Bikes 3 May 2022

Detailed: 2023 Kawasaki KX range

New model KX450 and KX250 released in addition to KX junior bikes.

Kawasaki has uncovered its 2023 motocross model range, returning with a relatively unchanged, flagship KX450, an updated KX250 and a host of junior two-stroke machines.

The KX450 leads the way once again in the Kawasaki 2023 KX line-up, and is built with race-winning components to help get Kawasaki riders to the top step of the podium.

Its 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 to 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. The 2023 Kawasaki KX450 is available now, with an MSRP of $9599.

With a championship heritage that boasts 18 AMA professional titles and 194 race wins since 2004, the KX250 is the ideal platform for riders looking to reach the top step of the podium or take their riding to the next level. Thanks to an updated engine for 2023, the most powerful KX250 to date was achieved, increasing performance at all rpm.

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.

The airbox construction features a short, tapered intake funnel, contributing to increased high rpm performance. The KX250 was the first production motocross bike with dual injectors. An injector downstream of the throttle valve is tasked with delivering a smooth, instant response, and a second, upstream injector located close to the airbox is a significant contributor to engine output at high rpm.

For 2023, the downdraft-style intake duct is now straighter and the upstream injector has been repositioned from above to below the duct. These changes further contribute to increased cylinder-filling efficiency, adding to the KX250’s peak performance.

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.

Contributing to the race-winning engine characteristics, the digital fuel injection system of the KX250 features a coupler package that has set the industry standard ECU tuning. Each KX250 motorcycle comes standard with three different couplers, easily allowing riders to select pre-programmed fuel injection and ignition mapping to suit their riding style or track conditions.

The four-pin couplers for the DFI engine select maps that are designed for standard, hard or soft terrain settings. Changing the engine map is as simple as connecting the coupler cap of choice. For riders looking to fine-tune their ECU settings, the KX FI Calibration Kit (Handheld) is offered as a Kawasaki Genuine Accessory and provides access to the fully programmable ECU.

Used by the factory race teams, the handheld device eliminates the need for a trackside laptop and gives riders the ability to create custom maps for precise adjustment of fuel and ignition settings. The user-friendly device can store up to seven preset maps and is PC-compatible.

The launch control system of the KX250 motorcycle is a major advantage and favorite for riders who are focused on getting to the first turn ahead of their competition. The push-button activation retards ignition timing in first and second gear, helping maximize traction on surfaces like concrete starting pads and put the bike’s potent power to the ground. Once the rider shifts into third gear, normal ignition mapping immediately resumes and full power is restored.

The KX250’s slim aluminium perimeter frame is based on that of the KX450 motorcycle and with lightweight, nimble handling, and slim ergonomics in mind. Its design is a lightweight construction composed of forged, extruded, and cast parts. The frame offers optimized rigidity balance, and while many of the parts are common with the KX450’s frame, the cast parts like the shock tower mount and engine hangers were designed specifically for the needs of the KX250.

Adding to the frame’s rigidity balance is the use of the engine as a stressed member. Like the KX450, the KX250 also utilizes a swingarm to deliver the rigidity necessary to match the frame and help increase traction at the rear wheel. The center of gravity and key dimensions such as swingarm pivot, output sprocket and rear axle locations have all been carefully selected so that the rear tire drives the bike forward.

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.

Contributing to the numerous factory-style racing components on the KX250 motorcycle are petal disc brakes. Up front is an oversized 270mm Braking brand rotor, which delivers strong braking force and superb control. A KX450-style front master cylinder adds to the high level of control and overall feedback found in the front brake.

On the rear, a 240mm Braking brand disc contributes to controllability and offers optimized stopping performance. The petal-style discs contribute to both sporty looks and help deflect debris. A rear caliper guard helps protect the caliper from damage.

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.

Kawasaki continues its unmatched commitment towards providing riders with class-leading comfort thanks to its Ergo-fit adjustable handlebar mounting system and footpegs to fit a variety of riders and riding styles. 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.

A factory-style 1-1/8” thick aluminum Renthal Fatbar handlebar comes standard and features four-way adjustable mounts. The multi-position handlebars offer two mounting holes with 35mm of adjustability, and the 180-degree offset clamps boast four individual settings to suit different size riders. The footpegs feature dual-position mounting points, with a lower position that reduces the standard setting by an additional 5mm. The lower position effectively lowers the center of gravity when standing, and reduces knee angle when taller riders are seated.

Complementing the increased engine power and improved handling of the 2023 KX250 is sleek bodywork with factory-style graphics that helps ensure it’s the sharpest looking bike in the paddock and further reflect its highly-tuned performance.

The bodywork on the KX250 has been designed to facilitate rider movement with long, smooth surfaces that make it easy to slide back and forth. The seams between the shrouds, seat, and side covers are as flush as possible to help the rider move around on the bike. The top of the fuel tank allows a flat progression from the seat to the tank, which gives the rider greater freedom of movement when changing riding position and facilitates sitting farther forward.

The single-piece radiator shrouds are slim where they come in contact with the rider’s legs and positioned close to the frame. In-mold graphics result in an ultra-smooth surface and contribute to the KX250’s factory-racer looks.

Engine covers have been designed to be as smooth as possible in order to not impede rider movement. Helping the KX250 retain its factory-style look is a gold finish on the oil cap and the two plugs on the generator cover, while the rims are coated in black alumite. ]

Available now, the 2023 Kawasaki KX250 has a MSRP of $8499.

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 carburettor 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 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. Available now, the Kawasaki KX112 comes at an MSRP of $5,399.

Built using much of the same race-winning technology as that found on the KX112, the 2023 KX85 motorcycle defines a ‘big bike in a small package’ and returns 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.

The 2023 KX65 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.

Both 2023 KX85 and KX65 models are available now, with an MSRP of $5,399 and $4,699 respectively. For information on the latest Kawasaki KX range, visit