2006 Kawasaki Dirt Bikes - First Look & Review - Dirt Rider

At long last, the KX450F, along with an all-new KX250F, are in the green line up for next year. Kawasaki's KX250 received a handful of valuable refinements, but sadly, its smaller KX sibling is missing—the KX125. It's down to the venerable KDX200 and KX250 as the two-stroke hold-outs on the Kawasaki production line.Noticeable in Kawasaki's 2006 release is the severed alliance between Kawasaki and Suzuki. The OEM product sharing will be discontinued, meaning the KLX125A/B, KSF80A, KSF50A and KDX50A models will not be available from Kawasaki, effective with the 2007 model year. The good news is that there is one more variation in the 250F class, as the RM-Z and KX-F part ways.KX450F... at last!What's new? Everything! Kawasaki has finally come out with their 250-class thumper, but not before giving painstaking attention to what they hope will be their new championship-winning machine. The 449cc motor features four valves, double overhead cams and a four-speed transmission. It comes stock with a tapered titanium exhaust pipe, Renthal aluminum bar and a lightweight skid plate.The all-new aluminum frame's design was aimed at putting the big 450's power to the ground. The new Kayaba AOS (Air-Oil-Separate) forks and UNI-TRAK® rear suspension system work together to centralize mass, and drive the 450 forward, rather than squatting under acceleration.Here are some specs on the all-new 450 to tide you over until you can read the full story in the upcoming Dirt Rider magazine (the bike's dimensions, dry weight and MSRP have yet to be announced):

||| |---|---| Specifications - 2006 KX450F|Engine |Liquid-cooled, four-stroke single with DOHC and four valves| |Displacement |449cc| |Bore x stroke |96.0 x 62.1mm| |Ignition |Digital AC-CDI| |Transmission |Four-speed with manual multi-disc wet clutch| |Front suspension |48mm inverted AOS-type telescopic fork with 22-way compression damping and 20-way rebound damping/12.4 in. travel| |Rear suspension |UNI-TRAK® linkage system with 22-way compresion and rebound damping, and fully adjustable spring preload/ 12.4 in. travel| |Front tire |80/100-21 51M| |Rear tire |100/90-19 57M|

KX250FWith their product exchange with Suzuki all but severed, Kawasaki is now making aggressive strides in asserting their independence in the 250F market. The all-new 2006 KX250F has some striking changes that set it apart from not only last year's model, but from the RM-Z250—most noteably, with the aluminum perimeter frame (shared with the 450F). The new 250F also boasts a significant boost in power, namely in the mid- to high-range, with a harder-hitting powerband.In order to compensate for its new power, Kawasaki made all-over improvements to ensure its durability:

• Thicker piston crown • Stiffer valve springs • Surface-hardened crankshaft • More-efficient oil pumps • Beefier transmission dogs

The KX-F also promises to be easier to start, and better handling with new suspension to compliment the aluminum frame. There are simply too many changes to list, so watch for more on the KX250F in the pages of Dirt Rider.
KX250The class-winning (not to mention Supercross winning) KX250 received some fine tuning to its motor, suspension and brakes. A new piston profile and longer, wider silencer promises a quieter ride that meets emissions and noise standards. Kawasaki also addressed our biggest gripe about the bike in our '05 250 two-stroke shootout by replacing the "crappy" steel bar with a Renthal aluminum handlebar.Further improving the KX250's feel are refinements to the suspension. The shock now features tuning options for high- and low-speed compression damping, and the Kayaba forks have a new one-piece sleeve design to improve action at full compression. The new petal-style disc brakes give the KX more stopping power, and new graphics complete the changes to the '06 250 two-stroke.KX125 - May it rest in peace...Kawasaki's tremendous effort in developing two all-new four-stroke models undoubtedly consumed the motocross R&D; budget for 2006, leaving no more room for the KX125. Rather than put out another unchanged model in '06, Kawasaki pulled the plug on the mighty eighth-liter two-stroke.But it went out in a blaze of glory, with James Stewart piloting it to a dominating victory in the 2004 AMA Nationals—which may have been the last 125 to win a 125 Motocross Championship.

Will it be everything you've hoped for?