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2019 Kawasaki KX250 First Ride Review

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The Kawasaki KX250 enters its third year of the latest-generation model in 2019. It was all-new in 2017 and received several engine updates and suspension changes last year. For 2019, Kawasaki changed the color of the lower portion of the radiator shrouds from black to green, added new graphics, and dropped the “F” from the name. We took the KX250 to Cahuilla Creek MX in Anza, California, to give it an initial shakedown.

The KX250 engine has a crisp throttle response and a linear powerband. The low-end power is average, which makes it essential to downshift before entering corners to avoid having to slip the clutch excessively to get into the midrange. Once there, the engine pulls well and has decent top-end power. The bike has a raspy note to it, especially in the higher rpm. A harder-hitting, more powerful engine would make it more fun to ride and better suited for higher-level riders. Overall, the predictability of the KX250’s powerband makes it user-friendly and easy to ride effectively for riders of most skill levels.

The KX250 uses a Showa Separate Function Fork (SFF) and Showa shock. The fork is rather stiff with the stock clicker settings and feels harsh when hitting braking bumps. It became much plusher in the beginning of the stroke after we decreased the spring preload and softened the compression. Once past the initial part of the stroke, the fork has plenty of bottoming resistance. The shock works well with the stock clicker settings. It has a comfortable feel, good bottoming resistance, and stays connected to the ground on acceleration chop and braking bumps.

The KX250’s chassis is very good. It corners well and is stable at speed. It’s remarkably slim from front to rear, especially in the radiator shroud area. The seat is noticeably flat as well. The combination of these qualities make it very easy to move around on. The stock Renthal handlebar feels tall in relation to the seat, but that could easily be changed with a different handlebar or lower bar mounts. The bike as a whole feels relatively small, especially in comparison to its competitors, which is a good quality as it makes the KX250 feel even lighter and easier to put where you want it. For those who want to open up the cockpit area, the footpegs can be adjusted lower and the handlebar mounts can be moved forward as well.

Even though it’s unchanged for 2019, save for the name and radiator shrouds, the KX250 is a good bike. The engine has an easy to ride character with its linear powerband, the suspension is good once you get the fork dialed in to your liking, the handling is neutral, and the ergonomics are arguably the best in the class.