First Impression: 2024 Kawasaki KX250

2024 Kawasaki KX250 First Impression

Story and Photos by Trevor Hunter

Although there are no new changes to the 2024 Kawasaki KX250, it is still one of our favorite 250F’s to ride and race. A powerful, aggressive engine character fulfills the thrills while a comfortable chassis gels with a lot of our various test riders.

Starting with the motor, it’s most impressive on the top end where it revs to the moon and makes the meat of its power. Getting there, it’s a little soft off the bottom having just enough torque and low end power to where it doesn’t fall on its face if in the wrong gear or a mistake is made mid-corner. From there, it only gets better as it quickly builds into a strong mid-range and explodes into the top end. The engine revs quickly and freely, and although it’s dependent on revving to put down the fastest lap times (like most 250F’s), it’s easy to do and feels natural on this bike which helps even those who don’t necessarily like to rev bikes feel at home with this power plant.

The transmission ratios felt in spec at Cahuilla Creek MX as we spent most of our time in 2nd-3rd gears to keep the motor in the meat of the power. The engagement point in the Nissin hydraulic clutch is broad and the clutch pull is smooth. Most of our testers who are more accustomed to a cable-pull clutch prefer the Nissin system as it has more feel and modulation than that of the Austrian brands — more of a rider preference than anything though

Moving onto the suspension, the KYB bump sticks are an area we feel the KX needs some work. The components themselves are of great quality, but the forks in particular are overly stiff for all but the fastest of riders. On a smooth track with good traction, they worked okay but as the bumps started to form and the dirt started to dry, the stiff character became more apparent and made the bike tougher to ride. It deflects on small bumps, lacks front end traction on flat, dry corners, and rides higher in the stroke than we’d like. 

Out back, the shock worked well and by stiffening up the Low Speed Compression two clicks, we were able to get a better balance out of the bike and help temporarily combat the stiff front end.

The KX feels very thin and nimble on the track with a rider-friendly cockpit. Both riders today, and on previous Kawasaki models of this generation, really enjoy the rider triangle/cockpit of the KX’s as everything feels natural as if it should be in its place. Sitting on the bike, it is very thin and is a standout feature in a good way to our testers. The overall chassis offers a lot of comfort and reacts well to conditions that can challenge an ill-handling bike.  It’s not the most precise bike, but its narrowness between the legs helps offset this. You feel in total control of the machine, and it has a light feeling with help from a responsive motor that lets you jump and hop around.

The brakes work pretty good, but the thin front brake lever isn’t a crowd pleaser here at DBT. It’s uncomfortable to apply a lot of pressure to the lever and is something we haven’t liked for a couple of years now. The bike is fairly stable and corners pretty good. It isn’t the best in either category, but it does both very well.

Overall, Kawasaki’s KX250 is a good overall bike and with experience on it in the past, we know just how good it can be. Just with some suspension work we feel it can be a serious contender for the top in its class, and we’ll be comparing it to the all new YZ250F shortly which has proven to be the bike to beat in the 250 class.

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