3 KLX exploring the trails in Khao Kiao, Thailand

Discussion in 'Central Western Thailand Road Trip Reports' started by TonyBKK, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Brilliant fun yesterday in Khao Kiao! We were supposed to be 4 but unfortunately one had to cancel due to illness; he missed a fun day!

    Big respect to Rob, he'd never ridden off road before and we threw him in the deep end and he came out all smiles :lol: (Ok, I'm lying about the smiles, but at least he survived and hasn't put the KLX up for sale, so I reckon that's a positive sign) :thumbup:

    We begin at the Cemetery Trail (so named because you have to ride through a Chinese cemetery to reach it.)

    According to Brian people are just DYING to get in here :crazy: (Warning- the jokes do not get any better...) :lolno:

    Rob's first time on dirt- he did damn well! What he lacks in skill he makes up for in sheer brute strength and determination! :clap:

    Check out that smile- looks like he's having fun so far!

    Turns out the trails change quickly here. Reckon every rainy season re-shapes the area big time. Lots of dead ends like this-

    Continuing south on some sandy farm roads brings us to some more single track-

    Mostly we could work our way around or through. Came to another dead end that, according to Brian's GPS used to go through to a nearby dirt road. Seems a long way if we backtrack so we hike a little ways to see if it's doable. I have my doubts...

    But we decide to go for it! I go first, get tangled up in some vines, but make it through-

    Rob goes next, no drama.

    Then Brian, the Banana Killer bashes his way through :lol-sign:
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  3. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    So, we make it across the drainage and we're only about 100 meters or so from the dirt road, but good lord it's tough going through an old taro field that is hopelessly overgrown and rutted-

    Rob takes refuge from the blazing sun under the one tree in the field, only to discover it's full of fire ants- YIKES!

    The field was plowed at an angle to the road. The ruts are so deep that it's impossible to ride across them or over them in the direction of the road. I think I can follow the ruts and think eventually they'll lead to the road. Brian wants to U-turn and follow the drainage. I help him muscle his bike around which is exhausting in this heat. I decide to continue on and it's a bit crazy, but I do eventually reach the road. Hallelujah! Brian is now out of sight and Rob is still stuck out in the field:

    You can hear him and occasionally see the sun shining off his helmet. He's a tall guy, the grass and taro was taller!
  4. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Poor Rob- his first time off-road and he's wearing a road jacket, road gloves, full face helmet and Sidi road boots- how did he put it?

    "Hottest I've ever been dragging the bike thru ruts the size of drainage canals,grass and tree stalks that make wilt chamberlain look vertically challenged and then taking shelter in the shade of a tree only to be attacked by stinging ants." :lol-sign:


    But he's still smiling!!! :thumbup::clap::smile1:
  5. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    So, Rob and I have escaped the field and take some time to cool off and collect our wits. I'm hoping that Brian has managed to find an exit along the drainage and that he'll ride up the road to join us, but he doesn't, so I go looking for him.

    Hmmm, no sign of him. I hop off for a quick pic and consider wandering into the drainage on foot...

    Just about then Brian pops out from the bushes on foot. No bike... Hmmm... I find him in a bit of a rough state- He's run out of water and overheated, but still smiling!
    And to think we used to tease Rob about his red face! :oops:

    Rob comes along and the two Ozzies flop down in the shade to try and cool off and gather their strength as we still have to get Brian's bike across the drainage and up to the road.

    So, I'm thinking, alright, with one guy riding and two people pushing this shouldn't be too tough...

    Then Rob finds the bike and tells Brian he left the ignition on and there's not enough juice left to start the bike! :shock:
    Are we having fun yet???

    Ugh! So, it turns out we have to drag it through the weeds, across the drainage and up a steep hill to the road :sick:
    I ask Rob if he's having fun yet? He answers my question with a question- "Do you know what I like about you guys? Not farking much!" :lol-sign:

    It takes us a while, and we stop to catch our breath, but eventually we get the bike back up to the road.

    Brian whips out a trick looking knife and hacks away at the vines and weeds that are tightly wound around his rear hub and sprocket because we still have to bump start this beastie.

    We manage to bump start it (another adventure) and make our way to the first road side shop that sells drinks as we are all thirsty and tired!
  6. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

  7. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Nice report Tony...

    Talk about bloody hot and exhausting.. I was ready to leave the KLX there and go and buy a new one..
  8. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    Believe it or not.. There was a dirt road listed there on the GPS....
  9. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Ya know, if there hadn't have been three of us I think it would have been just about impossible to get that bike out. We'd have had to ask some locals for a hand. Thank goodness we brought Rob along, eh? ;)
  10. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    A local probably would have ridden it out LOL - if the battery was not dead
  11. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    After re-hydrating and cooling off in a little road-side noodle shop we were ready to ride to the Khao Kiao Country Club where Brian says they have a nice air conditioned restaurant and good food and they tolerate grubby bikers.

    First too-tall Rob had to stand up and get a haircut from the ceiling fan :lol:

    I know the trail head is at the back of the pineapple plantation, but am not 100% sure how to get there as the plantation roads are laid out like a maze. I get lucky and find the trailhead without getting lost :thumbup:

    Watch this one to the end for the CRASH OF THE DAY! :clap:

  12. Satonic

    Satonic Ol'Timer

    And to think we do this kind of thing for fun!

    #jealousofyouradventure :)
  13. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

    That trail was very sandy on top but firm underneath.. Also dropped it in slow motion there when coming to a stop...
  14. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    We continued on until we reached the Prong Din reservoir, hang a right, then follow the road to the Khao Kiao Country Club-

    Khao Kheow Country Club
    [TD=class: basicinfo]Bang Phra, Si Racha
    Chon Buri 20110, Thailand



    It felt a bit weird rolling up on our dirt bikes and we did get some quizzical looks from some Japanese golfers, but the staff were quite friendly and welcoming.

    The AC in the restaurant overlooking the golf course was nice and cold, the food quite good and the prices reasonable. Here's a picture Brian took:

    Rob had been planning to ride a half day then head home, but I guess he was having so much fun that he decided to join us for the afternoon :thumbup:
  15. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    After a nice lunch at the Khao Kheow Country Club we return to the trails- I'm keen to ride the "Rock Garden" trail that I've seen in some of Brian's videos. To reach that trail we need to ride up to an overlook, then down to the trailhead. Heading up:

    Every time we stop Rob asks "Is this the Rock Garden?" :lol-sign:

    Is this the rock garden? Nope! ;)

    Rob got a bit hung up trying to climb over some roots. Once you've lost your momentum it's hard to get going again, especially with those 50/50 road/dirt tires!

    Backslide and flop :lol:

    Keep trying!

    Even Brian had a bit of trouble here-

    Steep and rocky! Go Rob go! Are we there yet???

    Another tricky bit, no problems for Brian :)
  16. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Riding up to the Khao Kiao overlook, I wave Brian past as I don't know the route. Nice views from up here!
  17. yychow0812

    yychow0812 Ol'Timer

    Looks like hard work but damn good fun. I'm really tempted to give it (off road) a try but have never done it before. If you don't mind answering a few questions:

    - all of you ride KLX's. Presumably you rate this above the CRF?
    - are all parts stock? Tyres, suspension, brakes
    - how does off road gear differ from road gear? For eg, ok to wear a modular road helmet or something lighter is recommended?
    - I read your posts about the Kawa Enduro courses - did that help a lot?
  18. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer


    Will leave Tony to speak for his bike..

    But Rob and my bike are pretty standard.
    Only major difference to stock is:-

    - Pro Taper handlebars
    - Barkbuster handgaurds.
    - Change the pipe / exhaust for a made in Thailand jobbie from Chiang Mai.. Saves you a few KG in weight
    - API ECU.. This makes a big difference
    + uses about one litre fuel more per tank than a bike with standard ECU
    + No more winding it up to 100km and dangerous overtaking
    + You can over take safely with speed.. Get it up to 130kph.. though she tends to get a bit wobbly.
    + Can be a bit of a bugger to start when hot
    + Wont always start in gear even with the clutch pulled in... tries but no go.. drop in to neutral and no worries.. off she goes.

    I would recommend the API ECU for sure.. much better having the pick up and makes a big difference going up hills..
    You are not leaning forward trying to help the bike.

    Have not ridden a CRF so can't comment.. Lets see what the feed back is after a couple of seasons out in the wilds of Laos..
    We know the KLX is rock solid and proven.. Sure the CRF will be the same.. but a couple of riding seasons will tell for sure.

    Gear is very different.. Boots, body armour, knee shin guards and helmet.. All different..
    When you first try dirt.. you will wear your road gear only once.. Then after you nearly die of heat stroke.. you will be down the shop getting the right kit :)

    I have completed a few private lessons with friends.. just to get the basics as we started riding around by ourselves with no or very little idea..
    If you want lessons.. Baan Ricky can help you here in English / accommodation / bike / rental gear.. just to see if you like it before you buy a bike.

  19. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Brian has covered it pretty well.

    A couple of aftermarket bits he forgot to mention are Bash Plate and Luggage Rack-

    These bikes are not lightweights. If you want to lose weight, getting rid of the stock exhaust is the single biggest savings in that department.

    I bought my KLX second hand from a gent who installed a Bill Blue 351cc Big Bore kit paired with a Mikuni pumper carb. The result is a KLX on steroids and I must confess that off-road I almost never use all the power available. Adding 101 cc and a pumper carb made the bike very thirsty so I've added a larger fuel tank. But even with the bigger tank I still do not have the range of a normal KLX250.

    The gearing had been changed from stock 14/42 to 13/42 on my bike so in 1st gear it could climb absolutely anything and power wheelies were a cinch, but it was far too buzzy on the highway, so I've changed the gearing back to stock and would even consider going to a 15 tooth front sprocket if I ever take the bike on any long distance tours.

    I'm running off-road knobbies, an IRC Vulcanduro on the front and a Michelin Cross on the back and having real offroad tires makes a big difference when you're in mud, sand, dirt, rocks, etc. The tradeoff is that they wear out quickly on pavement and you often feel like you are "floating" over the pavement at higher speeds. But to me it's well worth it because these tires are amazingly CHEAP, so even though they wear out quickly, replacing them isn't a big expense.

    I was / am still a dirt bike novice and have found the Kawasaki riding courses to be great fun and very educational. Sure you can go out there and try to figure out how to ride offroad on your own, but a lot of the techniques are very counter-intuitive, especially if you have been riding road bikes your whole life.

    The new Honda CRF250L has received pretty good reviews but is, IMO a more road focused bike. It's heavier with less ground clearance and more basic suspension than the KLX250. There are reports that when ridden offroad the clutch on the CRF250L wears out very quickly, sometimes in as little as 2000km, the shift pedal seems to be poorly designed as a drop on the left side will often lead to the gear selector shaft snapping off at the case, and there are report of cam chain tensioners breaking for no apparent reason. Also, the CRF has about half the cooling capacity of the KLX 250 and while I haven't heard of any overheating to the point of failure, folks do report that the cooling fan runs almost constantly on the new Honda bike when ridden hard offroad. You really have to flog a KLX 250 to get the cooling fan to kick on.

    Of course, the CRF250L is in its first year so hopefully Honda will address and fix these 1st year issues. The KLX250 has been around since 2006 and is a tough and proven bike with tons of aftermarket support.

    Here in Thailand the Honda CRF250L is significantly cheaper than the KLX250, and I think it's more fuel efficient too, so those are also some important things to consider.

    I really enjoy all of the events that Kawasaki, Thailand sponsors, from tours to riding courses to races to social and community events they really do a wonderful job of promoting the sport and building the community. I've met some really cool people and made some great friends thanks to Kawasaki, Thailand and I'd miss them a lot if I were riding another brand.
  20. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    From the Khao Kiao overlook we follow a trail down along the Khao Kiao Open Zoo boundary fence to the entrance to the Rock Garden Trail. And what an entrance it is! :mrgreen:

    I think Rob is wishing he'd stuck to his original plan and gone home after lunch ;) Don't worry Rob, it only gets better! :D

    Wow, this is cool! Doesn't seem like anyone's been this way in a while, the trail is quite faint and someone even got a bit lost ;)

    What weird bamboo- it's got big nasty thorns and is not something you want to tangle with!

    Love Brian at the end- "Where are you?" :lol-sign:

    Once you're off the trail, it's sometimes not so easy to get back on it, as Rob demonstrated for us several times ;)

    Quite a steep descent, good fun!

    Finally we've reached the rock garden! Rob- "Oh joy!" :mrgreen:
  21. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    Rob is in the lead and I follow Brian through the Rock Garden-

    Once past the rocks and out of the forest the trail is a fun single track through super-tall grass-

    And so ends the Rock Garden Trail! :clap:
  22. yychow0812

    yychow0812 Ol'Timer

    Thanks Brian and Tony, for all the useful info and the lead to Baan Ricky. I will definitely try to check it out over the next few weekends before work gets too hectic. I hope I can also count on you guys to help with modding as necessary if I do buy a dirt bike (knowing me, it's a done deal even before I even sit on one :) )

    Up till a few weeks back, Real MS has one last 2012 KLX (red) that Khun Chay said he will do a special price for. Just wondering if I should shell out a bit more baht for the 2013 model (any improvements over 2012 or just aesthetics?) or be more sensible and buy a second hand one to thrash first?

    I feel a bit "cheated" in that I handed over almost Thb 300 k for a Versys after a minute's consideration but have not known anything at all about the Kawasaki arranged rides - does one need to get on the mailing list of Kawasaki or does Real send out the notices via sms? (maybe it's the latter and my wife have been secretly deleting them).
  23. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    If you can get a deal on the 2012 I'd say grab it as the 2013 is unchanged, just different graphics. 2nd hand KLX's are pretty rare, but do pop up from time to time, so that might also be an option.

    As far as I know Kawasaki does not have a mailing list for their activities, but they are published on multiple Thai forums such as-


    And you might want to add the following facebook pages:


    Finally, here's a link to the 2013 calendar of Kawasaki events:

    [h=3]Kawasaki Thailand Events Calender 2013[/h]
  24. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    We made it to Khao Kiao again this past Saturday and explored some new trails. Good fun!!

    Here's a trail I hadn't ridden before that I thought was good fun!

    Crash of the day, only because I didn't get the more spectacular crashes on video ;)


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