Inside the 2021 Kawasaki KX250X & KX450X
Kawasaki re-enters the off-road market in 2021 with a pair of specifically built off-road machines. The KX250X and KX450X are track and trail-ready, and we cornered Kawasaki’s Ken Essex to give us the rundown on the pair of green machines. It’s no coincidence that the KX250X and KX450X look a lot like the KX250 and KX450; they’re basically the same bike. Kawasaki used the motocross models as the base for the off-road bikes, everything from the engine to the chassis to the suspension, and made the necessary changes for the different conditions and terrain.
What’s the difference? A refined engine character thanks to gearing changes, softer suspension settings, and off-road components like an 18-inch rear wheel, Dunlop AT81 tires, a kickstand, skid plate, and brake guards. All of these changes are what off-road riders do when they convert motocross bikes, but now they’re standard issue equipment at a much lower cost than when purchased individually (the 250X is a 100-dollars and the 450X is a 200-dollars more than the MX counterparts). To make the engine power more manageable, Kawasaki went up one tooth on the rear sprocket of both bikes, a subtle change for added acceleration. The engine internals of the KX-X bikes remain the same as the standard KX, and they make use of Kawasaki’s three couplers for different power profiles.
The biggest changes are in the suspension, as both bikes were set up a bit softer to cope with the long, bumpy rides. The KYB fork and shock used on the KX450X were dropped one spring rate and feature new internal valving and settings, the fork on the KX250X also has a softer spring rate, but the shock stayed the same; both bikes have updated internal valving and settings.