2020 Kawasaki KX250 First Look

John Burns
by John Burns

Just once I’d like to hear a manufacturer come out and say, well, this new one’s a little slower and heavier than the existing model. That never happens. The thoroughly redesigned KX250, Kawi says, is the MOST POWERFUL KX250 TO DATE, in 23-point type! Now it’s packing an even more oversquare and revvier engine with World Superbike-derived finger-type cam followers, housed in a new and improved aluminum frame, suspended by the latest in KYB suspension components. It’s all topped off with Kawi’s excellent Ergo-Fit system of adjustable footpegs and handlebar position, and embellished with fresh new plastic. How much would you expect to pay? $7,799.

Kawasaki Press Release:

The Kawasaki KX250 has more AMA motocross and supercross success than any other manufacturer in its class and returns for 2020 with a list of enhancements that are designed to keep it the best performing bike on the track. The 2020 model offers a new engine with improvements inspired by Kawasaki’s racing efforts for more top end power, as well as better handling thanks to a revised chassis and new KYB suspension components. With championship heritage that boasts 17 AMA professional titles and more than 160 race wins since 2004, the KX250 is the ideal platform for experienced riders looking to get the upper hand on their competition.

The KX250 is instilled with a high level of technology and KX DNA that makes it the bike that builds champions. Its power, handling and adjustability personalize the feel and provide high confidence for motocross and off-road riding, both at the amateur and professional level. The most powerful KX250 engine to date comes by the way of a revised bore and stroke, valve train designed by Kawasaki’s World Superbike engineers and bridged-box piston that is inspired by Kawasaki’s factory racing efforts. Complementing the increased power is an updated slim aluminum perimeter frame with new lower front engine mounts and a new 48 mm KYB coil-spring front fork and rear shock unit that allow for precise tuning.


  • NEW engine with increased peak power
  • NEW revised bore and stroke
  • NEW finger-follower valve actuation
  • NEW larger-diameter intake and exhaust valves
  • NEW larger-bore high performance piston
  • NEW low-friction crankshaft pin plain bearings
  • NEW stronger cam chain and relocated cam chain tensioner
  • NEW shorter intake funnel
  • NEW larger throttle body
  • NEW shorter exhaust system design

Acclaimed for its high output and smooth power delivery, the KX250 features a new engine with improved power, an even more potent high rpm range and a higher rev limit. Tuned to best suit race-experienced riders, the 249cc liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine focuses on more top-end rev thanks to improvements by Kawasaki’s factory racing efforts. The new engine features a revised bore and stroke that measures 78.0 x 52.2 mm. The wider bore enables the use of larger intake and exhaust valves and provides greater flow for high rpm performance.

Like the design found on the KX450 motorcycle, the KX250 now utilizes the finger-follower valve actuation – a valve train designed by Kawasaki’s World Superbike engineers. This design increases the rev limit and allows for the use of more aggressive cam profiles, which contributes to high rpm performance. The change to finger-follower valve actuation reduces the valve train mass compared to a tappet-style actuation. A diamond-like carbon coating on the finger followers helps protect against wear. Complementing the more aggressive cams are larger-diameter intake and exhaust valves with increased lift, flowing more air and contributing to improved power. Straighter intake ports contribute to increased intake efficiency. The new cams benefit from a thin and highly durable gas soft-nitride treatment to reduce wear and increase high rpm reliability. Lightweight titanium valves reduce reciprocating weight and offer high rpm reliability. The cylinder is offset 3mm forward, reducing mechanical loss and increasing engine performance. Further increasing reliability is a stronger cam chain and relocation of the cam chain tensioner to the cylinder head, which offsets the increased loads from the more aggressive camshafts and higher revving engine.

A plateau honing process of the cylinder bore results in a smooth surface with good oil-retention. The smooth surface also helps to reduce mechanical loss and improve power. A new, larger-bore, high-performance piston features the same design used by Kawasaki’s factory racers and contributes strong performance at all rpm. A short skirt, reinforced external ribs and the use of a bridged-box piston, featuring internal bracing, allow for a lightweight and strong piston design.

The piston’s revised crown design helps achieve the engine’s higher compression ratio, while a dry film lubricant coating on the piston skirts reduces friction at low rpm and helps with the piston bedding-in process. To reduce mechanical loss and lift overall performance, the crankshaft pin has been fitted with new low-friction plain bearings.

The airbox construction has been revised and features a shorter, tapered intake funnel, contributing to increased high rpm performance. The KX250 remains the only production motocross bike with dual injectors, an injector downstream of the throttle valve that is tasked with delivering a smooth, instant response, and a second, upstream injector located close to the airbox for a significant contribution to engine output at high rpm.

The exhaust system length has been shortened to help increase high rpm performance and the hydro-formed joint pipe now features a reverse taper design. A larger throttle body flows a greater volume of air and provides a boost in high rpm performance. Adding to Kawasaki’s engineering efforts for increased airflow is the repositioning of the intake duct for an even straighter approach for intake air. The downdraft-style intake routing increases the intake air’s approach angle into the cylinder, improving cylinder-filling efficiency and increasing the engines power.


Contributing to the race-winning engine characteristics, the digital fuel injection system of the KX250 features a coupler package that has set the industry standard. Each KX250 motorcycle comes standard with three different couplers, easily allowing riders to select pre-programmed fuel injection and ignition mapping to suit their riding style or track conditions. The four-pin DFI couplers select maps that are designed for standard, hard or soft terrain settings. Changing the engine map is as simple as connecting the coupler cap of choice. For riders looking to fine tune their ECU settings, the KX FI Calibration Kit (Handheld) is offered as a Kawasaki Genuine Accessory, and provides access to the fully programmable ECU. The handheld device eliminates the need for a trackside laptop and gives riders the ability to create custom maps for precise adjustment of fuel and ignition settings. The user-friendly device can store up to seven preset maps and is PC-compatible.


The launch control system of the KX250 motorcycle is a major advantage and favorite for riders who are focused on getting to the first turn ahead of their competition. The push-button activation retards ignition timing in first and second gear, helping maximize traction on slippery surfaces like concrete starting pads and put the bike’s potent power to the ground. Once the rider shifts into third gear, normal ignition mapping immediately resumes and full power is restored.


  • NEW lower front engine mounts
  • The slim aluminum perimeter frame uses a lightweight construction composed of forged, extruded and cast parts that contribute to light, nimble handling. Thanks to new lower front engine mounts, changing from a through bolt to stud bolts at the front of the crankcase, the overall frame rigidity has been revised with improved ability to absorb bumps. The center of gravity and key dimensions such as swingarm pivot, output sprocket and rear axle locations have all been carefully selected so that the rear tire drives the bike forward.


  • NEW 48 mm KYB coil-spring fork
  • NEW KYB shock unit complements front fork
  • NEW Uni-Trak rear suspension link
  • NEW stiffer front and rear spring rates
  • NEW revised front brake pad material
  • NEW larger-diameter 250 mm rear disc
  • NEW rear brake master cylinder

For 2020, the KX250 is equipped with new large diameter 48 mm KYB inverted coil-spring front forks that offer improved action at the initial part of the fork stroke. The forks feature large-diameter inner tubes, enabling the use of 25 mm damping pistons and delivering smooth action and firm damping. A Kashima Coat on the forks’ outer tubes creates a hard, low-friction surface to help prevent wear abrasion on the inside of the tubes, ensuring the sliding surfaces remain smooth over time, while protecting the outside against corrosion. The lubricating material in the coat contributes to smoother suspension action and a better overall ride feel.

On the rear, a new KYB shock unit complements the new front fork. The rear shock features dual compression adjustability, which allows high-speed and low-speed damping to be tuned separately. Kashima Coat on the tank cylinder helps prevent wear abrasion and reduces friction for smoother suspension action. A new Uni-Trak rear suspension system mounts the suspension arm below the swingarm, allowing a longer rear suspension stroke. The longer stroke allows for more precise suspension tuning. In order to match the KX250’s more powerful engine, the front forks and rear shock feature stiffer overall spring rates.

Contributing to the numerous factory-style racing components on the KX250 motorcycle are petal disc brakes. Up front is an oversized 270 mm Braking brand rotor, which delivers strong braking force and superb control. A revised front brake pad material, like that found on the KX450, delivers linear brake force application, helping to facilitate control.

On the rear, a new larger-diameter 250mm Braking brand disc contributes to stronger stopping power, complementing the large front disc. A lighter rear brake master cylinder, like those found on the KX450 motorcycle, powers the larger disc. The petal style discs contribute to both sporty looks and help deflect debris. A rear caliper guard helps protect the caliper from damage.

ERGO-FIT Adjustable Components

Kawasaki continues its unmatched commitment towards providing riders with class-leading comfort thanks to its ERGO-FIT adjustable handlebar mounting system and footpegs to fit a variety of riders and riding styles. The handlebars feature four-way adjustable mounts. The multi-position handlebars offer two mounting holes with 35 mm of adjustability, and the 180-degree offset clamps boast four individual settings to suit different size riders. The footpegs feature dual-position mounting points, with a lower position that reduces the standard setting by an additional 5 mm. The lower position effectively lowers the center of gravity when standing, and reduces knee angle when taller riders are seated.


  • NEW factory-inspired green bodywork

Complementing the improved power and precise handling of the KX250 is minimalistic bodywork that includes slim radiator shrouds for an aggressive race-ready look. A flat fuel tank and seat design help to aid in a more seamless design, making it easy for riders to move around on top of the bike.

For 2020, the number plates and airbox of the KX250 motorcycle have been updated to the color green, resembling the same look found on the bikes used by the factory racing team. The front and rear fenders and fork guards implement a sharp design that makes the bike look more compact. Adding to the distinctive Kawasaki factory race team look is a green oil cap, generator cover plugs, green alumite suspension adjusters and black alumite rims.

Kawasaki Team Green™ Racer Rewards

Kawasaki Team Green Racer Rewards return for the 2020 racing season with nearly $7.5 million in contingency available for eligible KX riders. Team Green’s Racer Rewards program will be available at more than 200 races with more than $5.4 million in payouts. Off-Road racers will also be rewarded at nearly 250 events with more than $2 million available.

2020 Kawasaki KX250 Specifications

Engine4-Stroke Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valve Single cylinder
Bore & Stroke78.0 x 52.2mm
Compression Ratio 14.2:1
Fuel SystemDFI w/Keihin 44mm Throttle Body & Dual Injectors
IgnitionDigital DC CDI
Rake/Trail28.6°/5.1 inches
Front Wheel Travel12.4 inches
Rear Wheel Travel12.2 inches
Front Tire80/100-21
Rear Tire100/90-19
Front Suspension48mm Inverted coilspring fork; adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Rear SuspensionUni-Trak w/ adjustable preload, low- and high-speed compression camping, rebound damping
Wheelbase58.3 inches
Front BrakeSemi-floating 270mm disc
Rear Brake240mm disc
Fuel Tank Capacity1.7 gal.
Ground Clearance13.1 inches
Seat Height37.3 inches
Weight without fuel221.1 pounds (claimed)
Curb Weight231.4 pounds (claimed)
ColorLime Green
John Burns
John Burns

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Join the conversation
  • Sayyed Bashir Sayyed Bashir on Jun 19, 2019

    $7,800 for a 250cc dirt bike?

    • See 3 previous
    • Spiff Spiff on Jun 20, 2019

      I assume they mean the, shall we say, "Lites" class? If so Mitch Payton and Pro Circuit deserves the accolades.

  • Craig Hoffman Craig Hoffman on Jun 20, 2019

    If not that serious (and most of us aren't) get a two stroke race bike. One could race the 250 class on a 125 2T. Ya, they would be at a disadvantage, but if the rider is good enough, it would not matter. 2Ts are just cheaper to keep, and a 125 on the pipe just sounds kick ass. I give you the new classic Jimmy DeCotis 125 video as evidence. Listen to that bike rip, and enjoy a side helping of New England attitude :)