total horsepower. The 2016 KX450F makes 55. 43 horsepower to last year’s 55.07 horsepower. It should be noted that
it has been a couple years since the KX450F was the king
of the horsepower wars. Over the past few years Yamaha,
KTM and Husqvarna have eclipsed it by 2 to 3 horsepower.
That doesn’t mean that the 2016 KX450F engine is slow.
It isn’t. It also doesn’t mean that it is blazingly fast. It
isn’t. What it has in spades is usable low-to-mid power that
can be made to work without being white-knuckle fast.
Q: WAS IT ALL SUNSHINE & ROSES WITH THE
A: No. It pinged. And when it didn’t ping, it suffered
from some of the loudest popping on deceleration we’ve
ever heard. The decel pop was so irritating that riders finishing behind us in motos would come over to complain.
Decel pop is normally caused by an air leak or overly lean
jetting. We had Kawasaki come with us to attempt to iron
out the decel pop issue. We tried all seven pre-programmed
maps, including the rich ones, lean ones, advanced ones
and retarded ones—no-go. We tried several maps that
Kawasaki especially programmed for our bike—no-go.
Finally, we put the map back to stock and tried all three
plug-in couplers. The only one that tamed the pinging and
popping was the black coupler. The other two couplers
belched, especially when the engine got hot. The black
coupler did the trick, but the downside is that the black
coupler is the mellow map—and with it you get a mellower
power delivery, albeit a much less irritating one.
The overall power output isn’t impressive when
new rising-rate linkage that saves 6 ounces.
( 7) Plastic. All the plastic parts, including the fenders,
radiator shrouds, engine guards and front number plate,
follow the “edge styling” school of design. The plastic
parts are 4. 9 ounces lighter this year.
( 8) Weight savings. Kawasaki shaved 7. 5 pounds off
of the 2015 KX450F, with 4. 4 pounds coming from the
engine and 3.1 pounds coming from the chassis.
Q: WHAT DOES THE 2016 KX450F WEIGH?
A: As amazing as it may seem, even with the
Kawasaki’s Jenny Craig diet and 7.5-pound weight loss,
it did not come out of the weigh-in as the lightest 450cc
motocross bike in 2016. That is largely because the 2015
KX450F weighed almost 239 pounds, thus the slimmer
and trimmer 2016 model hits the MXA scales at 231
pounds. A year ago this would have been the lightest
bike by a couple pounds, but in 2016 the KTM 450SXF
weighs 227 pounds and the Husqvarna FC450 weighs
229 pounds. As a consolation prize, the KX450F beats the
Honda CRF450 by 2 pounds, the YZ450F by 7 pounds
and the RM-Z450 by 9 pounds.
Q: IS THE 2016 ENGINE MORE POWERFUL
THAN THE 2015 ENGINE?
A: Yes and no. Yes, it has better low-to-mid power,
specifically from 5500 rpm to 7000 rpm, and a stronger
over-rev from peak to sign-off (in the 9200 rpm to 11,300
rpm range). No, it is not appreciably more powerful in
2016 Kawasaki KX450F:
Kawasaki has always been
consistent about making
yearly updates, but the
changes made to the 2016
KX450F would add up to ten
year’s worth of normal mods
in one season.