Kayo 250 2T & 4T - Dirt Biking on a budget.

Kayo 250 2T & 4T – Dirt Biking on a budget.

Words: The Motomedia Team
Pics: Black Rock (Stefan vd Riet & Rene Swart)
Who and… what the heck are Kayo? Well, according to their website they have been designing and building and exporting pit bikes to the European market since 2002. KAYO’s Chairman Mr Jigang Dai worked for ten years at Honda before establishing the KAYO company. In 2021, they produced 170,000 pit bikes, dirt bikes and ATV’s. The KAYO pit bike has been appointed by the Chinese government as the racing bike in the national races, and KAYO’s dirt bike leads the orientation of the whole Chinese dirt bike market. Now it’s in SA, imported by the giants at KMSA.  
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KMSA (Pty) Ltd is the group who import, distribute and back up brands like Kawasaki, SYM, SBS brake pads, Pirelli tyres, Arai helmets, Acerbis, D.I.D., NGK, Renthal, Motul and so much more, so you can be assured the quality of the product and excellent after sales back up nationally as well as in neighbouring states.  

We decided to grab a couple of the most maniacal MX and Stunt riders we know, and challenge them to enthusiastically try and disprove Kayo’s claims on the website. It was a race on! Just a few minutes into the test we started getting quite apprehensive at the gusto with which they exhibited. Every creek and donga had to be jumped. Every game trail had to be attacked at max speed. Every jump had to deliver the max hang time. Every stream had to be traversed on the back wheel at speed with the front wheel as far away from the water as possible… All on Chinese made dirt bikes…. Gulp!

The RIde:

Behind our office we have a top secret testing facility which encompasses fast flowing dirt roads, river and swamp crossings, ridiculously rocky sections, single spoor paths, beeeeg donga’s and a very secret half length MX track. A little bit further along we have our very own mini version of Bushman’s Pass in Lesotho which gives riders of any skill level a good workout – So, basically our own mini dirt bike Disneyland. Our two feral racers and the Boss’s kid disappeared into the distance attacking everything in sight with whoops of glee, screaming engines with the neighbourhood sheep and cattle looking on. It was truly a sight to behold as every couple of seconds, a different bike popped out high above the tall dancing veld grass and trying to round them up or direct them for the photo and video shoot was like trying to herd cats.

Getting them to stop and give us a review of the bikes was just as difficult, once that red mist settles and these boys get dust on the it was nigh on impossible to wrangle them in, but eventually we dangled a couple of energy drinks as they tore past which did seem to catch their attention long enough get them to stop for a quick chat….

Kayo 250 2T & 4T - Dirt Biking on a budget.
Kayo 250 2T & 4T - Dirt Biking on a budget.
The Kayo KT 250 is a 2 stroke (click here for full specs), liquid cooled, electric start enduro unit and retails for R69,995.00.

The KT 250 2-stroke: 

Premix – we ran some Motul at a 40:1 ratio. A bit richer than recommended because the bike was pretty much brand new. Right so it looks really good and comes complete with a happy button. Yup, you read that correctly. How the Japanese manufacturers have not cottoned on to this secret on their two strokes is truly mind boggling. This one also has a kickstarter for those days when you have overused the happy button. The bike started perfectly every time. 

It might look a bit YZ-ish, but they have fitted a WR (wide ratio), gearbox which is more suitable for bush bashing and enduro riding. Adjustable suspension by Kayo racing products is mounted front and rear – rebound and damping on both ends. It actually looks quite a lot like Showa-esque suspension. A twin pot front calliper takes care of stopping duties on a wavy disc. Outback is a conventional single pot. Other details include fat bars, a quick throttle, gripper seat and wide footpegs. Nice! The big radiators come standard with a cooling fan. How cool is that!

The ride:

In a word. Fun! Our lot were pleasantly surprised. Don’t get us wrong, it’s not quite up  there with the big brands, but for the price, it’s really well worth consideration for the average trail scratcher. It’s pretty decent off the line, the six speed gearbox is smooth with a soft cable actuated clutch. It’s a two stroke, so it’s up to you as to how fast you want to go. Quick at the top – enough grin inducing power right there and the jetting was on point, no bogging. The bike feels light and she’s pretty nimble around the fast stuff. 

Where we would spend a bit of time and maybe a rand or two is on the suspension. Standard, she does tend to bottom out when you ride her hard. We did play with the clickers, but we’d maybe look at stiffer springs up front and heavier oil. One thing that we’d change –  the bike comes with a standard roller chain that’s prone to wearing quite quickly. We’d fit an O-ring unit.

We’d also look at braided brake lines. Sure this bike was new and the pads needed to be bedded in and although they did improve through the day, it’s just a fairly inexpensive upgrade that will make a big difference. At our MX track, the guys spent some time bouncing around, but – see our comment on the suspension – the higher they launched, the greater the chances of a crash became…

Where we had the most fun was on the rocks. The gearing is good, perfect for creeping up and over with good ground clearance so, unless you are doff you shouldn’t smack the rocks on your way up and over. The bike feels surprisingly compact and light, maybe a bit heavier than a modern Japanese 2-stroke (The YZ 250-X weighs in at 104, the Kayo is 110), but it’s lighter than a four-stroke and comes standard with a happy button and headlight, so it’s actually surprisingly fun and easy.

Kayo 250 2T & 4T - Dirt Biking on a budget.
The Kayo K4 is a four stroke, (click here for full specs), air cooled unit sells for a cost effective R39,995.00

The Four-Stroke K4 – 250.

Guys, this is a very different bike to the two-stroke. More basic, but it’s also substantially cheaper. It’s got adjustable suspension by Kayo racing products front and rear – rebound and damping on both ends. A twin pot front calliper takes care of stopping duties on a wavy disc. Outback is a conventional single pot. Other details include fat bars, a gripper seat and wide footpegs and a side stand. Electric start is standard, but no kick starter.

This bike might look quite racey, and James and Mike proved that if you wring it, you can go fast, but we’d say that this is the tractor of the two. Solid power with a smooth gearbox and clutch. It’s quite basic old air-cooled tech which means that it’s probably fairly reliable, but it’s nowhere near as refined as a modern Japanese four. It probably needs a balancer shaft. At higher speeds she does give some vibration and you tend to tingle from your toes to your teeth. 

Lower speeds are just fine and this bike is…. say it with us…. FUN!. Racers might dislike it, but a bike for your teenage son or daughter, someone learning to ride or your average trail rider it is ideal. We’d use a bike like this on the farm or for general trail riding – maybe even for marking trails and setting courses…

It’s heavier than the two stroke, and needs a bit more body english, but it has good torque for the rocks and mud. The clutch is light, the rider triangle makes sense… a solid choice. It feels like a “Kanniedood!”

Conclusions:

In a world where prices are going nuts it’s refreshing to find bikes that offer good value. We need to point out that the guys testing these bikes are pretty serious riders. Mike actually spent time in China racing the Kayo brand, so he knows them quite well. The brand is aimed squarely at the entry level brigade and most novice riders will be quite happy with the performance. 

Our opinion: People will start on bikes like these and as they improve they will move up to mainline brands. In terms of reliability, only time will tell, but these two are 20 year anniversary editions, so Kayo has the correct pedigree and the backing of a giant in the South African motorcycle industry. 

Take off your larney hat and just enjoy! 

To find your closest stockist head to www.kayomoto.co.za or call 011 566 0333

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