For 2014 the bike with the most wins in the quarter-liter class gets the launch control system that was implemented on the KX450F in 2012. This is a first in the 250 class and the KX250F is only the second machine in the MX world to have this holeshot helper. Kawi’s launch control works by retarding the ignition timing in first and second gear to meter the amount of torque fed to the rear tire. Just a push of a button is all that is needed to activate the Launch Control Mode, and once the bike is shifted into third gear the system is automatically deactivated. Kawasaki claims the technology is most beneficial on slick starts, such as from a concrete pad.
The chassis gets a tweak via the front engine mounts. The high-tensile steel plates are 29% thinner than the 2013 units. Just this one change to the frame gives the KX250F a better mix of chassis rigidity and gives improved feedback and front-end grip to the rider. Additionally the Showa SFF fork gets revised settings for enhanced damping performance in the initial and mid-stroke. The rear shock gets tuned to match the changes to the fork and frame.
Team Green also turned its attention to the transmission of the 2014 KX250F. Kawasaki’s engineers have added one extra dog to the transmission gears for a total of four. This, combined with new fork groves in the shift-drum, are claimed to enhance shifting smoothness and rider feel at the lever. The countershaft sprocket is now held in place with a nut and washer instead of a circlip for a more positive interface between the sprocket and countershaft.
In the engine department, an upgraded crankcase oil jet delivers an optimized stream of oil to the underside of the piston for increased cooling. The throttle body has been re-tuned to improve the airflow from a closed throttle, resulting in a smoother idle and response of the bottom.
Lastly the KX250F’s grips get a new low-density compound for rider comfort during long motos.
The 2013 KX450F was the clear-cut winner in our 2013 450 Motocross Shootout, and Team Green has decided not to mess with what works. Last year the big Kawi got Kayaba Pneumatic forks, a stiffer swingarm, new ECU settings and upgraded engine internals. This year it gets the new soft-compound grips and new decals on the shrouds. While this isn’t much, we expect in won’t go down without a fight when our 2014 shootout rolls around.
Both the 2014 Kawasaki KX250F and 2014 Kawasaki KX450 are available in Kawasaki’s trademark Lime Green. Pricing is TBD. We will be sampling both machines this coming week at Competitive Edge and will report our impressions soon after.