Rising rate: The Showa shock linkage ratio is ballpark for
lighter riders, but we recommend a longer link arm.
Plug it in: We love the optional couplers. They take 30 seconds
to change and make a difference. The white is our favorite.
ready for a blind date—confused, somewhat ditzy, unsure
and even a bit nervous. Handling is not one of the standout traits of the KX250F.” And so it goes with the 2015
KX250F. Sooner or later Kawasaki will need to face the
fact that the KX250F handles like a tug boat. In the past,
we’ve forgiven Kawasaki for its cornering trespasses,
but that ship has finally sailed. We believe that properly
placed horsepower is the most important attribute of
a 250cc motocross bike, but it can’t be the only thing,
especially now that the Yamaha YZ250F has closed the
The 2015 KX250F is not the best-handling bike in the
class. Its cornering methodology is to let the rear end do
most of the work, while the front end stands up in the
center of the turn. MXA test riders toil to achieve perfect
chassis balance on every bike, but the KX250F is never
precise. We’ve tried all the combos. More weight on the
front yielded a bigger contact patch, with the caveat that
the front tire hunted and pecked more. Conversely, going
the opposite direction by lowering the race sag to
slacken the head angle yielded no favors from the front
end. Instead, the front end pushed more during
transition. With time and effort, every MXA test rider
came to his own solution. The real solution is at the
Kawasaki factory level.
Q: WHAT CHANGES CAN BE MADE TO
IMPROVE THE KX250F?
A: MXA test riders are very good at their jobs, and
one of their jobs is to find chinks in a bike’s armor. Here
are the KX250F chinks.
(1) Triple clamps. Don’t be satisfied with the KX250F
until you achieve the correct chassis balance and dial in
the suspension. We spent hours trying to find a favorable
setting. Eventually, we installed a set of 22mm offset
triple clamps. The different head angle makes cornering
more precise and doesn’t have any trade-offs (except to
your bank account).
( 2) Pull rod. When the first two changes made to the
2015 KX250F revolve around handling, you know that
something is amiss. In stock trim, the shock wallows under
acceleration and has a tendency to wander. A
longer pull rod ramps up the rising rate so that the
shock doesn’t blow so quickly through the initial part
of the stroke. Plus, it lowers the seat height. It’s a wise
( 3) Clutch. The strain put on the clutch assembly by
hard riding is too great over an extended run-time,
resulting in a slipping clutch that hinders forward advancement. Stiffer clutch springs are a must, or buy
a Hinson clutch ( www.hinsonracing.com) if you never want
to worry about clutch problems again.
( 4) Couplers. Upon purchasing a 2015 KX250F, you
should be given a care package that includes two
additional plug-in couplers. The green (standard) coupler
is attached to the wiring harness on the right side of the
head tube. The white (soft terrain) coupler is MXA’s favorite, as it advances the ignition for a more aggressive feel.
The black (hard terrain) coupler is meant for rock-hard,
slippery tracks where less wheelspin is desired. In most
circumstances, we opt for the white coupler, which takes
less than 30 seconds to install.
Q: WHAT DID WE HATE?
A: The hate list:
(1) Shifting. Kawasaki has gone ’round and ’round
trying to improve the shifting traits on the KX250F.
Unfortunately, the bike refuses to shift under a heavy load.
Use the clutch or breathe the engine to get it to upshift at
( 2) Clutch. At the very least, install stiffer aftermarket
( 3) Chain guide. The stock chain guide will get
chewed up faster than a single-flipper sea lion in the Great
Barrier Reef. We suggest contacting T.M. Designworks at
(541) 772-4161 to buy its indestructible chain guide kit.