You can always tell when a new bike is the focus of a manufacturer. When it comes time to put an all-new motorcycle into the marketplace, other models in the line-up get very little, if any, attention. That's exactly what happened with Kawasaki this year, as their full efforts went into the KX450 and the KX250 received only very subtle cosmetic updates. It's worth noting that 2019 marks year three for the current generation of the KX250, a design that was first debuted in model year 2017 and then received a number of updates and refinements for 2018. There were 50 changes in total between the 2017 and 2018 models in an attempt to improve the torque and throttle response of the engine and to improve the balance of the Showa suspension. For 2019, the KX250 is now wrapped in all green plastics, from the front to the rear fender, and are finished with a new graphic design.
To coax more response out of the engine, a cylinder head that has longer intake ports and a revised cam angle was paired with a bridge-box piston that has a compression ratio of 13.4:1. A fuel pump that feeds the engine at a higher pressure than the 2017 model and new ECU settings help burn the gasses more efficiently work with a throttle body, fuel injectors, and air intake duct that channel the raw gas and air into the cylinder as direct and unobstructed as possible. The spent gasses are shot out of a header pipe that has both a larger diameter and longer length than its predecessors. The result? The 2019 KX250F has a strong engine, with roll-on power down low that pulls into a beefy mid-range punch. How responsive is the green machine right off idle? It's not the most powerful bike in its class down low, but combined with its excellent mid-range hit, it is one of the most effective. Up top, the Kawasaki revs far and continues to produce good power up top, a much-needed trait in the 250 class.
The KX250 has traditionally been a fine-handling machine with plenty of corner prowess and high-speed stability to match. That still rings true in 2019, as the settings for both ends of the Showa suspension components give the KX250 a confidence-inspiring ride. Previous versions of the SFF fork had a tendency to blow through its stroke on big G-outs or exceptionally hard landings, which was addressed with the firmer internal valving that gives the front-end of the bike more control in low- to mid-speed impacts. The SFF fork is still not one of our favorites, but it has improved over the years with more development. Kawasaki takes pride in the wide range of adjustability that the KX250 offers in stock condition, thanks to the two positions the footpegs (five-millimeter range of adjustment) and the four positions the handlebar clamps and mounts can be placed in (35-millimeter range of adjustment). The sizes of our test riders vary and with a few spins of the wrenches all were able to find a comfortable placement.
In stock condition, the 2019 Kawasaki KX250 is an excellent machine that has plenty to offer in all areas of performance. Though it may still be overshadowed in the horsepower and suspension categories by one of its competitors, the Kawasaki is a proven winner with a ton of hidden performance that is easily coaxed out. This is the most competitive Kawasaki KX250, ever.