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Product Review

2008 Kawasaki KFX®450R ATV

2008 Kawasaki KFX450R ATV
2008 Kawasaki KFX450R ATV

The KFX450R ATV uses a powerplant based on Kawasaki’s highly acclaimed KX™450F motocross engine. With the addition of an efficient and highly-responsive 32-bit digital fuel injection system, the KFX450R’s engine produces more torque in the low and medium rpm ranges for outstanding hole-shot acceleration. The use of fuel injection helps ensure that the engine’s performance remains consistent and is virtually unaffected by changes in temperature or altitude.  This ATV’s ability to find traction is superb, and its four-stroke torque helps keep the wheels hooked-up for improved handling and higher corner speeds.  Other race-ready features include a lightweight titanium exhaust header pipe and a durable forged piston.

First Ride Review:

The KFX450R starts with ease.  It is a bit strange to hear a electronic fuel injection pump working when you turn the key on.  I feel like I am in my sand rail. There is no choke, but there is a idle adjusting knob that is pulled for cold starting.

The parking brake is super easy to use, and actually works.  Just flip the lever on or off.  When the brake is on, the clutch will not depress.  Nice safety feature.

Reverse gear selection is a breeze. Clutch in.  Select 1st gear.  Push the reverse lockout lever, then push the gear selector down one more click.  Red light comes on and you are in reverse.  When you are done, click the gear selector up to 1st again.  Simple.

The front of the chassis is taken directly from race proven aftermarket systems and is actually similar in design to the popular 250R Roll Design narrow front end. 

The seat is pretty hard. Going to have to fix that.

Power-wise, the KFX450R in stock form felt about the same as other 450 ATVs with maybe a slight edge to the KFX450R. The power is very linear and controllable. It will be interesting to see how it reacts after being uncorked and remapped.'s KFX450R Project Quad

More KFX450R Photos

2008 Kawasaki KFX450R ATV   2008 Kawasaki KFX450R ATV   2008 Kawasaki KFX450R ATV

2008 Kawasaki KFX450R ATV  2008 Kawasaki KFX450R ATV  
2008 Kawasaki KFX450R ATV   2008 Kawasaki KFX450R ATV   

** Photos courtesy of Mike's Cycle in Placerville, CA


449cc Liquid-cooled, four-stroke single, DOHC, four valves per cylinder 

  • Based on the engine from the World Championship winning KX™450F

  • A lightweight forged piston reduces reciprocating weight.

  • Triple piston rings and a 21mm diameter piston pin help increase durability and reduce necessary maintenance.

  • The intake ports feature a special coating.  The extremely smooth surfaces improve intake efficiency at all rpm.

  • Lightweight titanium valves and aluminum valve spring retainers reduce reciprocating weight and boost high-rpm reliability.

  • Lightweight high-performance titanium exhaust header contributes to low and mid-range throttle response.

  • Electric starting facilitates quicker stall recovery and lowers rider fatigue.

  • Large-volume airbox contributes to both intake efficiency and the sharp engine response.  An air duct fashioned from polyethylene (known for its ability to resist deformation caused by intake pulses) helps ensure stable engine performance.

  • Torque delivery is tuned to match the rear tires’ ability to deliver traction, making it easier to accelerate without excessive wheelspin.  Efforts were made to achieve the widest possible torque curve, so that traction can be maximized through a greater part of the rev range.

  • Asymmetrical high-acceleration cams yield high intake efficiency.

  • The compression ratio in the KFX450R is 12:1.

  • The engine requires a minimum of 91 octane fuel.

  • The engine puts out 43 HP and 31.1 foot pounds of torque.

2008 Kawasaki KFX450R ATV - Engine   2008 Kawasaki KFX450R ATV  2008 Kawasaki KFX450R ATV

KFX450R - AirBox with lid on   KFX450R - AirBox with lid off   KFX450R - AirBox Lid

Digital Fuel Injection

  • 32-bit digital fuel injection system uses a 42mm throttle body. This system measures coolant temperature, air intake temperature, air intake pressure, engine speed and throttle position, then automatically delivers the ideal amount of fuel to optimize power delivery.

  • Crisp engine response is especially advantageous for instant acceleration after landing jumps.

  • Fuel injection also provides trouble-free starting – a great benefit in races where riders line up with their engines off and need to start their engines before being able to blast away from the starting line.

  • Fuel injection allows the use of a lighter throttle return spring. This helps reduce rider fatigue, because less pressure is required at the throttle lever.

KFX450R - EFI System Sensor


  • The five-speed (one-down, four-up) manual transmission locates the reverse gear below first. Actuating the reverse-lock release lever when in first gear allows you to shift “down” into reverse.

  • Compact reverse-lock release lever can be activated with the right thumb, allowing the reverse gear to be engaged while still keeping the front brake lever depressed.

  • The combined weight of the reverse gear system and the lightweight aluminum chassis is no heavier than using a steel frame without reverse.

KFX450R - reverse-lock release lever

Aluminum Chassis

  • Highly rigid aluminum frame contributes to the KFX’s excellent handling and traction.  The frame’s high torsional rigidity enhances stability in corners and allows the suspension to be easily set up to suit course conditions. 

  • Designed for high corner speeds, the KFX ATV sits low to the ground, helping to reduce roll tendencies.

  • Mounting the battery and coolant tank in front of the engine lowers the center of gravity, and helps weight the front wheels for increased traction when cornering.

  • Single box-tube lower frame contains the front A-arm attachment points.  This design is narrower than the competition’s frames and enables the use of longer lower A-arms.

  • The aluminum frame weighs in a 26 lbs.

KFX450R - Single box-tube lower frame contains the front A-arm attachment points   2008 Kawasaki KFX450R ATV - battery

Advanced Suspension Design

  • Positive and negative suspension travel enhances the front wheels’ ability to stay in constant contact with the ground.  This helps maintain traction and steering authority during hard acceleration and in situations where the ground drops away.

  • Dual-rate front springs help deliver progressive suspension travel to provide excellent rough-surface handling.

  • Extra-long lower front A-arms help minimize camber variations through the suspension stroke, to maximize front wheel traction and boost stability.

  • Motocross style rear shock features both high and low-speed compression adjustability as well as adjustable rebound damping.

  • Cast aluminum rear swingarm features curved lines and rounded edges to help disperse stress, as well as different wall thickness for each surface, resulting in a design that is both light and strong.

  • The swingarm’s high torsional rigidity contributes to excellent rear wheel traction  

  • The rear axle is tapered for reduced unsprung weight.

2008 Kawasaki KFX450R - Cast aluminum rear swingarm   2008 Kawasaki KFX450R - front a-arms with dual-rate front springs   2008 Kawasaki KFX450R ATV   2008 Kawasaki KFX450R ATV

Front and Rear Disc Brakes

  • Dual front hydraulic disc brakes offer consistently strong stopping performance

  • Petal-type rear brake rotor reduces unsprung weight and helps clean the brake pads for more efficient braking performance in difficult conditions.

  • Integrated rear parking brake is designed to be easily engaged and released while wearing gloves.  When engaged, the parking brake lever also prevents the clutch lever from being actuated.

KFX450R - parking brake   KFX450R - Petal-type rear brake rotor

Additional Features

  • Two-tone seat features a smooth top surface for excellent rider mobility and slip-resistant sides for good grip when hanging off in corners.

  • Seat, tank and side covers are shaped to allow excellent rider mobility and to provide support when hanging off in corners.   

  • Tapered Renthal Fatbar offers both strength and light weight.

  • Handlebar mount designed to accommodate other MX-type handlebars, enabling riders to select from numerous after-market styles.

  • Specially designed rear wheels feature reinforcing plates for the rims.  Located on the axle side of the rims, these plates reinforce the rims where strength is most needed while minimizing weight.

  • Wide front bumper, can be gripped with two hands to push/pull the ATV 

  • Two-piece “lapped” front and rear fenders can be replaced separately in the event they are damaged.

  • Detachable front headlight assembly can easily be removed to reduce weight when racing.

  • Optional kick-start system is available for MX-style (GNC) races where light weight is a priority.

KFX450R - Tapered Renthal Fatbar   KFX450R - Detachable front headlight assembly

Comparisons to Other 450 ATVs

Kawasaki KFX450R vs. Honda 450R

Kawasaki KFX450R vs. Honda 450R   Kawasaki KFX450R vs. Honda 450R   Kawasaki KFX450R vs. Honda 450R   KFX450R-44.jpg (51032 bytes)

Links to other photo galleries and ride reviews

KFX450R Specifications

450cc ATV Specification Comparison

  • Engine: Liquid-cooled, four-stroke single, SOHC, four valves per cylinder
  • Displacement: 449cc
  • Bore x stroke: 96 x 62.1mm
  • Fuel Injection: 32-bit digital, with 42mm Keihin throttle body
  • Ignition: Digital AC-CDI
  • Starting: Electric
  • Transmission: Five-speed with reverse
  • Final drive: Two-wheel drive, chain
  • Frame type: Aluminum double cradle, racing type
  • Front suspension / wheel travel: Dual A-arms, coil-over shocks / 8.5 in
  • Rear suspension / wheel travel: Swingarm with piggy-back reservoir shock, dual-rate spring / 10.0 in
  • Front tires: AT21x7-10
  • Rear tires: AT20x10-9
  • Front brakes: Dual 163mm discs with two-piston calipers
  • Rear brake: 200mm petal-type rotor with single-piston caliper
  • Overall length: 71.1 in
  • Overall width: 46.0 in
  • Overall height: 41.9 in
  • Seat height: 30.9 in
  • Wheelbase: 49.4 in
  • Ground clearance: 4.3 in
  • Lighting: Dual removable headlights
  • Dry weight: 364 lb
  • Fuel capacity: 2.6 gal
  • Footpegs: Sport-style serrated
  • Color choices:
         Lime Green / Super Black,
         Bright White / Super Black,
         Super Black
  • MSRP: $7,399 - $7,599

Contact Info:

Kawasaki Motors Corporation
9950 Jeronimo Rd.
Irvine, CA 92618


KFX450R Buyer's Guides

Bulletin Boards and info websites for the KFX450R:

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