Motocross is a relentless taskmaster for engineers because what’s factory spec today is tomorrow’s old tech. Accordingly, after a complete revamp for 2017, Kawasaki’s enduring (now in its 15th model year) four-stroke 250 has already been updated for 2018. Improvements to the 249cc DOHC single include new intake-tract dimensions, plus a new camshaft, fuel pump, throttle body for the dual-injector EFI, and exhaust header. In chassis features, the Showa Separate Function Fork (SFF) gets a softer spring with more preload and revised damping settings; the shock shares the latter upgrades as well.
The engine is a tiger on the top-end, and the power curve is well-matched to the five-speed gearbox’s ratios overall; the only niggle here is, in our opinion, that more bottom-end grunt would be useful for driving off berms and out of tight corners. Handling-wise, the KX250F works well with the rider, allowing easy line choices—including quick midcorner corrections—and remaining composed in difficult situations such as braking bumps. A comfortable cockpit with adjustable handlebar and footpeg positions seals the deal.
Likes: Wicked top-end power, excellent handling, adjustable cockpit
Dislikes: Could use more poke at low rpm
Verdict: A welcome mix of poise and potency