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WHAT IS IT? A new weapon in the battle to solve front-end understeer on the Kawasaki KX450F.
WHAT’S IT COST?
www.ride-engineering.com or (800) 805-1516.
WHAT STANDS OUT?
Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Ride Engineering KX450F 21.5mm offset triple clamp.
For many years, the MXA wrecking crew has tinkered with different triple-clamp offsets for the Kawasaki KX450F—and for good reason. With a front end that habitually understeers from center-out in corners, the Kawasaki begs for greater turning precision. Knowing that there was an issue, Kawasaki has made a special effort to target triple-clamp offset. The 2012 KX450F comes equipped with 23mm offset clamps. Although better than on previous models, the steering still left a lot to be desired. We, and most National racers, have had excellent luck with 22mm aftermarket offset clamps, but we were interested in trying out Ride Engineering’s 21.5mm clamp.
The Ride Engineering clamp comes with the bottom bearing already pressed in, which makes installation a cinch. We were pleased to discover that the Ride clamp accepts the stock bar mounts and cones. Having said that, we opted for the one-piece bar mount ($89.95 for 7/8-inch bars; add $10 for oversize bars). The mount offers 3mm of adjustability front to rear and also reduces the chance of the handlebars twisting in the event of a crash. The Ride clamp requires the stock triple-clamp pinch bolts.
We thought that 22mm was the magic number for the KX450F. Guess again. After riding with the 21.5mm offset clamp, we were elated with the cornering performance of our KX450F. The bike turned better than it did with the 22mm offset clamp. The front end held a consistent and precise line through every conceivable type of corner, including deep ruts and sand. We experienced a bit of head shake at high speeds, but remedied the problem by dropping the fork legs flush in the triple clamp. On tighter tracks, where speed wobbles weren’t an issue, we raised the fork legs to further improve cornering.
Ride Engineering offers the KX450F triple clamp in traditional silver, as well as black or green anodizing. And, should you find it necessary to run a steering damper, the clamp accepts a Showa HPSD off of a Honda. (Ride also sells the damper for $225.) A $49.95 bracket is required. Testers felt that the 21.5mm offset clamps didn’t require the damper. We solved any stability problems by adjusting fork-leg height. Ride Engineering also sells 20mm offset triple clamps for those really looking to sharpen the handling (at the expense of some other handling niceties). This might be the right choice for Supercross and Arenacross riders, but for the all-around rider this seting is too extreme.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK?
We wish that the triple clamp had a built-in post to house the front brake line guide.
If you own a late-model Kawasaki KX450F and feel that the front end understeers in corners, then the Ride Engineering 21.5mm offset clamp is the solution.