Covering the widest spectrum of off-road sport and fun riding, the 2023 Kawasaki off-road motorcycle range has just been announced. Catering for the needs of professional podium chasers, committed enduro riders, enthusiastic weekend competitors and those just starting on two-wheels, the range is certainly comprehensive.
A competition reference machine, the Kawasaki KX250 is a pivotal bike in the Kawasaki range appealing to youth, intermediate, national and full class MX2 riders; each with their own special wants and needs. For 2023, the Kawasaki engineers have absorbed feedback from AMA Supercross, the MX2 class in the MXGP paddock and, closer to home, the All-Japan Motocross Championship. And the distillation of all that feedback has produced a machine that will ably answer the needs of its diverse customer base.
Chief among many changes are those in the engine group. Within the cylinder head a narrower pitch for the intake valves (37 mm to 35.5 mm), coupled with increased clearance at the valve seats, delivers increased cylinder-filling efficiency and improved combustion for increased peak performance. And to accurately fill that cylinder, the downdraft style intake duct is straighter plus the upstream injector is repositioned from above to below the duct. These changes further contribute to increased cylinder-filling efficiency which adds to peak performance. In terms of the valves themselves, they are smaller (ø32 mm to ø31 mm) contributing to cylinder-head/valve-seat reliability while enabling the tighter valve pitch while the piston crown is revised to match the valve size and pitch changes.
Aside from the greater engine performance due to these new efficiencies a longer exhaust header pipe (457 mm to 557 mm) offers increased low-mid range torque while the Akashi engineers also ensured that advanced ignition timing matches the engine changes. In terms of power feeling, a new magneto rotor with an increased moment of inertia (9.5 kg·cm2 to 10.0 kg·cm2) contributes to a more racer-friendly power delivery.
In terms of gears, ratios three, four, five and six remain the same but a longer first gear is introduced thanks to feedback from AMA Supercross and the second gear is also modified to make a smoother transition between first and third.
All Japan Motocross Championship experience resulted in changes to the front fork internals to deliver firmer compression damping that contributes to increased off-road performance without sacrificing ride comfort. While the fork spring rate itself is unchanged, a revised oil height contributes to optimised overall spring characteristics. The rear suspension now features firmer compression damping contributing to increased off-road performance without sacrificing ride comfort.
Other chassis upgrades include the adoption of a wider rear tyre for 2023 in the form of Dunlop’s MX33 110/90-19 to compared to the 100/90-19 used last year while the footpegs are 5 mm wider (front-to-rear) and positioned 3 mm rearward to offer excellent grip, superb feel making it easier to weight the pegs plus they are lighter too.
Wise tuners will tell you that gradual refinement and upgrades that integrate seamlessly are often the route to racing success and that is just the route that Kawasaki takes for its quarter litre race class machine. Useable power, considered engine and chassis upgrades plus genuine podium potential, it’s got to be the new 2023 KX250 from Kawasaki.
Entry level and first championship riders will enjoy the KLX110R and KX65 respectively with the four-stroke KLX employing a 4-speed transmission with automatic clutch for stall-free shifting, it is the ideal machine to learn the craft of off-road riding on while the two-stroke KX65 is the stuff of legends, having won more races and championships than any proud father has had time to put up trophy shelves.
Further up the capacity scale – and sticking with the two-stroke theme – are the small and large wheel KX85 machines. They are liquid-cooled and feature Kawasaki’s Uni-Trak suspension while benefiting from constant refinement keeping them competitive and reliable. And that reliability and durability is something that Kawasaki owners report back on often. No use being fast one day and in the garage with a stripped down, unreliable bike the next weekend. It’s consistency that wins Championships.
At the top end of the range is the mighty KX450, the most powerful production MX machine Kawasaki has ever manufactured. Created to dominate in the upper echelons of off-road sport, the mighty KX450 continues to carve a fearsome reputation heading up an impressive range of off-road machines.
In terms of enduro style machines, the successful KX450X and KX250X feature boldly in the new season range both ready to attack Hare & Hound style events plus organised enduro events that allow such machines to compete.
A new off-road season is always something to welcome and Kawasaki dealers across Europe are looking forward to answering the riding needs of a diverse audience. The green team is ready for the good times ahead in 2023 and prepared to do anything it takes to help Kawasaki riders achieve the success they deserve.
Prices and availability will be confirmed soon.