Kawasaki has achieved a lot by keeping innovation minimal and leveraging the factors that already work for them. After a complete redesign in 2016, Kawasaki impresses its motorbike-racing enthusiasts with the new Kawasaki KX450F model in 2017. The 2016 model got the reputation of being on the stiff side, but also provided advantages in terms of weight and size. Now, Kawasaki keeps the positive aspects of the old model intact, but revamps KX450F’s suspension at both ends. Kawasaki incorporates Showa suspension components to address the suspension issues prevalent in the 2016 model.
The 2017 Kawasaki KX450F has a very agile, light feel shows while cornering and better controllability on the road. A significant improvement over the 2016 model, the Kawasaki KX450F includes new triple clamps, richer fuel mapping and a rising-rate shock linkage.
Kawasaki has changed the ECU of the model with new and improved settings for eliminating or reducing the highly-feared deceleration popping. The new triple clamps offer better rigidity and cornering, while the shock and fork both have a new valve system. With the correct settings and air pressure, the shock and fork complement each other by offering better shock absorption. The minor tweaks in the engine and suspension of the bike make it more controllable and powerful than its 2016 predecessor.
The engine character of the 2017 Kawasaki KX450F remains similar to the 2016 model. The 450cc four stroke engine is smooth, controllable and delivers power steadily. The RPM response seems a little cleaner and crisper than the old model. The latest ECU tweaks provide an over-rev, an improvement from the last year’s model. The KX450F may not have the most amazing and exciting engine character, but it surely moves from corner to corner very efficiently.
The 2017 KX450F uses the same unpopular Showa SFF-Air TAC fork, but it is still considered better than the 2016 model; the baseline air pressure has also been raised and set at 152 psi in the inner chamber, 174 psi in the balance chamber, and 16.7 psi in the outer chamber. The new air pressure settings are possible with beefier valve system, which is a better option for comfort while riding around the track. The new suspension settings absorbs hard jerks and bumps easily, while also providing better balance and adjust-ability to the rider.
The triple clamp alteration in the 2017 model has lent more balance and sturdiness to the bike. The improvement in the “lean in” of the new model makes its front end more grounded, but it is still a far cry from Suzuki or Honda while coming into corners. The straight-line stability of the bike is excellent and bump absorption by the aluminium frame provides a smooth ride on bumpy tracks. The comfortable and stable handling makes KX450F one of the most rider-friendly bikes on the market.
The Kawasaki KX450F is not the perfect bike, but it is an alluring package for a broad group of motorcyclists. The bike is a solid machine with efficient ergonomics and manageable power. The bike just works well, doesn’t act funky, and is fun to ride.