New generation Kawasaki motocross model unveiled.
Kawasaki has unveiled its all-new premier class contender, the KX450, for 2019, signifying a new generation of the championship-winning model.
Designed with mid-level to expert riders in mind, the KX450 motorcycle has always been built with one goal in mind – to put riders on the top step of the podium. To maintain its edge in this fiercely competitive class, the 2019 KX450 benefits from a new engine mounted in its leanest chassis to date, enabling it to turn even quicker lap times, and make it the most powerful machine in the paddock.
Complementing its already high performance, a number of new features – including finger-follower valve actuation, electric start and a hydraulic clutch, which are all firsts for a Kawasaki motocrosser – further elevate its race-winning potential.
The new engine boasts an increase in peak power of approximately 2.5kW (3.4 PS), while a flatter torque curve makes it easier to get on the gas. Finger-follower valve actuation – a valve train designed by Kawasaki’s MXGP and World Superbike engineers – enables larger-diameter valves and more aggressive cams.
Downdraft-style intake and reduced friction loss (care of new plain bearings for the connecting rod big-end) further contribute to the power gains. Being able to restart an engine quickly after a spill can mean the difference between keeping your lead, or having to fight your way back through the pack. Kawasaki’s first electric start on a motocrosser makes restarting the engine as easy as pushing a button.
Kawasaki’s first hydraulic clutch on a motocross model offers more direct feel, lighter lever action and less play as the clutch heats up during heavy use results in more consistent feeling. A factory-style launch control system has also been fitted to increase the chances of getting a good start by helping riders maximise traction when starting on a slippery surface.
Using the provided DFI couplers, riders can quickly and easily access their choice of three maps (standard, hard, soft) provided in the ECU. An evolution of the current design, the new frame features revised rigidity and includes the engine as a stressed member. A new swingarm also contributes to the revised rigidity balance and increased rear traction.
Complementing the powerful engine, light, nimble handling contributes to the KX450’s quick lap times. While the addition of electric start and the return to a coil-spring fork add weight, efforts were made to keep the weight gain to a minimum. The result is the KX450’s leanest chassis to date, and a highly-competitive, low overall weight of only 110kg – a gain of only 1.3kg.
Matching the KX450’s increased power, increased front and rear traction ensure the bike can put power to the ground and get around corners quickly. A larger-diameter front axle helps at the front, while revised rear suspension layout and new linkage ratios benefit the rear.
Handling suspension duties up front is a new high-performance 49mm inverted coil-spring fork. The large-diameter inner tubes enables the use of large damping pistons, delivering smooth action and firm damping.
A larger-diameter 250mm rear disc complements the oversized 270 mm front disc, delivering stronger stopping power, while a new front brake master cylinder offers better initial control, while contributing to overall braking performance.
All-new bodywork was designed to facilitate rider movement. Long, smooth surfaces make it easy to slide back and forth. The tank is lower and flatter, making it easier to sit farther forward. Slimmer shrouds are easier to hold on to – even the engine covers are smooth so that they do not impede rider movement. A choice of four handlebar positions and two foot-peg positions allows riders to tailor their riding position to suit body size and preference.
Availability of the 2019 Kawasaki KX450 is anticipated to be late July, while pricing is still to be confirmed. For more information, visit www.kawasaki.com.au.