Kawasaki is the first to pull the trigger in regard to 2012 450 motocrossers. Yes, the KX450F is all-new in a sense, yet also kind of refined, tweaked and a bit skinnier with updated bodywork and some interesting new gizmos. The green ride also offers a slew of ergonomic as well as performance-tuning options standard, making the bike adjustable for a wide range of riders right from the box. We were among a few lucky dogs to get the chance to ride the 2012 at the famed Red Bud track in Buchanan, Michigan, home of the infamous LaRocco’s leap. No, I did not huck the gargantuan gap, no bike is that adjustable.The list of changes on the 2012 KX is long, yet the bike still has that KX feel many are very fond of. In fact, the 2011 KX450F won Dirt Rider Magazine’s shootout this year. First off, the frame is 4mm narrower and the flex points have been refined. The steering head area has a little more give while the center of the bike is a tad more rigid. In our mind, one of the most attractive elements of the new machine is how adjustable the 2012 truly is. It can easily be altered to fit standard-size riders and tall or short riders via the four-way-adjustable bar mounts, the ability to lower the footpegs 5mm and an optional lowering link (sold separately) that drops the rear end 6mm. Then on the performance side, Kawasaki now has three ignition/fuel maps preprogrammed into the ECU, or what it calls DFI or Digital Fuel Injection. These three maps can easily be switched between the standard setting (good overall with a nice hit in the mid), a mellowed-out power curve (more bottom, less hit) or a full performance setting (longer pull in each gear and lots of top-end). To change the setting, simply swap out a wire harness coupler cap to one of the two supplied units. And if you wish to make further changes, it’s still possible to further alter the performance traits with optional tuning software, which we found very helpful, even with the 2012’s potent standard settings.Another industry first is the electronic Launch Control. The concept is fairly simple yet innovative. You push a button located on the handlebar for three seconds in neutral, first, or second gear until a red light begins to flash. From there, the system activates a separate timing and fuel setting for maximum traction during starts. When the rider shifts to third gear, the Launch Control deactivates and diverts back to the standard ignition/fuel settings.The basic engine remains largely the same, yet internal components have been updated for durability and performance. The cam has a slight increase in lift, and the piston has been refined including a thinner ring. Inside the guts of the beast, the tranny has been beefed up as well as the shift fork length tweaked for better and smoother shifting.The 2012 also received a nice face-lift with new bodywork, fuel tank and a shorter muffler, which Kawasaki says helps mass centralization. The 2012 chassis has a slimmer feel and doesn’t feel as big on the track, yet it still has that KX stability and a heavier-than-most feel. The muffler is claimed to meet the new 2012 AMA/FIM sound regulations. At speed the sound of the bike still has a meaty rasp. We will have to break out our sound measuring tools at a later date.The suspension complements the chassis with slight valving changes. Both our 165-pound intermediate and our 220-pounder were able to tune the fork and shock to their liking with subtle changes, going between two to five clicks stiffer on compression front and rear and one to two in or out on rebound front and rear depending on conditions.