First Impression: 2003 Kawasaki KXs

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Along with several other members of the MX media, TransWorld Motocross had the pleasure of spending a day thrashing the new 2003 Kawasaki KX125 and KX250 on a perfectly prepared Washougal Motocross Track.

All new for 2003, the new KX125 is without a doubt the best eighth-liter green machine in nearly a decade. With a completely redesigned motor and new chassis, the KX125 is for the first time in many years one of the fastest bikes in its class. Yes, you read that right – the KX125 is fast. How fast? Real fast. Whether or not it can top the Yamaha YZ125 and KTM 125SX remains to be seen, but we can say with certainty that the KX125 is very competitive in 2003. Good low-end snap and a beefy mid-range hit, plus a respectable amount of top-end overrev make the new motor a winner. Last year’s toad was easily made into a rocket ship, and this year’s stocker is going to be a monster once the motor wizards at places like Pro Circuit and FMF get inside it.

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The KX250, meanwhile, is equally impressive in the motor department. So burly is the new 250 powerplant, that we found we could actually ride a gear higher than expected. Power rolls on strong the moment you twist the throttle, and what follows can only be described as one of the strongest, most linear powerbands ever. The new KX250 is easy to ride, whether your style is revving it to the moon or chugging around in a taller gear. Washougal homeboy Ryan Huffman was on hand and after spinning some laps on our test bike he commented that the new KX – in stock condition – was better than his fully modified 2002 Yamaha YZ250.

Chassis-wise, both bikes are all new from the ground up. The new ergonomics were a hit with 5’9″ Maeda, but 6’5″ Milan felt cramped on the green machine. The new body work is slim and easy to move around on, though the new seat has some offensive corners built into the seat base. Both bikes handle well and suspension performance is excellent. Overall, we were more impressed with the performance of the KX125, as the KX250 had a bit of a vague feel at the front end. With more time to test and make adjustments, we’ll report more details in the next issue of TWMX.

For now, however, we must say that the new Kawasaki KX125 and KX250 are two of the most exciting bikes of 2003!