was scary fast, with the advantage
that it could be turned with precision using subtle front-end initiation.
Riding Collier’s steed was exhilarating, despite tempting fate every time
we cracked the throttle open.
WHAT DID WE REALLY THINK?
Which bike did the MXA test
riders prefer? We’d be lying if we
said that the 1997 Kawasaki KX500
wasn’t as alluring as a modern-day
four-stroke. It’s not often we have
the opportunity to throw a leg over
a well-prepped 500cc two-stroke, and
even rarer that we get the chance to
ride a 66-horsepower race bike that
hasn’t been relevant since around
the time of the Cuban missile crisis.
Don’t get us wrong, Collier’s KX450F
was a marvel of modern engineering.
It surpasses what most 450 National
bikes have to offer. But while we
were impressed with the four-stroke,
the heart wants what it wants. The
Kawasaki KX500 gave us the kind
of satisfaction that made us want to
ride more and made us question why
such a mighty breed of bike was
ever discontinued. ❏
KX500 VS. KX450F
Pick your poison.
The KX450F was
easy to ride, while
the KX500 was a
thrill every time
we yanked on the
Sean Collier won’t
ride without a Scotts
mounted to his bike.
The $1800 carbon fiber
gas tank looks trick, but it
also serves a purpose by
holding more race fuel.
Collier was able
to run a KX450F
front end on his