WHY SHOULD THE KX250F WIN THE SHOOTOUT?
The 2017 Kawasaki KX250F is much better than in the past.
Unlike in 2016, the handling had been improved, ergos ironed out,
suspension upgraded and powerband spread out. The new engine
is smoother than the old engine and still cracks the 40-horsepower
mark. We applaud Kawasaki for paying so much attention to chassis, weight, ergonomic and suspension details. The 2017 KX250F
chassis is a breath of fresh air. The bike feels balanced, tracks
straight and enters corners with precision. This makes the bike
effortless to ride.
WHY SHOULD THE KX250F LOSE THE SHOOTOUT?
Although this is the best KX250F ever, it’s not a complete
package. It needs improved forks, a better-modulated front brake,
a stronger chain guide, more rear brake-pedal adjustment, better
protected air vents, more power and a more defined powerband.
WHAT’S NEW ON THE 2017 KAWASAKI KX250F?
The 2017 KX250F engine is totally new, including the injector
angle for the dual-fuel system and lighter flywheel. The big-end
rod bearing is now a bushing. Additionally, the 2017 KX250F
frame mimics the KX450F frame in that it is an inch narrower
across the spars, and the bike is 3 pounds lighter.
WHAT DOES THE KX250F WEIGH?
221 pounds. Kudos to Kawasaki. They knocked 5 pounds off of
the KX250F thanks to the new frame, plastic and engine castings.
It is the third-lightest bike in the shootout.
HOW DOES THE KX250F RATE IN THE MAJOR
Power output: Very good. The 2017 KX250F lost some of its
punch without losing any peak horsepower. The KX250F’s power
is deceiving. Instead of hitting hard and rocking you back in the
saddle, as it did in 2016, the 2017 KX250F’s power is more linear.
It gets its 40.05 horsepower to the ground and tracks incredibly
straight. There is no doubt that the MXA test riders miss the
excitement of last year’s hard-hitting thrill ride, but we’re big
enough to admit that we can go faster without it.
Suspension: Good. Originally introduced in 2011, the SFF
forks have had a rocky lifespan. With each passing year the baseline settings have improved slightly, as Kawasaki has focused on
targeting a wider range of riders. The 2017 SFF forks are a big
improvement over last year. They are much more tunable, easier
to live with and, as a bonus, the coil springs don’t get air leaks.
This is the biggest improvement that SFF has ever made, but the
KTM, Husqvarna and Yamaha forks rank above them.
Handling: Very good. The 2017 KX250F chassis is a breath
of fresh air. The bike feels balanced right off the bat. If anything,
it had a bit of oversteer, which was easily fixed by adjusting the
spring preload on the forks by a few clicks. It entered corners with
precision, and both ends of the bike followed each other extremely
well, making it easier to put the bike where we wanted it. This
made the bike a breeze to ride. Riders’ confidence skyrocketed
with the precise handling and user-friendly interface.
Brakes: Fair. The 270mm front rotor was a great addition to
the KX250F package last year; however, you should bleed the
brakes after break-in, because they are spongy from the factory.
Clutch: Fair. The light feel of the clutch is awesome, but it
doesn’t last. Put stiffer springs in or don’t use it.
WHAT DO WE HATE ON THE KX250F?
We have a love/hate relationship with the 2017 engine, largely
because we loved the full-blast powerband of 2016. The 2017’s linear powerband is easy to ride and gets the power to the ground,
but it’s boring. Of course, we are still iffy on the clutch, brakes,
shifting and chain guide.
THE FINAL QUOTE?
“In our honest opinion, this is a much-better KX250F than in the
and KTM 250SXF.”