The Kawasaki KX250F has long been defined
by its powerband, which is broad and powerful.
Hence, the KX250F has won MXA’s coveted “250
Four-Stroke Shootout” for three straight years. As an entire
2015 package, the bike has several bright spots (e.g., the
aforementioned engine, nice ergonomics and a more
powerful front brake), along with some areas that are
lacking (e.g., complacent handling, shifting and clutch
performance). Overall, the 2015 KX250F is superior to last
year’s model, but it’s not anything to write home about.
Engine. The KX250F has arguably the best engine in
the class. As stated in our test, “The powerband is blindingly fast and inspires confidence in all who dare to twist
the throttle.” Every skill level appreciates the power output.
Couplers. Other bikes come with plug-in couplers, but
few make as noticeable a difference as the Kawasaki
coupler. The white (soft terrain) coupler is preferred by
MXA and supercharges the powerband. On hardpack
tracks, the black (hard terrain) coupler is a wise choice.
Front brake. Thankfully, you’ll no longer need to
invest in an oversized front brake rotor, as the KX250F
comes equipped with a 270mm Braking rotor. It packs a
punch without being too sensitive.
Options. Although we aren’t fans of Launch Control
on the KX250F, we can appreciate that it’s included. What
we do really like are the four-position handlebar mounts
and adjustable footpeg height.
Dual Fuel Injection. Kawasaki uses two fuel injectors
to feed fuel into the KX250F engine. The upstream injector
delivers fuel at a progressive rate as the engine climbs
from 7000 to 13,000 rpm, while the downstream injector
handles fuel delivery at lower rpm. DFI makes a difference.
Rear axle nut. It sounds trivial, but we applaud
Kawasaki for finally drop-kicking the cotter key for a
self-locking rear axle nut.
Handling. As comfortable as the ergonomics are, the
KX250F feels awkward in corners. The vague sensation at
turn-in had to be combated by oversteering in the center
of the turn. It’s possible to improve the KX250F’s handling,
but not without a healthy dose of dinero.
Shifting. The KX250F transmission refuses to shift,
particularly under duress. We learned to use the clutch to
our advantage, although doing so caused another problem.
Clutch. It’s weak and prone to slipping. Install stiffer
clutch springs to prolong the life of the clutch pack.
Grips. They’re too small for most hands and, worse
yet, Kawasaki still vulcanizes the clutch-side grip to the
BEST SUSPENSION SETTINGS?
Forks. These are MXA’s recommended 2015 Kawasaki
KX250F fork settings (stock settings are in parentheses).
Spring rate: 0.96 Nm
Oil height: 300cc in left leg, 223cc in right leg
Compression: 6 clicks out ( 7 clicks out)
Rebound: 11 clicks out ( 10 clicks out)
Preload adjuster: 25 clicks in ( 8 clicks in)
Fork-leg height: 5mm up
Notes: Use the preload adjuster and fork-leg height to
your advantage. Find the best balance between the forks
and shock before dialing in the clickers. Some testers preferred to run the preload adjuster farther in than stock.
Shock. These are MXA’s recommended 2015 Kawasaki
KX250F shock settings (stock settings are in parentheses).
Spring rate: 5. 3 Nm
Race sag: 100mm
Hi-compression: 2 turns out
Lo-compression: 8 clicks out ( 11 clicks out)
Rebound: 13 clicks out ( 14 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. Use the high-speed compression to adjust the ride height at speed.
WHAT DID WE CHANGE?
Here is the short list of things the MXA wrecking crew
changed on the 2015 Kawasaki KX250F.
(1) We installed 22mm offset triple clamps. The different
head angle made cornering more precise in all situations.
( 2) We ran a longer pull rod to stiffen the initial part of
the stroke while lowering the seat height.
( 3) We bit the bullet and invested in a complete Hinson
Racing clutch system ( www.hinsonracing.com). Although
expensive, it eradicated all clutch issues in one fell swoop.
( 4) We typically used the white (soft terrain) coupler in
most conditions, except for at the end of the day when the
track was dry and hard (in which case we switched to the
( 5) We traded the stock grips for aftermarket grips.
WHAT DO WE THINK?
Kawasaki needs to seriously consider targeting the
problem areas that they have ignored for the last five years.
We love the awesome powerband, but there are several
lingering problems that need addressing before we can
proclaim that the KX250F is the ultimate race machine. ❏
MXA RODE TEST