TEST: 2020 KAWASAKI KFX50

The smallest green machine By the staff of Dirt Wheels

Kawasaki’s KFX50 is safe for beginner riders. In stock trim, top speed is limited to 9 mph. You can, however, remove a limiter collar in the CVT transmission that will allow it to hit 15 mph.

Kawasaki, like most manufacturers, has machines for the whole family. For the smallest member of your posse, Team Green offers a little 50cc four-stroke with a fully automatic CVT transmission. It uses a chassis similar to its larger 90cc brother, with smaller tires, lower overall seat height and a lighter weight. The 2020 Kawasaki KFX50 is recommended for kids 6 years old and older. 

BASIC NUMBERS

 This KFX is 34.7 inches wide, 55.1 inches long, 35.8 inches tall and weighs 245 pounds. Those figures will make it easy to load in a small pickup or store in the family garage. It will actually fit through the side gate, so it could be ridden in a small residential backyard. The sub-9-foot turning radius will allow for that as well.

Kawasaki gives their little 50 a quiet exhaust so it can be ridden in the backyard. For smaller yards, the tight turning radius of under 9 feet will allow for some additional fun, too.

SAFETY FIRST

Parents have the ultimate say when this machine can be used by the kids by being able to control the keyed ignition. With the key in place, the machine starts easy with a push-button starter or backup kicker. The choke is now automatic, so you don’t even have to remember to turn it off. 

Bodywork all but completely covers the engine and any dangerous parts, keeping the little guys safe. Furthermore, full-coverage fenders and foot wells give solid platform for kids to stand. We were able to fit at least a size-8 boot comfortably on the floorboard with no issues. More safety is provided by a throttle limiter screw at the thumb throttle that parents can use to keep new riders under control. Finally, out back, parents can hold an ignition tether that will stop the engine when yanked. You can attach it to the rider as well so the motor shuts off if the rider falls off. With proper training and supervision, we hope that doesn’t happen. 

Low-end power coming out of the 50cc four-stroke is enough to get up hills, travel across sand washes or dredge through the mud. The parents will like that the splash protection keeps the kids cleaner than they want to be.

SANDLOT

Kawasaki’s smallest quad is perfect for kids around the ages of 6 to 8 or older ones who are on the smaller side. Power is smooth and linear so it shouldn’t intimidate timid riders. The brake levers placed on the handlebars seem like full-sized levers, but we didn’t have any kids complain they couldn’t reach them. Drum brakes up front and a single disc out back will slow the machine down quickly. We actually think the machine could lose the front brakes to save some weight and a few nickels off the price tag. Although, those brakes are good for teaching kids how to use them, since this machine doesn’t go fast enough to need them.

 A light thumb throttle didn’t give any fits to our pint-sized riders. When we let the faster kids on, they had a blast holding it wide open and blasting around a few small tracks. Top speed is limited from the factory at 9 mph. If the track was small enough, that top speed wasn’t boring. However, speed is not what this quad is all about. We found the KFX’s biggest tribute was easy of use, simple to operate for a wide range of riders and safety. 

Power is brought to the rear tires via chain drive, and the brakes work like they do on a big quad using a hydraulic disc. Suspension travel back here is a tick under 3 inches.
All the controls are up here, including front and rear brakes, electric start, throttle, and throttle limiter. There is no foot brake.

Over the bumps, A-arms up front and a swingarm move just under 3 inches. It’s enough travel to soak up small bumps, rocks, roots or even little jumps. When you are talking about a 50–70-pound rider, you want the machine to cut down on the jarring hits, and that’s what this machine does well. Heavy riders can be taken care of, too. The shocks have preload adjusters that parents can crank up if needed. 

Single A-arms handle the 2.8 inches of wheel travel up front. Some bump absorption happens through the tires, too. For heavier riders, the shocks can be stiffened up at the spring.
The full floorboards provide a solid footing for any sized rider. We were able to fit up to a size9 boot on here easily. The back up starter can be kicked by smaller riders, too.

REPORT CARD

Kawasaki gets an “A” grade for not only providing a fun ATV you can put your small son or daughter on as their first gas-powered machine, but it’s a safe one, too. This will put them on the path to enjoying the outdoors, off-roading and build skills they will rely on the rest of their life. Furthermore, this Kawasaki ATV, like most of their products, is Kawasaki strong. Not only will this machine be able to be passed down from child to child, but you could probably keep it around for their kids, too.

SPECS

Engine Single, air-cooled, 4-stroke

Displacement 49.5cc

Bore and stroke 39mm x 41.4mm

Starter Electric, kick-start backup 

Fuel system Carburetor w/auto choke

Fuel capacity 1.5 gal.

Transmission Automatic CVT

Final drive Chain

Suspension/wheel travel:

Front Single A-arm w/ 2.8”

Rear Swingarm w/ 2.9”

Brakes:

Front Dual mechanical drum

Rear Hydraulic disc

Tires:

Front 16×7-8

Rear 16×9-8

Length/width/height 56.1”/35.5”/36.4”

Turning radius 8.7’

Ground clearance 3.9”

Wheelbase 38”

Curb weight 245.8 lb.

Colors Lime Green, Vibrant Blue

Price $1,999

Contact .kawasaki.com, local dealer

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