WHY DID IT FINISH SECOND?
MXA’s “250 Four-Stroke Shootout”
came down to a gun fight between
the Kawasaki KX250F and the
Yamaha YZ250F. In the end, the
Yamaha took top honors. Why?
Superior YZ250F suspension,
handling and cornering. Every year,
as we gave the KX250F the top
spot in past shootouts, we stated
that the KX250F was only winning
because of its engine—not because
of its weak clutch, vanilla suspension
and old-school handling. In 2015, the
chickens came home to roost, and
Yamaha caught Kawasaki napping.
The KX250F still had its fans among
the MXA test riders, and the final
margin of victory was razor thin
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT THE
2015 KAWASAKI KX250F?
(1) Engine. The KX250F has
arguably the best powerband in the
class. It certainly has the broadest
usable power, thanks in part to the
dual fuel-injection system. Every
tester, with skill levels covering the
spectrum, believed that the KX250F
was superior to the YZ250F on faster
( 2) Suspension. Although not
as good as Yamaha’s Kayaba SSS
suspension, the KX250F Showa SFF
setup is very good. We’ve grown to
like the Separate Function Fork for
its tuneability and ability to absorb
rough chop without transferring
energy to the rider. Unfortunately,
the shock is partly to blame for the
lazy cornering characteristics.
( 3) Front brake. The oversize
270mm Braking front rotor helps
Kawasaki in the braking category,
although it’s still not as precise as
KTM’s and Husqvarna’s front-brake
setup. We are happy to report that
the KX250F front brake is finally
improved after years of benign
( 4) Couplers. We strongly advise
KX250F owners to try the plug-in
mapping couplers that come with
the bike. The green coupler is
standard, while black is mellow and
white is aggressive. In our opinion,
the white coupler is best in nearly
WHAT’S BAD ABOUT THE 2015
(1) Cornering. At some point
Kawasaki will need to improve the
KX250F cornering traits. In stock
trim, the front end has a tendency
to understeer, which translates into
a considerable amount of rear-end
input. That might work for some
riders, but unfortunately the shock
wallows under heavy acceleration.
Thankfully, there are fixes to these
numerous riddles—different offset
triple clamps and a longer link arm—
but they will cost you.
( 2) Shifting. Kawasaki has tried
for many years to solve the KX250F’s
shifting woes, but the transmission is
still problematic. Testers had difficulty shifting to a higher gear when the
engine was under a heavy load.
( 3) Clutch. Although not the
worst in the class, it doesn’t compare
in longevity or consistency with the
KTM and Husqvarna clutches. Do
yourself a favor and buy stiffer
aftermarket clutch springs.
WHICH SKILL LEVEL BEST
SUITS THE KX250F?
The KX250F welcomes every type
of rider, but it’s especially attractive
to taller and heavier riders. Why?
The four-position handlebar mounts
and two-position footpeg options
increase comfort in an already open
WHAT ARE OUR FINAL
THOUGHTS ON THE KX250F?
Kawasaki isn’t used to the bridesmaid position in the “MXA 250 Four-Stroke Shootout.” But, Kawasaki
got complacent in its role as class
leader. The KX250F is way, way,
way ahead of third, fourth, fifth and
sixth in this shootout and only a
gnat’s hair behind the winner.