Some of you may recall an article I penned during EICMA of 2015, where we discussed Kawasaki's claim of new models coming down the pipeline.
Big Green promised 12 new motorcycle models over the next two years, over half of which would be supercharged. I'm not sure if this included the Z800, which debuted in America shortly thereafter. (It's new for us, but it's been in Europe since 2013.) If my math is right, that means that at least seven blown Kawis should be on showroom floors by November of 2017. Now, I understand perfectly well we're not even at the halfway mark; Kawi still has over a year to deliver on their promise. But I have ants in my pants. I want something with forced induction on it now. Which brings me to today's STDS.
Some rider is selling this bike.
Over the past few days, it started showing up all over craigslist, on reddit, and on ADVRider. (Here is the link to it. I know the link will die fairly soon, but if I don't include it, we'll get eight thousand comments wanting to know where to find it. If you stumbled upon this article after it was published, I included a copy of the ad in the image gallery so you're not left in the cold.)
This bike looks like a bad accident waiting to happen. (And by "bad accident" I mean "really cool accident from riding like a jackass.") It started life as a 2008 Yamaha WR250X. Then some enterprising mechanic stuck a Morgan Performance Fabrication turbo kit on the wee beastie.
This was not some hack job, though, by the looks of things. The bike got a dished piston that bumps displacement to 280 cc. I like that; more bore goes hand-in-hand with more revs, which a turbo setup will obviously like. The dish will lower the compression a bit. How much? I don't know exactly, but in general, knocking the compression ratio back on an engine that's being force-fed is a grand idea to help internals survive.
I'm not sure what kind of boost that turbo's stuffing into the engine, but I think it would be safe to say that a 30-horsepower bump would be in the realm of what one could expect. So let's recap that real fast: a 20-horsepower bike now pumps out 50. Total bike weight, even after the addition of parts, should be under 300 pounds. Impressive.
Our intrepid salesman is asking $6,500 for this gem, and he will consider trades. (Truly a fella after my own heart. There are people in this world who could be just as happy with a 3/4-ton diesel 4x4, a pop-up camper, or a lightly used skid steer. I am one of them, and my gut tells me this seller may be similar.)
This bike has all the right upgrades: FMF Q4 muffler, Dynojet Power Commander III, braided lines front and rear, and an autoclutch. The motor was freshened up at 7,000 miles, which I presume means a top-end inspection with some fresh gaskets. (Maybe it got fresh rings; I dunno. Call the seller if it matters to you.)
Why do I like this so much? It's light, and has 450 power or better in a 250 package, and probably delivers power similarly to a two-stroke machine. It's also a factory supermotard, which means it is titled. (The seller says it's inspected, so there are probably no Lemmy-hoops to jump through. Sign the title, pay your sales tax, and hang plates on it.)
Primarily, though, it's a homemade project that has all the signs of being done right, and you can't waltz on into a showroom and buy one of these bad boys. Sure, MP Fab no longer makes the turbo kit, and I am sure finding parts for the Thumper Racing top end will become more and more difficult as time rolls on. Tuning a turbo bike is also not something everyone knows how to do, so I doubt this bike will end up in the hands of someone from the "take it to the dealer" crowd. That adds to the cool factor for me: the harder they are to keep runnin', the better I like 'em.
Verdict? This bike doesn't suck. It blows.