You may find yourself starring in this very same picture. You’re at a dealer with two options. Pay full price on the hot new four-stroke, or have room to bargain on an outdated and largely unchanged 250cc two-stroke, potentially more than a $1000 difference when the wallet finally shuts.Try calling the KX250 outdated on the track, and you’ve made one big mistake. Mirroring our impressions from last year (Dec. ’05), the green BarcaLounger is one comfortable ride. It has a long, light and slightly laid-back feel from the moment you begin burning laps. The handling maintains the Kawasaki trend of stability, not the first choice for cut-and-thrust antics among other 250cc two-strokes. But it makes 450cc four-strokes seem cantankerous, if you were wondering. And if moving from a KX more than three years old, well, you won’t believe the difference in agility, weight feel and turning, as the latest chassis really woke up the machine.The suspension, which is unchanged except for the elimination of fork slider guides, does a really good job of absorbing MX obstacles, staying plush without being harsh or bottoming much. The KX can get away with a pretty wide-ranging difference in ride height without becoming too upset. We’ve found between 95 and 105mm is optimal depending on how much turning input you want to get out of the front wheel. It likes to work in the midstroke and rarely bucks or feels loose on the rebound side of things. It is one very planted two-stroke.On the motor side, the 250cc two-stroke comes jetted fine at sea level and seems to love 92-octane pump gas at 40:1. That is until you get a huge load on the bike and you hear a “death knock.” It sounds like there is a marble intermittently hopping into the cylinder and back out again. It is very much like an inconsistent detonation and has been traced back to the positioning on the ignition pick-up sensor off the flywheel, which should have the correct sensor gap. It never completely vanishes, but it can be minimized; race gas doesn’t make much of a difference. The knock doesn’t seem to affect the strong and torquey pull of the KX one bit. Off the bottom, the green bike isn’t as crisp as most of its competition, but it makes up that initial sluggishness quickly with a good snap as you get into the mid and a long and ferocious top-end that barks.As of now, two-stroke development is pretty stagnant, but the bikes remain competitive and, for a lot of riders and for many reasons, a solid choice. Since this KX hasn’t changed much, it’s still a solid deal.Specifications
Claimed dry weight: 214 lb
Actual weight (ready to race, no gas): 226 lb
Seat height: 38.3 in.
Seat-to-peg distance: 21.8 in.
Still a great bike, it’s just not on the “most wanted” list any longer.
The simplicity of a two-stroke.
Agile handling and light weight.
No changes, BNG excluded.
The unnerving knock!
Are two-stroke riders retro?