Me too, Yamaha does seem to outdo Kawasaki pretty well.Honestly, who I'm looking to to come up with a kick-ass Grom rival is Yamaha. Yami has a habit of having an "FU" attitude, if you will, and it seems as though within the next 1-2 years, they will have some water-cooled 125cc beast with some other nifty stuff and probably lighter weight.
So yeah the KSR is based on the KLX110, just as the Grom is based on the CRF110, which was built to some degree to compete with the KLX here in the US for kids to ride dirt bike trails on.The KSR has been around for a long time. It's the street version of a KLX 110. So the Grom didn't take the lead here. There are a TON of hop up parts for the Kawasaki. I have a 143cc Kitaco head/jug on a KLX and it screams, but it isn't electric start.
danO - I have a Yamaha WR250R+X and I'm really impressed by the quality. It's an incredible bike, especially when considering pricing/reliability on the used market.
Those engines are all upright formats. The engine that Honda made this platform for is a manual clutch variation of the old-school lay-down ATC motors. That is also why we are stuck with 4 gears versus 5 of some other setups. The CRF110F has a semi-auto 3 speed. The Grom's low price is thanks to the fact that this platform has paid itself off long ago, and it doesn't cost much to produce.So yeah the KSR is based on the KLX110, just as the Grom is based on the CRF110, which was built to some degree to compete with the KLX here in the US for kids to ride dirt bike trails on.
If we want a real monster, Honda just needs to take the CRF150R (liquid cooled) MX'er and cam it for better low end, gear it properly, suspend it for road use, and put it on 14 inch wheels. THEN you would have a REALLY quick small and light road bike. I'm still trying to get one street legal in my state, so I can do the project myself. As far as I know, no one else makes a liquid cool high output single that competes with the CRF150R.