2018 Yamaha YZ250F vs. 2018 Kawasaki KX250F

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KX250F corners

The KX250F corners higher than the YZ250F, largely as a result of it will get higher entrance finish traction.

Julia LaPalme

The Yamaha YZ250F solely receives small beauty modifications for 2018 within the type of race team-inspired blue rims and new graphics. A scarcity of mechanical modifications isn’t essentially a nasty factor because the YZ250F has gained over the hearts of many because it was majorly redesigned in 2014. The Kawasaki KX250F is in its second 12 months of the latest-generation chassis design and obtained a variety of updates to the engine and suspension for 2018. We took these two 250F motocrossers to LACR for the 2018 Shot Race Gear introduction and did some back-to-back testing on every to see which bike our check riders most popular.

Right here’s what check riders needed to say after a full day of spinning laps on every bike:

Cody Johnston, Age: 20, 5’11”, 155 lb., Professional
After I hopped on the Yamaha, I immediately seen it felt like a really snug bike that could possibly be broadly favored amongst any measurement of rider. On the monitor, I used to be very happy with the bottom-end energy. Usually, I must downshift into second gear for a 180-degree activate a 250F, however with the quantity of bottom-end the YZ250F engine produces, I used to be capable of get away with utilizing third gear and the bike had loads of energy to drag it. The Yamaha has incredible over-rev, which I imagine all 250Fs ought to as a result of that’s primarily the a part of the powerband by which these bikes are ridden. I may run every gear so long as I needed and located the Yamaha stored pulling far into the higher rpm vary.

YZ250F powerband

The YZ250F has a broad powerband that may be ridden nevertheless the rider prefers, whether or not or not it’s lugging or excessive revving.

Julia LaPalme

The suspension was very plush. In some situations, I discovered it may virtually really feel too plush, particularly in corners. It made the bike really feel barely sluggish and took away from the reactive really feel most 250Fs have. That’s one space I felt the Kawasaki KX250F excelled. The KX250F was very rider responsive and the more durable I rode the bike, the extra I obtained in return. The Kawasaki has a really slim really feel across the seat and radiator shrouds, making the bike really feel a lot lighter than it truly is. So far as claimed weights go, there’s solely a 1-pound distinction between these two bikes, however with how slim the KX250F is, it made the bike really feel a lot lighter.

I felt the YZ250F had significantly better straight-line stability than the KX250F. The Yamaha was very planted to the bottom and wouldn’t do something unpredictable. However, the Kawasaki had higher cornering potential than the Yamaha. Whereas driving the massive sandy bowl turns at LACR, I felt I’d minimize down at any level on the Kawasaki and it will go anyplace I pointed it. The KX250F might not have the straight-line stability of the Yamaha, however this may be simply modified by setup equivalent to tightening the steering stem so as to add extra stability at larger speeds.

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YZ250F suspension

The YZ250F has plusher suspension than the KX250F.

Julia LaPalme

Though the Yamaha has extra bottom-end than the Kawasaki, I felt the KX250F engine would have a tendency to choose up a bit faster within the mid to top-end energy and was very responsive at any level within the rpm vary. Between the 2 bikes, I would like the Kawasaki engine due to how briskly it picked up popping out of corners. I by no means felt both bike was at a scarcity of energy, however as with most 250Fs, you must experience it within the larger rpm to remain within the meat of the powerband. Due to this fact, with the Kawasaki attending to the upper rpm faster, I favored the engine higher.

One other factor I actually favored concerning the Kawasaki was that it felt a bit extra like a racebike in inventory situation. I had nice suggestions from the suspension so far as having the ability to really feel the bumps and ruts, however not a lot that it will negatively have an effect on my driving; it simply had a extra performance-based really feel to it. The Yamaha then again had such plush suspension that it took away a number of the entrance finish really feel on the monitor. I felt that of the 2 bikes, the Kawasaki could be my first selection and the Yamaha an in depth second. Each bikes are incredible and it was troublesome to decide on one over the opposite, however for me the Kawasaki was a step above the Yamaha.

KX250F nimble

The KX250F feels small, gentle, and nimble.

Julia LaPalme

Andrew Oldar, Age: 26, 5’10”, 130 lb., Novice
Selecting aside the variations between the 2018 Yamaha YZ250F and Kawasaki KX250F isn’t solely troublesome as a result of they every have distinctive traits and a really completely different really feel on the monitor. What was difficult was selecting which bike I favored higher general on the finish of our one-day Showdown check.

The YZ250F engine has impressed me ever because the latest engine design was launched again in 2014. If I didn’t know any higher, I’d assume the bike is a 270 due to how a lot torque the engine has. Plenty of bottom-end will not be one thing I generally affiliate with 250 four-strokes, however it’s with the YZ250F. The bike pulls extremely effectively off the bottom-end, so effectively actually that I’m able to experience the bike in third gear by way of most corners with solely minimal clutch work. The midrange is sweet and the top-end and over-rev actually come on robust. The bike has lots in these areas and will be both short-shifted or revved to the moon and nonetheless be ridden successfully. If there’s one factor I don’t like concerning the Yamaha motor, it’s the engine-braking because it feels just like the bike involves a halt when letting off the throttle. General, the YZ250F engine was my favourite between the 2 bikes and goes to be a tough engine to high within the upcoming 250F Shootout.

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YZ250F punch

Each bikes have linear powerbands, however the YZ250F has extra of a punch on the bottom-end.

Julia LaPalme

The KX250F has a really crisp and free-revving engine. It has a linear powerband that has zero surprises from backside to high. The linear high quality is sweet as a result of it’s predictable, however I want it had a bit extra pleasure as I really feel it will make it not solely be simpler to experience quick but in addition extra enjoyable to experience. It doesn’t have as a lot energy because the YZ250F, particularly on the bottom-end and top-end. It’s a superb engine, however I feel extra energy on the bottom-end and top-end would make it nearer to being nice.

The KYB SSS fork and shock on the YZ250F are extremely plush. All the things from braking bumps to large soar landings aren’t any match for the Yamaha’s suspension. The fork and shock keep plush all through everything of the stroke and each the entrance and rear ends are unquestionably the plushest suspension I’ve ever ridden on. If there’s one downside to the fork, it’s that it feels so plush that it generally appears troublesome to find out whether or not the entrance tire is gripping the bottom or not. I don’t assume it’s solely the fork that’s liable for this sense, but it surely contributes to it considerably. All in all, the KYB suspension on the Yamaha was my favourite between the 2 bikes.

YZ250F torque

The YZ250F has a formidable quantity of torque.

Julia LaPalme

The Showa SFF fork on the KX250F has a stiffer, extra performance-based really feel to it. It holds up effectively on large soar landings, however that very same hold-up makes it really feel agency within the small chatter and braking bumps. Nevertheless, it doesn’t have a harsh feeling. It appeared just like the more durable and extra aggressive I rode the bike, the higher the fork labored. The Showa rear shock is plush for essentially the most half and helps the bike keep planted to the bottom and subsequently enhances straight-line stability, but it surely wasn’t as plush because the YZ250F.



The chassis/dealing with on the Yamaha YZ250F takes a little bit of getting used to, particularly after coming off of a unique bike. The wide-feeling radiator shrouds are noticeable the second you sit on the bike, however the feeling appears to lower whenever you’re on the monitor and the extra you experience it. The bike has good straight-line stability, but when there’s one factor I don’t like concerning the YZ250F chassis, it’s the dearth of entrance finish traction when cornering. It looks like in inventory type the bike doesn’t have a superb entrance finish really feel when getting into turns. At occasions, it feels prefer it may wash out at any given second. This was particularly obvious after coming off of the KX250F. I needed to get my weight far ahead and place myself farther up on the seat than I usually would to try to get the entrance finish to hook up.

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YZ250F vs KX250F

The YZ250F has a stronger engine and plusher suspension, however the KX250F has a a lot nimbler chassis.

Julia LaPalme

The Kawasaki chassis is superior. I really like how the bike handles and feels on the monitor because it feels small and skinny in an excellent means. The small feeling permits me to place the bike anyplace I would like with little effort required and one other contributing issue to that is how effectively the bike responds to rider enter. Nevertheless, it doesn’t reply so shortly that it feels twitchy or unstable. It feels completely balanced on this facet. One other chassis trait that I’m an enormous fan of are the radiator shrouds as they really feel slimmer than any bike within the class, particularly the YZ250F. All in all, I favored the KX250F chassis higher than the YZ250F.

If I have been to have to choose between the Yamaha YZ250F and Kawasaki KX250F, I must give the nod to the Yamaha YZ250F. The engine is highly effective all-around and the plush KYB suspension is superb. The slight lack of entrance finish traction is just about the one factor I don’t like concerning the bike. Nevertheless, it’s one thing that may be alleviated barely with getting my weight farther ahead and placing extra emphasis on the entrance finish.

The Kawasaki KX250F is a incredible bike; I simply want it had extra general energy and plusher-feeling suspension. The chassis and ergonomics are glorious. The bike is extraordinarily simple to get used to and really feel snug on. I’d gladly select this as a racebike any day; I’d simply need to do some work with the suspension and presumably the engine to make it extra suited to my liking.

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