2015 Kawasaki KX250F: FIRST RIDE

Cycle News Staff | July 15, 2014

Kawasaki introduced the 2015 KX250F to the media at Milestone Raceway in California where we got our first chance to spin a few laps on the bike.

The 2015 Kawasaki KX250F isn’t radically different from the 2014 model though it did get a number of smaller but welcomed mods. For one, the KX is now more adjustable. Like the KX450F has had for a while, the 250 finally gets its own two-position adjustable footpegs (they can be lowered 5mm from stock) and new upper triple clamp adjustable bar clamps. The bars can now be moved fore and aft within a 35mm range, which is significant.

Motor-wise, the KX now has what Kawasaki calls a bridged-box piston. It has a shorter skirt with reinforced external ribs and a thicker under-surface to improve durability. These mods, however, have their drawbacks—they add weight. To compensate, the piston pin is now lighter.

Other motor mods include a new downstream fuel-injector design, revised ECU settings and a slightly heavier flywheel.

Both the shock and the Single Function Fork (SFF) have been revised with stiffer damping settings.

The KX is still plenty fast but has what our testers say is a smoother and more controllable power delivery.

The KX’s subframe has been refined—it’s slightly narrower and lighter.

Like the 2015 KX450F, the 250 features a 270mm (formerly 250mm) oversize front-brake rotor made by Braking (the highly regarded aftermarket brake company).

The bike also took on some visual changes to give it that factory race look by getting green-anodized suspension adjusters and matching green engine plugs. Rims are also black anodized.

Compared to the 2014 KX250F, three things stood out with our testers after riding the 2015 KX250F for the first time: the motor, brakes (more specifically the front brake) and suspension.

After you land from the jumps and then set up for the corners, you’ll certainly notice the more powerful front brake.

Compared to the ’14 KX, our test riders feel the ’15 has a slightly smoother power delivery, which they also feel makes the bike significantly easier to ride. Overall, they all agree that the KX is still very powerful from bottom to top, where the KX likes to be ridden most (it still loves to be revved), but the delivery is just more manageable than before, which most likely has a lot to do with the heavier flywheel and new ECU settings. But don’t worry, the bike is still plenty fast. Of course, you can still alter how the KX delivers its power via its three pre-program ECU couplers that can be swapped out in seconds.

Unfortunately, one thing that hasn’t changed is that the KX is still very loud, especially with the throttle held wide open. The muffler does not do a very good job of muffling.

Our taller tester took advantage of the KX250F’s new adjustable footpegs.

The second most notable change is in the stopping department. The larger front-brake rotor makes a big difference for the better. Stopping power is much improved and you still have excellent modulation and plenty of control at the lever.

Finally, the KX’s suspension does feel a bit stiffer overall, yet still maintains some initial plushness. We felt little need to make adjustments to the KX’s suspension on the Milestone track, which, on this particular day, wasn’t very demanding on either the shock or the KX’s SFF coil-spring fork. (The KX250F does not have the new Showa SFF-AIR TAC fork that the KX450F got for 2015.) For sure, faster riders will like the KX’s new suspension settings right out of the crate, but, for the most part, the Showa suspension feels a lot like it did last year: solid and predictable.

We love the KX’s added adjustability, more the merrier in our opinion. Our taller test riders preferred the footpegs in the lower position and welcomed the range of adjustment with the handlebars.

The KX is still very comfortable but we didn’t really notice the narrower subframe. At least not yet.

New green-colored highlights give the KX250F that factory race-team look, but you have to look closely for them.

Otherwise, after only a few hours on the bike, we feel that the 2015 KX250F still performs much like it did last year (2014) but with better power delivery, slightly stiffer suspension and a stronger front brake. And, of course, it has more adjustability to better suit a wider ranges of rider sizes and preferences.

Although Kawasaki didn’t make a ton of changes to the 2015 KX250F, the ones they did make, from what we can tell so far, all seem to be the right ones.

For more Cycle News Motocross motorcycle reviews, click HERE.
For more Kawasaki motorcycle reviews, click HERE.