Primary Use: Motocross and the occasional trail ride

Main Mods: None

Moment of Glory: Comfortable setup and good handling in all types of terrain

Forgettable Experience: Some occasional difficult shifting and desiring a little more power at the motocross track

Hours: 19

Aftermath (since the Shootout): Nine DT1 air filter changes, one oil and oil filter change, and numerous bike washes

2018 Kawasaki KX250F
"I was able to see a little bit different side of the Kawasaki this month, and overall, I had a great experience with it." —Michael WickerJeff Allen

Since my last Long Haul update, I have been getting an even better feel for the 2018 Kawasaki KX250F. I have been feeling right at home on the bike in the short couple of months I've ridden it and have taken it on everything from local tracks to trails. Southern California has received a decent amount of rain in the past few months, which has made for some great dirt and excellent riding opportunities. I took advantage of the primo conditions and had the KX250F out on more than just motocross tracks this past month.

My hometown of Anza, California, is a small town nestled in a valley and predominantly known for its beautiful scenery and endless riding opportunities. I geared up on a wonderful Saturday morning to go out and hit some of the trails my family and I spent riding while I was growing up. After prepping the bike, I ventured from my house to the rocky Tule Canyon trails. The KX250F’s smooth power delivery was perfect for the trails I rode. Comfort has always been a big thing for me as far as bike setup goes, and the KX250F certainly delivers in this area, which makes motos at the track and long trail rides less tiring and more enjoyable. The trails were not too demanding and presented some challenges such as rocky conditions that tested the bike’s overall handling, which was very good. Afterward, I decided to ride to a more renowned trail system in the Twin Lakes area, just south of Anza.

After heading to Twin Lakes, I knew immediately the bike's ability would be tested a lot more, as the trails were a lot more challenging and the conditions a lot rougher. This area is generally a hot spot for off-road and four-wheel vehicles, but the Kawasaki really showed its true colors during this ride. With how light and agile the bike is, I was easily able to find the easiest path with a very short time to decide on a line choice. Through all the rough section, I really focused on how the suspension performed. My setup on the Showa SFF fork and Showa shock has been the same for more than a month (four softer on the fork compression and one click faster on the shock rebound), and I was curious to see how the Showa units would do on some trails knowing full well they are set up for motocross. With the existing changes, the suspension did an excellent job of helping the bike stay straight as there was no swapping of the rear whatsoever. Overall, the bike performed great throughout the entire ride and I was really happy with it. After the ride was over, I decided my next ride would be back at a motocross track.

The following week, I headed to Cahuilla Creek MX to spin some laps. Again, the track received some much needed rain a couple of days earlier, which left the track in amazing condition along with how well the staff prepped the track. After a good warm-up, I decided to put in a long moto, or at least as long as I could go with my current fitness level. During the whole moto, even with the track constantly changing, the bike handled like a dream. With a combination of Cahuilla sitting at a higher elevation of approximately 3,500 feet above sea level and the track being a little more wide open, the KX250F engine sometimes felt like it could use a little more power overall, even for a 250 four-stroke. I have come to notice the top-end power seems to taper off a little bit and, once you’re out of power, you need to grab a shift quickly. I had to really make sure to carry a lot of momentum for some of the bigger jumps because the bike just didn’t have enough overall power to consistently clear the jumps lap after lap. I am currently looking into some modifications to help get some more snap and excitement out of the KX250F powerplant and will get back to you on what I end up testing.

All in all, I was able to see a little bit different side of the Kawasaki this month, and overall, I had a great experience with it. Besides my wanting some more overall power, the KX250F is unquestionably a top contender when it comes to the chassis side of things including handling and comfort. Hopefully I will be able to make some changes to it in the near future and update everyone on how the changes affected the bike.