Photos & video below

From the moment we arrived at Competitive Edge MX Park, we could tell there was something different about the folks from Kawasaki. They seemed to have a bounce in their step, or an increased sense of pride if you will. It was only after we threw a leg over the brand spankin’ new 2006 KX450F that we understood.

Kawasaki has really done their homework with this bike. They took an extra year to learn and to develop the bike even further to make it into the 2006 machine. Part of that extra development includes the frame, which is already in it’s second generation.

The first thing we noticed about the new KX450F is how easy it is to start. It started up effortless. The next thing we noticed is how easy it is to ride. You could ride it at any speed and it seemed to behave perfectly. Most of this can be attributed to the motor, which has hand finished intake ports, titanium valves, and dual valve springs to provide stable operation under intense racing conditions. And to the tapered titanium exhaust pipe that expands in diameter from 38 to 41mm. The big KX has a tractor-like pull down low that extends well into the mid to high rpm range. You could really go fast without having to work hard. As a testimate to the broad powerband, we sometimes found ourselves coming out of corners in third gear and not having a problem.

The power is transferred to the ground through a 4-speed tranny, which is super smooth and makes shifting a joy. The bike cornered exceptionally well. It really encouraged you to dive into corners, holding its line very smoothly. The new Kayaba AOS (Air Oil-Separate) forks and the UNI-TRACK rear suspension helped to round out the already great package. The suspension was really well balanced, and could suit a variety of different riders in stock form. The fit and finish on the 450 was top notch too – the bike comes with a Renthal aluminum handlebar, titanium footpegs, and titanium footpeg brackets.

We were really impressed with the 2006 KX450F. Whenever a manufacturer releases a new model, there can be a wait-and-see attitude that follows. But we really feel that Kawasaki’s new thumper will hold its own in the already tough 450 class. It’s that good.

Watch the QuickTime video of the KXF in action!

Photos by Kinney Jones

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2006 KX450F

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Jeff Emig

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Kawasaki engine designer & VIPs

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Melissa helps make it happen

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Ricky Stumetz ripping it up

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Roosting is easy on the KXF 450

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2nd generation frame

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Jeff Emig

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The KX felt light in the air

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Competitive Edge MX park

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Russ helps explain the new bike

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Jeff, Jan, and The Jammer


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