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2019 electric-start KXF450 on the way

Kawasaki debuted a pre-production 2019 KXF450 in Japan at the weekend, with an all-new electric start engine, new frame and bodywork that harks back to Kawasakis of almost a decade ago. The bike, due to makes its race debut in the opening round of the Japanese championship soon, was rolled out at a pre-season race in Japan for final shakedown tests. Two bikes were races, one with Showa and one with KYB suspension. It’s believed Kawasaki will finally ditch air forks for Showa spring units in 2019.

The new bike in action
The new bike in action

These bikes are factory team bike, so have lots of exotic parts that won’t be on the stock bikes, such as X-Trig clamps and a Pro Circuit pipe. But it’s the new engine, chassis and bodywork that are most visible.

The new engine and sideplates are clearly visible
The new engine and sideplates are clearly visible

The new engine is electric-start only, and has a tiny cylinder with much larger twin-cam head than the current bike. The left side of the engine shows big changes, with a new ignition cover, crankcases and starter motor. There’s also a hydraulic clutch, but this may not make production. The frame is new, especially under the engine, and the swingarm is different too. The rear shock is new with a different reservoir position.

The seat looks much flatter and the bodywork is totally different, with the left sideplate being part of the airbox cover.

Look, no kickstart
Look, no kickstart

Honda and Yamaha also had factory prototypes at the race. The Yamaha did not look obviously different to the current bike but the Honda had different frame spars. You can see the welding is not as precise as stock, as it’s a hand-made prototype.

Kei Yamamoto's factory CRF450 has a new, prototype frame
Kei Yamamoto’s factory CRF450 has a new, prototype frame

Photos by Ya-Hey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/yahey772

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