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First look: KX250 spearheading 2020 Kawasaki line-up which includes new KLX models

Kawasaki has increased its off road line-up for 2020 with a completely revised KX250 and three new dual sport KLX models in the family. 


Kawasaki has injected a healthy dose of "new" to its 2020 range including a fresh KX250 and additional KLX machines to the already strong off road and dual sport line-up.

The fresh look to the green 2020 range includes the headline act KX250 arriving with similar changes we saw on the 2019 KX450 naturally aimed at boosting power and performance.

No less significantly in the Kawasaki off road stable though is the KLX model range, and there are plenty of them: KLX110, KLX140, KLX230, KLX230R, KLX250, KLX300R and KLX450R (not all models are available in all parts of the world). 

Within that long list are three new dual sport motorcycles, KLX300R (below) and KLX230R/KLX230, aim to bridge gaps between novice and kids bikes and the more focused models in the Kawasaki range.

Kawasaki KLX300R 2020 rhs static 560

“Most powerful” KX250 ever!

The headline act for Kawasaki in 2020 is the KX250 race machines which stands on the shoulders of its 450-capacity sibling with similar updates and a bold claim to be the “most powerful yet” 250 four stroke. 

2020 Kawasaki KX250 in a nutshell:

  • Revised bore and stroke for high rpm focused engine character
  • New finger-follower valve train designed by Kawasaki’s World Superbike engineers
  • New slim aluminium perimeter frame with revised rigidity
  • New front brake pads, new rear brake disc and rear master cylinder
  • Adjustable handlebar and footpeg technology
  • Factory-inspired green number plates, black rims and coloured accents
Kawasaki 20kx252b KYB Suspension 560

Showa SFF out, KYB springs in

The KYB 48mm coil-spring forks are back in the Kawasaki 250 F with new inner tubes which allow 25mm damping pistons allowing the same damping force with a lower internal pressure and in turn that means a firmer damping setting and increased riding comfort Kawasaki claims. The high and low speed damping, compression and preload adjustable forks have a stiffer spring rate from 9.4 N/mm to 10.0 N/mm. 

The new 250 also uses a new KYB shock which has a stiffer spring rate as well, up from 52 N/mm to 54 N/mm.

Kawasaki KX250 static 2020 560

250 engine getting the attention

Straighter intake ports increase intake efficiency and performance while a stronger cam chain in the cylinder head is used to help reliability and cope with the increased loads from the more aggressive cams and higher rev limit.

A larger throttle body and 60mm shorter intake funnel both aim at strong power higher up the rev-range. 

The 2020 KX250 engine has a 1mm larger bore and 1.4mm less stroke which allows for larger valves and the shorter stroke to help boost high-rpm performance Kawasaki says. 

1mm larger intake valves (32mm) also have 1mm higher lift, while the exhaust valves jump 1.5mm to 26.5mm and have 0.4mm more lift. 

Kawasaki KX250 Engine 2020 560

Featuring finger follower valve actuation, most notably adopted by the Ninja ZX-10RR World Superbike machine of Jonathan Rea, the new engine has a higher rev ceiling and more aggressive camshaft timing whilst reducing overall valve train weight Kawasaki says. 

Boasting an increase in peak power of approximately 2.4 kW (3.2bhp/3.3PS), and performance focused on the high-rpm range. 

A downdraft-style intake routing increases the intake air’s approach angle into the cylinder from 29.5º to 32.5º, improving cylinder-filling efficiency and contributing to increased engine power.

2020kx252b cg airintake comparison

Frame game

Main chassis changes are kept to a minimum but they include a lower front engine mount (now stud bolts not a through-bolt) to improve overall frame rigidity and work with the new shock Kawasaki claims. 

The rear brake disc jumps 10mm to 250mm, and the rear brake master cylinder and brake line have been revised to reduce weight too. 

The 2020 KX250 now uses the same front brake pads as the 2019 KX450, which are designed for a more linear brake force application and better control. 

Cost: available now $7,799 (USD)

Kawasaki KX250 rhs 2020 1200

Off Road range boosted with three new KLX models for 2020 

Joining the KLX450R, KLX 110 and KLX140 are three new models for 2020: the KLX300R, KLX230R, and KLX230 – which means a strong lineage of four stroke trail and dual-sport bikes to suit many rider capabilities. 

The wide range is obviously aimed at different sectors of the off road market with the new KLX300R and KLX230R off-road only and the KLX230 standing as a dual-sport, street legal machine.

Kawasaki KLX300R 2020 lhs 560

New generation KLX300R

The older kids reading this will know the KLX model line is a long one that has included a 300 in the past. Kawasaki says this new version KLX300R is intended to bridge the gap between a weekend play bike and more serious race bike. 

Taking cues from the KX line and Kawasaki’s racing heritage, this 2020 off roader has been designed to stand alongside the other family members (like the KLX450R below) as an affordable, capable, and durable motorcycle in the KLX line up for every rider in the family to get out and attack the trail.

Kawasaki KLX450R 2020 rhs 560

New KLX300R in a nutshell:

  • 292cc liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine with DOHC and fuel-injected engine
  • Perimeter, high tensile steel frame
  • 43mm front forks and Uni-Trak rear suspension, 11.2inch/284mm travel suspension
  • Standard diameter wheels (21inch front/18inch rear)
  • 36.4inch/925mm seat height


Kawasaki say the “smooth and powerful 292cc fuel-injected, liquid-cooled four-stroke engine and easy handling, semi-double cradle frame were designed with reliability and durability for trail riding.” 

Full-size wheels, long-travel suspension, decent ground clearance and large diameter front and rear disc brakes all contribute to the off-road capability of the KLX300R motorcycle, Kawasaki claims. Family tree, KX-inspired styling and ergonomics aim to make it an easy bike to live with and learn the off road craft.

The KLX300R will be available from late summer 2019 for $5,499

 Kawasaki KLX230R 2020 rhs 560

New KLX230 and 230R

Joining the new for 2020 party are Kawasaki’s KLX230R and KLX230 which, put simply, is the same bike but one is street legal the other isn’t (the R).

There is a common theme running through the KLX family and the KLX230R is not different being designed as “an affordable, capable, and durable motorcycle for every rider in the family to get out and enjoy the trails with confidence.” Says Kawasaki. 

The KLX230 runs the same 233cc fuel-injected, air-cooled four-stroke engine, steel perimeter frame, long-travel suspension, 21-inch (front) and 18-inch (rear) wheels, full lighting, disc brakes and is available with ABS. The seat height is a low 34.8inches/884mm and being street legal it also runs with a key-type ignition, a steel fuel tank with a lockable cap and meets environmental regulations. 

The KLX230R will cost $4,399 while the KLX230 (both available in late summer 2019) is at $4,899 (ABS Edition) and $4,599 (non-ABS Edition).


More information: Kawasaki.com


Byline jp ISDE 2018 Enduro21
Jon Pearson
Enduro21 Editor and Bike Tester