Kawasaki KLX250 Dual Sport Returns for 2018

Performance and fuel economy are both improved with the all-new, fuel-injected KLX250

byEric Brandt|
Motorcycles photo

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The competition for small, dual-sport motorcycles is heating up. Last year, Honda brought the CRF250L to the market with big mechanical improvements to a segment that’s normally quite spartan. Honda modernized the dual-sport by giving its four-stroke, single-cylinder 250 electric start, DOHC, and most notably, fuel injection.

Now Kawasaki is here to attempt to dethrone Honda in the dual-sport game. The Kawasaki KLX250 returns after a three-year hiatus with a lot to show for its brief absence. It gets a new, fuel-injected, four-stroke, DOHC, four-valve, liquid-cooled, 249cc single-cylinder engine.

Fuel injection should clear up some complaints of the old carburated model. The previous-generation KLX250 was not a bad bike and it was quite modern aside from the carburetor. However, riders complained the carbureted model was “cold-blooded” (hard to start and run when first starting up), the fuel economy wasn’t great, and it just didn’t have enough power. Fuel-injection famously fixes all of those problems.


Along with the new engine, the 2018 Kawasaki KLX250 gets disc brakes, a three-way adjustable rear shock, and a 43mm inverted cartridge fork. The front wheel is 21 inches and the rear wheel is 18 inches with plenty of room for knobby, off-road tires.

The bike looks pretty good with sharp, angular styling representative of other Kawasaki off-road bikes. It’s available in classic Kawasaki Lime Green or a cool Matrix Camo Gray paint job shared with the bigger KLR650

If you’ve been looking for an affordable, 250cc street-legal dirt bike, the Honda CRF250L is no longer the clear winner. We’re not sure when this competitive new Kawasaki will hit showrooms, but pricing starts at just $5,349.