In the August print issue of Dirt Wheels, our modified 450 MX shootout was a massive project that involved six ATVs built by six different companies. The object of the test was simple: we compared the quads in full-race form. The only limit was that they all had to represent a similar investment; somewhere in the $15,000 range including the initial purchase price. To give you a little more detail on each of the projects, we’ll be featuring the machines one at a time on the web over the next few weeks.
Doug Dubach accepted that task of transforming our KFX450 into a track ready machine. In stock form it suffers from familiar shortcomings. It’s meant for twisting between trees more than track riding. It even has reverse. Like the Honda it also has fluffy tires and a mild power delivery.
In our past experiences with the Kawasaki, we have complained of twitchy steering, particularly on motocross tracks. We rode Josh Creamer’s monster Energy Kawasaki last year and found none of this issue, so when Dubach Racing built our KFX, we asked that he borrow heavily from the testing that the race team did last year. Jimmy White managed that team, and he was happy to share his secrets as well as some left-over parts.
First on the list was Walsh A-arms that were 2.5 inches wider than stock. These are more than just wider, they alter the geometry to calm the KFX’s hypertension. The actual units that we used were leftover veterans from the race team, but identical units can be ordered from Walsh. PEP had longer, steel-braided brake lines in stock and ready to go. Another used race team part that we gobbled up was the Lonestar rear axle. That carries a price in the $420 range.
The widening process left the Kawasaki at a disadvantage. The KFX starts off at almost $8000, so there was very little money left for the motor. Jimmy White listed the priorities in this order: 1–exhaust, 2–airbox, 3–fuel controller, 4–cams, 5–head, 6–compression. Dr.D supplied the exhaust and the Mod Box, we installed cams from the KX450F motocross motorcycle, then took the quad to Fuel Customs for an airbox and dyno testing. Garret at FC took one look at the dyno numbers and proclaimed the motor a winner. He made some minor adjustments to the Mod Box metering and said there was no need for a piston or head work. Call Fuel Customs for the specs.
The damper we used was a GPR (just like thee Kawasaki race team used last year). And like the others, Fox suspension was used all the way around. When you order the Float Evol from shocks, you have to specify what A-arm you have. In the rear the race team used an extended swingarm, but we didn’t have the budget, so the Podium X shock was valved for the standard KFX swingarm. Like the Honda, the KFX needs nerf bars, where we used DG. Tires and wheels were again were DWT, which were the control item for all the quads.
Kawasaki KFX450F … $7949
Walsh A-arms … $1500… (386) 364-4942
Lonestar axle … $420.00 … (800) 457-7223
PEP brake lines … $200.00 … ( 909 ) 590-4111
KX Exhaust cam … $142.52 … Kawasaki dealers
KX Intake cam … $182.73 … Kawasaki dealers
Dr.D SS Exhaust … $599 … (877) 382-2241
Dr.D Mod Box … $299… (877) 382-2241
Fuel Customs airbox … $310 … (909) 594-6082
DG nerf bars … $419.95 … (714) 577-7499
DG bumper … $109.95… (714) 577-7499
Renthal Fatbar … $79.99 … (800) 369-1000
GPR steering damper … $495.00 … (619) 661-0101
Fox Float front shocks … $1495… (800) FOX-SHOX
Fox Podium X … $895… (800) FOX-SHOX
DWT wheel set (G2Beadlock & Rok-out) … $452.95 (760) 758-5560
2 DWT MXFV2 front tires … $143.90 … (760) 758-5560
2 DWT MXFV1 rear tires … $233.98 … (760) 758-5560