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We have only two days of testing on the 2024 Kawasaki KX450 so far, but they have been two very long days. The first was at Kawasaki’s official introduction, and the second was with all the other 450 motocross bikes for the first day of our 2024 450 Shootout. We still have a very long


We have now solely two days of testing on the 2024 Kawasaki KX450 up to now, however they’ve been two very lengthy days. The primary was at Kawasaki’s official introduction, and the second was with all the opposite 450 motocross bikes for the primary day of our 2024 450 Shootout. We nonetheless have a really lengthy approach to go earlier than that’s full, however I believed I would provide a bit of preview of what we now have discovered up to now.

Nearly all the things is totally different on the 2024 KX. Listed below are only a few of the extra fascinating options:

  • It has a center-port exhaust with a tall head that appears like nothing else within the motocross world.
  • The consumption boot now goes over the shock, very like a Honda.
  • The air filter is flat and slides into place like a floppy disk from 1987.
  • The airbox has a detachable plug for extra airflow.
  • The entrance brake is a Brembo.
  • The rear brake caliper is a re-designed Nissin.
  • It has a handlebar swap with delicate and aggressive maps out there on the fly.
  • It has traction management.
  • Kawasaki now provides a smartphone app for engine tuning.
  • The shock preload ring is now locked into place with an Allen set screw.
  • It now has ODI lock-on grips.

Initially, the Kawasaki has gained all of our 450 MX shootouts since its final remake in 2019. To be sincere, we had been a bit of afraid of change. The large lightning rod for criticism on the outdated KX was that it wasn’t particularly quick. We figured that the brand new KX was going to be a mauler. That might, in our opinion, damage all the things. Shock! The brand new KX has about the identical energy output because the outdated one. Congratulations to Kawasaki for resisting the low-hanging fruit. On the flip facet, it provides up peak energy to Yamaha and all of the Austrian made 450s–even the GasGas. It nonetheless has extra peak energy than the Honda and the Suzuki. It did acquire a bit of energy on prime, however it additionally sacrificed some within the center. The excellent news is that it’s nonetheless a really candy motorbike. It provides glorious throttle management down low and can rev-out for those who ask properly.

The 2024 Kawasaki KX450 sells for $10,499.

It’s the KX’s total dealing with that has gained our hearts, yr after yr. Forgive us for exhibiting a bit of little bit of our age right here, however it at all times reminded us of a 2008 Honda CRF450R. We’re fairly positive that was the goal that Kawasaki was making an attempt to hit. Since that point, most different motocross bikes have turned to what we name Supercross specs. They’ve turn into very fast steering, extra inflexible, much less steady and extra demanding. Kawasaki took a half-step in that very same course with the 2024 mannequin. It has noticeably extra responsive steering. It’s extra of some extent and shoot bike than ever earlier than. What they didn’t do was give it a stiffer chassis. The general really feel continues to be very compliant. That makes good sense to us. If you need a extra inflexible chassis, there are many methods to perform that with engine hangers and glide plates. Going the opposite method is tougher.

Mark Tilley on the 2024 Kawasaki KX450.

The compliant body combines with pretty soft suspension settings to make for a really snug trip. The Kawasaki is a motorbike that just about anybody can really feel comfortable with. It’s not a pro-level bike that needs to be dumbed down for everybody else. Fairly  the alternative. In case you plan on taking it to Jett and Eli subsequent yr, you’ll have to discover extra bark, extra rigidity and extra pro-level tweaks. 

The KX has a Brembo brake caliper up entrance and a brand new Nissin within the rear.

We tried doing a bit of of our personal engine tuning on the monitor with Kawasaki’s “KX Rideology” tuning app. In case you are conversant in Yamaha’s Energy Tuner, it’s just about an identical. The bike sends a WIFI sign that your telephone can decide up. You plug in a non-public PIN in order that nobody else can mess along with your bike’s settings. Then you’ll be able to throttle advance and gas combination for various rpm ranges and throttle openings. The issue is that it’s a trial-by-error course of. We don’t have sufficient testing time to supply a pre-cooked map, however we all know from previous expertise that whenever you mix extra gas with extra spark advance, you get a bit of extra snap.

For our preliminary experiments with Kawasaki’s smartphone app we bumped up the low-end numbers and had good outcomes.

That’s what we did within the low-rpm, low throttle opening zones of the KX with good outcomes. Because it comes, the bike is fairly tame and we had a moist, cheesy monitor. There have been no actual traction points, so by inflating all of the numbers down low, we gave the motor a bit of extra pleasure. It nonetheless wasn’t something like a Yamaha, however we did be taught that there’s extra available. One fascinating side in regards to the KX is {that a} punch of the button on the map swap at all times provides a milder map than the one you add. Due to our cheesy situations, we by no means felt the necessity for a milder energy supply or for traction management.

We beloved the outdated Kawasaki, however it has reached the top of a really fruitful life span. Kawasaki engineers had been courageous to start out with a recent sheet of paper and, to their credit score, they didn’t lose any floor. Now they’re sitting fairly with a platform that may take them nicely into the subsequent era. For extra on the 2024 Kawasaki KX450 and the way it matches in with all the opposite 450s, decide up the February print version  of Dust Bike.

See you subsequent week!

–Ron Lawson

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