2018 Kawasaki KLX250 First Ride Review

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By Kevin Duke

2018 Kawasaki KLX250

Editor Score: 84.0%

Engine 17.0/20
Suspension/Handling 13.5/15
Transmission/Clutch 9.0/10
Brakes 8.0/10
Instruments/Controls 3.5/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.0/10
Appearance/Quality 8.0/10
Desirability 7.0/10
Value 9.0/10
Overall Score 84/100

In the 1960s and early ’70s, small dual-sport bikes were a common and affordable way for new riders to enter into the world of motorcycling. Today sees a resurgence in the tiddler dual-purpose bikes, with Honda recently offering up its updated CRF250L ($5,149, plus $330 destination charge) and the mechanically similar CRF250L Rally, an adventure-styled quarter-liter mount. Yamaha continues to sell its higher-spec WR250R, which offers greater performance but at an inflated price ($6,699).

Related: 2017 Honda CRF250L Rally First Ride Review

Now comes along a freshened KLX250 from Kawasaki after a three-year hiatus, ringing in at $5,349 for the lime green color option. The worst aspect of the previous model was its lean carburetion that resulted in difficult starting and imprecise throttle responses. Addressing that issue is a fuel-injection system utilizing a 10-hole injector that delivers easier starting and improved performance while purportedly consuming less fuel. The EFI system has actually been available in overseas markets for several years.

For a $200 premium over the green KLX250, you can get it in this attractive digital Matrix Camo version with blacked-out components including its frame, swingarm, engine, rims and fork tubes.

Related: 2018 Kawasaki KLX250 Announced

Related: 2013 Honda CRF250L vs. 2013 Kawasaki KLX250S

The last time (2013) we tested a KLX250, it spat out 24.0 hp at 8200 rpm to its rear wheel, with 13.5 lb-ft of torque produced at 7100 revs. The addition of injection to the DOHC, 4-valve motor yields livelier throttle response, but its output is still quite tame. Kawasaki fitted the KLX’s gearbox with a revised shift drum designed to offer greater precision when shifting through its six …read more

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