FIRST LOOK: 2023 KAWASAKI MOTOCROSS BIKES

Kawasaki has revealed its full motocross line for 2023. The KX250 has received substantial attention which includes motor, gearbox, suspension updates.  Here is what Kawasaki has to say about its 2023 motocross models, which include the KX450, KX250, KX110, KX85 and KX65.

2023 KAWASAKI KX250

2023 Kawasaki KX250

2023 KX250 HIGHLIGHTS
• NEW Increased engine performance
• NEW Racer-friendly gearing
• NEW Fine-tuned suspension
• NEW Dunlop MX33 tires with a wider 110/90-19 rear tire
• NEW Lighter and wider footpeg design

The Kawasaki KX250 has a number of motor and gearbox changes for 2023.

ENGINE
• NEW Increased engine performance
• NEW Intake valves and valve pitch
• NEW Straighter intake duct
• NEW Repositioned upstream injector
• NEW Longer exhaust header pipe
• NEW Advanced ignition timing
• NEW Racer-friendly gearing

Tuned for race-experienced riders, the 249cc liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine receives several updates for 2023 that are designed to help the KX250 achieve stronger performance across the rev-range and result in quicker lap times and better holeshot performance.

The KX250 continues to utilize the finger-follower valve actuation – a valve train designed by Kawasaki’s World Superbike engineers – to help achieve a high rev limit that allows for the use of more aggressive cam profiles and contributes to high rpm performance. For 2023, the KX250 receives a 1.5mm narrower pitch for the intake valves and increased clearance at the valve seats to deliver increased cylinder-filling efficiency and improved combustion for improved peak performance. The intake valves have been reduced by 1mm for increased cylinder head and valve seat reliability as well as to accommodate the tighter valve pitch. To match the valve size and pitch changes, the crown on the 14.1:1 bridged-box piston has been redesigned. A dry film lubricant coating on the piston skirts reduces friction at low rpm and helps with the piston bedding-in process.

Power is said to be increased for the 2023 Kawasai KX250.

New advanced ignition timing was developed to complement the engine changes made to the KX250. A 100mm longer exhaust header pipe offers increased low-mid torque. In addition to increased performance, Kawasaki engineers focused on a racer-friendly power delivery, which was achieved by increasing the moment of inertia in the magneto rotor. The coned disc-spring hydraulic clutch pushrod has been revised from steel to a steel cap and aluminum shaft, resulting in lighter clutch operation. The hydraulic clutch is designed to provide a more consistent feeling through minimal change in clutch play as the clutch heats up during heavy use.

Based on feedback from Kawasaki’s efforts with the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki racing team in both supercross and motocross, engineers have lengthened the transmission’s first gear to make it easier to use in a greater number of situations. Second gear was also fine-tuned to offer a smooth transition from first to third gear. For increased strength, the connecting rod big-end bearing crush height was increased and the main holding circuit relay was revised for improved reliability.

For 2023, the front and rear suspension settings have been revised, contributing to improved cornering. These changes help provide the rider with greater front-end feedback and contribute to a more planted feel upon corner entry. Additionally, ground-holding performance has been improved and makes it easier for the rider to hold their selected line through a corner. The rear suspension updates are designed to improve performance at the exit of the corner, contributing to strong acceleration.

The KX250 is equipped with large diameter 48mm KYB inverted coil-spring front forks that offer optimum action at the initial part of the fork stroke. The forks feature large-diameter inner tubes, enabling the use of 25mm damping pistons and delivering smooth action and firm damping. Fork internals have been fine-tuned to deliver firmer compression damping to achieve increased performance without sacrificing ride comfort. A revised oil height on the front forks contributes to optimized characteristics of the front fork springs. A Kashima Coat on the forks’ outer tubes creates a hard, low-friction surface to help prevent wear abrasion on the inside of the tubes, ensuring the sliding surfaces remain smooth over time while protecting the outside against corrosion. The lubricating material in the coat contributes to smoother suspension action and a better overall ride feel.

In the rear, a KYB shock unit complements the front fork. The rear shock features dual compression adjustability, which allows high-speed and low-speed damping to be tuned separately. New shock valving settings enable firmer compression damping that improves performance while maintaining the comfort the KX250 is known for. A Kashima Coat on the tank cylinder helps prevent wear abrasion and reduces friction for smoother suspension action. A new Uni-Trak® rear suspension system mounts the linkage arm below the swingarm, allowing a longer rear suspension stroke. The linkage ratios are the same as those found on the KX450 motorcycle, contributing to both increased absorption and damping performance. In order to make the KX250 as light as possible, the fork cover bolts were changed from steel to aluminium and the rear linkage collar was changed from steel to aluminium and now uses hollow instead of solid bolts.

For 2023, the KX250 has been fitted with new Dunlop MX33 tires, offering increased traction to match the more powerful engine. The front features 80/100-21 sizing, while the rear can now be found in a wider 110/90-19 sizing for increased traction and a more planted rear-end feel.

New for 2023 is a revised wide-style footpeg design that is now 5mm wider (front-to-rear) and positioned 3mm rearward, offering excellent grip, superb feel, and making it easier to weight the pegs. This new design is also lighter thanks to aluminum footpeg brackets replacing the previous steel brackets. The weight savings of the footpegs, along with the suspension changes, contribute to a weight savings of almost one pound, helping offset the new larger rear tire.

 

KAWASAKI KX450

2023 Kawasaki KX450

As the flagship model in the Kawasaki KX lineup, the 2023 Kawasaki KX450 is built with race-winning components to help get Kawasaki riders to the top step of the podium. Tuned to best suit race-experienced riders, the 449cc liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine boasts an abundance of power along with a slim aluminum perimeter frame, Showa A-KIT technology suspension, coned disc-spring hydraulic clutch, and electric start to deliver the ultimate championship-winning package.

The 449cc lightweight engine package utilizes input derived directly from the Monster Energy® Kawasaki race team, producing peak power and a torque curve that makes it easy to get on the gas early. The potent KX450 engine features an electric start activated by the push of a button and powered by a compact Li-ion battery. A lightweight finger-follower valve actuation design comes by way of Kawasaki’s top-level road racing technology and World Superbike engineers, enabling larger-diameter valves and more aggressive cam profiles. A close-ratio five-speed transmission is paired with a high-capacity coned disc-spring hydraulic clutch that helps facilitate control and provide a consistent feeling even under heavy use.

A slim aluminum perimeter frame provides precise cornering through excellent front-end feel and agility when riding at high speeds. The frame’s lightweight construction is composed of forged, extruded, and cast parts, while the engine is used as a stressed member and adds to the frame’s rigidity balance. Engineers carefully selected the dimension of the swingarm pivot, output sprocket and rear axle locations to focus on the center of gravity and balanced handling.

High-performance 49mm coil spring front forks with A-KIT technology can be found up front, featuring large diameter inner tubes that are the same size as those found on the machines of Kawasaki’s factory racing team. The forks enable the use of large damping pistons for smooth action and firm damping. In the rear, a new Uni-Trak® linkage system is connected to the Showa Compact Design rear shock that boasts A-KIT technology with large diameter compression adjusters.

An oversized 270mm, petal-shaped front brake rotor from the renowned manufacturer, Braking®, is fitted to perfectly complement the powerful engine of the KX450. The rear is equipped with a 250 mm petal-shaped Braking rotor coinciding with the large front disc.

Kawasaki continues its unmatched commitment towards providing riders with class-leading ERGO-FIT® comfort thanks to its adjustable handlebar mounting system and footpegs to fit a variety of riders and riding styles. The factory-style 1-1/8” Renthal® Fatbar® handlebars feature four-way adjustable mounts with 35mm of adjustability to suit different sized riders. The footpegs feature dual-position mounting points, with a lower position that reduces the standard setting by an additional 5 mm, reducing the knee angle when taller riders are seated.

Complementing the championship-proven technology, the 2023 KX450 maintains its aggressive styling along with in-mold graphics on the radiator shrouds that result in an ultra-smooth surface and racy look needed to finish at the top of its class. The sleek bodywork has been molded to match the V-mounted radiators and narrow chassis design, helping facilitate rider movement and making it easy to slide back and forth.

KAWASAKI KX450
Color: Lime Green
MSRP: $9,599
Availability: Now

KAWASAKI KX112

2023 Kawasaki KX112

The 2023 KX112 was completely revised in 2022 and offers race-winning potential in a highly competitive class, boasting a strong low-end torque that riders can take advantage of to feel faster everywhere on the track.
The two-stroke, single cylinder KX112 features a bore and stroke of 52.5 x 51.6 mm. The engine paired with the powervalve system delivers strong low-end torque that translates to holeshot performance out of the starting gate and a stronger drive when exiting corners. Intake and exhaust port timing contribute to the KX112’s strong low rpm torque, while its piston profile delivers durability and contact surface for the piston ring helps the initial bedding-in performance. The carburetor settings have been fine-tuned to match the powerful engine and contribute to sharp response across the rev range. Complementing the powerful 112cc engine is a 6-speed transmission that has been designed to withstand the engine output.
A sturdy high-tensile steel perimeter frame was designed to harness the engine’s power, offering advantages of strength and torsional rigidity that allows riders to push hard on the track. The chassis is matched with 36mm inverted front forks that offer excellent damping and bottoming resistance, enabling the KX112 to be ridden hard while maintaining comfort. Riders can fine-tune their settings through 20-way adjustable compression damping. On the rear, Uni-Trak® rear suspension offers preload, 24-way compression and 21-way rebound damping adjustability in order to allow each rider to tailor their settings based on size and skill level.
The KX112’s large 19-inch front and 16-inch rear wheels nicely bridge the gap between minibikes and full-sized race bikes, accommodating larger youth riders and helping to navigate over the bumps and ruts commonly found on motocross tracks. The wheels are fitted with Dunlop MX33 tires that offer excellent grip and control. The bodywork of the KX112 follows along the lines of its bigger KX counterparts by forming a slim ergonomics package that facilitates rider movements and contributes to strong factory looks.

KAWASAKI KX112
Color: Lime Green
MSRP: $5,399
Availability: Now

KAWASAKI KX85

2023 Kawasaki KX85

Built using much of the same race-winning technology as that found on the KX112, the KX85 motorcycle defines a “big bike in a small package” and returns as strong as ever in 2023 with the goal to provide young racers the championship-winning advantage they need to sharpen their skills. The KX85 relies on its instantaneous power, nimble handling, and factory-race-inspired styling to reach the checkered flag first.
The two-stroke, single cylinder 84cc engine is equipped with the highly advanced powervalve system that generates an easy-to-use wide-spread powerband. Just like the KX112, it features a 6-speed transmission, Dunlop MX33 tires, slim ergonomics package, aggressive KX styling and excellent cooling performance. Championship performance requires power, which is exactly why the KX85 stands above the competition.

KAWASAKI KX85
Color: Lime Green
MSRP: $4,699
Availability: Now

KAWASAKI KX65

2023 Kawasaki KX65

The 2023 KX™65 is the most compact motocross bike in the Kawasaki KX lineup, built to serve as the machine of choice for aspiring motocross racers driven to follow in Kawasaki’s championship footsteps. The durability and reliability the KX models are known for creating a dependable platform for young racers. Featuring a six-speed transmission, race-ready engine, strong stopping power, and superb handling, the KX65 builds champions.

Its liquid-cooled, two-stroke 65cc engine and lightweight chassis deliver strong controllable power and exceptional handling that results in the ultimate recipe for winning races. The 33mm front forks and four-way adjustable rebound damping are capable of performing at the highest level in aggressive terrain, while the rear is fitted with Kawasaki’s Uni-Trak® single-shock system with adjustable rebound damping and fully adjustable spring preload.

KAWASAKI KX65
Color: Lime Green
MSRP: $3,999
Availability: Now

KAWASAKI TEAM GREEN™ RACER REWARDS
The Kawasaki Team Green™ Racer Rewards program offers more than 8 million dollars in contingency available for eligible KX riders. Team Green’s Racer Rewards program will be available at more than 501 motocross and off-road events across the nation. Motocross racers will have more than 5.6 million dollars up for grabs.

 

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