2012 Kawasaki KX450F | Preview
2012 Kawasaki Motorcycle
Racing is always at the forefront when Kawasaki designs their latest motorcycles. And when it comes to the KX450F, one only has to look at the 2011 AMA Supercross Championship.
Ryan Villopoto was unstoppable aboard the Kawasaki KX450F. But when things are that good there is only one thing left to do: make them better.
And that’s what Kawasaki did with the 2012 KX450F, which features the “highest level of rider adjustability and the most progressive electronics package ever seen on a production motocrosser.”
Built upon the same platform that propelled Villopoto to 2011 AMA SX Champion, the 2012 Kawasaki KX450F’s aluminum perimeter frame and dominating motor receive a host of refinements to create a more compact and mass-centralized chassis propelled by more usable power than ever.
The newest addition to the KX450F is the Launch Control Mode, which is tuned to maximize traction out of the starting gate. This is accomplished without sacrificing any of the mid-range grunt or straight-line speed that made the KX450F famous.
Kawasaki says “2012 KX450F riders can easily activate the new Launch Control mode – a key feature never before seen on a production motocross bike. The push-button system is activated by a touch of the switch on the left handlebar, and optimizes off-the-line acceleration by altering ignition timing in first and second gears to help maximize grip and reduce the chance of excessive wheelspin.
“Shifting into third gear automatically deactivates Launch Control Mode and returns the ignition timing to the parameters of the installed ignition map. The Launch Control’s effectiveness is further enhanced by a chassis designed to maximize suspension performance and rear wheel traction.”
Besides the new Launch Control, Kawasaki also offers a high degree of adjustability for the rider and the KX450F’s motor. Kawasaki says With a choice of four different handlebar positions, two footpeg positions, and virtually unlimited ignition mapping capabilities – thanks to its advanced Digital Fuel Injection (DFI) system – the KX450F is uniquely able to adapt to changing track and surface conditions and meet the needs of a surprisingly wide range of riders.
The new KX450F also has improved mid- to high-end power and a wider powerband, due to many engine upgrades. The five-speed transmission is also revamped for improved shifting.
As for the frame, Kawasaki says a total width reduction of 4mm across the main frame spars gives the 2012 KX450F the most slender mid-section ever.
The new KX 450 F also features two footpeg positions, allowing the rider to alternate between stock and the second position that places the footpegs five millimeters lower than stock, “which not only allows for taller riders, but lowers the center of gravity and gives the rider a lower point of view, adding to both physical and psychological stability.”
The KX uses a Uni-Trak rear suspension linkage that is now slimmer, Kayaba rear shock and Kayaba Air-Oil-Separate forks up front; this AOS system keeps oil and air in separate chambers for remarkably stable damping performance during long motos.
The new fuel tank has a shorter overall height and a narrower top section, which forms a straighter, smoother line with the seat and allows greater freedom of movement for the rider.
The new header pipe has a shorter length and features a tapered mid-section. The new silencer is a full 60mm shorter than its predecessor, but features a revised cross-section and the same overall volume as the 2011 model and meets noise regulations.
A new rigid-mount wave-type front brake rotor, slimmer front tire and new seat foam add to the lengthy list of improvements made to the 2012 KX450F.
Minimalist body work, revised shrouds and smaller number plates contribute to the slender feel and sleek new looks of Kawasaki’s flagship motocross machine. Sparing no attention to detail, the seams between the radiator shrouds, seat and side covers are very flush fitting, which helps prevent snags and allow the rider to alter position and maneuver the bike more effectively.
A blue alumite finish on the oil cap and two caps on the generator cover highlight the upgraded appearance of the KX450F motor, and match the blue finish on the suspension adjusters and splashes of color in the new graphics. A new embossed logo on the clutch cover features a trick design that reveals a raised Kawasaki racing insignia as the black paint is worn away by the rider’s boot.
The 2011 KX450F is available in Kawasaki Lime Green, with black alumite-coated rims, blue anodized highlights and aggressive graphics.
2012 Kawasaki KX450F
Liquid-cooled, four-stroke single with DOHC and four-valve
Bore x stroke:
96.0 x 62.1mm
Single rigid-mounted 250mm petal disc
Single 240mm petal disc with