When the good folks at Kawasaki sent us the invite for the official introduction of the all new 2009 KX450F, we began licking our chops here at the office. David Pingree typically takes care of the testing duties for Racer X Online, but with this test taking place at the scenic Muddy Creek Raceway in Blountville, Tennessee, I got to go have some fun. Celebrity guests included factory Kawasaki’s Timmy Ferry and four-time AMA champion Jeff Emig, who joined more than 20 of the most distinguished moto journalists in the industry.
We arrived at the track around 8:00 a.m. and met the Team Green 18-wheeler, which had 16 sparkling new 2009 KX450F machines lined up and ready to be abused. Those who were slated to ride the bikes took about 20 minutes to get into their gear and get on the Muddy Creek track, which Sam Gammon had prepped into absolute brownie-cake perfection. It was one of those perfect days at the motocross track. But let's talk about the bike.
For starters, appearances can be deceiving. The 2009 KX450F is pretty much brand-new from the ground up. The frame, the motor, and the suspension are all brand-new and, in our opinion, vastly improved. The bike is full of cool new goodies, but none more so than the new EFI system. It can be digitally manipulated with a laptop for different track conditions, and it lays the power down instantly and more smoothly than a baby’s bottom. It's awesome, but it's not my favorite function of the trick fuel-injection system. What really makes it cool is how easy the machine starts because of it. When the kick-starter is pushed through the stroke, it delivers an electric current to the brain of the EFI system, which in turn delivers the ideal fuel and air mixture into the power plant and fires the behemoth to life. That’s right, kids. One kick. And go ahead and pin it for five laps, then shut it off. Wait three seconds, then kick it back to life in one fell swoop. No hot start button, no gas petcock ... just smooth, easy-starting happiness.