FIRST LOOK! 2023 KAWASAKI KX450 SPECIAL RACER—NOW WITH SHOWA SUSPENSION

The MXA test riders loved the 2022 Kawasaki KX450SR Special Racer, but it was made in very limited numbers, which meant that it was hard to come by. The 2023 model will come in larger production run with a much larger $12,699 price tag.

The KX450SR makes its highly anticipated return for 2023. The KX450SR is Kawasaki’s version of the KTM Factory Edition, Kawasaki Rockstar Edition and Honda Works Edition. The KX450SR (Special Racer)features elite-level racing components, special tuning and design elements to further elevate the stock KX450’s performance.

The 2023 KX450SR engine get a polished intake tracts, special ECU with aggressive mapping, a hydraulic clutch and a titanium Pro Circuit exhaust.

ENGINE: The KX450SR features polished intake ports that provide smoother airflow, contributing to increased engine performance. A close-ratio five-speed transmission is paired with a high-capacity, Belleville washer activated, hydraulic clutch for a consistent feeling even under heavy use.Just like the Monster Energy factory KX450s, a Pro Circuit Ti-6 Pro titanium exhaust has been fitted to increased engine performance. The ECU mapping is exclusive to the KX450SR.

FRAME: The KX450SR frame is identical to the stock KX450 frame and swingarm. Both the KX450 and KX450SR are constructed of forged, extruded, and cast parts, while the engine is used as a stressed member.

Showa forks replace last year’s excellent Kayaba units, but Showa upped their fork game with titanium oxide coatings, , Dimplush testuring and Kashima coated internal tubes.

FORKS: For 2023, this high-performance, limited edition Special Racer (SR) is now equipped with Showa front and rear suspension components. Last year, it its first year of production it came with Kayaba forks. The new Showa forks have titanium oxide coated inner fork tubes that resist wear and reduce friction. The large 49mm inner fork tubes are the same size found on Kawasaki’s factory race team and allow for the use of large 39mm compression damping pistons and a 25mm cartridge cylinder. The inner surface of the outer fork tubes features Showa’s Dimplush texture, which has a wave-like finish to help retain an oil film for smoother action. The Dimplush texture also has a Kashima coating to create a low-friction surface that helps prevent wear so the sliding surfaces remain smooth for a long time.

Holding up the Showa front forks are XTrig ROCS triple clamps outfitted with XTrig’s PHDS (progressive handlebar dampening system) handlebar mounts. This system also helps to dampen the forces acting on the handlebars in both horizontal and vertical directions.The handlebar can be adjusted to 12 different positions for total rider customization. The 22mm front axle enhances front end traction.

The graphics have been “Monsterized,’ but the highlights are the Pro Circuit titanium exhaust system and Xtrig triple split clamps.

SHOCK: A Showa rear shock replaces last year’s Kayaba unit rear shock offers high- and low-speed damping dual-compression adjustability so that can be tuned separately. Utilizing feedback from Kawasaki’s factory race teams, the 22mm front axle enhances front end traction. The New Uni-Trak® rear suspension linkage ratios have been selected to suit the chassis.

WHEELS: Adorning the KX450SR is a pair of D.I.D. DirtStar wheels, improving the strength and durability under the most challenging conditions on the racetrack. The black coating on the rims emulates the looks of a factory race machine. Further adding to the attention grabbing appearance on the KX450SR is the championship proven combination of a D.I.D. 520ERT3 gold chain fitted to a black Renthal Ultralight aluminum rear sprocket.

MXA hoped that the 2023 KX450SR would have seen some needed upgrades to the weakest parts of the KX platform, but they didn’t fix any of the basic flaws that KX owners are well aware of.

BRAKES: Stopping duties are handle by an oversized 27mm, petal-shaped, front brake rotor from Braking. The rear rotor is a less than popular 250mm petal-shaped Braking rotor.

ERGOS: Kawasaki’s Ergo-Fit components feature footpegs that offer 5mm of up or down mounting to go along with the 1q different bar positions

The Hinson clutch covers add a factory touch, but there is nothing Hinson inside the engine.

STYLING: The 2023 Kawasaki KX450SR showcases special colors & graphics that resemble those found on the Monster Energy Kawasaki team bikes. There is also a Hinson Billetproof clutch cover featuring the Kawasaki race team logo. However, there is no Hinson clutch behind the cover.

RETAIL PRICE: $12,699 ($300 more than the 2022 KX450SR and $3100 more than a stock 2023 KX450).

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