Follow-up to last year’s redesign
The Kawasaki KX250F has had more success in pro
racing than any other bike in its class. For that matter, it’s
the winningest motocross bike of modern times, thanks to
riders like Ryan Villopoto. In more recent years, however,
the KX hasn’t been as dominant, leading to a total chassis
redesign in 2017. Kawasaki followed that up with a long
list of motor changes for the 2018 model. It got a new
head, throttle body, air boot, intake cam, fuel pump and
ECU settings. It doesn’t have electric start, but the KX is
the lightest of the Japanese-made 250 four-strokes at 221
pounds without fuel. It uses a single-spring Showa SFF
Type 2 fork, with the spring in one leg and all the damping
functions in the other. The suspension settings are also
new for 2018.
STRONG POINTS: The KX has great low-end power,
making it very easy to ride. The motor revs quickly and
barks hard. Novices absolutely love the fact that you don’t
have to rev the bike to make it go. The Kawasaki is very
narrow and feels lighter than any bike in the shootout,
even though it gives away a couple of pounds to the KTM
and Husky. Another great feature is that it can be tailored
to fit almost any rider. The footpegs and handlebar posi-
tions are adjustable, and the fork has adjustable preload.
WEAK POINTS: Despite a number of motor changes
for 2018, there’s little difference in peak power output,
and it still struggles to match the KTM and Husky in sheer
acceleration. The fork wasn’t especially well reviewed by
test riders, who mostly complained that it was harsh. The
exhaust is loud. The handlebar is undersized, and the use
of couplers to change maps is clumsy when other bikes
have handlebar-mounted buttons.
BOTTOM LINE: The Kawasaki’s power delivery makes
it a good fit for novices, and we know from the success of
Pro Circuit’s Monster Energy factory team that there’s a
pro-level bike just under the surface.
Weight without fuel: 221 pounds. MSRP: $7749.