MXA TEAM TESTED: FCP KAWASAKI KX450 ENGINE MOUNTS
WHAT IS IT? The Kawasaki KX450 has had the same chassis since 2019, and it is still the same on the 2023 KX450. The stock KX450 is known for its brisk, quick-revving engine that gets up and goes with excitement but ultimately tops out at 56.94 horsepower, which is just a shade higher than the Suzuki. Once you install stiffer fork springs, the KX450 is stable in rough straightaways, and it turns easily as well; however, the stock KX450 leaves room for improvement, and that’s where FCP Racing’s aftermarket engine mounts come in.
WHAT’S IT COST? $399.00 (front bolt, top mounts, bottom mounts).
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the FCP Racing Kawasaki KX450 engine mounts.
(1) Concept. The aluminum engine mounts hold the KX450 powerplant inside of the aluminum perimeter frame. An engine mount’s job is no small task. The mounts are the connection between the engine and the chassis. They hold the heaviest and most powerful piece of the motorcycle in place. By changing the material and shape of these mounts, FCP can adjust how the bike handles on the track. Depending on the design, the engine mounts can complement or hinder how a motorcycle works on the track.
(2) Stock performance. We tested the FCP mounts on the stock KX450 and KX450SR, and found that the results carried over with the same effects on both bikes, even with different suspension settings. The stock KX450 has soft Showa forks, and test riders always increase the spring rate to balance out the bike. The KX450SR comes with Kayaba suspension instead of Showa, and it holds up much better on corner entrance. In general, the Kawasaki has very good handling. It is stable yet easy to turn. One con about the KX450, though, is that it can be twitchy and not very consistent in turns. This is where the FCP mounts helped.
(3) FCP mounts. After riding the KX450 with the stock settings and mounts, we started with the front engine mounts and bolt to test them separately from the top head stays. Right away our testers noticed a change in handling at the front wheel. The stiffer front mounts increased traction and gave the front end a stabler and “heavier” feel coming into corners. It took less effort to stick a turn. The front end felt more predictable, and it wasn’t as twitchy on corner entrance. All in all, we didn’t notice any ill effects.
Next, we added the head stays, giving up on the idea of testing them separately, since we knew the front mounts were a benefit. With the FCP head stays and engine mounts combined, the handling was improved again. Front-end traction was increased by the engine mounts, and rear-wheel traction improved with the head stays. They allowed the rear end to flex more; however, we noticed more benefits on the front wheel with fewer effects on the rear.
(4) Torque specs. FCP Racing recommends these settings for their mounts: engine mounts 22 pound-feet (M8 studs), 35 pound-feet (M10 bolt). Note: The FCP front-mount direction is green side up, aggressive curve down. Head stays: 22 pound-feet (M8 bolts), 34 pound-feet (M10 bolts). Also, be sure to snug down the bolts evenly before torquing them. Note: When removing the nut off the front engine bolt, remember to secure the bolt on the opposite side of the engine; otherwise, the nut will just spin the bolt and it won’t come off.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We had no complaints, but if you aren’t sensitive to how you bike feels in motion, then they are an expensive trinket.
MXA RATING: If you know your KX450 like the back of your hand, you’ll appreciate the benefits of the FCP mounts. There’s no question about it; each test rider felt a positive benefit from the FCP Racing engine mounts on our KX450 test bikes. They improved corner consistency and made it easier to be smooth through deep ruts. Plus, it looks factory when you glance down and see the bright and shiny colors.