How Good Is/Was The 2003 KX250 2-Stroke?

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1/3/2018 7:08 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/3/2018 7:13 PM

I apologize if this needs to be starting in a another section of the form but just thought I'd ask what some of your guys's thoughts are if you don't mind please.

Ive got a chance to buy a SUPER low hour 2003 KX250 for a dam good price thats got an FMF Fatty, V-Force reed block, brand new tires, bars, chain and sprockets. The rest of the bike is bone stock just the way I like it....being tall is something to consider and ive read in numerous places that the 06 KX250 chassis was a real mess but had a beast of an engine and my limited knowledge of KX250's from this timeframe is that the 03 had a dufferent frame I just dont know how drastically different and ive always thought the last gen KX 2 strokes were great looking bikes.

Im 6'3 195 and novice/intermediate skill level ...just a little rusty since its been almost 2 years since i last rode but ive been riding my whole life starting at age 5 and im 39 and know itll come back quickly. Ive generally always had a good "feel" for the bikes ive owned/ridden so that i could fugure out what the bike was doing and what needed to be done to fix or adjust it out.

Ive searched all over the Google machine with very few legitimately qualified reviews. Ive never owned or ridden a KX250 2 stroke but have owned and ridden the crap out of every last generation 250 2 stroke long enough to appreciate all of them. Loved the YZ250's engine, by far best handling bike I ever rode was my 2002 CR250, had an 01 and 06 RM250 and they were good bikes that fell in the middle of the CR and YZ. Btw I cant afford a 'GOOD' KTM250sx i.e. a 2012 or newer otherwise this post wouldnt exist.
If anyone can give me their idea on where a 2003 KX250 would rate against these bikes that would be helpful:
2000-2001 CR250
2002-2003 CR250
1999-2001YZ250
2003-2004 YZ250
I realize the KX250 didn't win any shootouts around this time but I can't really get a good feel for how it fared against the bikes above was it way too far off or just a tick off? That's kind of what I'm trying to understand

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1/3/2018 7:17 PM

From what I remember reading, the 2003/2004 KX250 was very underpowered compared to the other bikes in the class.

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1/3/2018 7:17 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/3/2018 7:19 PM

I would rate it below or even with the cr's and above the Yz's IMO. Loved my 03 kx. Hated my 06 Kx though.
Cr's suspension can be made much better. The kx doesn't have much potential in the suspension depot. No high speed adjustment on the shock that year.

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1/3/2018 7:24 PM

JWACK wrote:

I would rate it below or even with the cr's and above the Yz's IMO. Loved my 03 kx. Hated my 06 Kx though.
Cr's suspension can be made much better. The kx doesn't have much potential in the suspension depot. No high speed adjustment on the shock that year.

Above the YZ's ? Really, interesting. By the way hock a brother up with some of the good stuff what you puffing! Lol

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Born in Prague,living in LA,so if you don't like my spelling,blow me!

18 YZ450F
16 Yamaha YXZ 1000R
17 Yamaha MT-10 FZ-10 165 Hp RWP
06 CRF450X street legal supermoto
06 RM250 smoker
1992 CR250R basket case
2006 CRF50








1/3/2018 7:38 PM

JWACK wrote:

I would rate it below or even with the cr's and above the Yz's IMO. Loved my 03 kx. Hated my 06 Kx though.
Cr's suspension can be made much better. The kx doesn't have much potential in the suspension depot. No high speed adjustment on the shock that year.

xr70 wrote:

Above the YZ's ? Really, interesting. By the way hock a brother up with some of the good stuff what you puffing! Lol

Yep. "IMO" They actually turn with ease. Unlike the Yz. And I really like to turn so that's my reasoning. Did you own both or are you saying this because you read it on the internet.?

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1/3/2018 7:54 PM

Perhaps I am not the one to comment on this thread since I do not have any experience with any of the other brands. I can only compare the 03 with the previous 5 years of Kawasaki's. At present I still own the 03 Kawasaki 250 2 stroke, and have to say I love the bike. Great bike and it turns. I think the previous years had more bottom, but the handling characteristics of this bike are great. Now the other brands might turn better or have better handling I do now know, but I know this bike can win. It is a Great bike.

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1/3/2018 7:57 PM

Below is a Dirt Rider mag review on some aftermarket pipes for the 03 KX250. I'd advise to pass on the 05-07 models. Rode an 05 (about 10 yrs. ago) that was set up with some upgrades. Was thinking of buying it & couldn't give the bike back to the seller fast enough after test riding it. IMHO it was the worst 250 2T ridden from the era of 1984 -2007.


****Kawasaki KX250Baseline: The 2003 KX is a brand-new ride and proved to be a great bike in stock form. The power provides torque but lacks that explosive feel. The KX needs more bottom power, a quicker-revving delivery with more punch, and more overrev to bring it up to par with the front-running 250s.DEP pipe and silencer Fit: A / Overall Rating: B+ Comments: The DEP is a good combo that is smooth but snappier compared to the Doma. It builds its power a little faster but not quite as robustly when lined up against the FMF units tested. Bottom is really good, and the power carries on to the top with a usable overrev compared to the stock exhaust.Doma pipe and silencer Fit: A / Overall Rating: B+ Comments: The Doma develops a lot of drive right off idle. The delivery is smooth, and it pulls really well while exiting corners. Once it enters the midrange, the power gains start to level off. Because of its great bottom you can feel the pull on the track. Up top the Doma starts to come alive again and wants to pull further than stock. Overall this is an easy-to-ride combo that works well for off-roaders and motocrossers seeking a smooth tractable delivery.FMF Factory Fatty with Titanium II silencer Fit: A, B- for the Titanium II silencer Overall Rating: A Comments: The Factory Fatty is almost identical to the Fatty, but we did notice the Factory has a snappier throttle response and delivery. One of our three test riders rated this his favorite.FMF Fatty with Titanium II silencer Fit: A, B- for silencer / Overall Rating: A Comments: The silencer lost points due to the fact the bolt holes didn't line up well with the subframe. Powerwise, the Fatty is a winner. Compared to stock the Fatty boasts power gains just off the bottom, pulls stronger in the mid and holds on all the way up into the top-end. Overrev is also improved. For off-road, we could have used a little more bottom.FMF SST with Titanium II silencer Fit: A, B- for silencer Overall Rating: A Comments: The SST delivered the meat of its power from the lower bottom to the lower top. This is an excellent-performing combination that's fast and easy to ride. The rear starts to drive very low in the power range and makes for easy yet quick cornering. The bottom is good enough that it would make a excellent choice for trail riding as well as hard-core motocross. Two testers picked the SST as their exhaust of choice for the KX250.Pro Circuit Works with Factory Sound silencer Fit: A / Overall Rating: B- Comments: The power is very tame and feels as if it lost torque in the process. Testers said the bike was loud and delivered the power flat. It builds some muscle on top, but it takes some clutch to get there. A few riders suggested the flat power may work off-road.

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Speak softly and carry a big stick.

1/3/2018 8:08 PM

H4L wrote:

Below is a Dirt Rider mag review on some aftermarket pipes for the 03 KX250. I'd advise to pass on the 05-07 models. Rode an 05 (about 10 yrs. ago) that was set up with some upgrades. Was thinking of buying it & couldn't give the bike back to the seller fast enough after test riding it. IMHO it was the worst 250 2T ridden from the era of 1984 -2007.


****Kawasaki KX250Baseline: The 2003 KX is a brand-new ride and proved to be a great bike in stock form. The power provides torque but lacks that explosive feel. The KX needs more bottom power, a quicker-revving delivery with more punch, and more overrev to bring it up to par with the front-running 250s.DEP pipe and silencer Fit: A / Overall Rating: B+ Comments: The DEP is a good combo that is smooth but snappier compared to the Doma. It builds its power a little faster but not quite as robustly when lined up against the FMF units tested. Bottom is really good, and the power carries on to the top with a usable overrev compared to the stock exhaust.Doma pipe and silencer Fit: A / Overall Rating: B+ Comments: The Doma develops a lot of drive right off idle. The delivery is smooth, and it pulls really well while exiting corners. Once it enters the midrange, the power gains start to level off. Because of its great bottom you can feel the pull on the track. Up top the Doma starts to come alive again and wants to pull further than stock. Overall this is an easy-to-ride combo that works well for off-roaders and motocrossers seeking a smooth tractable delivery.FMF Factory Fatty with Titanium II silencer Fit: A, B- for the Titanium II silencer Overall Rating: A Comments: The Factory Fatty is almost identical to the Fatty, but we did notice the Factory has a snappier throttle response and delivery. One of our three test riders rated this his favorite.FMF Fatty with Titanium II silencer Fit: A, B- for silencer / Overall Rating: A Comments: The silencer lost points due to the fact the bolt holes didn't line up well with the subframe. Powerwise, the Fatty is a winner. Compared to stock the Fatty boasts power gains just off the bottom, pulls stronger in the mid and holds on all the way up into the top-end. Overrev is also improved. For off-road, we could have used a little more bottom.FMF SST with Titanium II silencer Fit: A, B- for silencer Overall Rating: A Comments: The SST delivered the meat of its power from the lower bottom to the lower top. This is an excellent-performing combination that's fast and easy to ride. The rear starts to drive very low in the power range and makes for easy yet quick cornering. The bottom is good enough that it would make a excellent choice for trail riding as well as hard-core motocross. Two testers picked the SST as their exhaust of choice for the KX250.Pro Circuit Works with Factory Sound silencer Fit: A / Overall Rating: B- Comments: The power is very tame and feels as if it lost torque in the process. Testers said the bike was loud and delivered the power flat. It builds some muscle on top, but it takes some clutch to get there. A few riders suggested the flat power may work off-road.

I can’t help but think that the bike you rode was roached before you rode it, and/or the setup was way off. I had an 05 and while I have fonder memories of my 2000 KX250, the 05 was a really good bike. I wouldn’t have traded it straight up for any other.

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1/3/2018 8:11 PM

I loved my ‘03, put more hours on that bike than any other bike I have owned. Engines were reliable, and made descent power. The bikes in general did not do anything spectacular, but they were very solid overall. I currently own an ‘06 and never understood this internet myth that the chassis is flawed. I also currently have an ‘03 125. Needless to say I love the last generation Kawasaki’s. My 06 has more in the power department, but nothing earth shattering.

The ‘03 is a great bike, I won a lot of races on won and would not hesitate to own another. PC pullrods are the only handling mod I ever did to my ‘03...

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Tomac and/or Anderson for 2020.....

1/3/2018 8:16 PM

BobPA wrote:

I loved my ‘03, put more hours on that bike than any other bike I have owned. Engines were reliable, and made descent power. The bikes in general did not do anything spectacular, but they were very solid overall. I currently own an ‘06 and never understood this internet myth that the chassis is flawed. I also currently have an ‘03 125. Needless to say I love the last generation Kawasaki’s. My 06 has more in the power department, but nothing earth shattering.

The ‘03 is a great bike, I won a lot of races on won and would not hesitate to own another. PC pullrods are the only handling mod I ever did to my ‘03...

That 06 is a fun bike. Turns on a dime just needs wider pegs.

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1/3/2018 8:18 PM

H4L wrote:

Below is a Dirt Rider mag review on some aftermarket pipes for the 03 KX250. I'd advise to pass on the 05-07 models. Rode an 05 (about 10 yrs. ago) that was set up with some upgrades. Was thinking of buying it & couldn't give the bike back to the seller fast enough after test riding it. IMHO it was the worst 250 2T ridden from the era of 1984 -2007.


****Kawasaki KX250Baseline: The 2003 KX is a brand-new ride and proved to be a great bike in stock form. The power provides torque but lacks that explosive feel. The KX needs more bottom power, a quicker-revving delivery with more punch, and more overrev to bring it up to par with the front-running 250s.DEP pipe and silencer Fit: A / Overall Rating: B+ Comments: The DEP is a good combo that is smooth but snappier compared to the Doma. It builds its power a little faster but not quite as robustly when lined up against the FMF units tested. Bottom is really good, and the power carries on to the top with a usable overrev compared to the stock exhaust.Doma pipe and silencer Fit: A / Overall Rating: B+ Comments: The Doma develops a lot of drive right off idle. The delivery is smooth, and it pulls really well while exiting corners. Once it enters the midrange, the power gains start to level off. Because of its great bottom you can feel the pull on the track. Up top the Doma starts to come alive again and wants to pull further than stock. Overall this is an easy-to-ride combo that works well for off-roaders and motocrossers seeking a smooth tractable delivery.FMF Factory Fatty with Titanium II silencer Fit: A, B- for the Titanium II silencer Overall Rating: A Comments: The Factory Fatty is almost identical to the Fatty, but we did notice the Factory has a snappier throttle response and delivery. One of our three test riders rated this his favorite.FMF Fatty with Titanium II silencer Fit: A, B- for silencer / Overall Rating: A Comments: The silencer lost points due to the fact the bolt holes didn't line up well with the subframe. Powerwise, the Fatty is a winner. Compared to stock the Fatty boasts power gains just off the bottom, pulls stronger in the mid and holds on all the way up into the top-end. Overrev is also improved. For off-road, we could have used a little more bottom.FMF SST with Titanium II silencer Fit: A, B- for silencer Overall Rating: A Comments: The SST delivered the meat of its power from the lower bottom to the lower top. This is an excellent-performing combination that's fast and easy to ride. The rear starts to drive very low in the power range and makes for easy yet quick cornering. The bottom is good enough that it would make a excellent choice for trail riding as well as hard-core motocross. Two testers picked the SST as their exhaust of choice for the KX250.Pro Circuit Works with Factory Sound silencer Fit: A / Overall Rating: B- Comments: The power is very tame and feels as if it lost torque in the process. Testers said the bike was loud and delivered the power flat. It builds some muscle on top, but it takes some clutch to get there. A few riders suggested the flat power may work off-road.

nytsmaC wrote:

I can’t help but think that the bike you rode was roached before you rode it, and/or the setup was way off. I had an 05 and while I have fonder memories of my 2000 KX250, the 05 was a really good bike. I wouldn’t have traded it straight up for any other.

I love our 05. That bike is never leaving our garage!

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2017 RMZ450
2005 YZ250-sold :,(
1998 YZ250
2005 KX250F

80% of the time it works every time
IG @hammerfamily_4 & @2HRacing
Thanks to : Factory Effex, N2Dirt, Acerbis, DT1, Fasthouse, Matix, FMF, ASV, 100% & Mika Metals

1/3/2018 8:36 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/3/2018 10:06 PM

nytsmaC wrote:

I can’t help but think that the bike you rode was roached before you rode it, and/or the setup was way off. I had an 05 and while I have fonder memories of my 2000 KX250, the 05 was a really good bike. I wouldn’t have traded it straight up for any other.

The 05 I test rode actually had low hrs. with suspension / engine work done to it. It didn't handle well & the engine powerband was very narrow. I had to abuse the clutch since the lowend power was very weak. This was back in 2007 so it wasn't a clapped out bike.

97 & 01 CR250's owned had a rigid chassis / frames, but preferred them over the KX250 models. I'd rate those CR's at the bottom as well.

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Speak softly and carry a big stick.

1/3/2018 8:52 PM

JWACK wrote:

I would rate it below or even with the cr's and above the Yz's IMO. Loved my 03 kx. Hated my 06 Kx though.
Cr's suspension can be made much better. The kx doesn't have much potential in the suspension depot. No high speed adjustment on the shock that year.

xr70 wrote:

Above the YZ's ? Really, interesting. By the way hock a brother up with some of the good stuff what you puffing! Lol

JWACK wrote:

Yep. "IMO" They actually turn with ease. Unlike the Yz. And I really like to turn so that's my reasoning. Did you own both or are you saying this because you read it on the internet.?

Yea I did own 03 KX250 and u are right it does turn little better but that is about all . I think that the YZ is better package overall .

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Born in Prague,living in LA,so if you don't like my spelling,blow me!

18 YZ450F
16 Yamaha YXZ 1000R
17 Yamaha MT-10 FZ-10 165 Hp RWP
06 CRF450X street legal supermoto
06 RM250 smoker
1992 CR250R basket case
2006 CRF50








1/3/2018 9:13 PM

My ‘03 was a good ride. I put a FMF pipe on it and re-valved the rear shock. I rode Vet expert and felt the revalve helped smooth out some of the harshness, but that can just be a rider preference deal.

Its lack of bottom end power required more double clutching coming out of tight corners. But overall that bike was a blast to ride and race.

That’s the ‘03 in my avatar.

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1/3/2018 10:02 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/3/2018 10:02 PM

Got an 01 and it's bitchin', hauls ass

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1/3/2018 10:52 PM

If the price is right I would get it, if you don't gell with it you can sell it for what you gave. I think you'll like the 03 to be honest.

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There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear.

1/4/2018 12:18 AM

The 03-04 bike has a very different motor to the 05-07.
The later motor was said to have been inspired by Stew. Whether that's true or not..?

I had an 04 and I loved it. It wasn't underpowered as someone has said above.
I never rode an 05-07 motor so can't comment.

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The above may be fact or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting. I am not sure, you have no chance.

1/4/2018 1:42 AM

Love my 01, it's the one bike I've never sold and don't intend to.

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"Nothing happens until something moves"

1/4/2018 7:01 AM
Edited Date/Time: 1/4/2018 7:01 AM

I had an 05 and really liked it. I thought the 09 YZ 250 I had after it was better though. I can't comment on the 03-04 motor but the 05 wasn't that different than the YZ powerplant.

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1/4/2018 7:09 AM

I had an '05 KX250, one of my favorite bikes. I remember a buddy of mine had an '04, he rode mine since it had the updated engine. Sold his '04 shortly after and went buy an '05. Wish I still had mine.

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1/4/2018 9:04 AM

Guys...... Much ty for all the responses

So what I've gathered thus far is that the bike was pretty good, handled well but was down on power, exactly how much of a handicapp would you say it has?

Btw this bike already comes with an FMF Fatty pipe, v-force Reed's for engine upgrades.

Also has an oversized front disc, rad guards, brand new tires, bars, and chain and sprockets.

I will at some point have the cylinder ported after getting some time on the bike I just really want a capable Moto weapon ... specifically a 2 stroke 250.

Remember I'm 6'3 so I'm curious how the bike is for taller riders too.

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1/4/2018 3:03 PM

At 6’3 you’d be fine on it, but you’d definitely appreciate the 99-02 ergos a lot more. The 03+ definitely got a lot smaller feeling.

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1/4/2018 3:20 PM

I have a 2003 KX250 and love it. It is a great bike.

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1/4/2018 3:23 PM

Decent. Built like shit though.

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1/4/2018 3:24 PM

Lightning78 wrote:

Guys...... Much ty for all the responses

So what I've gathered thus far is that the bike was pretty good, handled well but was down on power, exactly how much of a handicapp would you say it has?

Btw this bike already comes with an FMF Fatty pipe, v-force Reed's for engine upgrades.

Also has an oversized front disc, rad guards, brand new tires, bars, and chain and sprockets.

I will at some point have the cylinder ported after getting some time on the bike I just really want a capable Moto weapon ... specifically a 2 stroke 250.

Remember I'm 6'3 so I'm curious how the bike is for taller riders too.

I’m sure if you rode the bike before reading it had a “handicap”, you would have thought the motor is fine...

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Tomac and/or Anderson for 2020.....

1/4/2018 3:26 PM

Lightning78 wrote:

I apologize if this needs to be starting in a another section of the form but just thought I'd ask what some of your guys's thoughts are if you don't mind please.

Ive got a chance to buy a SUPER low hour 2003 KX250 for a dam good price thats got an FMF Fatty, V-Force reed block, brand new tires, bars, chain and sprockets. The rest of the bike is bone stock just the way I like it....being tall is something to consider and ive read in numerous places that the 06 KX250 chassis was a real mess but had a beast of an engine and my limited knowledge of KX250's from this timeframe is that the 03 had a dufferent frame I just dont know how drastically different and ive always thought the last gen KX 2 strokes were great looking bikes.

Im 6'3 195 and novice/intermediate skill level ...just a little rusty since its been almost 2 years since i last rode but ive been riding my whole life starting at age 5 and im 39 and know itll come back quickly. Ive generally always had a good "feel" for the bikes ive owned/ridden so that i could fugure out what the bike was doing and what needed to be done to fix or adjust it out.

Ive searched all over the Google machine with very few legitimately qualified reviews. Ive never owned or ridden a KX250 2 stroke but have owned and ridden the crap out of every last generation 250 2 stroke long enough to appreciate all of them. Loved the YZ250's engine, by far best handling bike I ever rode was my 2002 CR250, had an 01 and 06 RM250 and they were good bikes that fell in the middle of the CR and YZ. Btw I cant afford a 'GOOD' KTM250sx i.e. a 2012 or newer otherwise this post wouldnt exist.
If anyone can give me their idea on where a 2003 KX250 would rate against these bikes that would be helpful:
2000-2001 CR250
2002-2003 CR250
1999-2001YZ250
2003-2004 YZ250
I realize the KX250 didn't win any shootouts around this time but I can't really get a good feel for how it fared against the bikes above was it way too far off or just a tick off? That's kind of what I'm trying to understand

Buy it

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1/4/2018 3:31 PM

Had, 91, 92, 93, 96, 98, 99, 00, 01, 02, 03, and 05 KX250s. 03 Handled great, was under powered compared to 02, goofy wheels were kind of a pain in the ass to change tires on, but all in all it wasn't too bad after some motor work. The 05 to 07 were a different motor spec and ran MUCH better. 07 I switched to kx450's. And that began the demise of my wallet.

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Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

1/4/2018 5:44 PM

My roommate has an 03 or 04. I remember the motor feeling like a nuke. But I was hammered doing 5th gear runs down the road on Independence Day blush so anything would have felt fast!

One thing I will say, since I share space with him during wrenching hours, is that it has some odd mechanical features that make working on it, and parts acquisition a pain in the ass. Pray to God you don't lose a main seal...

I think any good motorcycle can be made to fit your liking.

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Osama Bin Mixin - Head of the 2-stroke Taliban

1/4/2018 6:26 PM

Lightning78 wrote:

Guys...... Much ty for all the responses

So what I've gathered thus far is that the bike was pretty good, handled well but was down on power, exactly how much of a handicapp would you say it has?

Btw this bike already comes with an FMF Fatty pipe, v-force Reed's for engine upgrades.

Also has an oversized front disc, rad guards, brand new tires, bars, and chain and sprockets.

I will at some point have the cylinder ported after getting some time on the bike I just really want a capable Moto weapon ... specifically a 2 stroke 250.

Remember I'm 6'3 so I'm curious how the bike is for taller riders too.

BobPA wrote:

I’m sure if you rode the bike before reading it had a “handicap”, you would have thought the motor is fine...

Not necessarily ..... Like i said ive owned an 02 CR250, 03 YZ250, 01 RM250, and an 06 RM250 i could easily tell the differences both strong and weak points of each enginethe CR was meek off the bottom but would shriek into the top end and had great overrev, the YZ was meaty from bottom to top but definitely signed off earlier than the CR, the 01 RM250 ran almost exactly like the 02 CR i.e. like a big 125 and the 06 RM was very similar to the YZ (duh) but had a MUCH shorter spread of power before it tapped out due to the lighter flywheel.....i was curious about the engine bec i float between 190 and 195lbs and i wanted to know how "down on power" it was compared to the 02 CR250 bec i like a bike that has at least a decent bottom end but im not a short shifter so top end pull and overrev is equally important.

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1/4/2018 6:30 PM

BobPA wrote:

I loved my ‘03, put more hours on that bike than any other bike I have owned. Engines were reliable, and made descent power. The bikes in general did not do anything spectacular, but they were very solid overall. I currently own an ‘06 and never understood this internet myth that the chassis is flawed. I also currently have an ‘03 125. Needless to say I love the last generation Kawasaki’s. My 06 has more in the power department, but nothing earth shattering.

The ‘03 is a great bike, I won a lot of races on won and would not hesitate to own another. PC pullrods are the only handling mod I ever did to my ‘03...

Descent power? Does that mean it was only good for going down hill ? tongue

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Powerband in every gear !