Before we even first fired up the 2011 KX250F at the press introduction at Budds Creek Raceway in Mechanicsville, Maryland, it was pretty clear that this machine means business. A former Dirt Rider shootout winner with excellent ratings last year, the 2010 KX250F almost had what it took to be our favorite 250F. With the host of changes attached to the 2011, we wondered if this would be the year for the green machine to reclaim its shootout throne. Right off the bat, the DFI system proved its potential with great response and smooth, strong delivery. The bike has a ton of punch down low, mimicking the 2010's aggressive character right off of the gate. This hit transitions into a strong, heavy-flywheeled chugging feel that is reminiscent of an off-road bike-this machine could definitely crossover with minimal mods. The bike accelerates well while maintaining traction throughout the mid, and on top, the KX250F pulls hard but still has a tendency to sign off once the revs get too high, almost as if the bike is saying "I'm a 250F, shift me!" As for the DFI system itself, the 2010 KX250F had stellar response, and Kawasaki took no steps backward in the tuning department; the motorcycle starts well and runs strong. It seems that the new high-compression piston/cylinder setup really kept the racey feel of the motor alive, with an aggressive character throughout to deliver the power. The revised exhaust setup may have given the Kawasaki a lower overall sound output (we've yet to sound check it, but definitely will), though the raspy tone remains from previous models. Shifting-wise, we didn't notice any issues when grabbing gears under power, and the bike has yet to complain when slammed into a lower gear in turns.