Dirt Rider SaysWe've had our fair share of experience with Christini's AWD system on a wide range of off road dirt bike brands and models. Truly an off-road advantage for the nasty and gnarly stuff, the Christini system was set to put an extreme slant on Kawasaki's potent KX450F motocrosser. The combination is a unique one and something we were more than excited to try out.Clearly, the most important aspect you need to know about this bike is the incredible traction. How awesome was it? Well, in our radar tests the Kawasaki/Christini holeshot everything to 60 feet. It beat two-stroke screamers and bigger-bore thumpers easily. Its grip is that much greater when the wheels are spinning.More traction is always good and it goes without saying that if you're gripping, you're likely ripping. On the KX450F this grip was noticed most in, not surprisingly, the hardest and most technical sections of the course. The front drive system proved impressive on corner exits and over nasty bumps as well. With the front end drive, a motorcycle is unbelievable straight-line stable. This is most true under the sway and swing of hard acceleration. Where other, snappy bikes break traction and slide, the Christini-equipped KXF would claw and straighten up from the front. Steering feel is highly affected in the initial steps of a turn, but most testers accepted the awkwardness for so much fun on the exit.The power of the Kawasaki 450 is not debatable. It makes a ton and delivers it with authority. The Christini complimented this in our tests by mellowing the expulsion of ponies down and delivery a more-rideable off-road mount for our trail sections. Unfortunately, the rest of the KXF's motocross running gear was retained and the tall gearing led to more stalls and tired clutch hands. The Christini KX450F required a lot of maintenance on the trail to show good manners. Our faster, more rambunctious riders (usually the guys spinning out of corners and ending up off-trail at some point) liked the power delivery and were complaint-less. But the majority speaks in these tests and most riders wanted a shorter first gear (at least), a smoother clutch pull, less stalling, easier kick-starting, smoother power delivery-basically a more off-road worthy bike. Even hand guards would have helped a lot. Maybe the KLX would have been the ideal place to start (in our minds, at least).The Christini system-no matter what bike it's on-is a work of art to behold and a great experience to ride. And did we mention the crazy fools that made this beast built it from scratch in about three weeks? That's pretty amazing. We were flattered they'd give us the first shot at testing their system on the KXF. It didn't stand up to the best all-around bikes out there, but we'd love to rock this at some local motocross races and see how many holeshots we could rack up!Opinions:This bike could be really good, but it would take me more than a lap to get used to it and take full advantage of the strengths. Having this much traction in the front end is really nice climbing hills and rocks, but cornering was difficult for me. I like to feel a little more loose feeling up front. Straight-line stability was great, but the steering felt heavy to me. Motor was another one that worked best when short-shifted, but it did have a torquey feeling across the power spread.
-Kris KeeferChristini/Kawasaki AWD-Stalled because it was geared too high and I had a tough time with the clutch. This bike could have been really good in here and I could feel the AWD working but I couldn't get confident to let the bike go.
--Jimmy Lewis on the Extreme TestThe KX450 Christini felt very heavy and has too much power for the trails. It has a high center of gravity feeling as well. The Motocross brakes work well and the power is great on the track but the AWD takes a little getting used to. I felt like the weight of the system made the bike's suspension much softer at higher speeds.
-Clint CastleberryThe suspension on this bike is perfect for moto and trails for me. The power delivery is a bit too much for the trails but the AWD mellows it out to an acceptable level. The Christini system really pulls you through bumps and turns and keeps you going straight. The clutch pull was heavy though.
-Tyler RuizThis bike delivered strong power although the gearing was tall for tight trails-it was perfect for the motocross track, though. The suspension was setup plush and worked well all around. The AWD is great on the trails and the track-it pulls the bike out of turns and up hills and I didn't feel a major affect in the air off of jumps. It also pulls straight through bumps and keeps the bike in control on acceleration. I'm missing the electric start and this bike doesn't necessarily kick-start easily.
-Chris BarrettIf it weren't for the fact that this bike rails at the track it'd be my last pick. It's not a very trail-savvy bike. It had no creature comforts such as hand guards-a must on the trails. It did pull well through the corners though and man 'o man! She has a bite!
-Ryan Hanna****Editor's Note
This year's Dirt Rider Torture Test was set it up like a screening for a reality TV show: Bring what you have and prepare for whatever happens. The idea was to show up at the Torture Test with the best all-around, one-bike-does-it-all off-road dirt bike, with no guidelines or requirements from our side. It was wide open, but everyone knew going in that it would be tough to make the cut to get into the final group of bikes you see in the magazine. Of course, they didn't all make it to the pages of Dirt Rider. Some missed out ever so slightly, some by a longer ways. This is a full test of one of the bikes that missed the final cut. The competition was tough but lurking in this field of bikes you can likely find an example of the perfect bike that fits your needs, or learn what other riders or people in the industry think is the best bike in the whole world. For the people and companies that built each of these bikes, it was the best bike they could deliver.-Jimmy Lewis, Editor Dirt Rider Magazine