Konker KSM200 – Test Ride

Neil Johnston grabs Konker’s new KSM200 supermoto for a blast through Vancouver and into the trails beyond. Is this the start of a new day for Chinese-built motorcycles?

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Words: Neil Johnston. Pics: Kevin Miklossy

I’m skimming over a thoroughly potholed logging road in the shadow of the Chief just outside Squamish, B.C.  Below me is the Konker KSM200, a diminutive supermoto and one of the first wave of the storm of Chinese motorcycles to reach our shores.

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Even with 17 inch SM wheels, the Konker is happy on gravel.

Shod with 17-inch wheels and street rubber, the KSM200 is picking its way down the steadily narrowing trail, crossing a mud puddle bordering on miniature pond; the street tires slip a little, but the Konker holds its line. Rounding the bend, we’re confronted by a steep hill littered with fist sized rocks.

I contemplate the hill for a moment; I know the Konker would climb it no problem, but I would like the optional off-road tire kit for the way back down. With a steering-lock that would let it kiss its own tail light, the Konker isn’t even vaguely challenged to about-face, and so we retreat back to the main logging road.

It’s a broad wide affair where bigger bikes rule the roost. To the left, $7,000 worth of well-used KTM 640 Adventure slides by and roars off into the distance, while the $2,995 Konker’s speedo hovers just below 80 km/h. Pretty much at the limits of my dirt riding ability given the limited grip of the little supermoto’s street tires, I decide not to push it any further.

But the Konker KSM200 has more than conquered the expectations of being a cheap Chinese bike of the “lick it for the GHB in the paint if you want a good high” variety. Indeed, everything we’ve asked of the bike it has done … and we’ve asked a lot.

“PREMIUM” MOTO

konker_lsr3.jpgIt’s not at all bad looking.

You might not be familiar with Konker, but the Langley, B.C., importer has been in business for five years and currently boasts some 72 dealers across Canada. This is their first road legal machine – a rebranded supermoto (with optional dual-sport wheels) from a Chinese factory that also makes Suzukis on the side.

Actually, calling the Konker a supermoto might be a bit of an overstatement. With a 199.3cc engine pushing out 16 hp (claimed) and approximately 14 lb-ft of torque (by feel) there’s not much power to be had, making the Konker more “moto” than “super.”

The engine is the same air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke unit that powers the Suzuki DR200. Konker comes to it by way of a Suzuki-partnered factory that handles Chinese domestic production. That partnership also explains the Japanese-refined feel of the transmission. Shifts are clean, smooth and easy.

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Motor is effectively a DR200.

That the Konker is in essence a Suzuki takes care of major concerns around reliability and parts availability given the profusion of Suzuki shops around. As important, considering its origins, Konker is backing its product with a one-year warranty with full coverage for parts and labour.

New riders will find the fueling through the Japanese 26 mm Mikuni carb (versus the DR200SE’s 31 mm one) to be linear and utterly predictable, making for a friendly ride experience. The engine is nearly instant to start, quick to warm up, and should the occasion require, it even has a kick starter.

Out on the freeways the Konker KSM200 vibrates up to an indicated 125 km/h under 215 lbs of rider … after considerable run up. That top speed will have most enthusiasts rolling their eyes, but you don’t buy a 200 for freeway work.

konker_ride_rhs.jpgNeil shows off the latest in off-road fashion …

For a new rider the Konker will offer a solid introduction to motorcycling, allowing for traverses between back roads and dirt riding without need for a trailer. Better, the KSM200 is stable and confident at highway speeds and the chassis feels like it could handle the power of an engine twice the current plant’s size.

At this point, one statistic shines through: 2.94 L/100 km (or for those of us who are old school, 80 mpg). Our riding was not gentle, it was not kind, and the Konker consistently offered this gas millage and better, sipping gently from the 10.6L tank without the indignity of riding a scooter.

Suddenly $4 of gas offers an entire day of backroads and trails entertainment rather than 15 minutes of short-lived Starbuck bliss.

UNCUT CORNERS

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USD forks and a wave rotor disc. Fancy.

Ahead, the other riders are in conference; I touch the rear brake lever, bringing the KSM200 to a halt. Out back the finest in 1970s braking technology, the drum brake, won’t speak to enthusiasts. It’s not big on feel, but offers plenty of stopping power for a bike this size, and half the fun of a bike like the KSM200 is locking the rear wheel and sliding around anyway.

The front brake, however, makes up for the rear, with steel braided line, relatively good feel at the lever, and good purchase when the two-piston caliper puts the squeeze on the single 290mm wave rotor. I’d like to say the Kingstone tires, precambrian-soft and similar to the set Fred Flintstone had on his first motorcycle, bite in confidently, but they are one of the few whiffs of corner cutting on the Konker.

As you might expect, off road the street rubber doesn’t offer much grip, but fruit-fly light at 112.5 kg/248 lbs (claimed) the Konker doesn’t require loads of traction, and is perfectly happy cavorting down trails on rubber that would see bigger bikes stumble. Back on the paved road the tires are fine until the rains hit, then they betray a sketchy lack of grip leaving even confident riders shaking their heads.

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Riding behavior is very good.

Making up for the low-grip rubber is well-sorted and relatively high-spec suspension (USD forks on a 200!) that soaks up bumps and potholes and maintains good connection with dirt or asphalt.

In comparison to other bikes around this price point, the suspension alone makes the KSM200 a standout. Overall the Konker’s mindset is one of well thought out economy.

Yes, there are a few tatty stickers waiting to peel away and inexplicably the kill-switch’s off position is inverse to every other bike I’ve ridden, but the switchgear looks like it escaped from a Honda parts bin. Plus the gauges offer a speedo, tachometer (rare on low-end dual-sports) and even a digital gear indicator – though the latter is hard to see in direct sunlight, it’s definitely new-rider friendly.

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So is the detail.

The welds are tidy, the routing of the plumbing is clean, and there are little touches like a bash-plate and storage canister for tools and papers under the tail on the left-hand side. The mirrors could use longer storks placing them further outwards to provide a better rearwards view, but are stylishly shaped and fully adjustable.

Even the seat is relatively comfortable, a good thing as our test racked up over 800 km of on and off road riding. In total this bike is decidedly refined and pleasant, even before you take into account the price point.

And it’s not dorky looking. If I had a son or daughter at that “I want my bike license age,” the Konker would be top of my list for introductory wonders. Enough power to learn with, not enough for serious trouble, and enough visual appeal to keep the kids from being outcasts.

konker_gate.jpgThe KSM200 can cross boundaries, but not barriers.

Indeed, the KSM200 crosses a lot of boundaries. Seeing the bike in action, a downtown Vancouver couple settled on his-and-his Konker KSM200s for urban and rural outings as they reintroduced themselves to riding.

THE PRICE IS RIGHT

By accident or design, the Konker KSM200 finds itself strongly positioned in the new rider’s market. Consider the competition: Honda’s sporty CBR125R weighs in at $3,599, offers one-season enjoyment and is about as useful as laminated herring off the pavement.

Or how about Suzuki’s directly comparable DR200SE, which is priced at $4,899 but then doesn’t even have the option of the supermoto 17 inch wheels?

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King of the small capacity motorcycle mountain?

Even after outgrowing the Konker I’d be tempted to still keep it around for trails and city.

For an additional $600 Konker offers an off-road kit consisting of a bolt on 21″ front and 18″ rear wheel, shod in a well proven set of Kenda tires, complete with rotor, sprocket and rear drum brake – not that you can’t still have fun on gravel with the stock 17 inchers!

So you’ve got your road and dirt taken care of for a mere $3,595. If you’re comparing that to the CBR125R, then you’re still left with $4 for a tank of gas!

SPECIFICATIONS 


MSRP

$2,995.00 (plus $600.00 for the dual-sport 21″/18″ wheel kit)

Displacement
199.3 cc

Engine
type
Four-stroke, sohc, air cooled single

Horsepower
(crank – claimed)
16 ish

Torque
(claimed)
14.5 ft-lb (@8,500 rpm)
Tank
capacity
10.5
litres

Carburetion
26 mm Keihin CVK

Final drive
Five speed, chain drive

Tires,
front
110/70-17

Tires,
rear
130/70-17

Brakes,
front
Single 290 mm disc with dual-piston
caliper

Brakes,
rear
Drum

Seat
height
787 mm (31 “)

Wheelbase
1404 mm (55.3″)

Dry
weight
(claimed)
123 kg (271 lb)

Colours
Black and grey
Warranty
12
months

58 thoughts on “Konker KSM200 – Test Ride”

  1. All I have to say is that for a starter it’s a great little bike. I’ve been on bikes a few times before I bought this one so I could have confidently started off with my first bike being more powerful. However, being my first bike, I was more than happy. I’m not even a small guy but this thing has hauled my ass up the ski hill I live by multiple times, let alone the roads. I wouldn’t push her past 80km/h due to high stress on the engine but for an in town or easy going off-road bike she’s best kind. Like I’ve read from many people who own these; this china bike doesn’t cheap out on important parts such as engine, crank case or carb like some china moto’s. The plastics are pretty cheap and you may find yourself riding this bike well after 5000 km’s with no fenders or panels haha. I service it and do all the work myself, and I’m pretty particular about taking care of my gear between beating it up on the dirt trails. I’m happy about this bike and the only reason I may get another bike soon is because I’m 235 lbs and have gotten so used to the 200 four stroke power that I’m hungry for more power. But like I said, She has enough power to haul me up a mountain. I can also wheelie her with a clutch pop too ; P

  2. Hey…I have this bike but i am having the hardest time trying to find nobby tires without having to change my 17″ rims…can anyone help me with type of tire and sizing for tires to fit both of my 17″ rims please

    1. Dustan, you probably won’t find very aggressive tires for the 17-inch rims. I’d suggest contacting China Parts Canada (google them) to see if they can sell you dirt rims.

  3. Hey so I’m looking into buying one of these ive never ridden a bike before so I think this is a good starter, there is currently one on craigslist for 1500 he says its a 2010. 8000km on it price seems fair just wondering if im missing anything

    1. If you buy one, you can probably get parts from Chinapartscanada. But, be prepared to work on it yourself! You can get plenty of helpful information at Mychinamoto.com.

  4. Konker Canada is definitely broke and out of Business.
    He did not even notify his Dealers and just from one day to the other was no longer available on phone or email.
    The dealers are obviously struggling, since they are left hanging, looking after all the customers and the still open warranties.
    We for our part, have kept the warranty for all our customers that purchased from us directly honoured, but off course that is up to the individual Dealership.
    At present my Distribution Company W.C.Distributing, is in contact with the manufacturer trying to secure the canadian Distributorship for the KSM200.
    Just like so many of you, we really love the KSM200 and thank God, the Warranty claims are almost non existent.
    For now I was told the Konker Parts Website is still up and running and I put in an order for KSM200 parts last week, so we can see how that goes.
    I will keep you all posted.
    Keep in mind that almost all Suzuki DR200 parts match and fit the Bike.(Just more expensive)
    Hope this helps and wish me luck in aquiring the distributorship for this fine Motorcycle.
    Sven Bernard
    W.C. Distributing Ltd.
    Fort McMurray, AB
    sven@wcdistributing.com :eek

  5. Yeah, I’ve been unable to get a hold of them either so I’m assuming the same. Does anybody know for sure?

    Shame as the KSM200 had real potential in my view.

  6. Well, I guess the resale question and dealer support question has been answered… I believe the company has gone out of business and no longer answers emails. So I guess that would make resale $0 and parts/dealer support non-existent. To top it all off, Q Link in the United States sells the same bike, but wont ship parts across the border. Up the creek without a paddle as they say! :cry

  7. My Konker just turned 22,500km and it’s still ticking. The bike is ready for new tires and a third chain/sprocket set. I’ve changed the oil and headlight bulbs to keep it running. (3rd headlight) It has developed an oil leak on the shifter shaft which is an annoyance, but not a show stopper. Since new it’s averaged 86MPG. Certainly cheap to operate. I wish it had another 10hp to be a better commuter. I’d buy a 350 if one were available. Regards, Pat

  8. Hi Allan,
    On the article fourm you said the warranty has been increased to 2 years. My dealer said is one year. Can you please comfirm this. I bought it New June 25, 2010 at Honda Center in Burnaby. On the Vin tag it say 08/2009 Model Year 2010.
    Regards,
    Miin

  9. hey Bruce,
    We’re having a KM kontest on the website http://www.konkermotors.com – there you’ll find several happy owners – several with over 10,000km’s on it, and no issues.

    For 2010 – we’ve also increased the warranty period on the KSM200 from 1 to 2 years. Thanks for your interest in Konker!

  10. Now that these bikes have been imported for over a year, I’d like to read some follow-up comments. How are the owners doing who were using their Konkers for daily commuting? Are the bikes holding up now that you’ve had them on the road for a year and have racked up several thousand KMs..?

  11. I’m in Edmundston, New-Brunswick.
    is there a email i could contact you on, i’d send you the link to the site with the ad on it

  12. hey Frank,
    Where abouts are you located? The 2007 Konker 150 with 21 / 18″ wheels are great little machines, but not as bullet proof as the KSM200.

  13. sorry for another post.
    Also, would the still be parts available through the Konker website? And what was the price of that bike, but new?

  14. Hey
    i was looking on buying a bike, but second hand. I saw on an ads site that somebody near me was selling a 2007 konker street and trail 150cc bike. I was looking at the Konker site and i didn’t really see it. is it discontinued? Was konker good in 2007? It doesn’t really say the ”name” like ksm200 maybe that’s why i can’t find it.

  15. The KSM200 is an great and smooth overall Bike and I believe would be a nice starter Bike for you. Get the extra Wheel Kit if you intend to take it on trails as well.
    So cheap on Gas too and I found that if one needs Parts (I needed Oilfilter) it took a phonecall to the 800 number and 2 days later it was here.(By Purolator)
    Buddy of mine actually installed a Suzuki Filter. It seems that most Suzuki 200 Parts fit.
    Hope this helps
    Sven

  16. so im a 19 year old. just got my m lic. is this a good starter bike to be looking at or a hyosung gt250r? i will be putting on maybe 3000 km a year? any advice will be greatly appreciated.

  17. Thank you New Rider for emailing me with more information about your “Ordeal”.
    It is to bad that you never mentioned in your post, that the Bike was shipped to Dubai and not to any place in Canada.
    In your post it really sounded like you would not recommend anyone living in smaller places in Canada to order Bike.
    Fact is that the problem really comes from having shipped a Bike directly from the Importer to Dubai instead of having it shipped to a dealer in Canada.
    I am a Canadian Dealer and I can promise you that you would not have a problem receiving a Bike at my Dealership.
    Sven Bernard

  18. Allan is out of the country right now.

    Who sent you the Bike? What dealer?
    What colour did you order and what did you get?

    Get me some more Info and I see if I can help.

    Sven
    WC Motors Company
    Fort McMurray
    780-790-9000
    email me at sven@bernardpc.com

  19. after few months of waiting, I finally got it :-(. Got the wrong color, wrong keys, wrong VIN and wrong registration. Completely disappointed with the lengthy delays, wrong color bike. The dealer and importer service is lousy and they do not respond to email or phone calls. If you are away from main Canadian cities, I won’t recommend this to any one.

  20. Yeah, the d/s tires don’t look very aggressive. Have a look at the Kenda 90/10s if you want to try some serious off-roading.

    Hopefully i won’t need to sneak you a Ducati for a front wheel as it was supposed to come with the thing. Just waiting to hear from Allan at Konker on where it may be ….

  21. The printed specs say 11.5Kw @8000rpm. that’s 17 ish HP.
    I pre rode the GPTR’s Ganaraska ride on Friday near Peterborough ON. Much sand, lots of single track, wicked washouts. I’ll be buying real knobbies before I go back. I think the enduro/ds tires were ok for 1st gear single track stuff. For muddy water crossings or anything with speed, the confidence level (for me) disappeared. That being said, I’m new at enduro, and am willing to try it again. I think the speedo is spot on with the 21″ front, and about 10km optimistic with the 17″. Hey ‘arris, I’ve got a spare 17″ front I could barter for some seat time on a Duc..

  22. That’s probably exactly what was said…. seventeen not seventy lol.
    I did put the knobbies on and went camping last weekend.
    What a blast. Smooth as a baby bottom going over the trails at full blast in 5th gear (about 100km I’m guessing) Do not believe the speedo since the size difference from 17 to 21 on the front wheel will kill the accuracy of the speedo for sure.
    I was up in heavy sand and as long as I kept the speed over 3rd gear she just sailed across it all.
    Now I know why I became a Konker Dealer for Fort McMurray, AB. These Bikes cannot be beaten for this rice. GREAT FUN

  23. 70 hp from a 200???

    I’m standing by our stated 16 … ish.

    BTW, I now have a KSM 200 sitting in my driveway. Problem is the shipper lost the front wheel so unless I want to wheelie everywhere I’m going to have to wait to try the thing out!

  24. I’m confused about the rated Horsepower. This article mentions 16 ish. I called the manufacturer at their toll free number and they stated that the KSM200 is 70 HP. can someone clarify or verify what is correct?

  25. The bike should hold up fine, as long as you don’t exceed 110km/hr on a constant basis. I’ve had it up to speeds i won’t publicly speak of, and it’s held up. The smaller DS100 44tooth rear sprocket will definitely help.

  26. Thx for the comments. I am sad that 401 ridding is not recommended. I wonder how long it would take me to get to work on the reqular streets. I should try it with my car.

    Regards,

    David

  27. I just got one last Thursday and been driving it all weekend. What a blast and for the money?
    Super cheap on gas.
    I usually shift early (at 4000) and then just go all around in fifth gear and never had a problem, but when needed I shift a few Gears down and ref her up over 6 and she really pulls nicely for a little bike.
    Definitely all the power I need to drive around in Fort McMurray, AB where the top speed is 70km/h (Which means everybody drives 100) so I can keep up just fine.
    I have not tried the Knobbies yet

  28. As I mentioned earlier, I commute on 2 lane roads, paved & gravel. For me the smaller rear sprocket is a must (44 tooth VS 48 tooth stock). With sm tires & 44 tooth WFO is 106kmph. I recently put the trail tires on, with the stock 48 sprocket. With trail tires WFO is now 100kmph. (speeds measured with my garmin as the speedo is very optimistic) The pegs vibrate above 7000 rpm. I can’t recommend taking my KSM200 on the 401. I will say this bike is pretty good in the rain, the low horsepower is a form of traction control 🙂 Pat

  29. Pat – you have tons of experience on this topic – could fill David in on your experience on the hiways in the GTA?

  30. Hi David,

    I should be getting one in a couple of weeks so will try to remember to update you on this once I get some time on it.

    Cheers, Rob

  31. Hey, how is the bike for highway commuting rush hour traffice? I want to get back into riding in the worst way and this is one I can afford. I would like to use it as my main transportation to work. I drive 55 kms on the 401 highway (one way) in Toronto.

    Regards,

    David

  32. I have put 2500kms on two ksm200s, one burnt tailight bulb
    Love these little bikes.Under 3l/100km is more like 100mpg
    I have been getting 3.2l on average.On the offroad wheels on
    DOT knobbies you can go serious trail riding.As for resale I
    dont care at $8 of gas for a weeks commuting its a keeper

  33. Alan – congratulations on your purchase! The guys over at Promotopieces are excellent and have extensive knowledge on our unit.

    Pat – i can’t believe how many KM’s you’ve put on it so quickly. Have you had the chance to take it off road much? If so, how do you like it in the dirt?

    we here @ Konkermotors would appreciate any photos, or videos you may have or make! We’d like to get them posted onto our youtube.com/konkermotors area.

  34. I’ve got just over 3000km in 5 weeks, and average 93mpg. I commute in 80kmph zones (ontario 2 lane). This bike is perfect for me on gravel roads with the sm tires, still haven’t put on the knobbies yet. As a lightweight dual sport, this is one fun ride. Pat

  35. Ok i did it,went to Promotopieces, Mascouche layed down the bucks and came home with the konker 2009 sm200,two days later and i love it.im useing it to commute to work where the road speed is 90klm an hour 8 bucks to fill with gas,its giong to last me all week,,so we will see how the bike will hold up,,one thing i didnt see on the konker motors web site is if i needed parts,i hope i am able to get them i’ll keep doing follow up post

  36. Hey There,

    Where abouts are you located? one of the dealers may be willing to arrange delivery for you.

    Thanks,
    Allan

  37. Promotopieces, Mascouche – 450 966 6644
    Riendeau Sports, Varennes, 450 652 3984
    MotoXperts, Laval – 450 963 2001
    Didn’t work out ,well over 100 miles from where i live :sigh

  38. Hey There,
    Here’s a list of our dealers in the area.

    Promotopieces, Mascouche – 450 966 6644
    Riendeau Sports, Varennes, 450 652 3984
    MotoXperts, Laval – 450 963 2001

    Thanks – and please let me know how it goes!

  39. I’m glad to see people getting over their knee-jerk reactions to firms in developing countries. Let’s judge each product by its merits. I like the sounds of this one and I second the call for a 400. Having two sets of wheels was the way to go on my Triumph Tiger and they’re offering this option for less than it cost me to set up the Tiger with used parts. Plus, frankly, the lighter weight of this bike would make it better than my Tiger both in-town and off-road. It just needs a 400 to make it out to the boonies in the first place.

  40. I have seen the bike at Minimotorsports in Fredericton N.B. and the fit and finish is impressive.A lot of bike for little money and having a DR 200 a few years ago it is one tough little motor.I am going to pick one up in June and start the abuse [ after break in of course ]

  41. (Allan From Konker Motors) dealer support is the most important thing. We also want to ensure that parts are readily available to anyone, at anytime – so we’re re-building the konker website – you’ll be able to order parts online 24/7

  42. I’m not so sure that dealer support matters that much. Internet is a parts resource, and the machine is simple enough that any mechanic could fix it. On top of that, probably a lot of Suzuki parts will fit it. It may not be the bike for people who totally depend on their dealer for work and parts, but for everyone else we’ll wait and see.

  43. So what will dealer support be like?

    That’s the key to the success or failure of these bikes. The Chinese might make a surprisingly great bike for a low price – but if I can’t get local parts and service I’m better off paying twice the money for a Japanese machine.

  44. If you spend that little on a bike, who is going to worry about resale value? From the description I’d consider it for commuting over the CBR and scooter I road tested for CMG; far more versatile than either from the sound of it.

  45. Wes,
    I really can’t comment on the resale value but would predict that the KSM being from a little known brand won’t hold well. Mind you even a hit of 50% depreciation isn’t going to sting as much as on a more expensive bike.
    Neil

  46. Looks great, It is inevitable that just like Japan took a while for its quality to become world class that China provide some fine products. This bike looks like a step in that direction.
    🙂 🙂

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