Kawasaki is famous for its KLX series of dirt bikes. There are numerous variants, from youth models to the beast of the lineup, which is the Kawasaki KLX450R. The 2009 Kawasaki KLX 450R takes many of its cues from the full-on race bike that inspired its creation in 2008. While a cursory glance may signal a track machine, it’s in the details that we find this bike was designed for durability, comfort, and a long range while off-road in a variety of environments.
For the exterior, the KLX 450R comes only in Kawasaki’s trademark lime green with a black seat, and white exhaust cover.
The Kawasaki KLX450R is powered by the same engine as the KX450, a powerplant that has proven itself in terms of performance, and dependability. The four-stroke, dual overhead cam, four valve single engine has been designed to be as light as possible, while at the same time producing both the power, and the on-the-fly torque needed for dirt trail riding. The 449cc engine produces 38 horsepower at 7800 rpm, while the Keihin FCR40 carburetor helps create 25 foot pounds of torque, and delivers superior throttle control. Kawasaki’s design features digital electronic ignition and liquid cooling, keeping things very dependable through various riding situations. Starting the bike is easy thanks to an electric starter, but in times of need, a backup kickstarter is also included.
The transmission of the 2009 Kawasaki KLX450R is designed for an ultra-wide ratio power band. The 5-speed gearbox makes great use of the available torque, and on the higher end, allows the 277.7 pound bike to reach a top speed of 115 mph. The final drive utilizes a sealed chain connected to a beefy flywheel, in order to increase durability, and resist fouling from debris.
Perhaps the most important element of a dirt bike is the suspension system. The KLX 450R uses 48mm inverted AOS-type cartridge fork, with 22-way compression damping and 20-way rebound damping, which allows 11.2 inches of wheel travel in the front. In the rear, we find Kawasaki’s UNI-TRAK single shock system, with 22-way low-speed, two-turn variable high-speed compression damping, and 22-way rebound damping. The 11 inches of wheel travel ensure that the rear wheel stays planted, while bumps stay isolated from the rider.
The Kawasaki KLX is 85.8 inches in overall length, with 32.3 inches of overall width, keeping the design narrow and compact. The 37 inch seat height places the rider in optimum position to control the bike in all situations. 12.6 inches of ground clearance keeps the KLX above most debris likely to be found out on the trail from causing issues. The 2.1 gallon fuel tank allows for plenty of playtime in the dirt between refueling.
Braking is powerful and direct on the 2009 KLX, thanks to the 250mm petal rotor with hydraulic dual-piston caliper found on the front wheel, and the 240mm petal disc brake with a hydraulic single-piston caliper bringing up the rear. Tuned for the dirt, the KLX 450R features a front 21 inch aluminum spoke-laced wheel, wrapped in 80/100 aggressive rubber. In the rear, the bike features a matching 18 inch wheel wrapped in 110/100 rubber.
The cockpit of the 2009 Kawasaki KLX 450R will remind you that this is indeed not a full-on track bike. The digital instrument cluster features a speedometer, dual tripmeter, odometer, and clock. Directly below the instrument panel is a powerful 35 watt headlight, which comes in handy when those trail days run long into dusk, or winter brings on an early sunset.