Ralf Kraemer shoehorns a KH250 triple into a KV minibike!
In the late 60s, the Honda Monkey took the market by storm, becoming a sensation among riders both young and old. In 1971, Kawasaki released their own mini, the MT1, powered by a 4.2-hp two-stroke engine with a three-speed transmission and automatic clutch. Like the Hondas, the bike had eight-inch wheels, knobby tires, and folding handlebars so it could be fit into the trunk of most cars. Famed racer Parnelli Jones was even enlisted to help market the new pint-size smoker.
For 1976, the bike was renamed the Kawasaki KV75. It gained a seat latch, a washable foam air filter, and would remain in production until 1978.
Enter our friend Ralf Kraemer of Triples Klinik GL — the only German language Kawasaki Triples forum. Ralf has been mad about Kawasaki triple-cylinder smokers since he was in his early twenties, and he has a whole stable of the machines to prove it — several of which we’ve previously featured. As is so often the case, the idea for this project arrived on the back of a few cold beverages:
“It was a bet with a friend after we had some beers. I had the 250cc engine and the KV frame. He said to me: You can’t swap the motor into the KV frame.”
The engine they had in mind, of course, was the 28-hp two-stroke triple from the KH250 — an engine that puts out nearly seven times the horsepower of the KV75’s stock unit!
Ralf managed to shoehorn the 249cc three-cylinder engine into the KV frame, outfitting it with 28mm Mikuni flat-slide carbs, custom intake manifolds, and a bespoke exhaust from his buddy Andre of Wunschauspuff. He also outfitted the now-monstrous mini with the forks, swingarm, and wheels from a Honda Monkey. All in all, the bike only weighs 102.5 kg — 225.5 pounds! Says Ralf:
“It rides amazingly well. Just the thing for city traffic.”
Below, we get the full story on this crazy “KV250.”
Kawasaki KV250 Minibike: Builder Interview
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Kawasaki KV75 from 1976.
• Why was this bike built?
It was a bet with a friend after we had some beers. I had the 250cc engine and the KV frame. He said to me: You can’t swap the motor into the KV frame.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Install a 250cc engine in a KV75.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The fork, swingarm, and wheels are from the Honda Monkey series. Carburetors are Mikuni 28mm flat slides. I had the intake manifolds built in Japan. The exhaust was built by my friend Andre from www.wunschauspuff.de. Mufflers are from Jolly Moto. The speedometer and tachometer are from a Kawasaki KH250.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
It rides amazingly well. Just the thing for city traffic.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
It was a real challenge to accommodate all of the electrics.
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Ah ah ah!!! What a badass project!! Awesome !
This is adorable. Wanna hug it. The exhaust chambers look cool but are odd with such long header lengths before actually ballooning out? You really need a video of the bike running, as I’m sure a 250 triple 2 stroke sounds a bit unusual?
Just saw the video, don’t know why I didn’t catch it the first time. Spectacular! Very unique sound. Seems more torquey than I would’ve imagined. I’d love to know what the top speed on this thing is!
What generation monkey swingarm the new ones or the old? Like the Z50? I have built one (with the stock engine but crf front suspension and wheels.