GOING TRUE OFF-ROAD
WITH THE KX450F
(feathering just like a normal unit) it lets you control the
power. The original goal was to make the hard-hitting
KX450F more tractable and less prone to stalls in tight terrain.
–The big KX hauls the mail, but eventually you have to
stop. The stock front brake is weak compared to a KTM’s,
so an EBC oversized front disc kit was used to improve
–The stock chain and guide wear out quickly and were
replaced with a Renthal O-ring chain and TM Designs Slide
and Glide kit.
–The KX450F is stable and doesn’t shake at speed. Still,
we used a Fastway steering damper that featured separate high-/low-speed adjusters to make it easier to hold on
when hitting trail junk. Big bar clamps with an adjustable
damper mount allowed us to use the forward-bar mounting
position for taller riders.
–Works Connection provided blue rotating bar clamps/
brake caps and a clutch perch assembly/brake lever for a
smoother pull than stock.
–A Renthal Fatbar was used with AME bolt-on grips.
–Attack Graphics made the custom plastic coverings that
fit perfectly and look great.
–The IMS oversize fuel tank was easy to install and
extends fuel range.
–The Hammerhead shift lever is way tougher than stock
and has optional different-length tips.
–Dunlop AT 81 tires were used for their all-around performance.
–Works Connection makes the best aluminum full-cov-erage skid plates. We used Works Connection’s rear-brake
master cylinder guard and radiator braces as well.
–Dick’s Racing only uses Fastway handguards because
of the unique mounting point that allows them to move with
bar flex. Dick’s uses STR threaded bar inserts for handguard applications.
MOSEYING INTO THE WOODS
There is no doubt that the KX450F is a weapon designed
for fast, hard and nasty terrain, not quick, tight and ugly. On
our off-road loop, the machine shined in the more western-like terrain, whoops and faster zones. Dick’s suspension
mods were stiff yet plush. Traction was improved, and the
ability to push it hard was enhanced with newfound stability and control. Power-wise, the sucker was super strong,
very broad and, for a 450 motocrosser, totally rideable. It
almost never flamed out, made power right off idle, and felt
smoother, stronger and broader than stock. There were no
hitches or glitches during acceleration, just major amounts
of juice. In the fast stuff, we barely noticed the Rekluse
Core EXP clutch. Once we segued into the tight junk, rocky
canyons and vertical gorges, the auto feature blossomed. It
would chug and torque where the stocker would belch and
vomit. Still, this is a lot of bike in the tight stuff and really
requires the right dude behind the wheel.
Our final thoughts? If tight were our priority, we’d find
something easier to ride with a more versatile transmission
and ratios that cater to the tight factor. The KX is geared
tall, with a big spread from first to second, and forces you
to stay in the power and push it rather than shift up and
baby the throttle. But if fast and fun, fast and hacky, or hill-climbing and whoops are your forte, then it doesn’t get a
whole lot better than the Dick’s Racing KX450F. Honestly,
the Genius throttle body is a tough pill to swallow. It’s overkill, but man does it make for big gains, smooth power and
glitch-free throttle response! As for the rest of the package, plushness, durability and off-road control were the
goals, and Richard succeeded quite nicely with the project
Dick’s Racing can modify your suspension and carries
everything in stock to make your off-road conversion easy.
Check out www.dicksracing.com or give them a call at
(916) 705-3193. ❏
Chuck Sun smokes the Dick’s Racing KX450F down a high-speed desert downhill during testing. That’s Bum up top
sucking in dust.
plastic rotor and caliper protector proved
stronger than stock.
The Dunlop AT81 rear
tire is flat excellent in
the off-road arena.
AOF clutch perch
retained the KX-F
leverage ratio for
good clutch action yet
helped the feel. PMB’s
damper and handguard
hit have evolved into
for the off-roader.