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Review of the 1996 Kawasaki EL 252:
El 252 is it a road bike, is it a cruiser¿
Author: Doreen Wilson, 2011-02-06|
I have just passed my UK bike test and as a Short a#@@´ sat it on a 125cc restricting me to 33bhp for two years, found a 1998 el252, a little strange in the looks department, but hey it runs, and it handles really well...
... I´d been away from biking for a long time, this time I decided to get the full licence to break away from the 125 restrictions (and L plates), oh yes I am old enough to remember when you could ride a 250 on a provisional licence.|
I have always been a Honda lover, but held Kawasakis in 2nd place in my affections. When I got the chance to buy the EL252 I wasn´t too sure but my curiosity about this little bike got the better of me in the end. It wasn´t my first choice, with it´s almost, but not quite, cruiser looks. Now that I own it I can say the same about the riding position, more street bike than a Virago, a Shadow, or Dragstar, but.... and here´s the big but, the restriction on my licence has left me with little choice, i´d have to get something bigger and strangle the power out of it or get one of the other japanese cruiser 250cc´s with around 20 bhp, which isn´t much more than the 125 I had. At first I looked for bigger bikes that didn´t need restricting and almost bought a Suzuki Savage 650, but even that was only around 27bhp ... enter the EL252, which depending on which review you read has around 30 to 33bhp. It´s lighter than my last bike too and far easier to handle than any cruiser I have ever ridden, I´m throwing this thing around corners like a race bike! It´s got loads of power for a 250, can keep up with and overtake dual carriageway traffic no problem, it climbs steep hills with ease and today for the first time I had it on a motorway where it sat at 70mph at around 1100 revs, this thing red lines at 1400, so plenty of power left (and that was in a headwind) the only problem I can imagine here is crosswinds,as this bike is very light.
I live in Scotland and this is February, I bought the bike a month ago so these are first impressions. This is the first dry day we have had for ages, but the roads are not in good condition, today I manged around 50 miles and the El252 didn´t put a foot wrong. Roll on summer!
This was always going to be my interim bike, something to use until the restriction is removed, but it has everything I need (except a side stand) it can break every UK speed limit with ease (as if I would!) and more desirable for me it is light and easy to manouver. I´m a 5´2´ woman and I can get both feet on the ground, although being a cruiser fan the seat height is a little higher than any of the others I have tried.
It´s got a rev counter (for me a must) not that I realy ever look at it, I just think two clocks are visually pleasing, it has quirky looks and a low centre of gravity, I can´t comment on the MPG yet as the tank was full when I bought it although I have been told it does over 50 to the gallon. It´s cheap to tax and insure, £100 for a year(combined) but then I do have 2 years NCB and am in the low risk agewise catagory. The engine is a parallel twin (doen´t have that V twin growl)but it sounds okay. So far it hasn´t been the best starter i´ve had (but then it hasn´t moved much since I got it and it has been a very harsh winter). It hasn´t fail;ed completely yet but I would prefer a kickstart backup, but then I don´t have one of those on my car either! Spares are easy to find, but not cheap. Although servicing items are ten a penny and hopefullly once I get all the comestics just how I want them, that is all i´ll have to fork out for. So far I have bought two new side panels at £160 each as I couldn´t find second hand, there does seem to be a good market in second hand items as long as you are not looking for the side panels and there is always someone breaking one on ebay.
I have never seen another one of these on the road, I don´t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing, there have been a few for sale on ebay and bike trader, but these have all been the older model (the one with only one clock).
The brakes are good, the pickup is fantastic, nothing will beat it at the lights.
It´s water cooled, has 6 gears and all the instrument lights are easy to see (haven´t left my indicators on once yet)
On the whole, it might just be a keeper, if I can ever let go of that desire for the easy rider stature of a Honda Shadow or Yamaha Dragstar. Footboards and forward contrils along with handle bar risers might help, but i´m not sure I want to go to those lengths.
Some say that it has a faster O to 30 than a Ferrari and that the only thing passing you at the lights will be on one wheel, all I know is that so far it´s been fun, maybe I´ll call it The Stig!
Not perfect, but pretty good all round, try it even if you usually ride bigger bikes you´ll be surprised.
I´ll update after the summer.
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