2021 Kawasaki KX450XC First Look: With the introduction of the 2021 Kawasaki KX motocrosser comes two new models, the 2021 Kawasaki KX250XC and 450XC off-road motorcycles. Both of these models get the same updates as their 2021 KX motocross brothers but feature a number of changes to make them more off-road compatible. Some of this includes 18-inch rear wheels, off-road suspension settings, and kickstands.
KX450XC MSRP: $9,599
- NEW Off-road specific spring rates and settings for SHOWA A-Kit suspension fork and shock
- NEW Coned disk-spring hydraulic clutch
- NEW Renthal Fatbar handlebar
- NEW Black coupler equipped
- NEW Durable XC skid plate
- NEW XCspecific braking components, 270mm front rotor, 240mm rear rotor
- NEW XC specific 21” front and18” rear wheel combination
- NEW XC specific gearing
- NEW XC specific Dunlop AT81 Geomax tires
- NEW XC kickstand
The all-new 2021 KX450XC has been designed as the flagship model of the KX XC lineup. Whether in the woods, desert, or cross-country the KX450XC is a race-ready championship-winning machine right off the showroom floor and shares numerous winning traits of its motocross counterpart, the KX450.
A cross-country race machine tuned for more experienced riders, the 449cc liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine, slim aluminum perimeter frame, Showa A-KIT technology suspension, hydraulic clutch and electric start are the ultimate combination of a championship-winning package.
The KX450XC is built with race-winning components to help Kawasaki riders get to the top step of the podium. From the showroom to the racetrack, the performance of Kawasaki’s KX family of motorcycles is proof of its engineering pedigree.
The four-stroke, single-cylinder, DOHC, water-cooled 449cc lightweight engine package utilizes input derived directly from the factory race team, with optimized engine mapping and settings for off-road racing. The potent KX450XC engine features an electric start, which is activated by the push of a button and powered by a compact Li-ion battery.
Kawasaki brought top-level road racing technology to the KX450XC valve train, using designs from Kawasaki World Superbike engineers. It uses a finger-follower valve actuation, enabling larger-diameter valves and more aggressive cam profiles. The intake and exhaust valves are formed from lightweight titanium, while a bridged-box piston uses the same design as the Monster Energy Kawasaki race team’s factory motorcycles. For increased performance on the 2021 KX450XC engine, the piston also features a dry film lubricant coating on the piston skirt to reduce friction.
A close-ratio five-speed transmission features lightweight gears and shafts to keep weight down, yet retains strength while contributing to the motorcycle’s winning performance. The KX450XC has shorter gearing than its counterpart, the KX450, with a final gear ratio of 51/13. The transmission is paired with a coned disk-spring hydraulic clutch that is designed to provide a consistent feeling through minimal change in play as the clutch heats up during heavy use. The coned disc-spring contributes to a light clutch actuation and a wide clutch engagement range, which facilitates increased control.
An industry-leading slim aluminum perimeter frame provides precise cornering through excellent front-end feel and the ultimate 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 frames rigidity balance. A lightweight alloy swingarm is constructed of a cast front section and twin tapered hydro-formed spars in a raw aluminum finish, complementing the frame’s raw look. Engineers carefully placed the dimension of the swingarm pivot, output sprocket, and rear axle locations, helping to focus on lower center of gravity and balanced handling.
SUSPENSION & BRAKES
The race-ready suspension found on the KX450XC features front and rear spring rates and damping settings that have been optimized for technical off-road and cross-country racing environments. High-performance Showa 49 mm 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 Kawasaki’s factory racing team’s machines. The forks enable the use of large damping pistons for smooth action and firm damping. A super-hard titanium coating on the outer surface of the inner/lower fork tubes helps prevent wear and abrasion. The increased surface hardness of the dark navy-blue coating also helps to prevent scratches and damage to the tubes. Kashima Coating on the fork tubes also helps prevent wear and abrasion while optimizing performance.
On the rear, a new Uni-Trak linkage system is designed to work in conjunction with the Showa shock, aluminum frame and swingarm. The linkage, which is mounted below the swingarm, allows for a longer rear suspension stroke and more precise rear suspension tuning. The Showa Compact Design rear shock boasts A-KIT technology with large diameter compression adjusters, improving on the high-frequency movements found when racing cross-country. The Showa shock features a self-lubricating alumite coating on the shock body to help prevent wear and abrasion, while also reducing friction for smoother suspension action.
An oversized 270mm, petal-shaped front brake rotor from the renowned manufacturer, Braking, is fitted to perfectly complement the powerful engine of the KX450XC. Optimized for cross-country riding and increased control, the rear is equipped with a 240 mm petal-shaped Braking® rotor that matches the large front disc. Both are gripped by Nissin master cylinder and caliper setups with XC-specific pads.
XC SPECIFIC COMPONENTS
The KX450XC is equipped with many specific cross-country components, such as the 21” front and 18” rear wheel combination paired with Dunlop GEOMAX AT81 tires, which were selected for optimal handling in off-road racing conditions. Other cross-country specific components include the durable plastic skid plate and side stand.
ERGONOMICS & ERGO-FIT ADJUSTABLE COMPONENTS
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. The KX450XC is equipped with factory-style 1-1/8” aluminum Renthal Fatbar handlebar, as standard equipment. The handlebars feature 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 5 mm. The lower position effectively lowers the center of gravity when standing, and reduces knee angle when taller riders are seated.
BODYWORK & SEAT
Complementing the championship proven technology, the 2021 KX450XC features aggressive styling along with in-mold graphics on the radiator shrouds that result in an ultra-smooth surface and a factory-racer 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. Each piece of the bodywork has been designed to help facilitate the rider’s movement with long, smooth surfaces. The rims are coated with tough, durable black alumite treatment. Adjusters on the fork and shock both feature a high-quality green alumite finish. A gold finish on the oil cap and the both plugs on the engine cover further contribute to KX factory-racer looks and styling.
Kawasaki Team Green Racer Rewards
Kawasaki Team Green Racer Rewards return for the 2021 racing season with more than seven million dollars in contingency available for eligible KX riders. With unmatched trackside support at over 40 events across the nation each year, Kawasaki’s Team Green program continues to raise the bar in support of amateur and professional racing by offering its payouts of over seven million dollars up for grabs, with an increased emphasis on payouts for off-road series, such as GNCC, National Enduro, JDay Off-Road, Hare & Hound and Full Gas Sprint Enduro. The off-road payout alone boasts an impressive $2.2 million dollars there for the taking, making it the highest in the industry.