Bikes 9 May 2024

Tested: 2024 Kawasaki KX450 reviews the all-new 2024 Kawasaki KX450.

There was a lot of buzz surrounding the launch of the 2024 Kawasaki KX450 upon its introduction and for good reason. The flagship KX received a complete makeover for this year and MotoOnline was on hand at CityMX Park in Melbourne to put the all-new bike through its paces at the national media launch.

At the heart of the KX450 lies an updated 449cc four-stroke engine, engineered to deliver power and torque across the RPM range. The introduction of a new downdraft intake, combined with a redesigned cylinder featuring straight intake/exhaust ports and a centrally positioned exhaust. Check our Detailed post for added technical information.

Image: Supplied.

As always, I took the KX450 for its initial ride in completely stock trim – only moving the handlebars and levers for personal preference – so that I could see how this bike was to ride straight out of the box. First impression, I would say that the power was actually quite nice, even if I don’t think the KX450 is quite as punchy off the bottom as some of its counterparts, but the power is definitely useable and packs plenty of bottom-end when ridden the correct way.

The CityMX track had a variety of open and tight turns. If you’ve read my previous reviews, when it comes to 450s I love to use third gear. In the tight turns, I kept finding myself going back to second gear on the KX450, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just means that I had to be on the ball with the up-shift out of the turn. Third gear was still perfect for the more open turns, it didn’t feel like it lacked any power initially or winding it on to the straights. It’s very rare that you’re ever using the full power of a 450, but Kawasaki has done a solid job of making the power really useable on the 2024 model.

In terms of handling, I initially thought that this bike was a little low in the front-end or that the forks were too soft. Either way, it just felt twitchy in the front and very high in the rear. I tried a few different things to try and fix the problem. First we moved the fork from the first line in the triple clamp to being flush, then went from 104 millimetres of sag to 106, two-millimetres doesn’t sound like much but this is not something I’d usually do unless I was riding sand.

Image: Supplied.

I found that it definitely helped stabilise the bike under brakes, just giving me the ability to put the bike where I wanted to when I was riding into the turns. Other than that, we stiffened the bike overall on clickers because the standard set up was a little soft for me, but those two changes – the fork height and sag – made so much difference getting that feel that I was looking for.

The 2024 KX450 also introduces a host of new electronic features, including handlebar-mounted traction control and power mode switches, giving riders instant access to customisable settings so that they can take control and tailor the power to suit any track condition or riding style. The power modes include three different map settings – basically soft, medium and hard options – which I think is a positive feature. It caters to so many different levels of operator and track surfaces, but personally I just like to run it on the most aggressive option possible.

One of the most exciting additions to the KX450 is its smartphone connectivity feature, which enables riders to change engine mapping directly from their smartphone. This technology puts the power of customisation literally in the palm of your hand, allowing for on-the-fly adjustments to optimise performance in real-time. We didn’t have time to play with the smartphone connectivity feature due to time, but what a cool feature! I love the idea of being able to dial the power in to suit different tracks or just even adjust the power to suit my own riding style.

Image: Supplied.

In addition to its advanced performance capabilities, the 2024 Kawasaki KX450 also features new Brembo front brakes. In my opinion, Brembo are the best brakes on the market, for two reasons. The stopping power is unmatched, and they seem to never get that spongey feeling that you get with other brands after a while. So, a really good addition for me. A Nissin braking system still remains at the rear, which is fine for me also. It’s the Brembo front brake that you really notice the difference with, being the main source of stopping power.

Generally speaking though, in boasting a sleek new lightweight aluminium perimeter frame and redesigned shrouds for improved ergonomics, which is definitely another plus and retains the Kawasaki DNA, and things like the addition of ODI grips as standard equipment, there’s a lot to like about the latest MX1 class entry from Team Green.

Overall, I really like this bike. I was happy with the power delivery and I was really happy with the balance once we’d made those minor geometry changes that I mentioned earlier. It’s a 450 that caters to all levels of riders and racers with it’s deliverable power, and if you’re a small percentage of riders looking for that extra bang out of a bike of this capacity, adding a pipe and/or ignition would do the trick. Kawasaki is onto a good thing with the 2024 KX450.

Plus, if you’re looking for a more unique appearance, in 2024 Kawasaki Motors is celebrating the KX line’s 50th anniversary with a retro-inspired KX graphic on the 2024 Kawasaki KX 50th Anniversary Edition range that you can view in detail here.


Engine type: 449cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, four-stroke
Bore/stroke: 96.0×62.1mm
Transmission: Five-speed
Starter: Electric
Clutch: Nissin, Wet multi-disc
Traction control: Yes
Launch control: Yes
Front suspension: Showa spring cartridge 48mm
Rear suspension: Showa unitrack monoshock
Front brake: Brembo 270mm disc
Rear brake: Nissin 240mm disc
Tyres: Dunlop Geomax MX34
Weight: 112.6kg (without fuel)
Availability: Available now
Further information: