It seems as though motocross manufacturers love to release their new models within days and weeks of each other, and the latest to do so is Kawasaki spearheaded by its all-new 2021 KX250.
So there is a range of updates on this bike for 2021, and some are relatively minor such as Renthal Fatbars and updated suspension settings, although there’s a selection of major changes, and here are my top five.
So the first major update for the 2021 Kawasaki is that it has finally brought its KX250 into the new-generation bodywork that we’ve seen on the KX450 for the past two years.
The KX450 was introduced in 2019 as a new-generation bike, and in most cases the 250 follows in the same year or the year after, although for whatever reason, Kawasaki held off for two years with the KX250, but it’s finally here with the current look we’ve become accustomed to.
The new bodywork isn’t just for looks either, as they’re said to be slimmer to promote rider movement on the bike, which is thanks to slimmer radiator shrouds and a flatter design at the top of the fuel tank.
The next update is that the 2021 Kawasaki KX250 now comes standard with a hydraulic clutch.
Now Kawasaki was the first Japanese manufacturer to come out with a hydraulic clutch in 2019 with its KX450, and it’s obviously made its way onto the KX250, which as you’ll notice, is a common theme with the 250s upgrade for the new year model.
Hydraulic clutches aren’t new to motocross - KTM has had them for years and most recently Husqvarna as well, but the Japanese manufacturers have for the most part steered clear of them on their production models.
The hydraulic clutch is a major drawcard for the KX250 and just lifts the high-level of components on this bike, and if you’re not sure of what the benefit of it is, the clutch basically provides provide a more consistent feeling with a minimal amount of change in play when your charging through a moto.
BRAND NEW CHASSIS
As I said before, with new bodywork comes a new chassis, and that’s the next major update for the 2021 KX250.
So the brand new KX250 chassis has been based on the 450 version, with some obvious changes to suit the 250 powerplant, such as the engine hangers and shock tower mount.
The frame is said to be slimmer and lighter than the previous model, and according to Kawasaki, it’s said to offer more rigidity and balance.
An interesting aspect of the new chassis is that the engine is actually used as a stressed member, which is super common on road bikes, but what it means is that the engine is structural element of the chassis to transfer forces.
And the final chassis-related update is the addition of a KX450 swingarm, which again, Kawasaki says it delivers increased rigidity to accompany the frame, and helps to increase traction at the rear wheel.
In 2020 the KX250 engine received a major update that Kawasaki said was its most powerful to date, but they’ve gone and given it another major upgrade for 2021.
The upgrades for the 2021 KX250 engine have been designed to raise peak power even further while also allowing for an even higher rev limit, and there’s also gains in low to mid range performance.
Kawasaki says its engine upgrades have been focused on providing more top end revs, and that’s thanks to feedback and development through its factory racing efforts.
Just to give you an idea, here’s a list of what’s been updated in the 2021 KX250 engine:
New processing for intake and exhaust ports
New exhaust cam timing
New stiffer valve springs
New combustion chamber design and flatter piston crown
New longer connecting rod
New lighter crankshaft design
New revised pressure balance inside the crankcase
So as you can tell, Kawasaki has done a lot to improve the engine for 2021 - they haven’t just taken the 2020 engine out and slotted into the 2021 frame, they’ve gone to the lengths to make their MX2 contender even stronger.
Now the final major update on the 2021 Kawasaki KX250 is one we can all get stoked about, and that’s an electric starter!
It’s crazy that we’re talking about a 2021 model bike and an electric starter is an all-new upgrade, but Kawasaki has finally done it on their smaller bore bike, and that just leaves Suzuki as the sole major manufacturer without an electric starter on a four-stroke.
I think it’s a must-have these days on modern dirt bikes, and personally speaking, I don’t think I could ever go back to a kickstarter on a four-stroke at least, and I think a lot of you guys will agree with there.
The electric start rounds off the top five major updates on the 2021 model, and I think the combination of all these really useful updates are going to make the new KX250 a popular contender on startlines next year.
It seems as though Kawasaki is bridging the gap to KTM and Husqvarna in terms of fitting the bike with quality components right out of the gate, and it will be interesting to see how the updated engine stacks up against the ever-popular Euro bikes.
What do you think of the new 2021 Kawasaki KX250?