Konker KSM200 – Going Down

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Zac takes a face plant during his daily commute. Time to see how well the Konker crashes …

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Words and pics: Zac Kurylyk
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I’m a lucky guy. I just may be the only rider to leave the scene of a motorcycle accident in a hearse and live to tell about it.

CMG readers know that Editor ‘Arris kindly loaned me the CMG Konker dual-sport for a month for my two cents on the machine, the only caveat being to return it in good shape.

That went out the window last week when the front tire suddenly blew out during my commute to work.

It all happened very quickly and I remember wrestling with the bars for a quick second, but I soon ended up sliding down the road, the motorcycle scraping merrily behind me.

Thankfully, this being New Brunswick, there were no cars anywhere around me, so the bike and I didn’t get run over. So once it all came to a sad stop, I peeled myself off the pavement and limped around assessing the damage.

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Tut, Tut, Mr Kurylyk! Not the proper attire when dealing with the CMG curse!

I’d left my motorcycle pants at home, and was simply wearing a pair of cargo pants, which the asphalt shredded, leaving my left leg with a healthy coating of road rash. Lesson learned!

My Olympia AST Jacket saved my upper body from most of the scraping (but now the jacket needs to be replaced) and my helmet had slid along the pavement briefly, so it was a write-off too.

But what about the bike?

As I painfully picked up the Konker and started to roll it off the pavement, I was instantly swarmed by funeral home workers. This is not a joke. In very CMG style, I’d conveniently crashed right outside a funeral home, only — luckily for me — I wasn’t dead.

A trio of very kind ladies raced across the road, helped me push the bike to the curb, and asked if I was all right? I thought so. Did I need a ride home? Well, now that you mention it . . .

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For a while the Konker thought it was dead.

One of the girls ran back to the funeral home and came back, driving the company van. That’s right – the same van they drive coffins around in. Thankfully, this trip was in the front seat, not the back. The Konker rode in the rear, damaged but not dead.

After unloading the bike, I did a walk-around and was rather relieved to find that the damage was minimal.

The rear bodywork does stick out somewhat and as a result was scraped badly, the front fender too had a patch of rash, the signal lights and bar ends were scraped and the front rim wasn’t going to win any awards in the looks department.

It appears that the left footpeg had taken most of the load during the crash and as a result, for the most part, everything was fairly intact.

I went in, soaked my leg in the tub, and called Rob with the bad news.

WHY?

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Damage due to Zac’s faceplant is minimal.

So, what caused the tube to fail?

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Awaiting new tube surgery.

Most likely it was my fault as I was running lower than normal pressures for off-road, and had neglected to re-adjust them for street use. The tube also ripped at the valve stem which further supports this theory.

However, I bought a Kenda Tuff Tube as the replacement, because I didn’t feel like taking any chances – there’s a reason that many Chinese bike owners replace their tire tubes as one of the first orders of business, just in case.

Because the bike and I have been laid up for a few days, there’s no further ride review this week. But for those who’ve asked me how the Konker stacks up against the Lifan I used to own, here’s the skinny:

The Konker is definitely a better bike. The suspension has proven to be much more capable to this point (although only time will tell if it continues to hold up in the long term).

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LHS panel took most of the scuffing, revealing that the plastic is painted, not coloured.

I personally prefer the Kenda tires, and the plastics look much better, although they are still painted, not colour-in, which tends to make them less crash/scrape friendly.

Even little touches like the grips and signal lights are an improvement over the Lifan – the blinkers are on flexible stems and both survived their scrape along the pavement.

When I picked up the Konker, I was especially happy to find it didn’t need a tune-up – it took a few weeks of fiddling with the carb on my Lifan before I got it running the way I wanted.

The only real disappointments with the bike were the poor choice for the final drive gear ratios (the Lifan had much more highway capability), and the lack of handguards – though the Lifan handguards were so flimsy that they were quickly replaced anyway.

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Just when I thought I had all the tools. 12 mm Allen on front axle delays the repair process.

Talking of gearing, I mentioned in the last article that I was chasing down a Suzuki sprocket to increase the Konker’s top speed. I tried Konker directly but they don’t sell the unit, though they did recommended a sprocket off a Suzuki 125cc enduro that’s supposed to fit.

I ordered the part through a local dealer, but when it arrived, it was the wrong unit. Bummer! They are working on correcting the mistake, but for now, there’s no sprocket update. The handguards I was promised haven’t arrived yet either.

This is a good point to remember with Chinese bikes like the Konker – you’re going to have to do some digging to find out what fits as there isn’t an aftermarket yet.

Also, don’t expect to get the same support you’d get from a Big Four manufacturer. I’m lucky that I have a good relationship with a local parts counter worker who’s patient enough to help me find what I need.

THE BILL

If we wanted to replace the damaged parts, what would the cost be? Well, Konker have a very handy online parts ordering site and here’s the tally based on their listed pricing:

Inner Tube (Kenda Tuff Tube) $19.95
Indicator lens $20.00
Clutch lever $20.00
Handlebar grip $10.00
Sidepanel $90.00
Front fender $85.00
Foot rest $35.00
21″ front wheel rim N/A

11 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Zac,
    I just stumbled across this post. It’s funny how similar you crash pics are to mine 🙂 My wife low sided my Konker last summer (2009) (the roads department had sprayed dust control calcium in AUGUST!!) I also have the painted side panels 🙂 . I’ve since added brush guards to save the levers.

    I now have over 24,000 km in 2 seasons, and other than the oil leaks, it has been an OK experience. I switched to the 39 tooth TS125 rear sprocket within a month to gain a bit of highway cred. I haven’t trailered or pushed it home yet. I’m currently waiting for parts from konkermotors, so I can get some snow kms here in Ontario.

    I liked the Konker on gravel roads, but have also bought a Transalp for my 2011 season. I’ll keep the Konker around and teach my kids to ride. Plus I’ll ride at Ganaraska. My wife has upgraded to an Ascot.
    🙂

  2. First, does this thing even have any rim locks ? If it does, or doesn’t, get some real Motion Pro ones that work the way they are supposed to. They now make some light weight ones that shouldn’t upset your wheel balance.
    Second, take the nut off the valve stem on the outside of the rim that locks the tube in place. If it slips, you can see it and there will be enough give to allow it slip to about a 45degree angle before bad things happen. One rim lock and lots of stoppies will only move it a couple degrees.

  3. Sorry Rob, my lack of English skills made me misunderstood. Thank you, the CMG articles made more people aware that Konker exists (as the importer doesn’t advertise much) so I could sell mine in the second try. In 2300Km of ownership the engine worked flawlessly and the vibrations level was OK under 6500 rpm. I didn’t like the same things already mentioned here: anti rust protection, tires quality, the battery mount, the plastics durability and finishing (compared to my CBR125R), and above all the embarrassment all aftermarket parts dealers made me feel when I said I own a Chinese bike.

  4. Ah Mr. Bond,

    You should know that Kenda is based in Taiwan, not China. I spent a very long couple of hours once in a Kenda meeting room listening to their sales reports from every subsidiary around the world. It was hot, muggy and painful, helped only by the the presenter being stunningly beautiful.

    But even that wasn’t enough to save it.

    Anyway, I digress.

  5. So you replaced a Chinese tube with a Kenda, which is made in – ta dah…. China.

    I’ve heard nothing good about Kenda tubes. One mountain bike enthusiast I know sums it up with, “Thank God Kenda doesn’t make condoms.”

  6. They had one of these Konkers at the rider training course that I took and they were all very impressed with how it had held up over the last year of students “learning” on it…it had been dropped multiple times, along with the DR200s and Super Sherpas…but they didn’t sound like they expected it to last…their comment “we just pick it up, and it fires right up again…very reliable bike”

    Unfortunately, it was always one of the first bikes to go…more aggressive looking than the rest of the enduro bikes (dual purpose?)

    Glad to hear you’re okay…but the bike doesn’t surprise me.

  7. Hey Mario,

    What did you consider to be hype??? Also, what did you find to be bad about yours? The idea of a long term test is that we can find out all – good and bad.

    Cheers, Rob

  8. Thanks to the hype created around Konker in the previous articles I finally sold mine. I really appreciate it. Now I’m looking forward to buy a Husqvarna. Someone told me I will change a lemon with another one. :grin

  9. Gavin – there’s a few previous articles on here on this bike. Search the archives.

    I put a new tire on the bike and rode it to work today. There’ll be more stories to come!

  10. Hah serves you right that’s what you get for test riding a konker around and not saying a word of it to me. First I hear of it is this crazy fancy webezine writeup. They better give you a new one so you (and by you I mean me) can right a real review. DAMMIT there is a conspiracy to prevent me from reading a review on this bike.

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