2016 Kawasaki KX450F


Who's ready to check out the new Kawasaki KX Models? This is a big change year for the 450, and less so for the other models, but you can check out the changes yourself in the text from Kawasaki below. Be sure to leave a comment to let us know what you think. - Vital MX

The KX450F motorcycle is completely new for 2016, to give riders the sort of advantage the competition might consider unfair.

Kawasaki is not sitting on its laurels, giving the engine more power and 7.5 lb less weight than before. In fact, the entire motorcycle has seen a significant weight reduction thanks to the redesigned engine as well as a new aluminum perimeter frame.

Riders will also enjoy the improved rider adjustability as well as electronic upgrades aimed at maximizing performance for a variety of riders in any situation while giving the rider supreme confidence.

2016 Kawasaki KX450F.


• NEW Among the lightest curb weights in class after a 7.5 lb overall weight reduction • NEW Lighter, more powerful engine with new engine cases • REVISED Bridged-Box bottom piston based on AMA factory race bikes • REVISED Intake port improves performance in mid-to-high RPM range • REVISED Intake valve shape increases air volume • NEW Intake camshaft is lighter and has revised timing for low-mid RPM response • NEW High-flow airbox with rear intake channels improve flow and reduce noise • NEW Header with integrated resonator chamber for crisp throttle response • NEW Mass-centralizing exhaust muffler to reduce sound and weight • Plug & play DFI® couplers allow easy engine map changes • NEW Slimmer, lighter perimeter frame and swingarm improve rider feel • Launch control based on factory race bike system • Industry-leading Showa SFF-Air TAC fork and Uni-Trak rear suspension • NEW Aggressive factory styling and flatter seat for easier rider movement • 4-way adjustable handlebar and 2-way adjustable footpegs fit a wide range of riders


Kawasaki’s already powerful flagship motocross bike is even stronger for 2016, with the KX450F motorcycle boasting a more powerful and lighter engine. The revisions are extensive and start with new engine cases to save weight while optimizing the design to increase strength and rigidity. The location of the oil scavenger pump was also changed, swapping from the left case to the right case.

2016 Kawasaki KX450F.

The cylinder head updates include revisions to the intake ports, which are less curved than before, improving mid-high RPM performance and over-rev. The intake port cores are also given a special coating during the head casting process to make the ports smoother. The extremely smooth surfaces and revised port shape increase the intake efficiency and performance at
all RPM.

The 36mm titanium intake valves have a revised head area. The new design, with slimmer throat angle and reduced recess (similar to valves on Kawasaki supersport engines) contributes to increased high-RPM performance. Revised intake cam timing (advanced 2-degrees) contributes to better low-RPM performance, while the camshaft is 0.5oz lighter than before. A new intake camshaft sprocket is 0.7oz lighter.

The single cylinder is offset (8.5mm forward) to reduce mechanical loss through friction from the piston movement, enabling more efficient power generation. This necessitated a revised crankshaft shape, corresponding to the revised crankshaft housing. The crankshaft balancer shape was also changed – reducing its size and lightening it by 1.9oz. Further updates were made to the crankshaft balancer drive gear and driven gear, resulting in a combined reduction of 1.4oz.

A new crown design for the Bridged-Box bottom piston is based on the AMA factory race bikes and matches the new intake valve shape as well as contributing to the 12.8:1 compression ratio.

Another addition for 2016 is the redesigned air box, which does away with any steel parts, resulting in a weight savings of 8.8oz. It also utilizes new underseat intakes at the back of the seat. These and the revise shape of the air box help to ensure clean airflow, improving engine response and reducing intake sound to meet local market requirements.

Changes were made to the throttle to reduce vibration. This resulted in a new compact fuel injector being used. The outer part of the fuel pump was also revised, changing the flange position in order to lower the fuel tank position, contributing to the motorcycle’s overall lower center of gravity.

Further upgrades include a new exhaust system. It starts with a new header design that features a resonator to improve low RPM power and help reduce the sound level.

The result of these changes to the powerplant mean increased power. And when combined with a lighter overall curb weight, the 2016 Kawasaki KX450F motorcycle has an improved power-to-weight ratio that provides improved acceleration response.

Another weight saving measure saw 9.2oz trimmed from the transmission gears and shafts, which retain their overall strength while contributing to the motorcycle’s dynamic performance. Finally, the shape of the kickstarter has altered, resulting in a saving of 2.6oz.


With all these engine changes, the revolutionary and popular DFI® couplers are again available for the Digital Fuel Injection system. Three are supplied with each motorcycle and allow the riders to quickly change the fuel injection mapping to suit any riding condition. The four-pin DFI couplers are designed for standard, hard or soft terrain settings. The rider simply connects the appropriate coupler cap to suit the track conditions and the DFI couplers immediately activate an ignition mode to match.

The KX450F motorcycle’s Launch Control System is another popular feature that helps obtain holeshot supremacy for the amateur and pro rider alike. The push-button activation retards ignition timing in first and second gears, helping to maximize traction off the line. Once the rider shifts into third, normal ignition mapping is resumed and full power returns.

As a further benefit of owning a KX450F motorcycle, the engine ECU remains fully programmable thanks to the new handheld Kawasaki Accessory KX FI Calibration Kit. This portable device allows custom maps to be created giving riders precise adjustment of fuel and ignition settings. This new handheld module eliminates the need for a trackside laptop computer. It can store up to seven preset maps and is PC-compatible.


Kawasaki’s engineers worked tirelessly to improve handling and chassis feedback with a new aluminum perimeter frame. The perimeter spars are 6mm slimmer than the previous frame, allowing easier rider movement. It is also lighter by 1 lb, while the subframe (seat rails) has thicker walls for increased strength. Overall rigidity has been improved with a new swingarm (while losing 7.8oz in the process), helping rear-wheel traction and rider feel.

The alloy swingarm has a cast front section and twin tapered hydro-formed spars in a raw aluminum finish. Forged chain adjusters are also fitted with a self-locking rear axle nut. The axle nut holds the 80 lb-ft torque setting without the need of a cotter pin for ease of maintenance at the track.

The original goal was to create the lightest motorcycle in its class, increasing the bike’s agility and helping to reduce rider fatigue, making the KX450F more potent than ever before. Following extensive engine and chassis revisions, the 2016 Kawasaki KX450F motorcycle has seen a significant 7.5 lb reduction in curb weight (including fluids), giving it a total weight of 239.6 lb.

Weight savings from the engine group (including intake and exhaust systems) amounted to approximately 4.4 lb, with savings from chassis components totalling approximately 3.1 lb. Some of the major contributing component weight savings include:

crankcases (left/right) – 13oz transmission – 9.2oz air filter – 8.8oz frame – 14.1oz suspension (front/rear) – 10.9oz swingarm – 7.8oz


The 2016 KX450F motorcycle receives all-new bodywork with aggressive styling to suit its heightened performance. The minimalist bodywork is light and features angular styling for the new number plates, shrouds, fenders, skid plate and water pump guard. The new bodywork unifies the radiator shroud and side covers for a smoother, seamless rider interface that is 1.2” slimmer at the widest point, and allows unimpaired movement around the motorcycle. The radiator was reshaped in order to achieve this, creating a vee-shape and allowing the shrouds to be slimmer.

The top of the fuel tank is lower than before, allowing easier progression from the seat to the tank. The flatter design gives the rider greater freedom of movement when changing riding position, while also allowing the rider to sit further forward.

Aggressive styling for the new front fender adds to the motorcycle’s overall racy appearance and also saves 1.8oz in weight overall the previous model year.

The appearance is further highlighted by green engine plugs, oil cap and generator cover plugs, as well as green alumite suspension adjusters and black alumite wheels. Another neat detail is the embossing
on the clutch cover, which was designed to gradually appear as contact from the rider’s boots wears away the paint. A new generator cover has also been incorporated to fit the new crankcase.

To protect the 2016 Kawasaki KX450F motorcycle from general wear and tear encountered during a typical day at the track, a large synthetic skid plate offers great protection with minimum weight. The revised design has oval holes that facilitates easy mud removal and reduces the weight further.


With Kawasaki engineers creating a lighter motorcycle, its agility was increased, allowing the suspension and brakes to work more efficiently and effectively. This is especially true of its state-of-the-art Showa SFF-Air TAC (Separate Function front Fork, Triple Air Chamber) fork technology, which separates the damping and shock absorption duties into the individual fork legs. The left fork tube contains the damping assembly and the right fork tube contains the air spring. Instead of the steel coil springs found in conventional forks, the SFF-Air TAC’s right fork tube has three chambers filled with pressurized air that act as a “spring”. Eliminating the steel coil springs reduces friction by approximately 20% and creates an extremely smooth action throughout the fork’s stroke. This has the added benefit of greatly reducing weight and allowing a larger damper piston to be used, providing smoother action. New low-friction fork seals and revised valve settings for reduced damping deliver easier fork movement, matching the pitching characteristics to the lighter chassis.

This works-replica fork is derived from Kawasaki’s factory race bike. It is lightweight and rigid, contributing to superior riding stability and front-end feel. The low friction design contributes to an extremely smooth fork action, while precise settings are possible merely by changing air pressure.

The fork has traditional 22-position compression and 20-position rebound damping adjustment. Furthermore, the rider can adjust the internal air pressure with the Kawasaki Genuine Accessories 0-300psi Digital Air Pump that is supplied with the KX450F motorcycle. Changing the air pressure covers a range of settings offered by optional springs in a standard fork, including quick changes of ride height, without needing to disassemble the fork tubes. The pump’s digital display offers precise air pressure setting, and its casing stores the engine’s DFI couplers for the fuel injection system, allowing better organization on practice or race days.

New linkage ratios for the Kawasaki Uni-Trak® suspension system were designed to suit the new aluminum frame and swingarm. Mounting the link below the swingarm allows a longer rear suspension stroke, while maintaining a low seat height. Dual compression adjustability from the Showa shock allows high-speed and low-speed damping rates to be set separately. The shock reservoir has a friction-reducing internal Kashima Coat for improved suspension action. This race-oriented suspension offers class-leading action and adjustability on par with the Showa SFF-Air TAC fork. The fully adjustable unit allows for precise settings to help keep the rear wheel planted and the rider out front.

Riders looking for an extra edge over the competition can use the optional Kawasaki rear suspension tie rod. It is 1mm longer than stock and can be used to reduce seat height by 4mm to give the rider greater control and adjustment.

Being able to enter every corner at the desired speed is critical to fast lap times. The 2016 Kawasaki KX450F motorcycle uses an oversized 270mm, petal-shaped front brake rotor (largest in class) from the renowned manufacturer, Braking. It helps provide powerful stopping forces, good lever feel and consistency in all conditions. It is paired with a 240mm petal-shaped Braking rotor on the rear.


Kawasaki’s commitment to the rider continues with an adjustable handlebar and footpegs to fit various sizes and riding styles. The footpegs feature dual-position mounting points, with a lower position, which reduces the height from the standard position by an additional 5mm. The lower position effectively lowers the center of gravity when standing, and reduces knee angle when seated.

The handlebars offer 4-way adjustable mounts. With 35mm of range, the multi-position handlebars feature two mounting holes, and the 180-degree offset clamps provide four individual settings to suit different size riders.

Equipped with a flat seat, adjustable footpegs and handlebar as well as fully adjustable suspension, the 2016 Kawasaki KX450F motorcycle can be tailored to suit a large range of riders. This perfectly complements the wide range of damping settings as well as the DFI couplers and optional handheld Kawasaki Accessory KX FI Calibration Kit, allowing the rider to find the ideal engine characteristics to suit a particular track or conditions. So while the base settings on the KX450F motorcycle are based on extensive testing, including racing, the motorcycle provides a huge range of technology and adjustment to help ensure every rider can fully exploit the incredible ability of this extremely capable motocross bike.

2016 Kawasaki KX™450F Features and Benefits

At a glance…

- NEW Lighter, more powerful engine with new engine cases - REVISED Bridged-Box bottom piston based on AMA Factory race bikes for greater power - NEW Intake ports, intake valves, cam timing and cylinder offset (moved 8.5mm forward) for increased power across a broad powerband - NEW High-flow airbox with rear intake channels to improve flow and reduce intake noise - Plug & play DFI® couplers allow easy engine maps changes - Launch control based on factory race bike system to help riders get the hole-shot - NEW Header with integrated resonator chamber for crisp throttle response - NEW Mass-centralizing exhaust muffler to reduce sound and weight - NEW Slimmer, lighter perimeter frame and swingarm improve rider feel, increased rigidity with new swingarm design - Industry-leading Showa SFF-Air TAC (Separate Function front Fork, Triple Air Chamber) separates damping and spring duties into each fork tube. It also replaces heavy coil spring with air chambers to improve response and reduce weight - NEW Low-friction fork seals for easier movement, pus new fork inner tubes with reduced rigidity are perfect complements for the new chassis - Kawasaki Uni-Trak® rear suspension gives good suspension travel and works with adjustable Showa shock - NEW Aggressive factory styling and flatter seat for easier rider movement - 4-way adjustable handlebar and 2-way adjustable footpegs fit a wide range of riders - NEW Light curb weight after a 7.5 lb weight reduction for 2016 - Adjustable 4-position handlebar and 2-position footpegs allow riders to fit the KX motorcycle to match their personal preference

Engine Overview

- 449cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-stroke single with legendary Kawasaki power - Factory race-derived Bridged-Box-Bottom piston has optimum rigidity for maximum high-rpm power and durability - A forward lean angle of 3° puts the engine in the ideal position for maximum traction - Balanced crankshaft creates minimal vibration and has a high inertial mass to help maximize rear wheel traction - Compact cylinder head is only 100mm tall - NEW Intake ports, intake valves, cam timing and cylinder offset for increased power across a broad rev range - Double valve springs help ensure stable valve operation and also allow for a short cylinder head height - Camshafts, lobes and tappet surfaces feature a soft-nitride treatment for long wear and high-rpm reliability - Automatic cam chain adjuster is maintenance-free - NEW High-flow airbox with rear intake channels improve flow and reduce intake noise - Crankshaft and connecting rod feature a special carburizing and quenching treatment to maximize rigidity, boosting long-term reliability without adding weight

Digital Fuel Injection (DFI®)

- Digital Fuel Injection self-adjusts to atmospheric changes for easier starting, sharper throttle response and crisp power delivery at all engine speeds - It is not necessary to re-tune or change any jets to suit climatic conditions like carbureted models - Ultra-fine atomizing injector with 12 holes sprays particles with a droplet size of 60μ for smooth power delivery and engine response throughout the throttle range - 43mm throttle body uses a progressive throttle linkage to deliver airflow in much the same way as an FCR carburetor - Fast-idle knob on the throttle body allows riders to increase engine speed when starting a cold engine - Fuel injector set at 45°, the optimum angle for mid-range power

High-performance Multi-map ECU

- ECU programming enhances traction by diminution of ignition when excess wheelspin is detected by a sudden surge in RPM. - Ignition timing boosts response when re-opening the throttle after deceleration (when landing jumps, etc) - ECU programming is easily selectable via interchangeable DFI coupler caps that provide three pre-programmed maps for standard, hard or soft (terrain), without the need for a separate programmer or laptop - The engine can be started with only three rotations of the crankshaft using the electricity generated by a single kick of the starter, no battery needed - The system delivers electricity to the bike’s electronics in sequence: first the ECU, then the fuel pump, and finally the injector for quick, easy starting - The compact, lightweight ECU, located on the front of the steering head behind the number plate, was designed specifically for motocross use. The fuel pump relay is integrated with the ECU to help cope with the shocks and vibrations of tough racing

Launch Control Mode

- Factory-style launch control system is an industry first and increases the ability to get good starts by maximizing available traction - Push-button activation of the Launch Control Mode retards ignition timing in first and second gears, giving the greatest effect within the first few seconds of releasing the clutch - Launch Control can be activated in neutral, first or second gear - Shifting into third gear automatically deactivates Launch Control Mode and returns the ignition to normal mapping

Easy Starting

- Strong output from the large ACG rotor provides enough electrical power for the battery-less FI system to enable true one-kick starting without using a battery - Equipped with an automatic compression release (ACR) system for quick and easy starting. The dual-weight centrifugal decompression system is fitted to the exhaust cam - Compression release features 1mm of valve lift, to minimize the required kicking power

Bridged-Box Bottom Piston

- Piston crown shape tuned for excellent low to mid-range engine response - Same design as used by factory racers; offers optimum performance at all RPM - Lighter and more durable than traditional piston designs - Short piston skirt features low-friction coating to minimize mechanical losses - Reinforced external ribs enhance strength and durability

Showa SFF-Air TAC Front Fork

- Showa SFF-Air TAC (Separate Function front Fork, Triple Air Chamber) with triple air chamber uses air as a spring. The reduced weight and inertia of the air spring improves smoothness and enhances the fork’s ability to follow terrain contours - The left fork tube contains the damping assembly, and the right fork tube contains the air spring - Air spring significantly reduces friction and cuts weight while also providing better bottoming resistance, less oil contamination, plus easier and more effective tuning compared to traditional springs - Large diameter internal damping cartridges help provide consistent performance and bottoming resistance - NEW Material trimmed from the fork inner tubes results in lower rigidity, optimized for the new chassis - NEW Low-friction seals, and revised valve settings for reduced damping deliver easier fork movement, matching the pitching characteristics to the lighter chassis. - A removable spring pressure adjustment valve and free 0-300psi digital Kawasaki Genuine Air Fork Pump are included for quick and easy tuning of fork spring pressure - Wrap-around fork tube guards offer effective protection for the sliders - Lower triple clamp features integrated locating pins to help simplify installation and removal of the front number plate - One-piece front fender attachment screws feature-integrated grommets to simplify installation and removal

Rear Shock

- 22-position rebound damping adjuster allows precise fine-tuning of the rebound circuit - Easy adjuster access allows trackside suspension tuning with a minimum of hassle or lost time - Rear shock features dual compression adjustability, allowing 19-position low-speed and 4 turns of high-speed damping adjustments to be made independently - NEW Lower spring rate offers better rear suspension action - NEW Linkage ratios were adjusted to suit the new, lighter chassis

Aluminum Swingarm

- Tapered “D” shape swingarm is lighter than a comparable box-section unit and provides superior rigidity for its weight - Features tapered hydroformed spars and forged chain adjusters - Uni-Trak® rear suspension linkage is mounted below the swingarm to allow precise tuning and longer rear suspension stroke

Fuel Tank & Lightweight Aluminum Fuel Pump

- Compact 1.66-gallon fuel tank is formed using a blow molding process - Fuel pump features a one-piece filter cover and body, eliminating the need for fuel return tube from pressure regulator - Features a plastic fuel filter cover that wraps around the inlet port and acts as a fuel trap to help ensure a stable fuel supply during vigorous motocross racing

Efficient Cooling

- High-capacity Denso radiator features tightly packed cores and a fin design that deliver superior cooling efficiency - Shroud shape features a slim profile and large cooling outlet hole to help keep excess heat to a minimum - Radiator louvers feature four small blades set at a shallow angle for protection while having minimum overlap and maximum air flow

Strong and Durable Clutch

- Friction plates with substantial friction material contribute to fade resistance and long service life - Excellent oil drainage reduces power loss caused by excess oil around the clutch basket - Clutch case cover features embossed logo and is painted silver, making scuffs and normal wear less noticeable

Close-ratio 5-Speed Transmission

- 5-Speed transmission and the engine’s broad torque curve gives riders more gear options for maximum drive on a wide range of tracks - Thick first gear offers excellent durability for launching off the line in high-traction situations - NEW aluminum rear sprocket design contributes to sharp looks and saves 1.8oz

Powerful Disc Brakes

- Front master cylinder features a knocker-style lever-to-piston interface for excellent feel and superbly consistent performance - Front brake pads offer a strong braking force and feel

- Lightweight 270mm “oversized” front rotor by Braking is squeezed by a powerful twin-piston caliper and features an aggressive petal design to help clear mud and debris - Lightweight 240mm petal-type rear rotor by Braking features the same aggressive petal style as the front rotor and is gripped by a single piston hydraulic rear caliper

Aggressive Styling and Improved Ergonomics

- NEW Aluminum perimeter frame is 6mm slimmer to help the bike feel compact and nimble, but tapers to become wider near the rider’s ankles to offer optimum grip and control - NEW Lightweight minimalist bodywork including new number plates, shrouds, fenders, skid plate and engine water guard all featuring aggressive style - NEW Aggressive design of new front fender adds to racy looks and saves 1.8oz in weight - NEW The inward angle of the radiator allows the shrouds to be 1.2” slimmer than before. The minimalist shrouds were designed to be small and slim where they come into contact with the rider’s legs. The new two-piece construction and elongated design creates a smooth surface between the rider’s legs, facilitating easier movement - NEW Flatter seat design uses urethane foam designed to retain its original shape and provide optimum durability. Flatter design unifies with bodywork to help ensure the rider can move around freely - NEW Top of fuel tank is lower, allowing easier progression from the seat to the tank. Flatter design gives the rider greater freedom of movement when changing riding position, allowing the rider to sit further forward - Black triple clamps and black anodized rims – just like Kawasaki’s factory teams - Green finish on suspension adjusters and engine plugs look like the factory race parts - 4-way adjustable handlebar and 2-way adjustable footpegs fit a wide range of riders - Wide 50mm footpegs can be adjusted 5mm lower than stock to lower the center of gravity and suit a range of riders

Additional Features

- NEW Skid plate made from resin material offers great protection without excess weight. Revised design has oval holes that facilitates easy mud removal and reduces weight further - Clutch cable boot features a large quick adjuster, making it easy for riders to adjust clutch play on the fly - Rear caliper guard helps protect the caliper from damage - Ribless rear hub and butted spokes offer light weight and excellent durability

Genuine Kawasaki Accessories

- NEW Handheld Kawasaki Accessory FI Calibration Kit (sold separately) allows precise adjustment of fuel and ignition settings while eliminating the need for a laptop. The unit stores up to seven preset maps, allowing rider optimization of engine power delivery for multiple track layouts and riding conditions. Handheld device is PC-compatible

- Kawasaki Racing Software Kit allows racers to reprogram the ECU’s data maps for volume of fuel injected and ignition timing to alter engine characteristics to suit rider preference. An ECU setting is available, which can also be used as a data logger, recording up to six hours of data, including engine rpm, degree of throttle opening, engine boost, coolant temp, air temp, ignition timing, fuel adjustments, gear position and system voltage

- Other Genuine Kawasaki Accessories available for the KX450F motorcycle include graphics kit, Pro-Circuit axle blocks, billet engine plugs, billet throttle tubes, thermo strips, complete exhaust, racing chain, seat covers and more


Engine: 4-stroke, 1-cylinder, DOHC, water-cooled
Displacement: 449cc Bore x Stroke: 96 x 62.1mm
Compression Ratio: 12.8:1 Fuel System: DFI® with 43mm Keihin throttle body
Ignition: Digital DC-CDI
Transmission: 5-speed
Final Drive: Chain
Frame Type: Aluminum perimeter
Rake/Trail: 28° / 4.9”
Fuel Capacity: 1.66 gallons
Front Suspension / Wheel Travel: 49mm Inverted Showa SFF-Air TAC Separate Function front Fork with Triple Air Chamber, DLC coated sliders, 22-position compression and 20-position rebound damping adjustment / 12.2”
Rear Suspension / Wheel Travel: Uni-Trak® linkage system and Showa shock, 19-position low-speed and 4-turns high-speed compression damping, 22-position rebound damping and fully adjustable spring preload / 12.4”
Tire Size, Front: 80/100-21
Tire Size, Rear: 120/80-19
Brakes, Front: Single semi-floating 270mm Braking petal-style disc with dual-piston caliper
Brakes, Rear: Single 240mm Braking petal-style disc with single-piston caliper
Overall Length: 86.4”
Overall Width: 32.3”
Overall Height: 50.8”
Ground Clearance: 13.6”
Seat Height: 37.8”
Curb Weight**: 239.6 lb
Wheelbase: 58.9”
MSRP: $8,799 Warranty: N/A

*Specifications subject to change. Media please visit www.kawasaki.com for most current specifications

**Curb weight includes all necessary materials and fluids to operate correctly, full tank of fuel (more than 90 percent capacity) and tool kit (if supplied).

First Look: 2016 Kawasaki KX Models

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