Kawasaki had a knockout year in 2011, grabbing both the Dirt Rider 250F and 450F Motocross Shootout wins and a couple of AMA Supercross championships aboard their wicked steeds. For 2012, the innovation continues with some interesting changes to the new Kawasaki Motocross models. Take a look at what the green crowd will be riding in 2012:
KX450F: The exciting news for the 450 centers around the bike’s electronics. Factory racers have been running ignitions with special “holeshot curves,” and now Kawasaki is sharing its Launch Control Mode with new bike buyers. A button on the left side of the handlebar activates the “maximum traction” setting for gate launches, and clicking into third gear switches the motor back into its standard race mode, which is now adjustable without a computer or separate tuner. Riders can now pick from three engine settings simply by swapping out a wire coupler cap. Riders wanting more adjustment can still have it through the optional FI Calibration Kit, the same one used by the factory team. And the green flagship should fit even more riders as the new model will feature four-position handlebar mounting as well as two footpeg positions-standard as well as a setting 5mm lower. Kawi will also offer a lowering link that lowers the bike by 6mm.
The other refinements include piston, ring and cam changes for a claimed wider spread of torque and improved throttle response, a slimmer frame with altered internal ribbing for claimed improved flex characteristics to get that power to the ground. Also, an extra (from three to four) dog on the gears, a thicker first gear as well as a shorter shift fork promise to improve shifting.
To help with ergos and handling the gas tank is lower and slimmer at the top to allow for a more flat seat-to-tank area, the lower triple clamp is redesigned, and the muffler is 60mm shorter while still keeping the same volume. The front tire is thinner and the seat foam improved. Word is the KX450F will be available by late June or early July.
KX250F: The big 250 news centers around the fuel injection system’s addition of a second “upstream” injector claimed to deliver stronger acceleration, an increase in top-end power and increased overrev. The engine improvements also include a lower end revision for improved rotational balance. The transmission is ready for the increased power with shorter-stroke and now-solid shift rods, which are designed at giving a more positive feel while retaining smooth action.The little Kawi’s unique Separate Function Fork returns but with an increased spring rate (from 9.1N/mm to 9.5N/mm) on the right side and new valving to complement that spring in the left fork leg. The Showa shock’s spring rate increases as well (51N/mm to 53N/mm), with valving changes to complement the stiffer boinger. And the linkage tie-rod gains some flex to improve overall suspension action as well as traction. Kawasaki is expecting the KX250F to be available by July.
Keep your dealer on speed dial for first deliveries on these machines in your area, and keep checking Dirt Rider and www.dirtrider.com for first tests on all the new bikes just as soon as we get our hands on them!