastly better suspension, superior brakes, and so on.

So I think we're looking for something larger and more powerful than the TTR110E (although that would work), and we're definitely looking for something lighter and smaller than the various 300-pound 230cc dual-sports. And she really does not want a Bigwheel.

So I'm wondering if we're looking for something like one of the three sizes of KLX140 (probably one of the smaller versions), or if we're looking for something like a KX85.

What say ye?
 
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MTVR

Well-known member
Wow, Kawasaki has five different sizes of small air-cooled play bikes- two sizes of the KLX110 (12/14 wheelset with two different suspension systems), and three sizes of the KLX140 (14/17, 16/19, and 18/21 wheelsets each with their own suspension system).
 

oddball4x4

New member
My brother has a 2019 KLX110 with electric start. While it is no speed demon it 100% fits the play bike category. The thing is an absolute blast to ride! We honestly have more fun tooling around on that then on our race bikes. lots of low end power (gearing most likely) but it can get him up to 45mph on hard pack dirt. I'm 5'9" and 180lbs and the KLX has no problem moving me around even in the deep sand around where we ride. the tire size would be the biggest draw back when it comes to sand riding or if you have a lot of obstacles like rocks or logs. the KLX has been super reliable, just change the oil when you need and ride. Easy.

The small bore 2 stroke race bikes would be a blast, but the maintenance required to keep those little smokers singing moves them out of the category of play bike for me. Since it sounds like you race street bikes I'm sure you know the difference between "race machines" and street/trail machines.
 

Rallyroo

Expedition Leader
2021 Honda Trail 125 is an option if you wanted something lighter with light trail capability. Used in Australia as a postman bike. One Australian traveled on the previous model from Perth to London (shipping across the oceans of course).Screen Shot 2020-12-03 at 1.02.40 PM.pngScreen Shot 2020-12-03 at 1.02.58 PM.png

 

MTVR

Well-known member
My brother has a 2019 KLX110 with electric start. While it is no speed demon it 100% fits the play bike category. The thing is an absolute blast to ride! We honestly have more fun tooling around on that then on our race bikes. lots of low end power (gearing most likely) but it can get him up to 45mph on hard pack dirt. I'm 5'9" and 180lbs and the KLX has no problem moving me around even in the deep sand around where we ride. the tire size would be the biggest draw back when it comes to sand riding or if you have a lot of obstacles like rocks or logs. the KLX has been super reliable, just change the oil when you need and ride. Easy.

The small bore 2 stroke race bikes would be a blast, but the maintenance required to keep those little smokers singing moves them out of the category of play bike for me. Since it sounds like you race street bikes I'm sure you know the difference between "race machines" and street/trail machines.
Good points, all.

Yes, we have looked at something like a KX65 for her also. Our daughter had one after the TTR90E...
 

MTVR

Well-known member
2021 Honda Trail 125 is an option if you wanted something lighter with light trail capability. Used in Australia as a postman bike. One Australian traveled on the previous model from Perth to London (shipping across the oceans of course).View attachment 628916View attachment 628917

The Super Cub is cool, but she already has a well-developed road-going motorcycle.

We're looking for a motorcycle to use off-road, and since she already has a road-going motorcycle, we have no need for the new one to be road legal...
 

mac66

Observer
I know this is a somewhat older thread but the OP should consider an off road mini bike by Coleman or Trailmaster. They are 196cc, variable/centrifugal clutch so no shifting. They are low to the ground, have balloon tires which are good off road. They are fairly slow 20-40 mph but again good for off road. There are half a dozen variations of the Colemans, The Trailmaster MB200 has front and rear suspension, disk brake, headlight and a torque converter, it's pretty much the cadilac of mini bikes. Good thing is they are around $1K. The Colemans don't have rear suspension or disk brake, they run, depending on the model $500-800. All are pull start, no battery, lights run off a stator.

I used to have Honda CT90s but they got old and finicky and my wife was afraid to ride off road. The thinner tires were squirrely in sand/mud/ruts. I sold them this spring and bought two Trailmaster MB200s. My wife rides them all the time now. They are not street legal but we mostly ride on our land and to/from the off road trails which are a couple miles away. In my state it's legal to ride off road vehicles on the county roads.



I've since added mud flaps, mirrors and tail/brake lights to mine.




I used to dual sport ride when I was younger but I'm old now. Low and slow works for me. These are really fun to ride.
 

Ditriz

New member
2021 Honda Trail 125 is an option if you wanted something lighter with light trail capability. Used in Australia as a postman bike. One Australian traveled on the previous model from Perth to London (shipping across the oceans of course).View attachment 628916View attachment 628917

Great bike, my father rides one. Forest and hilly terrain are not a problem for this transport.
 

Cabrito

I come in Peace
I think the Trail125 would be an excellent play bike. It would be great for so many different uses.

I had a Vespa for the past few months and found it to be super fun, and useful for chores. I didn't like the ergonomics on it and it was fatiguing to ride for extended periods so I sold it. The automatic transmission was great and it was super easy to ride. My riding style dictates to me that I need something a little more suited for bumpy, dirt, stairs, curbs, ect type of riding.

My 1974 Trail90 was almost there, but it felt fragile and was too slow so I sold it.

I'm currently shopping for a CRF300L Rally because it seems to check a lot of boxes for my needs/desires.
 
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