Video By: Bert Beltran
Every one of the big six manufacturers’ respective 450 motocross bikes have more than enough power for the vast majority of riders. How that power is delivered combined with the bike’s engine character and throttle response have more to do with how favorably a 450cc engine is ranked over the next. Kawasaki has found an excellent balance of the aforementioned characteristics with its latest-generation KX450. Since 2019, Team Green’s flagship motocrosser has offered plenty of usable power that is complemented by a quick low-end and ultra-crisp throttle response. Although it makes less horsepower and torque than the Honda CRF450R, Husqvarna FC 450, and KTM 450 SX-F from 6,000 rpm on up, the KX450 engine remains as one of Dirt Rider testers’ favorites. Peak figures for the 2021 Kawasaki KX450 are 52.4 hp at 9,600 rpm and 32.6 pound-feet of torque at 7,000 rpm.
“The overall engine character of the 2021 Kawasaki KX450 is very lively and easy to ride. It doesn’t feel like the strongest in class, or even top three, but it is controllable and predictable. Engine-braking is minimal and it has a very connected feel as well.” —Casey Casper