Q: FIRST AND FOREMOST, IS THE 2016 KX450F
BETTER THAN THE 2015 KX450F?
A: If you are a loyal KX450F racer, this is the
fulfillment of all of your dreams. It is a lighter, thinner,
lower, sleeker and better-handling bike than any 450cc
four-stroke that Kawasaki has ever made. Gone are the
days of excessive girth.
Q: WHAT DID KAWASAKI CHANGE ON THE
A: Here is the quick list for a bike that has a long list
(1) Engine: The crankcase casting has thinner walls
while providing more rigidity and strength. The cylinder
has been offset 8.5mm forward to reduce decompression
braking. A new crankshaft balancer and drive gears save 2. 3
ounces. The piston crown has been reshaped to match the
straighter intake port shape, while the compression
ratio remains at 12.8:1. The titanium intake valves have
a slimmer throat angle and larger air intake area. The
cams are 0.5 ounces lighter, and the intake cam timing is
advanced 2 degrees. The 43mm Keihin throttle body is now
direct-connect, which is 3. 5 ounces lighter than the previous
double-pulley throttle body.
( 2) Transmission. The five-speed tranny went on a diet
by skimming excess fat off the gears and using larger input
and output shafts with thinner walls. The overall weight
savings is 9. 2 ounces.
( 3) Exhaust. The head pipe has a resonance chamber
tucked in behind the heat shield, and the sound level has
been reduced by 2 decibels.
( 4) Electronic aids. The 2016 KX450F has launch control, three plug-in ECU couplers and a hand-held mapping
tool with seven preset maps. The mapping tool eliminates
the previous need for a laptop computer and 12-volt battery.
It works on all KXF models back to 2009.
( 5) Frame. Thanks to forged parts, a revised down-tube and 6mm-narrower spars, the weight of the aluminum
perimeter frame is reduced by 14.1 ounces. Thanks to
thinner hyrdroformed spars and increased rigidity in the cast
pieces, the swingarm is not only torsionally more rigid but
also 7. 8 ounces lighter. The gas tank fits lower in the frame
and holds 1.66 gallons of fuel. The radiators are canted
forward at 10 degrees to narrow the profile of the bike at
the shrouds by 1.2 inches.
( 6) Suspension. The forks are Showa SFF Air TAC forks
built to Kawasaki’s specifications and are different from the
SFF Air TAC forks on the Suzuki RM-Z450. By using thinner
inner fork tubes, Kawasaki reduced the weight of the Showa
forks by 11 ounces. Kawasaki supplies each owner with a
digital air pump. The Showa rear shock has revised valving
and a lighter-rate shock spring (from 53 N/m to 52 N/m).
The new spring is 5. 5 ounces lighter. Additionally, there is a