THE POWER GAME
Each year the bar gets higher for power in the 250 class.
The Kawasaki has never scored on top of the dyno chart,
but test riders usually praise it for having excellent feel and
response. That’s the story here once more. The new motor
is even stronger off the bottom, where the Kawasaki always
did well. It’s very throaty and pulls well out of turns. It’s
strong in the midrange too. As you get up into the high-rev zone, the KX motor starts to taper off a little early. You
don’t get a big sign-off punch, just a gradual farewell. The
motor has a slightly lower red line than the KTM, Husky and
Yamaha, but the rev limiter isn’t very intrusive. The power
just fades away. The Kawasaki is very close in peak output
to the Yamaha, only lacking a bit on the very top. Both
bikes are down on power compared to the Husqvarna and
KTM, which have significantly more at high revs.
Of the three different maps available on the Kawasaki,
most riders liked the one accessed by the white coupler.
Kawasaki’s terminology is a little confusing here. In the
manual it refers to the white map as “soft,” which means
it’s for soft terrain. It actually has a harder power delivery
than the curves accessed by the green or black couplers.
Even so, the KX always has a very smooth powerband, no
matter which coupler you use. If you get them mixed up
or forget which you installed last, don’t worry. The three
maps provided aren’t so different that a mistake will cost
you in a race.
In fact, there’s nothing about the new KX that will be a
disadvantage in the heat of battle. It’s a universally good
package that has no glaring faults. Getting a test rider to
say anything bad about the bike is like pulling teeth. By
the same token, it doesn’t have any shining virtues that will
give you a fast pass straight to the front of the pack. It’s
a good motorcycle with solid improvements for the new
year. Will that be enough for it to continue its champion-
ship legacy? Pro racing is a different matter and actually
never had much relationship to what happens on local
tracks. In the real world, there’s no doubt that the KX is
a good choice for 2017. Here’s the rub: it’s not the only
good choice. o
There are three mapping couplers available, soft,
stock and aggressive modes.