Riding The 2018 Kawasaki KX250F

More time on the small-bore green machine

Michael Wicker
"I went another two clicks softer on compression, which took away the slight harshness and headshake I was experiencing on rough straights." —Michael WickerJeff Allen

Primary Use: Motocross

Main Mods: None

Moment of Glory: Riding a bike that is very comfortable and is both easy to ride and maintain

Forgettable Experience: Shifting and a lack of traction in the rear tire

Hours: 20

Aftermath: Six DT1 air filter changes, one oil and oil filter change, and numerous bike washes

My time on the 2018 Kawasaki KX250F has been a different but enjoyable experience so far. I'm starting to figure the bike out and appreciate just what it has to offer in both comfort and handling. Although it has its flaws, I'm enjoying the KX250F's performance, and the more time I spend riding it, the more at home I feel on it.

For the first month of riding, the only drastic and noticeable change I made was softening the compression two clicks on the Showa SFF fork and slowing down the rebound on the Showa shock by one click. These changes were small, yet effective. With more seat time and riding rougher tracks, I found the bike lacking the straight-line stability and comfort I experienced while riding it on smoother tracks. To fix this, I went another two clicks softer on compression, which took away the slight harshness and headshake I was experiencing on rough straights. I left the changes I made to the shock, as it stayed plush and settled nicely in corners and ruts. Those small changes made the bike work better on all of the tracks I’ve been riding lately, both smooth and rough.

The engine performance of the KX250F is more controllable and somewhat mellow in comparison to some of its rivals, and I’ve come to recognize things I like and dislike about that. The power is like a happy medium—it’s not the fastest bike in the class, but it’s not sluggish either. In stock form, the bike offers power that any skill level rider can handle and, with some motor work, this engine could be very competitive. I would love try a new exhaust system for a little more overall power and maybe different gearing options for some added bottom-end.

Michael Wicker
"In stock form, the [KX250F] offers power that any skill level rider can handle." —Michael WickerJeff Allen

The KX250F has a very comfortable chassis. From my first time sitting on it, I noticed how comfortable the seat and chassis felt while cornering and when jumping. It’s easily controllable and doesn't put up a fight to get it where you need it to go and it corners like a dream. The same can be said for jumping as the KX250F is extremely flickable in the air. It’s very stable in the corners and compliant in the rough, choppy sections. I haven’t experienced any issues with handling except rear wheel traction. Through some corners, more notably upon exit, I struggle to keep the bike hooked up to the ground. I’ve noticed this a little bit at every track I’ve ridden it, but it’s usually not too big of a deal and decreasing the air pressure in the rear tire has helped.

Overall, I’ve enjoyed my experience on the KX250F. The bike has performed well in all areas I feel it should. It has slight issues I’ve not been able to resolve with changes to the stock setup, but I’ve been really impressed with it overall. I learn a lot more about this bike with every ride and I know it has the potential to suit every rider’s need regardless of skill level. I’ll be making some small changes to improve the bike.