2011 Kawasaki KX450F First Look

May 25, 2010
Adam Waheed
By Adam Waheed
Road Test Editor|Articles|Articles RSS|Blog|Blog Posts|Blog RSS

His insatiable thirst for life is only surpassed by his monthly fuel bill. Whether rocketing on land, flying through the air, or jumping the seas, our Road Test Editor does it all and has the scars to prove it.

2011 Kawasaki KX450F
For ’11 the Kawasaki KX450F gets a new piston, muffler, engine mounts, suspension compression adjusters and a new ECU.

After receiving a total overhaul in ’09 and some moderate updates in ’10, Kawasaki’s KX450F motocrosser receives minor tweaks for ’11. Learn more about its basic platform in the 2009 Kawasaki KX450F First Ride and 2010 Kawasaki KX450F First Ride. While the changes aren’t as profound as the 2011 Kawasaki KX250F it should assist the rider in exploiting more of the bike’s hellacious performance on track.
One of the things you’ll never hear a Kawasaki rider complain about is lack of engine power as the KX450F has one of the most powerful engines in its class. Even better though is the ability to tune the power characteristics based on track conditions or personal preference with the optional Kawasaki Fuel Injection Calibration Kit.

We’ve used it at a variety of different tracks and are really blown away by how well it works. For ’11 the kit’s software has been updated and the connection apparatus used to interface between the bike and the computer is said to be even easier to use (it already was plug-and-play simple).

2011 Kawasaki KX450F Specs
2011 Kawasaki KX450F
Engine: 449cc liquid-cooled Single, DOHC, 4-valve
Bore x Stroke: 96.0 x 62.1mm
Compression Ratio: 12.5:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel-injection
Clutch: Wet multi-plate, cable actuation
Transmission: 5-Speed
Final Drive Gearing: 13F/50R
Front Suspension: Kayaba AOS 48mm fork, 22-position compression and 20-position rebound damping adjustment; 12.4 in. travel
Rear Suspension: UNI-TRAK-equipped Kayaba gas charged shock, 22-position low-speed and step-less high-speed compression damping, 22-position rebound damping and adjustable spring preload; 12.4 in. travel
Front Brake: 250mm petal disc, dual-piston caliper
Rear Brake: 240mm petal disc, 1-piston caliper Handlebar: Renthal
Front Tire: Bridgestone M403 90/100-21
Rear Tire: Bridgestone M404 120/80-19
Curb Weight: TBD
Wheelbase: 58.3 in. Length: 86.0 in. Width: 32.3 in. Ground Clearance: 13.4 in.
Seat Height: 38.0 in.
Fuel Capacity: 1.9 gal.
MSRP: TBD Lime Green

Other electronic tweaks include a new ECU which delivers more juice to the spark plug for improved combustion efficiently at low rpm. Inside the engine there is a reshaped piston for improved durability and the shifting mechanism gets some tweaks for more positive feel at the shift lever. Lastly a new quieter muffler has been fitted.

Chassis changes are also minimal and are highlighted by the use of steel engine mounting brackets as opposed to the aluminum pieces. This is designed to further enhance chassis flex characteristics. The Kayaba fork and gas charged shock absorber also have new valving settings and the compression adjusters feature a blue anodizing to make them look more like the factory bike piloted by the reigning AMA Motocross champ, Chad Reed.

Other changes include a new seat cover as well as a chain guide with enhanced durability claimed to be nearly three times as tough as part on the ’10 machine. This is a big plus as the chain guide on the 2009/2010 bike wore out quickly. Curb weight hasn’t been announced but it should be roughly the same as last year (250 pounds).

No word on price yet but expect a hundred dollar increase over the $8049 ’10 model’s asking price. Bikes should start rolling into dealerships beginning of August. Stay tuned for the full First Ride report sometime in late July.

2011 Kawasaki KX450F Photos


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