If you were to look to racing results, especially in outdoor motocross, to guide you in your dirt bike buying decisions, there would be a pretty heavy bias toward going green. Maybe even more so if you’re looking at a 250F. Kawasaki, specifically the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit team, has been on a tear this year, proving weekend after weekend that it has the bikes and the riders. Sure those bikes have a whole lot of modifications, and the best riders on them, but they start out as KX250Fs.Simply put, the green guys have a great platform to begin with and didn’t see much reason to jack up a good thing, so they made small changes. The biggest was offsetting the engine mounts 10mm to lessen the rigidity of the overall chassis giving the bike a lighter feel, a mod especially evident on the KLX450. A small spline adjustment to keep the chain off the shift lever (which made some funny noises for some riders last year, though never affected our shifting) is the next biggest improvement on the list. The suspension received some small internal tweaks, and the muffler has some structural changes. Lookswise the bike takes on a race bike guise with black rims and black number plates actually made with black plastic, a welcome change to those few AMA pros who have to run the black backgrounds–and all the riders who want to look like them, us included.So what does it ride like? A lot like last year’s bike, just a little better, as expected. Right away you notice the muffler and its sharper sound. It seems to have also given the bike a boost in power in the low-end or midrange depending on where a rider classifies that portion of the power. It definitely seemed to pull better down low, giving the bike a fuller overall spread than we remember. Or was our old bike that clapped out? We suspect a bit of both. It was enough of a boost that some riders were torquing the bike through the turns more like a 450, something that they wouldn’t have done before–when they thought there wasn’t the same low-end tug.The suspension seems to be just a tad better at dealing with larger riders, especially at bottoming. It was hard to notice or feel if the bike seemed lighter, but most of our riders commented that the front end helped the bike turn better. Could those new Bridgestones be on to something?We didn’t notice the shifter change, all three degrees of it, nor did the black plastic affect the bike’s performance, except in the pits where its looks signaled it was a fresh 2008. It’s much easier to bling out this new bike like those racer bikes now! Small changes to say the least, but good ones nonetheless.
– This thing looks sharp!
– Better power from the new muffler.
– It’s less raspy sounding.
– No huge changes.
– Just enough changes to make that 2007 outdated!
– MSRP: $6099
– Weight (ready to ride, no gas): 220 lb
– Seat height: 36.9 in.
– Footpeg height 16.3 in.
– Seat-to-footpeg distance: 19.7 in.
The first thing I noticed was the sound. This year’s bike sounded much quieter than last year’s model. Straight away I noticed the bike works awesome going into corners. The lack of engine-braking lets the bike track very well entering the corners, and it was stable on the straights. The bike pulled extremely well mid to top. Jumping a 90-footer, you could rev the bike out and not even come close to hitting the rev-limiter. However, I had a little trouble coming out of some corners if the revs weren’t up enough. I think they made some good changes in the right direction over last year’s bike.
–Craig Monty/5’11”/155 lb/
Vet IntermediateWhen the KX250F was rolled out of the trailer, the first thing I noticed was the awesome color scheme. The black rims and sidepanels give the bike a whole new look. When I first got on the bike, it all felt very comfortable, and with adjustments to the fork (two clicks softer compression) and shock (two clicks quicker rebound), it felt like I was on a bike I had been riding for years. The suspension was stiff enough to handle big jumps and occasional casing while still maintaining that smooth ride. The wide feeling of the frame provided good grip which made the bike easy to control everywhere, even through the roughest parts of the track. The bike made even the deepest ruts easy to rail, which I think had a lot to do with the powerband. The low to midrange had good power and torque, and the bike just wanted to wheelie out of every turn. The only part of the power I did not like was the top-end; it did not seem to be there, the pull of the bike would just stop.Two little things that completed the package were the brakes and tires. The brakes did not have any mush to them; it was all brakes and no slop. Part of the stopping power came from the new Bridgestone tires which would bite everywhere, loamy or hardpack.
All in all, I think this KX-F will definitely be a top contender in 2008.
–Tyler Ruiz/5’9″/180 lb/