Kawasaki Bayou 220
Home » Kawasaki Bayou 220: Reviews Specs and Pros & Cons

Kawasaki Bayou 220: Reviews Specs and Pros & Cons

by Amnaumer3298@@

Before the popular Prairie, Brutes, and KFX came along, the Kawasaki Bayou 220 was already ruling the world of four-wheelers. This small but powerful machine was among the first to conquer the ATV market and introduce advanced features. Let’s take a closer look at this long-lasting and best-selling quad. It is a popular all-terrain vehicle (ATV) that has been around for over three decades. Also, it is known for its reliability, durability, and high-performance capabilities.

It was introduced in 1988 and is a versatile vehicle designed for both work and play. It’s considered one of the hardest-working 4x4s in its class. With features like an automatic clutch, reverse gear, and independent front suspension, it outperformed its competitors and remained in production for 15 years.

This quad is a classic that’s known for its reliability and durability. It paved the way for Kawasaki’s success in the ATV industry. It’s simple yet effective design appealed to both consumers and enthusiasts. Now, let’s explore more about the impressive Kawasaki Bayou 220!

Kawasaki Bayou 220: The Forefather of Four-Wheelers

It was Team Green’s first-ever four-wheeled off-road vehicle, introduced in 1985 as a 185-class machine. At that time, there were safety concerns about three-wheelers, so Kawasaki designed the Bayou 220 to provide a more stable and safe riding experience.

This quad came with reliable features like a shaft drive, smooth suspension, reverse gear, and strong low-speed power, making it perfect for long rides and outdoor adventures. Despite its small size, the Bayou 220 was one of the most affordable and efficient quads ever produced by Kawasaki. It proved to be a fantastic pioneer ATV, even outperforming larger machines in handling and performance.

The Bayou 220 is the third generation in its series, following its predecessor by three years. It inherited the same great characteristics as the Bayou 185 and 300 but came in a more compact chassis. Throughout its 15-year production run, Kawasaki also introduced a larger 400-cm3 4×4 version in 1993, catering to the market’s increasing interest in bigger and more powerful machines.

Specs & Features of 1998 Kawasaki Bayou 220

Kawasaki Bayou 220 1 (1)


It is a powerful quad, perfect for adventurous rides on tricky trails and muddy terrains. Its engine is super reliable and has stayed the same throughout its production. The fuel tank is quite large and placed under the handlebars.

But here’s the thing – this quad can be a little choosy when it comes to fuel. It’s best to mix regular unleaded gasoline with a fuel stabilizer. This helps keep the fuel fresh and prevents any gummy stuff from building up inside the tank, ensuring smooth and trouble-free rides.

SAE10W-30, 10W-40, 10W-50, 20W-40, 20W-50 – depending on ambient temperature
API gradeAt least SJ meeting JASO T903 MA
Engine Oil & Quantity2 L (2.1 US quarts) with filter
2.1 L (2.2 US quarts) without filter
LubricationForced lubrication (wet sump)
Top Speed45 mph (72.4 km/h) – owners’ claim
Maximum Torque17.7 Nm (1.8 kg-m, 13 ft-lb) @ 6,000 RPM
Maximum Power13–15 hp / 13.2 – 15.2 PS (9.7–11.2 kW, estimated)
Displacement215 cm³ / 13.1 in³
Starting SystemElectric/recoil
Compression Ratio9.3:1
Bore x Stroke Ratio67 x 61 mm (2.64 x 2.4 in)
Fuel Capacity10 L / 2.6 US gal (reserve – 2 L / 0.53 US gal)
Engine FuelUnleaded gasoline of at least Antiknock Index/PON 87 or RON 91, containing < 15% MTBE/TAME/ETBE, < 10% ethanol, or < 5% methanol with cosolvents & corrosion inhibitors
Engine CoolingAir cooling
Carburetion SystemMikuni VM24SS
Cylinder ArrangementSingle cylinder
Engine Type4-Stroke SOHC
Engine Brand NameMikuni


The Kawasaki Bayou 220 comes with a simple and user-friendly manual transmission, which makes riding this 4×4 a lot of fun. Even if you’re new to ATVs, you’ll find it easy to learn and operate.

The controls and levers are well-placed and easy to see on both sides of the handlebar. On the right side, you have the front brake lever, the throttle limiter (which helps new riders control the speed), and the throttle lever. On the left side, you’ll find the rest of the controls and switches.

For convenience, the indicator lights are located on the center console, just above the fuel tank cap and fuel gauge. The reverse knob is on the left side of the body panel, right under the handlebar. And to start the quad, you use the 2-way key-operated ignition switch, which is on the opposite side of the body panel.

It is designed with user-friendliness in mind, making it an excellent choice for both experienced and beginner riders.

Drivetrain Specs

Serial NumberSpecificationDetails
1Engine Brand NameMikuni
2SAE10W-30, 10W-40, 10W-50, 20W-40, 20W-50 (depending on ambient temperature)
3API gradeAt least SJ meeting JASO T903 MA
4Engine Oil & Quantity2.1 L (2.2 US quarts) w/out filter
2 L (2.1 US quarts) w/ filter
5LubricationForced lubrication (wet sump)
6Top Speed45 mph (72.4 km/h) – owners’ claim
7Maximum Torque17.7 Nm (1.8 kg-m, 13 ft-lb) @ 6,000 RPM
8Maximum Power13–15 hp / 13.2 – 15.2 PS (9.7–11.2 kW, estimated)
9Displacement215 cm³ / 13.1 in³
10Starting SystemElectric/recoil
11Compression Ratio9.3:1
12Bore x Stroke Ratio67 x 61 mm (2.64 x 2.4 in)
13Fuel Capacity10 L / 2.6 US gal (reserve – 2 L / 0.53 US gal)
14Engine FuelUnleaded gasoline of at least Antiknock Index/PON 87 or RON 91, containing < 15% MTBE/TAME/ETBE, < 10% ethanol, or < 5% methanol w/ cosolvents & corrosion inhibitors
15Engine CoolingAir cooling
16Carburetion SystemMikuni VM24SS
17Cylinder ArrangementSingle cylinder
18Engine Type4-Stroke SOHC


The ignition system is a crucial and delicate part of the quad. Many issues that the four-wheeler experiences can be traced back to problems in this area. It’s essential to pay close attention to the ignition system to ensure smooth and trouble-free rides.

Interestingly, the manual doesn’t provide specific details about the charging system and how much power it can produce. As a result, owners often need to turn to Kawasaki forums or online communities to get more information about the voltage regulator and other electrical components of the quad. Being informed about these aspects helps owners understand and maintain their quad’s electrical system better.

Ignition Specs

1Battery Dimensions (L x W x H)5.2 x 3.5 x 6.5 inches (132 x 89 x 165 mm)
2Battery12V 12 Ah, YTX14AH/-BS battery formats
3Fuse20 Amp; 10 Amp or less (auxiliary light circuit)
4Spark PlugNGK D8EA (gap – 0.6-0.7 mm, 0.024-0.028 in)
5Ignition Timing10° BTDC @ 1,800 RPM – 35° BTDC @ 4,600 RPM
6IgnitionCDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition)

Brakes and Tires

Finding a used one with its original tires in perfect condition is not very likely these days. While you might come across stock wheels that are still okay and offer good grip, it’s usually better to switch to aftermarket tires like the Maxxis M9207 Front PRO ATV Tires (you can find them on Amazon). These tires are designed to improve how the quad handles turns and overall performance. So, if you want better control and a smoother ride, consider upgrading your tires with these aftermarket options.

Brakes and Tires Specs

Serial NumberSpecificationDetails
1Rear Brake TypeMechanical drum brake
2Front Brake TypeMechanical drum brake
3Tire Pressure (Rear)20.68 kPa (0.21 kgf/cm2, 3 psi)
4Rear Tire, off-road/road air pressureDunlop KT857 AT22 x 10-10, tubeless
5Tire Pressure (Front)20.68 kPa (0.21 kgf/cm2, 3 psi)
6Front Tire, off-road/road air pressureDunlop KT856 AT21 x 8-9, tubeless


Some online sources may say otherwise, but it’s important to know that the front suspension of the Kawasaki Bayou 220 is not fully independent. As for whether the front and rear shocks are preload-adjustable, the information is not clear.

However, despite these potential limitations, the Bayou 220 still impresses with its excellent maneuverability and handling on rough roads and berms. The quad’s steering is light and responsive, giving you a freeing and enjoyable riding experience without feeling restricted. So, even though it might not have all the fancy features, it still performs admirably and delivers a great ride.

Suspension Specs

Serial NumberSpecificationDetails
1Caster, Trail4°, 17 mm (0.67 in)
2Turning Radius2.7 m (8.9 ft)
3Frame TypeTubular, double-cradle
4Front Suspension Type, TravelSingle A-arms w/ dual shocks, 114 mm (4.5 in)
5Rear Suspension Type, TravelQuad-Link system w/ dual shocks, 124.5 mm (4.9 in)

What are Dimensions

It is bigger and heavier compared to other ATVs, with a 215-cm3 engine size. It also has a lower seating position, which taller riders might not find very comfortable.

Despite its size, the quad can still carry a decent amount of weight, but some people might feel that it lacks a bit of power when carrying heavy loads. So, while it’s a strong and capable machine, it might not be the best choice if you’re looking to carry really heavy loads.

Dimensions Specs

Serial NumberSpecificationDetails
1Dry Weight183 Kg (404 lbs)
2Trailer Weight (including cargo)204 Kg (450 lbs)
3Vehicle Load Capacity Limit130 Kg (285 lbs)
4Carrier Capacity (F/R)20 Kg (44 lbs) / 30 Kg (66 lbs)
5Hitch Tongue Weight14 Kg (30 lbs)
6Length1,745 mm (68.7 in)
7Width1,020 mm (40.2 in)
8Height1,040 mm (40.9 in)
9Seat Height (Unloaded)730 mm (28.7 in)
10Ground Clearance155 mm (6.1 in)
11Wheelbase1,115 mm (43.9 in)
12Track (F/R)764 mm (30.1 in) / 776 mm (30.6 in)

What is the Exterior

The Kawasaki Bayou 220 has a strong frame made of tubular steel and a durable plastic body. It comes in two color options. The design is tough and simple, with a rugged look.

The quad is equipped with a comfortable vinyl saddle and footpegs on full floorboards for a smooth ride. It also has utility racks to carry light loads.

One thing to note is that the Bayou 220 doesn’t have a built-in instrument panel. So, if you want to keep track of your speed and engine RPM, you can add a Trail Tech 752-119 Black Vapor Digital Speedometer Tachometer Gauge Kit (available on Amazon). This will be a smart and useful addition to your quad.

Exterior Specs

Serial NumberSpecificationDetails
1InstrumentationKawasaki 220 Bayou (KLF220)
2ColorsHunter Green, Firecracker Red
3Headlight12V 25W x 2
4Brake Light/Taillight12V 8W x 2
5Indicator LampsStandard
6Fuel GaugeStandard
7Engine Stop SwitchStandard
8Indicator Lights(reverse, neutral)
10Trip OdometerN/A
11Oil Temperature SwitchN/A
12Speedometer LightN/A

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What’s the Price Range?

Here’s a table that displays the original prices of the different models of the Bayou 220:

SerialYearModel NumberList PriceRetail/Trade-In Values
12002KLF220-A15$2,999$755 – $995
22001KLF220-A14$3,299$735 – $970
32000KLF220-A13$3,299$700 – $920
41999KLF220-A12$3,299$670 – $880
51998KLF220-A11$3,299$655 – $860
61997KLF220-A10$3,719$640 – $845
71996KLF220-A9$3,699$610 – $800
81995KLF220-A8$3,499$530 – $695
91994KLF220-A7$3,349$475 – $625
101993KLF220-A6$3,099$475 – $625
111992KLF220-A5$2,899$475 – $625
121991KLF220-A4$2,849$475 – $625
131990KLF220-A3$2,799$475 – $625
141989KLF220-A2$2,699$475 – $625
151988KLF220-A1N/A$250 – $1,690

The prices mentioned in the table do not include auctions or sales from various websites where you can find used ones. These secondhand quads are usually priced between $500 and $1,600, with many of them being 1999 to 2002 models. However, it can be challenging to find these resale units outside of the United States.

If you’re considering buying a pre-owned Bayou 220 at a lower price, be aware that it might have some issues. Common problems include a rusty muffler, a missing title, and a carburetor that needs fixing. So, you might need to invest some time and effort in getting it in good working condition.

Expected Issues

2002 Recall

In some models, the rear wheel hubs are connected to the axles using a special nut, secured with a cotter pin to keep it in place. However, in some cases, the nut was tightened incorrectly before inserting the cotter pin. This could lead to a failure of the nut, causing the rear wheel hub to come off the axle shaft. This is a serious safety issue that could result in accidents and injuries.

To fix this problem, Kawasaki dealers made sure to apply the correct amount of torque to the axle nut, preventing it from coming loose and ensuring the wheels were properly secured. This way, they addressed the assembly flaw and made the quad safer for riders.


If your Kawasaki Bayou 220 is experiencing backfiring, it could be due to issues with the fuel or ignition system. This may happen when the fuel pump doesn’t supply enough fuel on time. You might notice a popping noise when you shift to 5th gear, ride at speeds below 20 mph, or release the throttle, and the quad might feel less powerful than usual.

The main causes of backfiring are often a poorly adjusted carburetor, incorrect valve timing, or reducing engine speed too quickly. If the idle screw is set too low, it can also lead to backfiring as the engine runs too rich.

Although backfiring isn’t as serious as some other problems, it’s still essential to investigate and fix them. You can start by conducting compression and leak-down tests to pinpoint the issue. Experienced riders might install a Stage 1 Dynojet kit, a snorkel, and a K&N filter to help resolve the problem.

Another approach some riders take is shimming the needles. Additionally, check if the quad’s exhaust valves are too tight, as this can also cause backfiring through the carb and damage the carb boots.

Taking a closer look at these potential causes and making the necessary adjustments or repairs should help address the backfiring issue.

Starter Motor Problems

If you’re having trouble starting your Kawasaki Bayou 220 and it seems like it’s flooding, the issue may actually be in the starting circuit. This problem is common in 1994 models. Here are some potential causes and solutions:

  1. Check the starter circuit relay: The relay responsible for starting the quad may be defective, or there could be a short circuit. You can try bypassing the relay by jumping the solenoid to see if the starter works. If it does, then the issue is likely between the start button and the solenoid.
  2. Inspect battery cables and connections: Plugged or faulty battery cables and connections can affect the secondary ignition system. Make sure everything is clean and properly connected. Also, consider replacing the pulsing coil, which generates the ignition signal from the rotor portion of the stator assembly.
  3. Watch out for wire connections: Vibration from rough terrain can loosen wire connections. If you often ride in rocky areas, check the wire connections more frequently.
  4. Check other potential causes: A grounded kill switch, a neutral-only start switch, a blown fuse, flywheel slipping or shearing the woodruff key, wire shortage, and a dirty shaft can also contribute to starting problems.
  5. Use the service manual: If you’re unsure about the cause, consult the service manual for additional checks and troubleshooting tips.

By going through these steps and making the necessary repairs, you should be able to resolve the starting issue and get your Bayou 220 running smoothly again.

Regularly inspecting electrical components is essential because it helps catch potential problems early on. One helpful step is to clean the brushes and the orange-colored copper surface they run on using a non-flammable cleaner. Veterans who own Bayous recommend using special sandpaper with a smooth texture (400-600 grit) to clean the copper surface. Also, make sure there’s no oil spilling from the engine, as this can make the contacts dirty and cause issues. By following these easy steps, you can prevent starting problems and keep your Bayou running smoothly.

Engine Noise

If your ATV’s engine is making unusual noises, it’s essential to pay attention and not ignore it. Here’s how to understand and troubleshoot the issue:

  1. Listen to the Noise: The engine noise is different from regular valve clicking or metallic rod-bearing sounds. It stays consistent whether the ATV is in gear or not and doesn’t change with the vehicle’s load.
  2. Investigate the Source: To find where the noise comes from, use a tapered bar or mechanic’s stethoscope. Check the top of the engine first, including the cam lobe and rocker arm surface, cam bearings, and rocker pins for signs of wear. Also, inspect and adjust the valve clearance if there’s no visible damage.
  3. Check the Bottom: If the noise is from the center of the engine’s bottom, it might indicate a problem with the rod bearing. If it’s from the bottom right, then the clutch hub might be the culprit.
  4. Troubleshooting: While checking, you may need some non-hardening gasket sealer, a flywheel/bolt puller to remove the flywheel and balancer nut, and an analog meter for more accurate voltage readings.
  5. Solutions: Adjusting the valves and cam chain often helps resolve the issue. If the noise persists, replacing the piston and rings, along with using a flex hone, can reduce the noise.
  6. Be Careful: If you’re working on a Kawasaki Bayou 220, take extra caution when adjusting the chain tensioner. It has a one-way clutch, so it can come out but might not go back in. Loosen the bolt and let the spring push the tensioner out before tightening it back in, especially on older engines.

By following these steps and being thorough in your inspection, you can identify and fix the engine noise in your ATV, ensuring it runs smoothly and avoids potential problems down the road.

Pros & Cons


  1. Reliability: The Bayou 220 is known for its dependable and durable performance, making it a trusted companion for long-term use.
  2. Versatility: It is designed for both work and play, making it suitable for various types of terrain and tasks.
  3. User-friendly: With a simple design and well-placed controls, it is easy for both experienced and beginner riders to operate.
  4. Affordable: The Bayou 220 was one of the most cost-effective quads in its class, offering excellent value for money.
  5. Smooth suspension: The quad’s smooth suspension system ensures a comfortable ride even on rough and bumpy roads.
  6. Shaft drive: The shaft drive system reduces maintenance needs and provides efficient power transfer to the wheels.
  7. Independent front suspension: The independent front suspension enhances handling and maneuverability, improving the overall riding experience.
  8. Long production run: Its 15-year production run demonstrates its popularity and success in the market.


  1. Fuel Choosy: The quad can be sensitive to fuel quality, requiring users to mix regular unleaded gasoline with a fuel stabilizer to maintain smooth operation.
  2. Limited features: Compared to more modern ATVs, the Bayou 220 lacks some advanced features and technology that newer models may offer.
  3. Outdated design: The quad’s design may appear dated to some consumers who prefer more modern aesthetics.
  4. Noise and vibration: As with many older ATVs, the Bayou 220 may produce more noise and vibration compared to newer models with advanced noise reduction technologies.
  5. Older technology: While it was innovative in its time, the technology and performance of the Bayou 220 may not match the standards of newer ATVs in the market.
  6. Difficulty finding original tires: Finding original tires for the quad in good condition may be challenging due to their age, leading some riders to opt for aftermarket tire options.
  7. Limited seating comfort: Taller riders might find the lower seating position less comfortable during extended rides.
  8. Older electrical system: The older electrical system might lack specific details in the manual, requiring riders to rely on online communities for troubleshooting and maintenance help.


What is the Kawasaki Bayou 220?

The Kawasaki Bayou 220 is a popular all-terrain vehicle (ATV) that has been around for over three decades. It’s known for its reliability, durability, and high-performance capabilities.

What makes it special?

The Bayou 220 was one of Kawasaki’s first-ever four-wheeled off-road vehicles. It was designed to provide a safer and more stable riding experience compared to three-wheelers, which had safety concerns at the time.

What are the key features of it?

The Bayou 220 comes with a shaft drive, smooth suspension, reverse gear, and strong low-speed power. It’s equipped with an automatic clutch, making it easier to operate, and has independent front suspension for improved handling.

What is the engine capacity and power output?

The Bayou 220 has a 215-cm³ engine with a maximum power output of approximately 13-15 horsepower.

Is it easy to ride for beginners?

Yes, the Bayou 220 is designed with user-friendliness in mind, making it an excellent choice for both experienced and beginner riders. The controls and levers are well-placed and easy to use.

How much does it weigh, and what are its dimensions?

The dry weight of the Bayou 220 is approximately 183 kg (404 lbs). Its length is about 1,745 mm (68.7 in), width is 1,020 mm (40.2 in), and height is 1,040 mm (40.9 in).

What type of fuel should I use for it?

The Bayou 220 requires unleaded gasoline with an Antiknock Index/PON 87 or RON 91, containing less than 15% MTBE/TAME/ETBE, less than 10% ethanol, or less than 5% methanol with cosolvents and corrosion inhibitors.

Are there any common issues with it?

Some common issues reported by owners include backfiring, starter motor problems, and engine noise. These can often be resolved with proper maintenance and troubleshooting.

How much does it cost?

The original prices of different models of the Bayou 220 ranged from $2,699 to $3,719. However, if you’re looking for a used one, they can be found between $500 and $1,600, depending on the model year and condition.

Is it still a good ATV despite its age?

Yes, the Bayou 220 remains a reliable and capable ATV, especially for those who prefer a simpler and more affordable option. It may lack some modern features, but it’s still a popular choice for many ATV enthusiasts.

What should I know about its electrical system?

The electrical system of the Bayou 220 is crucial and requires regular inspection. You may need to refer to online resources or forums for more information on voltage regulation and electrical components.

What are some aftermarket tire options for it?

If you’re having difficulty finding original tires, you can consider upgrading to aftermarket options like the Maxxis M9207 Front PRO ATV Tires for improved handling and performance.

How can I address starting issues with it?

If you’re experiencing starting problems, check the starter circuit relay, inspect battery cables and connections, and ensure there are no wire connection issues. Regular maintenance and attention to the starting system can prevent such problems.

Is it suitable for carrying heavy loads?

While the Bayou 220 can handle a decent amount of weight, some riders may find it lacking power when carrying really heavy loads.

Is it suitable for taller riders?

Taller riders might find the lower seating position less comfortable during extended rides.

Is it still worth buying as a used ATV?

Yes, if you can find a well-maintained used Bayou 220 at a good price, it can be a great investment for those seeking a reliable and durable ATV for outdoor adventures. Just be aware that some used units might require repairs or adjustments.

About Kawasaki

Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. is a big company that makes lots of different things. They started in 1878 by making new and useful things for ships in Japan. Now, they make all kinds of stuff like airplanes, big machines for factories, ships, tractors, and vehicles for off-road adventures. Some of the fun vehicles they make are motorcycles, side x sides (which are like small cars for rough terrain), and ATVs (all-terrain vehicles). One of their popular ATVs is called the Kawasaki Bayou 220. They also make machines for moving water, like personal watercraft. So, they do many exciting things and have grown into a huge and successful company.


It is a classic and reliable all-terrain vehicle that has been around for over three decades. It was one of Kawasaki’s first four-wheeled off-road vehicles, designed to provide a safer and more stable riding experience compared to three-wheelers.

The Kawasaki Bayou 220 is a trailblazing ATV that has stood the test of time. Its strong performance, combined with its simplicity and reliability, has made it a favorite among ATV enthusiasts. While it may have some common issues to address, it remains a great option for those seeking a durable and powerful quad for their outdoor adventures.

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