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Kawasaki rolls out 50th-anniversary KX450 at LA Coliseum

To commemorate the celebration and success of 50 years of the KX brand, Kawasaki revealed its 50th Anniversary Edition motorcycles at the LA Coliseum on Saturday, September 23. Equipped with a limited retro-inspired KX shroud graphic, a Uni-Trak swingarm graphic, blue seat, silver wheels and white fork guards, the 2024 KX250 50th Anniversary Edition and the KX450 50th Anniversary Edition motorcycles spark plenty of nostalgia for motocross enthusiasts around the globe.

Kawasaki unveiled a 50th-anniversary edition KX450 at the LA Coliseum ahead fo the SMX championship. (Photos: Kawasaki USA)

Engine

The four-stroke, single-cylinder, DOHC, liquid-cooled 449cc engine has increased engine performance thanks to a new downdraft intake and symmetrically aligned intake and exhaust. The redesigned intake increases the downdraft angle from 20° to 40° for a straighter, more direct route for air and fuel to enter the cylinder and increasing the cylinder-filling efficiency. The centrally positioned exhaust port aligns with the intake for more efficient airflow and more engine power.

A high-performance piston featuring the same design used by the Monster Energy Kawasaki team contributes to increased performance across the entire rpm range. A short skirt, reinforced external ribs, and the use of a bridged box bottom with internal bracing add to the light but strong piston design. A thicker piston top ring was added to match the increased power output from the engine, and the cylinder was placed 8.5mm forward to help reduce friction. The connecting rod was extended by 5mm to help further reduce friction, and the cylinder height and crankshaft were updated to match the new length. The oil jet angle was also changed to match the longer connecting rod, resulting in increased power.

The KX450 retains a hydraulic clutch, offering a more direct feel and less play for the rider. Coned-disc spring contributes to light clutch actuation when pulling the lever in while allowing for a wider clutch engagement range. Friction plates are offset and slightly rotated to help maintain a clean separation of the discs and help reduce drag when the clutch is engaged.

2024 KX450

Electronics

Marking another first for the KX brand, riders can now select power modes using a Power Mode (M) selection button located on the left side of the handlebars, replacing the DFI couplers from the previous model. Riders can easily switch between two pre-programmed engine maps (Normal and Mild). The Normal map allows the rider to utilize the full power of the engine, while the Mild map reduces the power for scenarios where full power is not needed.

KX riders will now be able to connect to their motorcycle using the Rideology App KX. Users will be able to adjust their bike’s engine maps to match riding conditions and monitor what the KX450 is doing based on real-time data. Riders can also record and save maintenance and setup logs within the app.

The 2024 KX450 is the first KX model to offer Kawasaki TRaction Control, technology found on many Kawasaki street motorcycles. Using the Traction (T) button on the left handlebar, riders can quickly select between two levels of assistance (Low and Strong) based on riding conditions and preference.

Similar to the system that the Monster Energy Kawasaki team utilizes, the factory-style Launch Control Mode comes standard on the KX450, giving riders the tools needed for efficient race starts in lower-traction conditions. Riders can easily activate Launch Control by pushing the Mode (M) and Traction (T) buttons simultaneously.

Chassis

As an evolution of the current design, the new frame boasts an optimized rigidity balance, which allows for improved cornering performance across a wide range of conditions. The frame’s lightweight construction is composed of forged, extruded and cast parts, while the engine is used as a stressed member and adds to the frame’s rigidity balance.

Several revisions were made to the frame components to contribute to the rigidity balance, including the Y-joint shape and position, upper cross-pipe shape, swingarm bracket shape, and lower cross-pipe cross-sectional shape.

The chassis balance and settings were all developed with the racer in mind. The bike’s center of gravity and dimensions were all selected so the rear tire would drive the bike forward instead of causing it to squat.

Suspension and Brakes

For the first time in history, a Brembo caliper and master cylinder will adorn the front of a KX bike, encompassing a large-diameter, semi-floating 270mm front disc. This new combination results in strong front braking and increased front-end stabilization, allowing the rider to carry more speed through corners. At the rear, a 240mm disc gripped by a Nissin caliper offers the perfect balance of power and controllability.

The KX450 motorcycle is equipped with high-performance Showa 49mm coil spring front forks, which feature large diameter inner tubes that are the same size as those found on Kawasaki’s factory racing team’s bikes and enable the use of large damping pistons for smooth action and firm damping. A hard coating on the outer surface of the fork inner tubes helps prevent wear abrasion.

On the rear suspension, a Kawasaki New Uni-Trak linkage system is designed to work in conjunction with the new shock, new aluminum frame and new swingarm. The linkage, which is mounted below the swingarm, allows for a longer rear suspension stroke and allows more precise rear suspension tuning.

Wheels and Tires

Developed with help from the factory race teams, the KX450 now features a larger-diameter rear hub, increasing 12mm in size (46mm to 58mm) and increasing the hub’s overall rigidity, allowing for greater rear-end traction. The front wheel is fitted with the new Dunlop MX34 80/100-21 51M tire, which features a new block pattern that increases longevity and improves contact with the ground. A new Dunlop MX34 120/80-19 rear tire offers more bump absorption and increased traction on the back wheel.

KX450 photo shoot at LA Coliseum.

Ergonomics

The engineers of the 2024 KX450 redesigned a majority of the bodywork, offering a smoother rider interface than ever before. Newly designed shrouds, seat, side covers and rear fender allow the rider to move more confidently on the motorcycle. The seams between the shrouds, seat and side covers sit flush and the shroud design is slightly wider, but offers a more gradual taper for smoother rider movement.

Riders will notice more hand comfort with the addition of medium-compound ODI Lock-On grips, which offer an excellent grip feel and ease the process of changing grips with its screw-type fastening system. The grips adorn a factory-style 1-1/8” Renthal aluminum Fatbar, which helps reduce vibration and harsh impacts felt on the rider’s hands and arms.

The KX450 cannot be mistaken for anything but a Kawasaki racing machine, receiving the all-over Lime Green treatment for 2024. All of the bodywork elements, from nose to tail, are the classic Kawasaki Lime Green color, with a green seat cover completing the look.

Racer Rewards

Kawasaki Team Green Racer Rewards for 2024 supercross, motocross, and off-road racing will be available for riders looking to race their KX motorcycles. For more information and to register, visit the Racer Rewards section on Kawasaki.com.

2024 KX450X

Returning alongside the KX450 is the all-new KX450X, helping to further expand and solidify the KX family of off-road motorcycles. Off-road potential is greatly increased thanks to the technical updates the KX450X received, with cross-country specific tuning on the suspension, 21”/18” wheel combination with off-road ready tires.

2024 Kawasaki KX450
Color: Lime Green
MSRP: $10,399
Availability: Fall 2023

2024 Kawasaki KX450X
Color: Lime Green
MSRP: $10,599
Availability: Fall 2023

2024 Kawasaki KX250 50th Anniversary Edition
Color: Lime Green
MSRP: $9,099
Availability: Fall 2023

2024 Kawasaki KX450 50th Anniversary Edition
Color: Lime Green
MSRP: $10,699
Availability: Fall 2023

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