Motocross was a sport enjoyed by Europeans for the most part of the time. Then the madness spread like wildfire and it was not long ago that it came to India as well. More and more people started entering the sport, for outright fun and competition.
By basic definition, motocross is a form of off-road motorcycle racing held on enclosed off-road circuits that boasts of terrain, uphill’s, downhill’s, corners, jumps, etc. It is a great spectator sport and equally challenging to compete in. The reason it is so good is because one gets the fine combination of thrills, excitement, colour, speed, strategy, endurance and above all smacking dirt. It offers the satisfaction and every man’s fascination with motors and wheels to which the traditional ‘stick and ball’ sports cannot respond to.
The Japanese manufacturer is all set to enter the Indian Motocross scene in a big way by offering two of their renowned machines that has dominated the Motocross scene across the globe. Kawasaki India already sells the KLX 110 dirt motorcycle priced at ₹ 2.65 lakh. It is powered by a single cylinder, air-cooled 112cc engine mated to a four-speed transmission.
The biggest guy in this story here is the all new Kawasaki KX 250f. It is hands down is the single-most dominant motocross bike of the last decade. But for some time now, the Blue Crew has grabbed some of the limelight. And for Kawasaki, who have captured 16 titles already with their 250 motorcycles, are in for a setup that can make the Blues a run for their money and reign the territories again.
For 2017, the KX250F has received a full makeover, with a new lighter chassis, improved suspension settings, increased power delivery, and comfortable slimmer ergonomics.
Let’s face it, nobody buys a motocross motorbike for the way it looks or for the way it is designed. But, not many people know that for a fact that the these design elements and minimalistic bodywork keeps the motorcycle at the top of its game.
The 2017 model features slimmer shrouds as a result of revised radiators and their new orientation. You get a flatter everything including fuel tank and the seat with reinforced ribs. This combination of the new tank and seat aid in a more seamless design, which also makes it easy for riders to move around on top of the bike. And of course you get a bash plate. Overall, the look of the bike is similar to the elder brother, the 450F.
Making the motorcycle be even more compact is the aggressive new bodywork that features front and rear fenders, number plate and fork guards all falling in line together. Also creating a distinctive Kawasaki identity are black excel rims, black fork guards, and green highlights.
For 2017, the Green team have given the 250f new redesigned engine with offset cylinder layout, for more efficient power and lighter piston designed by the company’s racing pedigree.
The power mill is tuned to suit the rider’s race experiences and boasts of a 249cc liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, single cylinder motor. It has a wide power band that focuses on high-rpm performance and is made to even extend into the over-rev rang. A 5-speed, return shift transmission takes the power to the rear via a chain drive. The motor provides 45 bhp and 27 Nm of peak torque. The motorcycle gets new exhaust header with integrated resonator maximizing throttle response.
Inside this power mill is where all the wizardry takes place. Taking cues from their racing departments, Kawasaki have made use of race-inspired tuning and parts like the high-performance bridged-box bottom piston to optimise combustion efficiency and help reduce friction. The cylinder has a new 7-degrees more forward offset that results in down draft-style intake routing which helps in having a more direct line to the combustion chamber. This eventually results in a stronger low end as well as an increase in maximum peak power.
Also, new innovations in fuel injection has led to a new imparted dual-injector fuel injection system that makes use on one injector facing downwards of the throttle valve and a second injector facing upwards close to the airbox. This ensures smooth, instant response featuring a finer atomization with four more spraying holes in addition to the existing four in the injector itself.
In an effort of the lightweight race, the pistons weigh 6 grams lighter and has a Molybdenum coating to reduce mechanical loss and reduce wear. Titanium valves, new exhaust camshafts, sprockets, slimmer cam chain, lighter 43mm throttle body and a lighter flywheel makes this a quick revving power house.
The lightweight ECU provides a wide variety of tuning from the factory and the rider can access three engine maps (standard, hard, soft). One can also opt for KX FI Calibration Kit (Handheld) that makes it a breeze to map your preferred settings on the go.
|Bore/ Stroke mm||77/53.6|
|Type||4-stroke, single cylinder, DOHC, water-cooled|
|Valves per cylinder||4|
|Transmission||5-speed, return shift|
Talking about the business aspects of these machines, the 2017 model sees the return of the ERGO-FIT adjustable handlebars and footpegs. The adjustable handlebar mounts provide a choice of 4-positions (35mm range of adjustment) enabling the rider to set-up their ideal riding position. Factory-style Renthal handlebar and handlebar pads comes as standard. Two-position adjustable footpegs help reduce knee angle when seated.
A new 3mm narrower main beams and newly redesigned, lighter aluminium perimeter with a new front downtube have been optimised to obtain improved front end feel. All of these contribute to razor sharp cornering and superior handling while a flatter seat and new bodywork allow easier rider movement.
Suspension duties upfront are taken by Showa 48mm Separate Function Front Forks (SFF Type 2) with both damping and rebound adjustments that contribute to greater stability over braking and through corners. This has an improved fork action that provides sharp cornering and smooth, predictable front-end action through bumps and excellent stability when on landing jumps.
Out back the Uni-Trak rear suspension with Showa shock takes care of the damping with new linkage ratios and valve settings for an improved ride and feedback. The shocks make use of lighter springs and lower pitching effect, courtesy its lower rate. All this is mounted below the swingarm to maximize wheel travel and can be adjusted for a wide range of options. Self-lubricating alumite coating on the inner shock body improves wear resistance and shock action.
Given the racing experience and pedigree of the company, it is no surprise that this KX dons the 270mm petalstyle disc brakes in the front and the rear with dual and single piston callipers. Spoked 21" and 19" tyres sport Dunlop MX3s stubbed tyres.
To get you off the starting line/gate, Kawasaki has equipped the KX with Launch Control to maximize traction and acceleration. A tech reprised from the Kawasaki factory race team. It can be activated with just a push button which keeps assisting all the way into the first and second gearing and disengages itself as soon as you shift into the third gear.
|Suspension / Front||48mm inverted Showa SFF telescopic fork|
|Suspension / Rear||Uni-Trak linkage system and Showa shock|
|Brakes / Front||Single semi-floating 270mm Braking petal disc with dual-piston caliper|
|Brakes / Rear||Single 240mm Braking petal disc with single-piston caliper|
|Tyres / Front||80/100-21|
|Tyres / Rear||100/90-19|
Since this KX will be bought to our shores through the Completely Built Unit (CBU) route, it will be a steep ₹6-7 lakh. It will be provided with the Lime Green colour only.
Accessories can also be purchased to level up the motorcycle’s capabilities. They include lever assemblies, KX FI Calibration Kit and green racing chain.
Since the motocross scene in the country is still at a very nascent stage, not many options are made available to us. Yet, we have access to the Austrian KTM 250 XC-F. The 2016 KTM 250 XCF comes with new graphics, an air filter that can be switched out easily and quickly, and Neken handlebars. It also comes with a smaller front axle for reduced weight and increased trail and stability, while the front fork guards allow for quick maintenance, cleaning and are lighter than before.
The motor comes with a push button starter and the 4 valve, 4 stroke, DOHC 249 cc motor churns a peak power that is claimed to be 45 hp and 27 Nm. Power is transmitted through a semi-close-ratio six-speed gearbox, and redlines to an astonishing 14,000 rpm. The fuel injector is a Keihin system with a 44mm throttle body.
Entering a country where motocross is just a sport taken up by very few people compared to the mass, it is a gamble played by Kawasaki. And the fact that it is going to cost a bomb will shy away people even thinking of giving it a try. Hence, it is only safe to say that with this, Kawasaki will only cater to the professional few and to adventure groups running motocross activities.
The changes got into the motorcycle were a move in the right direction. A quick revving motor with traction control will steal the limelight out of any off – road motocross spec bike. The lighter and stiffer chassis is here to stay and it makes the motorcycle easier to ride and manoeuvre. And when it comes to competing against its cohorts, we have a strong reason to believe that the Green Team will bag top honours.