This is how we set up our 2013 Kawasaki KX250F for racing. We offer it as a guide to help you get your own bike dialed in.
SHOWA SFF FORK SETTINGS The MXA wrecking crew likes the various options that the Showa SFF fork provides. Ride height is very important, as it determines the handling traits. Too much ride height yields a vague feeling at turn-in. To measure ride height, have the rider sit on the bike. Measure from the bottom of the right fork guard to the dust seal. For hardcore racing, we recommend this fork setup for the 2013 Kawasaki KX250F (stock specs are in parentheses): Spring rate: 0.97 kg/mm Oil height: 320cc in left leg, 235cc in right leg Compression: 10 clicks out ( 8 clicks out) Rebound: 10 clicks out ( 11 clicks out) Preload adjuster: 15 clicks in Fork leg height: 5mm up Notes: Kayaba developed a new spring preload adjuster that is considerably more user-friendly. The cap size is now 17mm instead of 21mm. Additionally, four clicks on the adjuster equals 1mm of preload (the old cap needed six clicks for 1mm).
SHOWA UNI-TRAK SHOCK SETTINGS Although better than in 2012, the KX250F rear end still wallows under hard acceleration and through continuous bumps. To prevent this sensation, we crank in on the high- and low-speed compression and adjust the rebound according to rider preference. Might we also recommend a longer pull rod to change the curve? For hardcore racing, we recommend this shock setup for the 2013 Kawasaki KX250F (stock specs are in parentheses): Spring rate: 5. 4 kg/mm Race sag: 100mm Hi-compression: 1-1/2 turns out ( 2 turns out) Lo-compression: 10 clicks out ( 12 clicks out) Rebound: 10 clicks out ( 12 clicks out) Notes: These settings are geared toward a heavier rider (170-plus pounds). We think that the KX250F works best with the low-speed compression turned in while using the high speed to adjust the ride height at speed.
years has (finally) been addressed by Kawasaki. Although the rear end still suffers from a wiggle under extreme circumstances, it’s much better than before. As for the shock, it has a tendency to feel dead if not set up properly. Pay close attention to sag and don’t go overboard when adjusting the high-speed compression. Q: DOES THE NARROWER FRAME MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE IN HANDLING? A: We’d love to gush about how the narrower frame makes the 2013 KX250F corner like it’s on rails, but we’d be telling tales out of school. The slimmer cross-section does make the bike feel svelte, but pinpoint front-end precision is not really improved. Instead, by adding rigidity to the shock tower, using a new upper-engine mount and slapping on a 20mm longer swingarm, the KX250F gained stability while reducing the dreaded wallowing. So, to answer the question, the frame didn’t equate to a sharper-handling bike, but a combination of factors helped diminish problems in the rear end. Q: WHAT DID WE HATE? A: The hate list: (1) Shifting. Every new model year we wish for a KX250F transmission that will shift under a heavy load. Every year our dreams are shattered. ( 2) Clutch. At the very least, invest in stiffer aftermarket clutch springs or you will be investing in eight new clutch plates every month. ( 3) Chain guide. We suggest you call T.M. Designworks. ( 4) Black rims. Black rims have curb appeal, but after a few rides they become scratched. They’re also a pain to clean. Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE? A: The like list: (1) Engine. Let’s not be shy about our romance with the KX250F engine. It covers a wide spread of the powerband and doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses. ( 2) Upstream injector. We loved it last year, and it has only gotten better. Dual fuel injection is like going on a date with Kate Upton and Bar Refaeli—twice the fun! ( 3) Frame. The narrower frame has improved rider feel. The focus on rigidity has also improved rear-end and straight-line stability. ( 4) Suspension. Every year the KX250F receives suspension improvements geared toward the racing demographic. 2013 is no different. The increased fork rigidity, along with revised settings, allowed test riders to push the boundaries. ( 5) Brakes. The push-rod-style front-brake caliper offers more bite than last year. It’s a few steps down the ladder from the phenomenal KTM brakes, but it’s a step in the right direction. ( 6) Couplers. Motocross riders like options, and with three different couplers to choose from, you can change the engine characteristics of the KX250F. ( 7) Styling. The new plastics and black rear fender give the Kwacker a race-inspired look. One caveat: after you gouge up the black rims, re-lace the wheels with silver rims. Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK? A: We commend Kawasaki for their continued insistence on improving their bikes, and the 2013 KX250F is a prime example of that commitment. As a result, they have managed to tweak the KX250F to the point of near perfection. The bike was a world-beater last year, and it has only gotten better, thanks to a more usable engine, narrower ergos, quick-change mapping and suspension upgrades. ;
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