Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  What model have I got ?

A.  I'm assuming it's a watercooled two-stroke Kawasaki at this point.  If it's got two cylinders, one behind the other then it's a  KR250 A1/A2  (barely any difference between them).  If it's got the powervalve system (see below) then it's a  KR250S.  Congratulations - this is the site for you !  However, if the two cylinders are side-by-side, you've got a  KR250B (KR-1),  KR250C (KR-1S)  or - if you're really lucky - KR250D (KR-1R).  And if it's only got one cylinder, you've got a  KR150  or possibly even an  AR125.  All these other bikes are great, but I don't know much about them and there's very little on this site that'll help you I'm afraid.  Anything else is either a race bike (we need to talk), a motocrosser (check for mud) or a jetski (are your feet wet ?).  Or maybe it's a weird bastardised one-off product of a disturbed mind - I've seen an inline-3 based on a KR1 motor and there's a fuel-injected watercooled H1 out there somewhere...

Q.  Have I got an 'S' ?

A.  The KR250S is basically an ordinary KR with a powervalve top-end.  This set-up is known as KVSS - Kawasaki exhaust Valve Synchronisation System.  It comprises a large external pipe on the left of the cylinder head, connecting the front and rear exhaust ports and containing butterfly valves worked by a mechanical linkage from a servo, controlled by what looks like another CDI unit.  The head and barrels are completely different from the standard model, but - as far as I know - you could upgrade a normal motor to 'S' spec in the unlikely event that you could find all the parts, as the bottom-ends are the same, as are the pistons and rings.

KVSS explanation from the brochure KVSS decal
a (rough looking) 'S' motor KVSS exploded diagram KR250S motor

Q.  Where can I get a workshop manual from ?

A.  I'll send you a copy of one, if you ask nicely.  The Parts Book too.  See  Adverts  page.  But you can read both for free on my  Servicing page.  There are no aftermarket manuals (Haynes, Clymer etc.) for the KR that I'm aware of.

Q.  Where can I get spare parts ?

A.  Good question.  These bikes are 20 years old now and most stuff is no longer available.  If you're in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or Japan, start by asking your local Kawasaki dealer.  In the UK, your Kawasaki dealer will look at you like you're daft - however, supply the  Part Numbers   and they might still appear on his parts computer.  Z-Power know what a KR250A is though and have a computer link to Kawasaki Parts Warehouses in Japan and Holland so they're definitely recommended.  There are plenty of good used (expensive) parts on Yahoo Auctions Japan  but try your local brakers yard too.  Or do what most KR owners do and track down a second bike for spares...

Q.  What goes wrong with them ?

A.  There are two common faults, probably related to each other.  Firstly, they can be a bit temperamental when it comes to starting.  Road tests have mentioned it but without giving a cause or cure.  Airlock in the fuel lines ?  Badly sealing disc valve ?  Dodgy low-speed ignition pickup ?  Loss of compression caused by heat expansion ?  Well, the Japanese KR community say it's down to setting the primary gear dampers up correctly, as per the  workshop manual.  My bike's fine when it's cold but very difficult when warm - this is typical, although some owners complain of the reverse.  It'll tick over badly on one pot, but won't take any throttle or choke.  I usually have to kill it and push-start it instead.  This works fine - it's almost as though the kickstart won't turn the engine over fast enough.  Which brings me to the other common problem : the kickstart shafts are fragile and often snap.  The metal they're made of is almost impossible to weld so a repair is tricky - but it can and has been done.  Don't let either of these problems put you off ownership, just remember to park at the top of a hill so you can always push-start it easily if necessary...

Q.  I want a KR for myself - where can I find one ?

A.  Start here.  Look at the adverts on the  For Sale  page or email me and I'll see if I can find you one.  Or ask around the grey-import specialists and see if they can source one direct from Japan for you.  Everyone seems to want the green/white ones, which is lucky as they're the most common.

Q.  How much should I pay for one ?

A.  Depends how badly you want one.  They're difficult to price 'cos there's not many around.  An average one that's running and usable should be 700-1000, a really mint original one will be 1500-2000.  Add on a few hundred quid for an 'S' (if you can find one).  A parts bike or major restoration project should only be a couple of hundred quid.  If you really want a mint standard one though, save up and buy the best you can find - don't start with a cheap one and expect to be able to replace the tatty or missing parts.

Q.  I can't find the engine number - where is it ?

A.  Good question, it's not where you'd expect.  It's on the left-hand side of the engine, stamped on the crankcases alongside the rear cylinder.  It's hidden behind the preload adjuster and the fuel pipes so you'll probably have to take the tank off to read it.  The frame number is in the usual place stamped on the headstock.

Engine number location

Q.  Where's the KR chatroom/forum ?

A.  There isn't one on here - sorry !  But there's a great site for the KR-1/S/R parallel twins with a forum that includes a tandem-twin section.  I use it regularly - please register and join in at   KR-1S.CO.UK.  If you can read Japanese, I highly recommend  Tono's KR bulletin board.  For online discussion with other two-stroke nuts, I recommend the   Yamaha RDRGV250NS400R  and   TZR250  forums, all of which I subscribe to.  And I've recently helped launch a site that covers all oddball two-strokes, including the KR of course - see  Diff'rent Strokers.

Q.  That KR Meeting you went to in Japan sounded fantastic - when are you going to arrange one in the UK ?

A.  Hmm, we talked about this when I was there.  I'd love to do it but I can't imagine generating the same huge enthusiasm among the locals.  Would you all chip in to cover Kork's airfare like the Japanese did ?

Q.  By the way, who made you the expert ?

A.  I'm not.  I set this site up in June 2003 'cos I couldn't find any information anywhere about the KR and thought other people might benefit from my ramblings.  There are undoubtedly lots of people out there with more KR knowledge, experience, mechanical and riding skills than me, but none of them bothered to tell anyone !