Finest Motocross Bike 2nd Place—2023 Kawasaki KX450

Kawasaki’s KX450 has been on a roll since its final main overhaul in 2019. The inexperienced machine gained Filth Rider’s 450 Motocross Shootout that 12 months and adopted it up in 2020, 2021, and 2022. To remain on prime of such a aggressive class for thus lengthy is nearly unprecedented, particularly for a motorbike that didn’t see many modifications from 12 months to 12 months. The one mechanical revisions for the present platform got here in 2021.

“The Kawasaki KX450 is just a solid package. Its flaws are relatively easy fixes, with an ARC front brake lever being at the top of the list. The 250mm rear rotor is a buzzkill seeing as the KX250 comes equipped with the tried-and-true 240mm size, but it isn’t a deal breaker.” <i>—Casey Casper</i>

“The Kawasaki KX450 is only a strong bundle. Its flaws are comparatively simple fixes, with an ARC entrance brake lever being on the prime of the checklist. The 250mm rear rotor is a buzzkill seeing because the KX250 comes geared up with the tried-and-true 240mm measurement, but it surely isn’t a deal breaker.” <i>—Casey Casper</i> (Jeff Allen/)

A scarcity of updates has caught up with the KX450, nonetheless, as a detailed competitor smoothed lots of its tough edges and grabbed the No. 1 spot in 2023. Though Workforce Inexperienced completed within the runner-up spot on this 12 months’s comparability take a look at, it’s nonetheless an outstanding bike that may be loved by riders far and huge.

Kawasaki’s 2019–2023 KX450 platform is a well-rounded package. Updates for MY23 include the switch to Dunlop’s latest soft-to-intermediate-terrain tire and new radiator shroud graphics.

Kawasaki’s 2019–2023 KX450 platform is a well-rounded bundle. Updates for MY23 embody the swap to Dunlop’s newest soft-to-intermediate-terrain tire and new radiator shroud graphics. (Jeff Allen/)

2023 Kawasaki KX450 Engine

Kawasaki’s flagship motocrosser makes the least peak horsepower and torque of the bikes gathered right here with peak figures of 51.9 hp at 9,400 rpm and 32.6 lb.-ft. of torque at 6,600 rpm, as measured on our in-house Dynojet 250i rear-wheel dynamometer. On the monitor, the KX450 engine has a really perfect steadiness of energy and management, and it isn’t scary quick or intimidating.

Associated: 2022 Kawasaki KX450 Evaluation

Of the bikes gathered here, the KX450 makes the least horsepower and torque from 7,000 rpm to 11,000 rpm.

Of the bikes gathered right here, the KX450 makes the least horsepower and torque from 7,000 rpm to 11,000 rpm. (Robert Martin Jr./)

Fast throttle response and a vigorous engine character make it playful and enjoyable to experience, particularly with the aggressive EFI coupler plugged in. Energy supply is predictable and straightforward to handle all through the rpm vary. Backside-end hit is second strongest within the class, and engine-braking and vibration are minimal. Clutch pull from the Nissin hydraulic system is gentle and clean.

“The Kawasaki has very perky engine characteristics and strong bottom-end power, second only to the Yamaha. Team Green needs to update EFI mapping options to include a button for changing on the fly as swapping couplers manually is outdated.” <i>—Cody Johnston</i>

“The Kawasaki has very perky engine traits and robust bottom-end energy, second solely to the Yamaha. Workforce Inexperienced must replace EFI mapping choices to incorporate a button for altering on the fly as swapping couplers manually is outdated.” <i>—Cody Johnston</i> (Jeff Allen/)

2023 Kawasaki KX450 Suspension

Geared up with a Showa 49mm coil-spring fork and Showa shock, the KX has suspension setting that’s proper within the ballpark off the showroom flooring. It’s effectively balanced for probably the most half. The fork is a little bit tender as soon as damaged in, which is noticeable on heavier impacts equivalent to when overjumping or developing quick on a soar. Apart from that, the Showa parts are nearly spot-on. They provide a lot of consolation, are simple to tune, and don’t require a lot adjusting to seek out a really perfect setting.

Associated: 2023 Kawasaki KX450 Technical Info

“In addition to being very plush, the KX450’s suspension is consistent from track to track.” <i>—Michael Wicker</i>

“Along with being very plush, the KX450’s suspension is constant from monitor to trace.” <i>—Michael Wicker</i> (Jeff Allen/)

2023 Kawasaki KX450 Chassis/Dealing with

Hitting the Filth Rider scales at 244 kilos moist, the Kawasaki is the second-heaviest entry on this comparability being simply 1 pound lighter than the Honda CRF450R. Nonetheless, it’s nimble and straightforward to maneuver. Dealing with could be very impartial with a really perfect steadiness of cornering and stability. It’s additionally predictable, which is a large plus on highly effective 450cc equipment.

The green machine is second heaviest in this comparison at 244 pounds wet.

The inexperienced machine is second heaviest on this comparability at 244 kilos moist. (Jeff Allen/)

As soon as once more, Kawasaki leads within the ergonomics division. Each a part of the bodywork is slim together with the radiator shrouds, midsection, and aspect quantity plates. The cockpit just isn’t overly open however not cramped both, and the seat is each snug and flat. Brakes are an space that might be improved because the entrance is weakest of the bunch and the rear is sensitive attributable to its outsized 250mm rotor, which causes the rear brake to lock up too simply and the engine to stall if the rider isn’t cautious.

Associated: 2023 Kawasaki KX450 First Trip Evaluation

“The KX450 is very nimble, predictable, thin feeling, and fun to ride!” <i>—Tanner Basso</i>

“The KX450 could be very nimble, predictable, skinny feeling, and enjoyable to experience!” <i>—Tanner Basso</i> (Jeff Allen/)

Why the 2023 Kawasaki KX450 Ought to Have Gained

That is nonetheless one of the crucial well-rounded motocross bikes we’ve swung a leg over.

“My clear-cut winner is the KX450 because it does everything well. The touchy rear brake is the bike’s weakest link.” <i>—Allan Brown</i>

“My clear-cut winner is the KX450 as a result of it does every part effectively. The sensitive rear brake is the bike’s weakest hyperlink.” <i>—Allan Brown</i> (Jeff Allen/)

Why the 2023 Kawasaki KX450 Didn’t Win

Though our criticisms of the inexperienced machine are somewhat minor, we’ve talked about them for fairly a while now. A firmer fork setting and fewer sensitive rear brake have been on our need checklist since 2019. Additionally, Kawasaki’s EFI coupler system was first launched on KX fashions in 2012. It’s time for a handlebar-mounted engine map choose button.


Helmet: Bell Moto-10 Spherical

Goggle: Spy Basis

Jersey: Thor MX Prime

Gloves: Thor MX Agile

Pants: Thor MX Prime

Boots: Alpinestars Tech 10

Quantity Plate Backgrounds: DeCal Works preprinted

2023 Kawasaki KX450 Specs

MSRP: $9,599
Engine: DOHC, liquid-cooled single-cylinder
Displacement: 449cc
Bore x Stroke: 96.0 x 62.1mm
Compression Ratio: 12.5:1
Transmission/Last Drive: 5-speed/chain
Filth Rider Measured Horsepower: 51.9 hp @ 9,400 rpm
Filth Rider Measured Torque: 32.6 lb.-ft. @ 6,600 rpm
Gasoline System: EFI w/ 44mm throttle physique
Clutch: Moist, multiplate; hydraulic actuation
Body: Aluminum perimeter
Entrance Suspension: Showa 49mm coil-spring fork, compression damping and rebound damping adjustable; 12.0 in. journey
Rear Suspension: Showa shock, spring preload, high-/low-speed compression damping, and rebound damping adjustable; 12.1 in. journey
Entrance Brake: Nissin 2-piston caliper, 270mm semi-floating disc
Rear Brake: Nissin 1-piston caliper, 250mm disc
Tires, Entrance/Rear: Dunlop Geomax MX33; 80/100-21 / 120/80-19
Rake/Path: 27.6°/4.8 in.
Wheelbase: 58.5 in.
Floor Clearance: 13.4 in.
Filth Rider Measured Seat Peak: 37.8 in.
Gasoline Capability: 1.6 gal.
Filth Rider Measured Moist Weight: 244 lb.
Availability: Now