New items 2012: Kawasaki KX 450 F

New items 2012: Kawasaki KX 450 F

Driving report from the Kawasaki KX 450 F

It has to go on and on, of course. Even with the crossers. So this step was obvious: Assistance systems are now also coming off-road. With the new KX 450 F, Kawasaki is building the first crosser with launch control.

D.he electronics should provide better traction at takeoff. It can be activated in first and second gear as well as in neutral with a button on the left side of the handlebar and switches itself off automatically when you engage third gear. Furthermore, mappings can be activated for different ground conditions: "soft, "standard and "hard. These are activated by swapping plugs to the right of the control head.


Driving report from the Kawasaki KX 450 F.

A lot has happened otherwise. At the first contact, MOTORRAD tester Didi Lacher noticed that the frame was getting narrower and the tank was getting smaller. The bench has also been redesigned. This creates the impression of sitting on a smaller, more manageable motorcycle.

The engine has been outstanding so far. 2012 is no different: No other unit in the MX1 class runs so smoothly, quietly and with such low vibrations. The propagated increase in performance can be clearly felt in the lower third of the speed. In standard mapping, the throttle response is already quite hard, even in soft mapping the performance is still relatively strong.

On the other hand, the chassis is rather softly tuned, but still hardly hit the GP hard-floor track in Gallarate, Italy. With a deep rear, the KX seems to be more stable, with increased low-speed damping and a slightly pushed-through fork, handling improved.

On the start straight, however, the launch control could not be tested so well: The floor was extremely grippy, this circumstance increased the tendency to wheelie considerably, you inevitably had to take off the gas. The system is more intended for hard, slippery floors or wet meadows, where performance is difficult to bring to the ground.

What’s new?

  • Narrower aluminum frame
  • Slimmer bench
  • Smaller 6.2 liter tank
  • Adjustable footrest position
  • Handlebar adjustable in four positions
  • Revised rear suspension kinematics
  • Conical exhaust manifold and shorter muffler
  • Changes to pistons, camshafts, crankshaft
  • Gearbox with shorter fork stroke and more engagement claws
  • Narrower forehead pull
  • Optional alternator rotors with different weights
  • Optional motor tuning kit available
  • Optionally longer lever for a flatter rear

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