2021 Kawasaki KX250X

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Bike Test: 2021 Kawasaki KX250X

Tester:Chris Siebenhaar
Age:35
Height: 5’ 10”
Weight: 178 lb
Class: Intermediate/Expert 

2021 Kawaski KX250X

This year the off-road (racer) category just got a little deeper with the addition of Kawasaki throwing its hat into both the 450cc, and 250cc cross country ring. Both bikes got the same off-road treatment, meaning softer suspension, a kickstand, skid plate, different final gearing, and 18” rear wheel and Dunlop AT81 tires. Other than that they’re basically the same as their motocross brethren. But is that good enough?

With the same changes made as the 450 the similarities in feel of the MX vs. Off-Road bikes are also very close. So since the 2021 KX250 is a new platform altogether, I’ll go over with the mindset of someone who has had the previous generation bike either racing or just off-road riding. I spent a lot of time on a 2020 KX250 and quickly found a downfall to its redesigned engine. Last year Kawasaki changed the engine and in doing so they gained a bunch of top-end power, however, the trade was a loss of power down low and even into the mid-range. This made trail riding this bike a bit difficult because you had to keep the rpm’s high in order to access any power in hopes of lofting the front wheel if needed. This year Kawasaki spread out the power of the engine giving it a significant increase in mid-range. Even while riding in the tighter sections of the course, there is still enough down low that it keeps the engine churning along without bogging or falling on its face. That said, it’s still a 250cc engine and there’s not a ton of grunt off the bottom, yet significantly more than last year. 

Another new feature is the hydraulic clutch, and while 250s are not known for having stiff clutch pull, they can tend to have some fading over the course of race/ride, especially if it’s through tighter trails where there is heavy clutch use. Having the new hydraulic clutch eliminates the need to adjust as you ride. 

The frame is all-new and based on the KX450, while we did say the frame is the same in the video, it both is and isn’t. The frame does have the same geometry, size and layout as the 450. However, I was told there is a slight difference in terms of flex and frame rigidity, but in terms of bodywork and gas tank figment, those are the same (so current ’19-’20 450 oversized tanks will fit on the 250). Like the 450, the suspension on the 250 is softened up slightly, but very similar to the changes made on the 450. It’s on the stiffer side meaning it will be a little firm feeling in slower rocky and rooted sections but will feel at home on fast trails or mellow motocross tracks. 


Overall

Both these “X” models are a great starting point for Kawasaki, and with the addition of them getting into the cross-country segment only means one thing, the category is growing and this is great news for the off-road community. With more models, usually comes better racing, more contingency, and a better spread of competition. As for the bikes themselves, they will perform good-to-great for most riders. While there will certainly be some off-road-focused riders will opt for adding items to suit their own needs (hand-guards, burley skid plate, oversized tank, etc), off the showroom floor you will be given a good foundation. 

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Specifications

Product Kawasaki KX250X
Model Year 2021
Engine Size 250cc
Engine Type Four-Stroke
Engine Displacement 249cc
Bore x Stroke 78.0 x 52.2mm
Compression Ratio 14.1:1
Fuel System DFI® with 44mm Keihin throttle body and dual injectors
Ignition Digital CDI
Transmission 5-speed, return shift, with wet multi-disc manual clutch
Final Drive 13-51 Chain
Suspension Front 48mm inverted telescopic coil spring fork with 23-way compression damping and 20-way rebound damping /12.4 in
Suspension Rear Uni-Trak® with dual-range (2.25 turns high speed/21-way low-speed) compression damping, 38-way rebound damping and adjustable preload/12.4 in
Brakes Front Single semi-floating 270mm Braking® petal disc with dual-piston caliper
Brakes Rear Single 240mm Braking® petal disc with single-piston caliper
Tires Front 80/100-21
Tires Rear 110/100-18
Overall Length 85.4 in
Overall Width 32.3 in
Overall Height 49.6 in
Seat Height 37.2 in
Wheelbase 58.3 in
Ground Clearance 13.0 in
Rake/Trail 27.8/4.8 in
Fuel Capacity 1.64 gal
Curb Weight 230.2 lb without fuel / 240.2 lb**
Features
Miscellaneous
Price $8,399
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