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MXA TEAM TESTED: HOT CAMS STAGE 1/STAGE 2 KX450F CAMSHAFTS

March 20, 2014
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WHAT IS IT? The best way to modify your four-stroke’s powerband is with different intake and exhaust camshafts. Hot Cams offers two different KX450F camshaft pairs—Stage 1 and Stage 2. They fit 2009–2014 Kawasaki KX450Fs.

WHAT’S IT COST? $179.95 (Stage 1/Stage 2 intake), $199.95 (Stage 1/Stage 2 exhaust).

CONTACT? www.hotcamsinc.com or (515) 402-8005.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Hot Cams 2009-2014 KX450F Stage 1 and Stage 2 cams.

(1) Test methodology. MXA’s test protocol was simple: we took our stock KX450F to the test track to spend time on the stock engine. Then, we pulled into the pits and changed to Hot Cams’ Stage 1 camshafts. Once the test riders had ridden with the Stage 1 cams, we installed the Stage 2 cams. Then, we repeated the process with the original stock cam. All the testing was done on the same day, on the same track, with the same test riders. We don’t recommend doing this job at the racetrack.

(2) Stage 1. In stock trim, the 2013 KX450F already has good power delivery. The Hot Cams’ Stage 1 cams made the powerband more rider-friendly (largely because the Stage 1 cams had 0.64mm less lift on the intake and exhaust valves). Throttle response was improved, which allowed the MXA test riders to power out of corners with little or no drama. There was an increase in power from the bottom to midrange. The Stage 1 cams would best suit a Novice or Vet rider who is looking for a more usable powerband out of the potent KX450F.

(3) Stage 2. Hot Cams’ Stage 2 cams delivered a big bang (largely because the Stage 2 cams had 0.13mm more lift on the intake valves and 1.78mm more on the exhaust valves). The MXA test riders were shocked by the difference these cams made. The Stage 2 cams delivered improved throttle response with a huge hit in the midrange. The power ramped up fast, and because it went through the powerband faster, it felt like it revved less—but that wasn’t true. The Stage 2 cam makes a significant difference, which you will feel instantly. If you want a faster KX450F, this is the cam for you.

(4) ITR technology. Good camshafts not only increase power but also improve throttle response; however, more power and better throttle response are difficult to achieve. Hot Cams’ Improved Throttle Response technology (ITR) solves this dilemma by offering highly engineered cam lobes that open the valves later but quicker. The steeper lobe ramps are the best way to get quicker power delivery and a cleaner intake charge.

(5) Installation. If you have any doubts about your mechanical skills, have an experienced mechanic do the work for you. If you feel qualified to do the work yourself, Hot Cams has videos on their website to help you.

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? Some parts are bolt-on. Cams require mechanical know-how.
4-STARS
We liked the performance of both pairs of cams. The Stage 1 cams are great for less-skilled and Vet riders, while the Stage 2 cams are very aggressive and tailored to experienced racers.

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