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10 Best Mods for the 2009 Kawasaki KX450F
10 BEST MODS FOR THE 2009 KAWASAKI KX450F: Where We'd Spend Our Money, If It Was Your Money; Things To Think About When You Are Thinking Green
WHAT IS THE BEST TRIPLE CLAMP OFFSET?
Most MXA test riders are universal in their endorsement of 22mm triple clamps on their KX-Fs. Why? Because Kawasaki’s geometry has a tendency to tuck and push. Pulling the stock 23.5mm offset back (24.5 on 2006-07 models) increases trail, which helps the front tire track more accurately through the center-out. You will need to slide the forks up in the clamps to get the most out of the 22mm offset clamps.
CAN YOU FIX THE KX450F WITH A SHOCK LINKAGE?
Off the showroom floor, the KX450F’s rear suspension wallows and needs more compression damping. MXA ’s best fix is to run a Pro Circuit linkage (it ramps up the rising rate, stiffens the initial part of the stroke and lowers the height). www.procircuit.com
HOW TO TURN THE FIVE-SPEED INTO A FOUR-SPEED?
Kawasaki’s five-speed gearbox is really the old 2006 four-speed tranny. No matter how you cut it, first gear and fifth gear are problems. Every test rider wanted the bike geared lower so that second gear would come into play sooner, third gear would be closer to second, and fifth would be more usable. Add one or two teeth to the rear sprocket. A side benefit of gearing the bike down is that you lessen the number of shifts and encourage short shifting—which reduces the number of missed shifts on the KX450F’s faulty gearbox.
WHAT IS THE QUICK FIX FOR ENGINE OVER-HEATING?
We boiled the KX450F’s water at every long or hot race we went to. We sought advice from Kawasaki mechanics, and they said to switch the 1.3 kg/cm2 radiator cap for a 1.8 (that's what the team runs). The Kawasaki part number is 49085-1077. A 1.8 kg/cm2 equals 25.6 psi. The stock 1.3 cap is 18.5 psi. A radiator cap will not raise or lower your engine's temperature, but it does raise the boiling point by three degrees per pound of pressure.
LOOKING FOR A LONG-LASTING CHAIN GUIDE?
We ate through the stock KX450F chain guide in no time (especially after we lowered the gearing). The best KX450F chain guide is the all-plastic Slide-N-Glide unit (you will need the chain buffer pad also). It lasts forever. Go to www.tmdesignworks.com for more info.
WHAT HONDA PART FITS ON A KX450F?
We hate the cotter key in the KX450F rear axle nut. Our solution? We trot down to the Honda dealership and get a stock, self-locking CRF450 axle nut.
HOW CAN YOU SET THE PRELOAD?
No bike makes it harder to get to the shock preload ring than the KX450F. The Enzo Technica preload ring allows you to get rid o...
2009 Kawasaki KX250F Mods and Rockers
REAL MACHINES OF MXA WRECKING CREW: 2009 Kawasaki KX250F Mods And Rockers; What We Did To Our KX250F and Why
1. Triple clamps. Kawasaki switched to a 23.5mm offset (down from 24.5mm) for 2009. It wasn’t enough. We switched to 22mm offset triple clamps to sharpen the steering from center-out. www.procircuit.com
2. Gearing. The stock 48-tooth gearing is very gappy (especially between second and third gears). Changing to a 49-tooth rear sprocket strengthens the transition between gears.
3. Exhaust. At AMA sound test levels, the KX250F has a legal 94dB muffler. But, at speed, the KX250F exhaust is extremely loud. We swapped to a 94dB Pro Circuit Ti-4R race system. It improved mid-to-top power (and is the exact pipe used by Pourcel, Morais, Stroupe and Weimer). www.procircuit.com
4. Rear axle. Kawasaki still uses an old-fashioned cotter pin in their rear axle nut. We made life easier for ourselves by switching to a 32mm Honda axle nut and throwing out the lawyer-suggested KX-F cotter pin.
5. Chain guide. The stock KX250F chain guide doesn’t provide enough clearance for the chain, especially when adding extra teeth to the rear sprocket. Before eating through the rubber and metal, we switched to a TM Designworks rear chain guide. You should too because it is the best solution. www.tmdesignworks.com
6. Front brake. The 2009 KX250F has one of the weakest front brakes in the class. We replaced the stock 250mm rotor with a 270mm Galfer Tsunami rotor kit, which greatly improved braking power. www.galferusa.com
7. Clutch. The stock plates are very durable, but when it comes time to replace them, be sure to face the sharp side of the plates out (rounded side toward the engine) or the clutch will slip. We are currently testing a Barnett unit. www.barnettclutches.com
8. Graphics. The stock graphics lasted an hour before they blew off like rice paper in a windstorm. We opted toinstall N-Style’s Accelerator kit ( www.n-style.com ) and DeCal Works preprinted numbers. www.decalmx.com
9. Jetting. The stock mainjet was too rich for most conditions. We dropped the mainjet, richened the pilot jet and leaned out the fuel screw. If you ride in hot conditions or at high altitude we recommend that you stick with the stock pilot jet.
Main: 180 (182) Pilot: 42 (40) Needle: NHJT Leak jet: 55 Clip position: 4th from top Fuel screw: 2 turns out (2-1/8 stock) Notes: The NHJT needle is new for 2009. The taper has a gradual progression, unlike the 2008 needle, which is stepped.
10. Plastic. The radiators shrouds, side panels and fork guards break with regularity. There is almost ...
2009 Kawasaki KX450F Mods and Rockers
REAL MACHINES OF MXA WRECKING CREW: 2009 Kawasaki KX450F Mods And Rockers; What We Did To Our KX450F and Why
REAL MACHINES OF MXA
INSIDE MXA’s 2009 KAWASAKI KX450F
WHAT WE DID & WHY WE DID IT
1. Gearing. Swapping the stock 50-tooth rear sprocket for a 51 was the cheapest fix made to the KX450F. Gearing the bike down lessened the gap between third and fourth, moved third gear closer to second, and most importantly, moved second gear down so that short-shifting was more accurate.
2. Chain guide. Switching to a larger rear sprocket quickly turns the chain guide into shark bait for the chain to chew through. We ate through the bottom chain guide in three hours, so we installed a bulletproof T.M. Designworks chain guide. While at it, we also installed a T.M. Designworks chain slider to prevent the chain from eating through the top of the swingarm. www.tmdesignworks.com
3. Axle nut. Hate is a strong word, but it’s not strong enough for our feelings towards the cotter pin used on the rear axle nut. The MXA wrecking crew threw the cotter pin in the trash and switched to the self-locking rear axle nut from a Honda CRF450.
4. Exhaust. The stock KX450F exhaust system was extremely loud (99 dB), so we opted for Pro Circuit, FMF or Two Brothers race systems on our KX450Fs. All of them lowered the volume and greatly improved the mid-and-up power.
5. Triple clamps. Kawasaki recognized that they had a front end push from center out in corners, so they changed the fork offset on the 2009 KX450F (from 24mm down to 23mm). It wasn’t enough. We switched to Pro Circuit’s 22mm offset clamps and, like last year, found a solution to the problem. www.procircuit.com
6. Link. Due to a soft initial part of the shock stroke, the 2009 KX450F rear has a tendency to wallow under a heavy load. The Pro Circuit link dropped the height of the rear end and stiffened the initial part of the stroke, which helped the Kawasaki to track straighter. The Pro Circuit Link is used by almost every National KX-F racer. www.procircuit.com
7. Graphics. The MXA wrecking crew loved the look of the 2009 KX450F—that is, until the plastics became scratched and the graphics began to tear. We made an aesthetic improvement to the KX450F by slapping on the N-Style Paint graphics kit. We also used DeCal Works preprinted numbers to ensure a clean look. www.n-style.com
8. Fork guards. We went through fork guards like they were made of plastic...or more accurately, brittle plastic. We felt that aftermarket guards from Acerbis ( www.acerbis.com ) or UFO ( www.decalmx.com ) were more reliable, but went with LightSpeed ( www.lightspeedperf.com ) carbon fiber guards instead. Additionally, the radiator shrouds and side panels always seemed to have a crack in them whenever we looked at them.