First Impression: 2005 Kawasaki KX250F

Our friends at Kawasaki delivered their new 2005 KX250F to the TWMX testing staff last week at Cahuilla Creek MX for our inaugural ¿05 ride, and every tester on hand agreed that the little green thumper is not only back, but even better than before for its round two season.

The launch of Kawasaki¿s 250cc four-stroke MXer came last year with the release of their joint-effort machine. Teamed with Suzuki, the two companies produce one machine utilizing the technologies of both companies. The result, although the bikes tied for third in our 250cc shootout, was a very solid, highly competitive first-year bike. Why the third place ranking? Our testers simply agreed that the other two offerings in the class were slightly better in stock form. Does this mean the KX250F and/or RM-Z250 were bad bikes? Heck no! They¿re great bikes, and Ivan Tedesco proved it as he rode his Pro Circuit Kawasaki-backed version to the 125cc West Supercross championship, decimating one of the most elite 125cc fields that in history along the way. Sure¿ Ivan¿s a great rider, but his performance proves that with a few minor tweaks and some personal set-up changes, just about every bike that we test is good enough to win races. For 2005, minor tweaks are exactly what Kawasaki focused on to make their KX250F even better than before.

The changes made to the ¿05 machine appear minor on paper, but the performance advantages on the track were plenty noticeable. The most significant changes were made in the motor department. The ¿04 KXF offered a well-rounded powerband that was easy to ride, but it just lacked that special punch to separate it from the rest of the pack. For ¿05, revised intake and exhaust ports featuring extended center ribs have vastly improved the bottom-end hit. Out of corners, particularly when a good drive is needed to clear obstacles, is where KXF riders will enjoy the beefier power and improved response down low. In addition, revised timing and a new ¿Lost Spark Control¿ in the ignition have improved top-end power and over-rev. On the track, the power up top is improved, it pulls farther than the ¿04 machine, and it no longer abruptly cuts out when the rev-limiter is activated.

Other improvements made to the 2005 machine include 40mm longer radiators to improve cooling efficiency, a new 19-strand throttle cable for better response and reduced rider fatigue, new clutch friction plates and shot-peened third and fourth input gears for better durability, increased steering head wall thickness for better handling, new, wider footpegs, a quick-adjust clutch perch, and taller, more durable seat foam.

The improvements made to the new KX250F were welcomed by all of our test riders. The solid-handling, great-cornering bike from last year has retained all of its best qualities, but has gained in the power department where it needed help the most. The KXF is a very predictable, easy to ride bike that only needed a few tweaks in ¿04 to make it competitive on the track. Are the ¿05 production changes enough to elevate its ranking in TWMX¿s 2005 250cc four-stroke shootout? Only time will tell. We can tell you for sure, however, that the Kawasaki KX250F is a great bike, and a helluva goodtime to ride!