If you’ve followed A.M.A. Pro Racing for the last year and a half, you’ve seen plenty of green out front. Ricky Carmichael has been on a mission since switching to the premier class, and if his win streaks have been any indication of his bike’s performance, there isn’t a soul who should be without a Kawasaki. But is it the bike, or is it the man? TWMX took delivery of their 2002 KX250 this week to find out the answer.
At first glance, the ’02 KX appears almost unchanged. Though it sports new “textured” graphics, for the most part the new green machine looks surprisingly similar to last year’s model, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Some of the significant changes to the ’02’s engine include a new “twin spark” ignition system, new cylinder porting, and a new 2-piece KIPS power valve, all designed to make the Kawi scream.
As for the chassis, Kawasaki stepped up to the plate and added larger, beefier 48mm forks to increase rigidity, a revalved rear shock, and new bars and stainless steel footpegs.
Sure, the designers didn’t start from scratch with the ’02 KX250, but the changes that were made were definitely effective. During our first day of testing, every one of our testers had nothing but good things to say about the KX. Though it might not be head-and-shoulders above the competition in any one catagory, overall, the bike shines. The beefier front forks made steering more precise and predictable, and the engine felt great. Suspension was also good, but we only have one day of testing with the bike on a relatively smooth track, so you’ll have to check out our 250cc shootout for a more detailed analysis of the forks and shock.
Ergonomically the KX felt good, and unlike last year, the bike was extremely controlled and well-behaved in the air. (Last year, some of our testers complained about an uneven feel while jumping.)
Though we haven’t logged many hours on the 2002 KX250 just yet, we’re confident that Yogi will be stoked with his new machine. Keep your eyes peeled for our shootout issue, where we’ll find out if the KX has what it takes to defeat the CR for TWMX’s prestigious “Bike of the Year” title.