We’ve been fans of Kawasaki’s KLX250S for a long time, and for 2018 Kawasaki’s can-do 250cc dual sport finally hits U.S. shores with fuel-injection.
The 34mm Keihin Digital Fuel Injection (DFI) system has been in use on the KLX250 in other parts of the world for a few years now, but the U.S. version now has the same Keihin 34mm system with its ultra-fine atomizing 10-hole injector to replace the 34mm CVK carburetor that has been on U.S.-spec KLX250 models for years. The system is claimed to increase fuel efficiency, improve starting in a variety of conditions and offer better performance and throttle response with a smoother engine character.
That’s a good thing, as there is arguably little else that the KLX250 needs in the way of performance upgrades. Its stone reliable DOHC, four-valve, 249cc engine already boasts a free-revving, linear feel thanks to its 72.0mm bore and 61.2mm stroke and lightweight piston, piston pin and connecting rod. It starts easily as well, thanks to its convenient electric starter and Kawasaki Automatic Compression Release (KACR), the latter automatically lifting an exhaust valve during engine cranking to allow the engine to spin easy by bleeding off some of the engine’s 11.0:1 compression when the starter button is thumbed. The KLX250 has proven to be durable as well, thanks to its electro-fusion cylinder, which is claimed to offer superior heat transfer and less weight, hold lubrication well and resist abrasion and seizure while allowing Kawasaki engineers to set a tight piston-to-cylinder clearance for increased horsepower.
The KLX250S also features a gear-driven engine balancer and an all-stainless steel exhaust system, with a honeycomb catalyzer located in the muffler. The net effect is smooth and quiet engine performance throughout the rev range.
Power is transmitted through a six-speed transmission and manual clutch. Kawasaki engineers have revised the KLX250’s shift drum to ensure that the gears engage with a firmer feel than in the past.
The KLX250S engine rides low in a box- and tubular-section high-tensile steel perimeter frame. A 26.5-degree caster angle and short, 56.3-inch wheelbase contribute to its quick handling nature. Straight-line stability comes from a combination of the rigid frame and a lightweight, aluminum D-section swingarm that also helps to reduce unsprung weight. Kawasaki claims a 304.3-lb. curb weight for the 2018 KLX250 when its 2.0-gallon fuel cell is topped off.
Up front, a 43mm inverted cartridge-style front fork features 16-way compression damping adjustment, allowing the rider to tailor the KLX250S’s 10 inches of front wheel travel for a wider range of riding conditions. Out back, Kawasaki’s trademark Uni-Trak rear suspension provides 9.1 inches of rear wheel travel via a gas-charged, remote reservoir shock that features 16-way compression and rebound damping and preload adjustability.
The KLX250S’s wheels are off-road sized, with a 21-inch front wheel and an 18-inch rear wheel, and they’re built to take punishment thanks to the use of 4.0mm-thick spokes. Braking is handled by a 250mm front disc and twin-piston caliper up front and a 240mm disc and single-piston caliper out back.
MSRP for the 2018 KLX250S in its standard Lime Green color has been set at $5349, but for $200 more you can also get a KLX250S Camo Edition in Matrix Camo Gray. Both models will be on Kawasaki dealer floors in early October 2017.
For more information, visit https://www.kawasaki.com/
2018 Kawasaki KLX250S Specifications
Engine: DOHC, 4-valve, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore x Stroke: 72.0 x 61.2mm
Compression Ratio: 11.0:1
Fuel System: Keihin DFI® with 34mm throttle body
Ignition: Electric CDI
Final Drive: Sealed chain
Frame: Tubular, semi-double cradle
Wheelbase: 56.3 in.
Rake/Trail: 26.5°/4.1 in.
Front Suspension/Wheel Travel: 43mm fork, 16-way adjustable compression damping/10.0 in.
Rear Suspension/Wheel Travel: Uni-Trak aluminum swingarm, fully adjustable shock/9.1 in
Front Tire: 3.00-21 51P
Rear Tire: 4.60-18 63P
Front Brake: 250mm disc w/twin-piston caliper
Rear Brake: 240mm disc w/single-piston caliper
Overall Length: 86.6 in.
Overall Width: 32.3 in.
Overall Height: 47.4 in.
Ground Clearance: 11.2 in.
Seat Height: 35.0 in.
Curb Weight: 304.3 lbs.*
Fuel Capacity: 2.0 gal.
Color Choices: Lime Green, Camo Edition
MSRP: $5349 (Lime Green), $5549 (Camo Edition)
Warranty: 12-Month Limited Warranty (Kawasaki Protection Plus optional, 12, 24, 36 or 48 months)
*Curb weight includes all necessary materials and fluids to operate correctly, full tank of fuel (more than 90 percent capacity) and tool kit (if supplied).