New to Kawi

Hey guys, just got a 13 kx450f and all I can say is WOW! This is the best bike I've ridden! Im coming off a 12 yz450 and it's a nice bike but the handling is backwards! Stewey was right! To me it appears the only negative about this bike is the quality is not quite as good as the Yamaha. But the fun factor and confidence it gives is worth it! I'm looking forward to staying off the ground and having more great motos!!

What differences have you noticed in quality?

im curious about this as well since i have owned both 

Just small stuff like the chain guide and slider, the linkage bolts don't have a keeper on one side to keep the bolt from spinning. I've worked on Kawasaki's in the past and wasn't impressed with the way things were put together so maybe it left a bad impression. I've also had some friends that have had some reliability issues but you never quite know if they are the culprit...


I've had a lot of Hondas and Yamahas and they have a great build quality. I've had one Suzuki in 03 and while I was a great bike to ride it was not up to the quality of the other two mentioned. I spent much more time working on that bike!

I agree that the Kawi fit/finish is just not up to par with Yamaha, Honda, or KTM (I've had those brands before). It seems to be mostly the fasteners and the quality/thickness of the plastic.


On my new 13 KX, I've already had a spoke nipple and a sprocket bolt that gave up. And the shrouds looked like they had 3 months of riding on them after one day!


But I think the bike is really great otherwise. This is kind of nitpicky stuff as much of the most used fasteners will get replaced eventually anyway. 


At least it comes with decent tires! This is the first bike I've had since 2001 (5 new bikes in that time) that I didn't have to change the tires. 

Hmmm slider and guide have all been updated on this bike to not wear out . Ive only got a few hours on my bike but plastics havent worn faster than any other bike ive rode. Heck had a friend wreck his 13 so bad he bruised ribs and all it did was tweak his handlebars a bit plastics and everything else are just fine. 

Had to replace the slider at 35 hours, the damn thing wore all the way through, the plastic might be good and just the angle of the swingarm, mounting point produces a lot of chain rub? I don't know. All bikes have there little quirks and some have more than others, and if this is the case I'm ok with it. Like I said before this bike is amazing, slides very predictable, stable, front end bites, turns great, smooth power etc...

How do the motors hold up?

motors been solid for years

How do the motors hold up?

I called a local tuner who has reputation as KXF guru and his comment was "these motors are built like sherman tanks." The only thing he mentioned is that some of them will go thru head gaskets every 35-50 hrs. But it's easy fix - new head gasket.

I've heard that also about the head gaskets. Nice to hear it's a solid motor!

I know its a little different. But my 05 kx125 is a pretty well thought out bike. Good fastener quality and everything is put together with some thought to it. Maybe because times were good when it was designed? Idk

Whats with some putting on a higher pressure radiator caps? I've read in the magazines and a friend installed one too. Last week it was a hundred degrees and my bike was fine but I only did about a 15min moto at the hot part of the day.


Does the bike really need it or just magazine bs....

Edited by chrismxer

never changed the radiatorcap on any of my 450:s. Good bike 75 hours on mine no problems at all changed the piston at 70 and the whole bike still looks good and feels very fresh.

I heard some are having issues with the cylinder skirt breaking... I was told a mechanic had about 5 in a row come in with the same problem and this is from a loyal Kawi owner who has bought another 13 cause his current one is starting to make an engine noise at 40+ hours.


Anyone heard of this crap??

My buddy has a 12 with 170 hours and on the stock top end. Only had to adjust the shims once, and replace the clutch springs. Very solid. My 10 has 80 hours and shims are still in spec. The only problem is the chain guides and not riding enough!!!

I have a 12 with 170 hours of trail riding n mx track practice the odd time and mine has never missed a beat ;)

The chain slider wear is a Kawi design choice. In 09 they put the counter sprocket low to improve rear suspension action, at the expense of the wear rate of that consumable part. Slider wear can be slowed down a little if you put a nice bed of silicone under it when you fit it.  Also as it wears, trim the high plastic off the sides so the chain is not running through a trench. This lets more grit flick off.


I would never chose a bike based on the quality of the body work fasteners. Total don't care. Just use blue loctite and/or replace them all for about $20 for a bolt kit.


As soon as your KX450F runs a little hotter than it originally did, then be ready to replace the gasket and torque the head precisely. I let mine go for too long, and some head warp resulted. Although that warp was about a 30 minute fix using some wet sand paper on a glass plate.


I think the high pressure radiator cap is magazine BS. The motor is not renowned for cooking itself with the stock 1.3 cap. If a 1.3 is blowing off coolant during normal riding in normal temps than check the head gasket or look for other problems and solutions.

Stick with the stock radiator cap. Remember, a higher rated cap will create a higher boiling temperature but in turn will put more stress on your motor (i.e. head gasket).

Wr has got the right idea ;)

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