The motor has a certain willingness to run. It free-revs
very easily, and while that might not translate to any more
horsepower on the dyno or any more holeshots, it does
make the bike more fun to ride and mistakes easier to correct.
In peak power the KX will suffer somewhat in 2016. The
Yamaha has more power everywhere, and the KTM has
more on top. We already saw that in 2015, and the differences will only be greater in 2016. It will still out-pull the
Honda and, on a good day, the Suzuki.
It’s really hard to take issue with the Kawasaki’s handling. It turns well, it’s reasonably stable, and it’s a comfortable bike. A few years ago it was fairly light too; now
it’s the heaviest bike in the class. It isn’t that the KX250F
gained weight; it’s just that the other bikes lost weight. The
Kawasaki is 229 pounds without fuel. The KTM, Honda
and Yamaha all are 222 pounds, and the Husky and Suzuki
fall somewhere in between. But here’s a reality check:
just because your girlfriend weighs more than Katy Perry
doesn’t mean she’s fat.
Kawasaki still uses a Showa SFF2 fork, which has the
spring in one side and the damping in the other. This
fork is unbelievably simple to set up. It has one rebound
clicker, one compression clicker (both on the left leg) and
a preload adjuster (on the right). This is in contrast to the
Showa Triple Air, which has three Schrader valves and two
clickers—or the KYB PSF2, which has six clickers and two
Schrader valves. The good news is that you can get on the
Kawasaki and the fork will work pretty well. But a perfectly
setup air fork can be spectacular. The Kawasaki SFF fork
is never spectacular. Just good.
The brakes are also good but not spectacular. Are we
sensing a pattern here? Last year the front rotor was
upsized to a 270mm unit made by Braking, which was
welcome and overdue, but it didn’t bridge the gap to the
powerful Brembo brakes found on the KTM and Husky.
We like the idea of Launch Control on a 450, but haven’t
had much need for it on any 250. Maybe it’s just us, and
maybe someone uses it. It’s there if you want it.
The best thing about having a bike that’s been out for
Pete Murray rails a Milestone berm on the KX250F.
two or three years is that you know exactly what to expect.
The KX250 is a very reliable bike. The clutch is probably its
weakest feature—you’ll replace the plates every few races
unless you beef up the clutch springs. The 7/8-inch handlebar will eventually bend. The chainguide will wear out,
and the grips will wear out your hands. All normal stuff.
At the end of the day, the Kawasaki is a great bike, just
like it has been for years. It proved itself a long time ago.
But by the same token, some of the newer bikes in the
class are proving themselves very rapidly, and Kawasaki
can’t stand still any longer. ❏
the KX got