Balancing act: It takes patience to set up the KX250F suspension properly.
T.M. Designworks, at (541) 772-4161, on the horn. ( 4) Grips. We were pleased to see that the KX250F came with softer grips that were 10mm longer last year. For 2014, they are 10mm shorter. Hello, McFly? Anybody in there? ( 5) Plastics. The fork guards are frail, and we don’t like that Kawasaki ditched the black side panels in favor of white. Why? Because 250-class rules require black backgrounds. ( 6) Kawasaki’s lawyers. The cotter pin through the rear axle and vulcanized grip on the clutch-side are the contributions of Kawasaki’s lawyers. Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE? A: The like list: (1) Engine. It rips and it roars. We love the KX250F powerband as much as our wives love eating chocolate while watching The Notebook. ( 2) Upstream injector. Two injectors are better than one, particularly with a high-revving 250 four-stroke engine. ( 3) Couplers. Kawasaki includes two additional mapping couplers that can be swapped out in a matter of seconds and dramatically change the engine’s personality. We prefer the white (aggressive) coupler. ( 4) Suspension. The Showa units come with better baseline settings than last year, although heavier and faster riders should keep a screwdriver nearby. ( 5) Sprocket retainer. Gone is the countershaft sprocket circlip. In its place are a nut and indexed washer that are much more secure. ( 6) Details. The Kashima coating, blue-anodized caps and plugs, black rims (even though they quickly show wear) and curb appeal of the KX250F are attractive qualities. This bike looks great sitting on a stand. Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK? A: Not a single MXA test rider voiced any complaints about the fact that Kawasaki didn’t make any significant changes to the 2014 KX250F. That says something. Why? Although not perfect, the KX250F has several major upsides. The breadth and strength of the powerband caters to all skill levels, while the suspension and handling are decent enough to do the job. The KX250F is defined by its engine. How sweet it is. ;
KAWASAKI KX250F MXA KAWASAKI KX250F
SETUP SPECS This is how we set up our 2014 Kawasaki KX250F for racing. We offer it as a guide to help you get your own bike dialed in. SHOWA SFF FORK SETTINGS The 48mm Showa SFF has come standard on the KX250F since 2011. It has progressively gotten better, thanks to a stiffer spring rate and damping specs that favor a wider range of riders. The most endearing quality of the SFF package is that ride height can be adjusted. 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 2014 Kawasaki KX250F (stock specs are in parentheses): Spring rate: 0.97 kg/mm Oil height: 300cc in left leg, 223cc in right leg Compression: 8 clicks out ( 9 clicks out) Rebound: 11 clicks out ( 12 clicks out) Preload adjuster: 15 clicks in ( 8 clicks in) Fork-leg height: 5mm up Notes: Four clicks on the spring preload adjuster equal 1mm of preload (the old cap needed six clicks for 1mm). There are air- bleeder screws at the top of each fork leg. SHOWA UNI-TRAK SHOCK SETTINGS Kawasaki is aware that their shock setup needs improvement. For 2014, they changed the damping. The goal was to accommo- date a wider range of riders while sharpen- ing handling and lessening wallowing. The shock is better than last year’s platform, but the rear end still has a tendency to wallow under a heavy load. We’ve discovered that going in on the high- and low-speed compression, and then adjusting the rebound, seems to do the trick. Ultimately, a longer link arm will solve the issue. For hardcore racing, we recommend this shock setup for the 2014 Kawasaki KX250F (stock specs are in parentheses): Spring rate: 5. 4 kg/mm Race sag: 100mm (104mm) 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 compression to adjust the ride height at speed.