Kawasaki KX250F Review

By: Damien Ashenhurst, Photography by: Damien Ashenhurst

With an incredible winning record behind it, Kawasaki’s KX250F has copped some major updates to keep it on the top step

Kawasaki KX250F Review
Kawasaki KX250F
  • New intake port design and stronger Titanium valves
  • Cooling capacity has been improved and oil capacity has been reduced to save weight
  • A stronger clutch and generator covers have been fitted
  • New and lighter aluminium perimeter frame and sub-frame, with a narrower profile by six millimetres
  • The Showa forks are now the first in the 250F class to receive titanium-coated inner tubes

Kawasaki's motocross tiddler, from its KX125 incarnation to its present 250F guise, has to be one the most successful machines in motocross history. It has certainly attracted the best riders; James Stewart to Ryan Villopoto, Ben Townley and Brett Metcalfe have all scooped major championships and podium finishes in the toughest arena of them all, the AMA motocross and supercross series.

So what does the 2009 KX250F bring? The bike has scored a huge host of updates to keep it at the pointy end.

Starting with a new intake port design and stronger Titanium valves, which should help extend service intervals, the little engine has a better balanced crankshaft and a titanium pipe.

The bike's cooling capacity has also been improved while, interestingly, the oil capacity has been reduced to save weight.

A stronger clutch and generator covers have been fitted, along with a new ratchet drive shift mechanism to improve transmission feel.

2009 sees a new and lighter aluminium perimeter frame and sub-frame, with the main spars now offering a narrower profile by six millimetres. A new swingarm, along with a revised suspension arm mounting position, is the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to suspension fiddling.

Kawasaki has included a new Showa 50-millimetre piston shock with a Kashima Coat on the shock internals. The Showa forks are now the first in the 250F class to receive titanium-coated inner tubes, which work to help prevent scratching and reduce stiction. The outer fork tubes are now more rigid and the upper triple clamp has also been revised and strengthened, with a reduction of one millimetre in the off-set, and revised stock settings round out the improvements.

The 50-millimetre footpegs, thinner seat and new bodyworks with two-tone black and green plastics and fewer slap-on graphics complete some of the 'little' changes and it's obvious from the very first look over the KXF, that the overall quality of finish is excellent.

Motocross tester Jamie Hadlow felt comfortable on the KXF almost immediately. He adjusted the clickers to soften the feel, but that was the only adjustment needed. Jamie liked the slimmer feel of the bike over the '07 machine, particularly around the tank.

While the engine rated highly, the handling was the KXF's standout feature. The smooth power delivery certainly helped and while the engine isn't head and shoulders above the competition, it is a good match to the rest of the package and that's just as important.

We think the KXF is a brilliant motocross machine. Off-road racers will like it too, but unfortunately we didn't get enough time to test its capabilities in the bush.

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Type Liquid-cooled four-stroke single
Displacement 249 cm³
Bore x stroke 77.0 x 53.6mm
Compression ratio 13.2:1
Valve system DOHC, four-valve
Fuel system Carburettor: Keihin FCR37
Ignition Digital CDI with Throttle Position Sensor (K-TRIC)
Starting Primary kick
Lubrication Forced lubrication, semi-dry sump
Transmission Five-speed
Clutch Wet multi-disc, manual

Type Perimeter, aluminium
Wheel travel: front 315 mm/rear 310 mm
Tyre: front 80/100-21 51M/rear 100/90-19 57M
Caster (rake) 27.7°
Trail 122.3 mm
Steering angle (left/right) 42° / 42°

Front: Type 47 mm upside-down twin-chamber telescopic fork, Compression damping 16-way, Rebound damping 16-way
Rear: Type Uni-Trak - Compression damping 13-way (Low Speed), Stepless (High Speed) rebound damping 17-way - spring preload fully adjustable

Type Single semi-floating 250 mm petal disc - Dual-piston
Rear: Type Single 240 mm petal disc - Single-piston

Overall length
2170 mm
Overall width 820 mm
Overall height 1270 mm
Wheelbase 1470 mm
Ground clearance 340 mm
Seat height 955 mm
Fuel capacity Eight litres