That is an archived MXA check from the December 2000 challenge of Motocross Motion Journal. Get your MXA subscription at present.
QUESTION ONE: IS THE 2001 ENGINE FAST?
Kawasaki has a rep as an engine firm. What does that imply? Traditionally, Kawasaki has constructed superior engines with broad powerbands, excessive horses and metered supply. They haven’t all the time put these engine within the biggest rolling chassis–however the engines have all the time impressed.
So is the 2001 engine quick? Sure! It comes on robust, pulls by means of the center with authority and has all of the sensations you anticipate from a KX250. There isn’t a hesitation with the KX engine. A twist of the wrist rewards the rider with ahead movement. Wick it on and cling on.
QUESTION TWO: IS THE ‘01 ENGINE BETTER THAN THE ‘00?
Not likely. It’s a disgrace that Kawasaki has constructed such nice 250 engines during the last 5 years. Not as a result of they aren’t quick, however as a result of they’re all the time in contrast to one another. Final yr the KX250 remodeled 45 horsepower and provided a smoothed out model of its superior ‘97 and ‘98 engines. While the 2000 engine was better than the ‘99 engine, it wasn’t as spectacular or enjoyable to experience as the sooner arduous hitters. To the MXA check riders, the 2001 engine feels extra just like the ‘99 engine. It has less hit, a kinder blend of power, isn’t as aggressive down low and feels mellower. Kawasaki put a lighter flywheel on the 2001 engine and most MXA check riders want the older heavier flywheel really feel. Fortunately, your Kawasaki vendor can give you heavier flywheels.
It’s nonetheless quick, and nonetheless makes loads of energy, however doesn’t have the startling acceleration that made the KX250 the Bike of the Yr within the late ‘90s. This engine does its best work in the meat of the powerband. Rev it if you must, but it goes faster if it’s short-shifted. As with all KX250 engines, there are not any half-throttle options to troublesome circumstances. The 2001 KX doesn’t ship energy in small doses–you flip it on all the best way or under no circumstances.
QUESTION THREE: IS THERE A DOWNSIDE TO THE NEW ENGINE?
Sure. The jetting is confused at greatest. It’s very lean down low. So lean that it’s reluctant to start out on the primary kick. It will get a bit gurgly proper earlier than the midrange kicks in after which goes a bit of lean on prime once more. So, it’s lean, fats and lean–maybe the toughest mixture to remedy.
QUESTION FOUR: HOW DID WE FIX THE JETTING?
To richen up the low-end we swapped the inventory 52 pilot jet for a richer 55. This aided beginning and gave the KX extra gasoline to work with on transition off the underside. Subsequent, we swapped the inventory NAFF needle for an NALG. This needle has the identical primary tapers because the stocker however is a special diameter. Then, relying on air temperature, we ran both the inventory 160 mainjet or a 162 (colder air requires a much bigger primary).
Here’s what we ran in our bike for SoCal’s sea degree tracks:
Mainjet: 160 (162 choice)
Pilot jet: 55 (52 inventory)
Energy Jet: 48
Needle: NALG (NAFF inventory)
Air screw: 2 turns
QUESTION FIVE: HOW GOOD IS THE GEARING?
Since this engine works greatest within the meat of the powerband and likes to be short-shifted, it might require decrease gearing for particular tracks or riders. On tight tracks, tracks with jumps on the exit of turns or deep going, the 2001 KX250 wants yet one more tooth on the rear sprocket. Quicker riders and high-speed tracks can efficiently use the inventory gearing.
Rookies and Novices will choose the decrease gearing as a result of it helps the KX get to 3rd gear simpler (and third is the gear you need to use in virtually each state of affairs).
QUESTION SIX: WHAT ABOUT THE REAR SUSPENSION?
Kawasaki lastly dropped the progressive-rate shock spring that has hampered the rear of the KX250 for the final couple years. Switching to a straight-rate 5.zero kg/mm spring permits the KX to withstand the temptation to drop down into the suspension stroke (which, paradoxically, makes the 2000 rear finish too stiff by way of mid-sized bumps). A straight-rate spring retains the rear of the 2001 KX held larger, which permits it to reap the benefits of the mellower damping curve on the prime of the stroke (saving the agency damping for when it’s actually wanted).
In inventory trim, the 2001 KX250 rear suspension has extra potential than the 2000 system. It tends to really feel a bit agency when new, however breaks in after the primary hour of driving. Cautious choice of high- and low-speed compression settings can dial the KX in for many monitor circumstances.
QUESTION SEVEN: WHAT WAS OUR BEST SHOCK SETTING?What was our greatest shock setting? For hard-core racing we advocate this shock set-up:
Spring fee: 5.zero
Race sag: 97mm
Hello compression: 2 seems (1.5 inventory)
Lo compression: 13 clicks out (10 inventory)
Rebound: 12 clicks out
QUESTION EIGHT: HOW GOOD ARE THE KAYABA FORKS?
Very a lot the identical as final yr. Why? As a result of they’re comparatively unchanged. The bladder-style forks have been a model new concept in 2000 and the thought has rather a lot going for it. Most notably, the rubber bladder acts in a lot the identical method because the bladder in a rear shock. Because the fork compresses, the forks’ inner strain rises, inflicting the oil-free bladder to compress. The trapped air within the bladder supplies elevated compression damping from mid-stroke on.
When you plan on racing the bike straight off the showroom flooring, you’ll just like the forks.
QUESTION NINE: WHAT ARE THE BEST FORK SETTINGS?
What was our greatest setting? For hardcore racing we advocate this set-up:
Spring price: zero.43 kg/mm
Oil peak: 70mm
Compression: 14 clicks out (10 inventory)
Rebound: 11 clicks out (12 inventory)
Fork leg peak: 5mm above prime of stanchion
Notes: Don’t be shocked by the unusually excessive oil peak. The air-free bladder displaces oil and thus needs to be compensated for. In case you are a supercross rider, very quick or very fats, you may contemplate zero.44 fork springs. The Kawasaki half quantity for the zero.44 kg/mm spring is 44026-1691.
QUESTION 10: HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
The KX250 chassis is getting very lengthy within the tooth. It’s been round in numerous varieties for a decade (and in none of these years was it a crisp and correct handler). It is extremely predictable, however it’s also a really massive chassis. The width of the perimeter body (on the steering head) doesn’t give the KX250 a lot probability of cranking tight turns. It feels lengthy, it feels large and it feels tall. The KX is at its greatest on flat floor. It tracks round flat corners (particularly on hard-pack) with superb accuracy. Why is it capable of flip so tight on the flat, however not within the smooth? As a result of on flat floor you don’t lean the bike arduous into the bottom, however as an alternative rely upon steering enter. The KX steers properly, however the body doesn’t permit it to be bent into berms.
One factor that helps the KX immensely is the 20-inch entrance wheel. Kawasaki sellers supply the choice and it enhances what the KX does nicely (flat corners), whereas taking the chew out of stutter bumps and G-outs.
QUESTION 11: IS THE KAWASAKI IMPROVED OR WARMED-OVER?
Paradoxically, Kawasaki engineers made main enhancements to a motorcycle that’s principally a warmed-over model of the 1997 KX250. How so? Again in ‘97 the KX250 was the all-powerful motocross weapon. It had wonderful suspension, an superior engine and acceptable ergos. In 2001, the engine, suspension and ergos are comparatively unchanged–which signifies that the package deal itself is a rerun of a five-year-old bike.
Nevertheless, for the primary time in that five-year span, Kawasaki tried to repair the irritating little flaws that they all the time ignored. By addressing the irritants, however ignoring the general package deal, Kawasaki has efficiently noticed the timber, however can’t discover the forest.
QUESTION 12: WHAT DID THEY IMPROVE
What did they enhance? Glad you requested.
Brakes: Mushy brakes are a Kawasaki custom, however for 2001 they did one thing about them. (1) The entrance brake caliper has 19 percent-larger pistons. (2) The entrance grasp cylinder has a 1.5mm-larger piston. (three) The caliper castings are lighter. (four) The brake pad compounds are softer (and thus grippier).
Shifting: What shifting? Shopper and MXA complaints lastly pressured Kawasaki to behave on their notorious shifting issues. The engagement canine have been narrowed and the engagement slots have been widened (successfully placing a smaller canine into a much bigger canine home). With the bigger window of shift alternative, there’s much less probability of the KX250 tranny leaping out of drugs or sticking in gear.
Weight: KX’s have all the time been porkers. That stamped metal perimeter body is way from petite, however for 2001 the engineers trimmed weight off the exhaust pipe, silencer, triple clamps, flywheel, fork legs and shock linkage bolts. The entire weight financial savings is minuscule, however it’s a step in the appropriate course.
Clutch: MXA check riders choose to run KX500 clutch springs within the KX250 clutch to maintain it alive. For 2001, Kawasaki beefed up the clutch strain plate to maintain it from warping underneath the load. Clutch motion is noticeably improved.
What didn’t they enhance? The facility, dealing with, ergonomics and suspension (particularly in comparison with 5 years in the past).
QUESTION 13: WHAT DID WE HATE?
The hate listing:
(1) Decals: At the very least for 2001 Kawasaki was sensible sufficient to make the graphics look totally different than final yr (which they didn’t do between ‘99 and ‘00). But the aesthetics have run their course.
(2) Tank: The black gas tank makes it hard to see the fuel level. Unfortunately, our complaints about the KX’s black fuel tank have gone unheeded and a number of other producers have joined the black-tank brigade.
(three) Bars: The inventory handlebars are vulnerable to bending–and it doesn’t all the time take a crash earlier than they begin flaking paint on the crossbar juncture.
(four) Grips: Perhaps it’s simply us, however KX grips really feel a bit fatter than YZ or CR grips.
QUESTION 14: WHAT DID WE LIKE?
The like listing:
(1) Pipe: The grey pipe coating is the perfect factor any producer ever placed on a motorcycle. It’s is sturdy, non-rusting and trick wanting.
(2) Air filter: The air filter finding system makes use of two prongs. We like this, however all the time attain within the airbox and ensure the underside prong is within the gap.
(three) Bar clamps: The eccentric handlebar clamps could be rotated ahead and backward to offer a rider two decisions of bar positioning (we rotate them ahead).
(four) Body guards: Solely Kawasaki and KTM supply plastic body guards to maintain the body spars from scratching.
(5) Black field: It was so massive that it crammed up the airbox and made taking the sub-frame off a problem. It’s smaller for 2001, however nonetheless a problem.
(6) Straight-rate springs: This spring fee will not be good for each rider, nevertheless it’s higher than the progressive-rate shock spring–which didn’t match anyone.
QUESTION 14: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK?
The MXA wrecking crew is proud to have picked the Kawasaki because the 250cc Bike of the Yr in ‘97, ‘98 and ‘99. And if this was ‘97, ‘98 or ‘99, the 2001 KX250 would still be the Bike of the Year–but it’s not. Time marches on. Kawasaki has not.
The KX250 continues to be an efficient motocross weapon. Fortunately, it was so all-powerful in ‘97,’98 and ‘99 that the competitors is simply now catching as much as it so far as energy output. However, conversely, they’ve surpassed it in dealing with, ergonomics, suspension, consideration to element and reliability.
There are not any surprises within the 2001 KX250. It’s because it was.