5th Place Of The 2019 250F MX Shootout: Kawasaki KX250
The Kawasaki KX250 is the least-changed 250 four-stroke motocross bike in 2019 with only minor cosmetic updates. New graphics, different-colored radiator shrouds, and a name that abandons last year’s “F” sum up the revisions. The KX250 is good in most areas but not particularly great in any one segment, which is why it finished fifth in our 2019 250F MX Shootout.
Before we started testing, we mounted a Dunlop D404 street tire on the rear wheel and ran the KX250 on our in-house Dynojet dynamometer, where it produced 35.84 hp at 11,450 rpm and 19.10 pound-feet of torque at 8,130 rpm. With these figures, the Kawasaki ranks sixth in horsepower and second in torque among the six bikes in the test. After the dyno pulls were complete, we fitted Dunlop MX33 soft-to-intermediate-terrain tires, as we did on all of the bikes to ensure consistency in traction among them for the entirety of the test.
The KX250 engine has no distinctive “hit” in the powerband and is very predictable. The low-end power is average, the midrange is decent, and it signs off slightly on the top-end. It has noticeably less over-rev than the KTM, Husqvarna, and Honda. Because of its narrow powerband, the Kawasaki engine requires lots of shifting. The standard green coupler provides a decent throttle response, but the white coupler helps with engine pickup and a more exciting delivery. The clutch pull is pleasantly soft too. As of this year, the KX250 is one of only two 250F motocross bikes without electric start (the other being the Suzuki RM-Z250).
The Showa Separate Function Fork (SFF) and Showa shock both have a performance-oriented feel. The fork takes some work to set up as it’s harsh in the initial part of the stroke. Decreasing the preload and softening the compression help provide a plusher feel, but the SFF unit doesn’t offer the comfort the Yamaha, Honda, KTM, and Husqvarna forks do. The shock has a much more supple feel than the fork and helps the rear end stay planted in rough terrain.
The KX250 weighs 232 pounds, making it the second lightest bike in the class and the lightest Japanese motorcycle in the test. The chassis is a bit stiff and therefore uses more of the rider’s energy than should be necessary. Once the rider adapts to the rigid feeling and sets the shock sag at 104mm, the bike handles and corners quite well. The bike has a smaller overall feel that gives the rider better control, making it easy to throw around and put where you want it.
The Kawasaki is the narrowest feeling bike in the class, most notably in the radiator shroud area and between the rider’s legs. The seat is flat and easy to move forward and back on, but the rider triangle is a bit off as the seat feels low and the stock Renthal 971-bend handlebar feels high. We’d opt for lower mounts or a bar with less rise.
Why It Should Have Won
It has no major shortcomings. The power delivery is manageable, the suspension is average, the bodywork is slim, and it handles fairly well. It’s also the second lightest bike in the class and the most affordable of the big-six 250F motocross bikes on the market at $7,749.
Why It Didn’t Win
It’s not great in any one particular category. The engine makes the least horsepower, requires a lot of shifting, and doesn’t have electric start. Also, the fork is harsh in the initial part of the stroke and the rider triangle is slightly off.