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Old 01-18-2013, 01:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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New to Motorcycles - Advice Needed!

So my Grandparent's have a Kawasaki KE100 laying around that they have wanted to give me forever. It still runs but looks like it needs a new cable of some sort. I think it is from the 80's. Here is some additional information about the bike.

Manufacturer Kawasaki
Production 1976-2001
Predecessor Kawasaki G5
Class Adventure bike/survival bike/enduro
Engine 99 cc air-cooled oil-injected two-stroke
Top speed 62.5 mph (100.6 km/h)
Power 11 hp (8.2 kW) at 7,500 rpm
Torque 8.9 lb·ft (12.1 N·m) at 3,500 rpm
Transmission 5-speed constant mesh wet-clutch with chain final drive
Suspension Front sealed hydraulic forks, Rear coil shocks with pneumatic struts
Brakes Front and rear mechanical drums (leading/trailing)
Weight 197 lb (89 kg) (wet)
Fuel capacity 2.5 US gal (9.5 l; 2.1 imp gal)
Oil capacity 1.2 L (1.3 US qt)
Fuel consumption 70-85 mpg US


I have a 2.5 mile commute each way to work and figure this would be a great commuting machine, but would have to get a motorcycle endorsement and go through a safety class.

What are your opinions should I bother putting work into it and getting my endorsement?

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Old 01-18-2013, 09:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Asking advice on whether or not you should ride a bike requires the advisor to know how good a driver-rider you already are. The best bike riders are also great car drivers. Maybe the best question is how long has it been since you had an accident or a ticket and how agressive a driver are you right now.

If you are accident prone, or agressive, then riding a bike may not be your best choice, however your short commute would be ideal for a bike, either pedal powered or motorized. The Kawasaki sounds like the ideal short commuter with the two stroke being a slight disadvantage as far as emissions but something thaat would warm up quickly and get decent mileage.

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Old 01-18-2013, 09:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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It depends on if you want to ride or not. If you desire to ride a motorcycle I would recommend taking a motorcycle rider's safety course. Many beginner courses actually let you ride their bike (I highly recommend this!)

You will gain valuable information and they will teach you all the basics. They also will teach you how to trust the bike to respond to your inputs. This is essential! If you have ever seen someone on a motorcycle struggling to turn a sharp corner you know they do not trust the motorcycle to turn so they straighten their body which causes the weight not to shift to the inside of the corner.


Once you are riding for a while I would also recommend a defensive rider's course. It is an advanced course you bring your own bike to. Courses vary but typically they will teach you panic stops and quick maneuvers.


The courses are a great way to learn and you actually have someone there to walk you through. Also it is really fun
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I've had a couple of KEs in my day. They are decent bikes within limitations. A known problem with them is the oil injection system. It was real common for them to fail and cause the piston to seize. Most people would bypass it & pre-mix 50:1.

If it has been in storage, strongly consider replacing the tires, crank seals, brake shoes, cables, and the chain and sprockets. On a KE100, I'd estimate about $200 or less to do all of this if you do it yourself. Not too bad for a frugal motorcycle.

The stock brakes were pretty weak on the KE series, but sanding the drums and using EBC brand shoes helped. Ride defensive and they get the job done.

On older two strokes, the crankshaft seal on the magneto side is prone leaking and will cause it to go lean and seize. An unusually high and erratic idle is the tip off that it needs to be replaced.
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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That is a great bike for a beginner. You will be able to ride it pretty hard and not go excessively fast. Not sure why the motorcycle manufacturers think that new bikes have to be so big.

I still ride my 75 350 yamaha and love it.
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Oh if you decide to run pre-mix you probably should increase the jetting a bit as putting oil in the fuel, is decreases the volume and secondarily the viscosity is increased.

If your grandfather has a book with it, be sure to read it.
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies. I was mainly wondering if the bike is worth my time. I don't have much experience driving motorcycles but my main hobby is bike riding and I feel confident riding in traffic. I will keep the tips in mind when I get to work on it in two weeks. I think the classes are required and between that and getting my endorsement would be $220. I will let you guys know how it goes.
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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it will not pay off...for such a short ride you will not spend much money on fuel, but you will spend money on fixing it, license, maintenance, etc...just use a bicycle and it will take you a little longer but much cheaper
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRU View Post
it will not pay off...for such a short ride you will not spend much money on fuel, but you will spend money on fixing it, license, maintenance, etc...just use a bicycle and it will take you a little longer but much cheaper
Thanks for the opinion. That's kind of what I have been thinking. I plan on trying to ride my bike most spring, summer and fall.
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Sam, Lots of great advice from the other posters. Motorcycles are a great alternative to cars under the right conditions and if the rider is willing to invest the effort to be a safe, efficient rider.
I must second GRU's suggestion about riding a bicycle for such a short commute ( or even waliking ). To me starting a motor for such a short run is just wrong.

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