Occasionally something crosses our desk that makes us stop and take notice. Usually it's a spilled cup of coffee or a pink slip, but this time it was an '06 early product-release CD from Kawasaki. We anxiously loaded it into our PC and wow, were we surprised. Turns out, Kawasaki has an all-new flagship motocross bike and it's called the KX450F.
Kawasaki says that engineers stressed every detail on the new, liquid-cooled, 449cc four-stroke engine. It features goodies like double overhead cams, four valves, hand-finished intake ports, lightweight titanium valves, aluminum valve retainers, double valve springs, and a Keihin FCR40 carburetor. The new machine also sports newly designed, high-capacity Denso radiators, which provide superior cooling under even the most extreme racing conditions. This results in consistent engine power characteristics and dependability. The new high-tech engine is mated to a new multi-disc wet-clutch four-speed transmission.
The KX450F also features a new chassis. Kawasaki engineers combined their experience designing steel perimeter KX frames and techniques used to construct the Ninja ZX-10R sport-bike chassis to create an all-new aluminum perimeter frame. What does this mean to you? How about a center of gravity and key chassis dimensions that work together to enhance the rear tire's ability to drive the KX450F forward instead of squatting under acceleration. You'll appreciate that when you're trying to smoke your buddy on the track ....
The suspension is also rockin'. A Kayaba AOS fork keeps oil and air in separate chambers for stable damping performance, and the Uni-Trak rear suspension features an alloy swing arm with tapered spars and linkage ratios to maximize traction under acceleration. Of course rebound and damping are adjustable.
Finally, Renthal aluminum handlebars, vibration-reducing grips, and a slip-resistant seat are all standard.
It's pretty clear that Kawasaki's new KX450F raises the bar in the world of motocross bikes. It wouldn't be surprising if we start seeing KX450Fs crossing the finish line first at races across the country.
Vehicle model: 2006 Kawasaki KX450F
Base price: $6,799
Color: Kawasaki Lime Green/Black
Type: Liquid-cooled, four-stroke single with DOHC and four valves
Displacement (cc): 449
Bore x stroke (mm): 96 x 62.1
Compression ratio: 12.0:1
Carburetion: Keihin FCR40
Ignition: Digital AC-CDI
Transmission: Four-speed with manual multi-disc wet clutch
Final drive: Chain
Front: 48mm inverted AOS-type telescopic fork with 22-way compression damping and 20-way rebound damping, 12.4 inches of travel
Rear: Uni-Trak linkage system with 22-way compression and rebound damping, and fully adjustable spring preload, 12.4 inches travel
Front: Single semi-floating 250mm petal disc with dual-piston caliper
Rear: Single 240mm petal disc with single-piston caliper
*(preliminary, subject to change)