So there you have it loyal MotoUSA readers. After numerous days of testing and mountains of data, the Kawasaki KX250F and Honda CRF250R end up in a stalemate. Now we aren’t fans of ties and I can already hear the cries of “B.S.!” rippling across the interwebs, but you can’t take anything away from either bike. It is why the Shootout is based on a points system that hasn’t failed us yet. We stick by the scores no matter the outcome. So there it is – TWO bikes are the best 250cc MX’er for 2013.
Read on to see what each rider would purchase if they had to spend their own cash.
Nate Verdugo – Intermediate - Kawasaki KX250F
I did my best to come into the Shootout with no preconceived ideas or bias to certain brands. That being said, as a previous KTM owner I assumed I would feel the most comfortable aboard the orange beast. The KTM was undeniably the most familiar, but after spinning a few laps on all the brands the two stand-outs for me were the Kawasaki and the Honda. I loved the ergonomics, plush suspension and handling of the Honda, but the linear power band of the Honda left me wanting more. Out of the box the Kawasaki was a ripper! The Kawasaki was super snappy off the bottom and never had a chance to sign off on the tight Perris track. After a few adjustments on the clickers the bike handled
really well beneath me and was so fun to keep pinned railing the outside of berms. If I were to ink up on a bike tomorrow for sure my choice would be the Kawasaki KX250F.
Nick Thiel – Pro - Kawasaki KX250F
As always you must think of the purpose the motorcycle you're buying must serve. Of course, race plans as well as other time put on the bike is always a good thing to think of. If I were to be going racing this year I would buy the Kawasaki hands down. The motor would need very minimal work to be race ready and the overall characteristics are just plain awesome.
Matt Armstrong – Pro - Kawasaki KX250F
For 2013 the Kawasaki is the bike I would buy. I think it has the best overall package. Not to mention the Kawasaki is very reliable. But if something wears out or breaks I know it will be easy to get parts at my local shop. I think the best thing about this bike is definitely the motor. It has great power delivery off the bottom and has a lot of range from mid to top. The suspension is super plush and seems to be set up really well for my weight, which would save me money because I wouldn't need to send it out and have it revalved. Also the overall appearance of the bike looks pretty sweet and for some reason that always helps me feel a little bit faster.
Vicki Golden – Pro - Kawasaki KX250F
It was a tough decision between the Kawasaki and the Honda but in the end for my own money I would have to choose the Kawasaki KX250F. The Kawasaki just made power everywhere, especially off of the bottom where the rest of the bikes did not. When sitting on the bike it feels small and it has narrow shrouds, which is key for a smaller rider. The bike handled great in corners and was very predictable through any rough sections. It had unbelievable power and brakes to match, stopping the bike in no time. A huge part of this day and age and especially in this industry is appearance. Kawasaki has added silver case covers to this year’s bikes making them look more like the factory teams. Being a privateer racer with a low budget, I feel confident that I could take a Kawasaki from the show room floor to the
Supercross track without making any engine modifications.
Chris See – Pro - Honda CRF250R
If I were to go out and spend the few pennies I have my choice would be the red fire breather – the Honda, the reason being I feel that it has the best overall chassis. It does everything decent. You can always make a bike fast, but you cannot always make a bike corner and handle to your liking. The Honda killed it for me in those categories and that’s why I would spend my dolla dolla bills on it.
Adam Waheed – Vet - Honda CRF250R
At Perris, on that day, I would purchase the Honda. It felt like it worked the best for me and I really liked the suspension. It felt very similar in action to the components fitted on last year's CRF450R— a bike that had the best suspension of the 450s in '12. The action was plush, controlled and kept the chassis from getting bound up when you were coming into or out of a corner. It handled well and got through the ruts nice plus the engine has enough bottom-end that it will pull third gear off slow corners. The bike has a real neutral feel to it and will be appreciated by most any rider.
Justin Dawes – Vet - KTM 250 SX-F
I don’t know what it is about the KTM’s as of late, but I really like them. The SX-F has a ripper motor that is fun to rev to the
moon, and the chassis is the most solid 250 SX-F to date. Granted the Kawasaki and Honda both have it covered in some categories, but as a complete package I really enjoyed the orange machine. Now if it didn’t have electric start and Brembo brakes, I might have chosen something else. But that is one of the cool things about the KTM; it has top shelf components and I wouldn’t have to buy anything to make it suit my liking. I’m sure with some more time I could dial in the suspension to correct the harsh front end. I like a project, just not too big of one.