UNLIKE THE CRF’S POWERBAND, THE
KAWASAKI KX450F’S POWERBAND HAS AN
OLD-SCHOOL, TEMPLE-THROBBING, WHITE-KNUCKLE, RUSH-TO-GLORY STYLE OF POWER.
It is the ying to Honda’s yang. It doesn’t care about
off-idle power. In fact, at 5000 rpm, the Honda makes
almost 3 horsepower more than the KX450F. The KX450F
isn’t concerned; it just smirks. The Kawasaki isn’t fishing
for bottom feeders like catfish; it wants high-flying
Try to think of this powerband contest as a 10-round
heavyweight boxing match. In this case, Honda wins the
first five rounds with a pitter-patter attack that is built
on swiftness and finesse. It peppers the opposition at the
sound of the bell and hangs with him through the middle
rounds. Then—blammo!—the Kawasaki unleashes a
flurry of left hooks, right crosses and upper cuts. Whoops,
there it is. Before the seventh round, the Honda is on the
ropes. Need proof for your score card? At 9000 rpm, the
KX450F makes 55.05 horsepower; the now-wobbly Honda
is punching below its weight at 50. 98.
If you transfer the boxing analogy to the race track,
the Honda is good off the gate, through the twisty stuff
and in the low gears (at relatively low rpm). But once the
track opens up, the KX450F romps it. This isn’t
Ali/Foreman; it’s Peewee Herman/Mike Tyson. When the
rpm climb, the Honda is fighting out of its weight class.
If you are getting the impression that the KX450F has
a hulking monstrosity of a powerband, we apologize. It’s
not true. The Kawasaki engine is the best powerplant
in motocross, but it’s not politically correct. It is a race
engine, pure and simple. It’s not for everyone. It doesn’t
give a whit for your feminine sensibilities. If you wanna
be a racer, you need muscles. The KX450F engine
delivers maximum moto muscle. It doesn’t make the most
power (the KTM 450SXF and Yamaha YZ450F make more
power), but it makes the best power. There is something
magical about the power delivery of the KX450F. When
you need it, it’s there. When you want more, it’s ready.
When you doubt yourself, the force is with you young
We love the KX450F engine. Without this powerband
(not necessarily the amount of power but its position
on the curve), the KX450F wouldn’t have won the “2014
MXA 450 Shootout.” This is its superpower.
Honda and Kawasaki
share Kayaba PSF air
of any 450.