2023 Kawasaki KX450SR Special Racer - First Look

John Burns
by John Burns

Showa me the money

I was all Pavlov dogging when I read that the KX450SR “features elite-level racing components, special tuning and design elements inspired by the Monster Energy Kawasaki race team,” only to suffer slight cotton mouth when I learned that consists of nothing more than new SHOWA suspension components front and rear. I mean, obviously great suspension is critical to motorcycles that leap 40 feet into the air, but I felt like I was led to believe there’d be more. In fact, the rest of the 2022 package was already so blinged out, there wasn’t much more Kawasaki could add. It’s even got push-button starting.

Kawasaki Press Release:


After finding abundant success in its debut in 2022, the new KX450SR makes its highly anticipated return for 2023. Previously only reserved for early Kawasaki factory racing machines, the “SR” or Special Racer naming convention represents the pinnacle of Kawasaki race bikes. The KX450SR is purpose built leveraging significant high value parts that have been proven by the Monster Energy Kawasaki race team competing in Monster Energy Supercross and AMA Pro Motocross Championships.

Starting with the KX450 concept, the new KX450SR model has been designed to suit riders seeking race wins and features elite-level racing components, special tuning and design elements inspired by the Monster Energy Kawasaki race team to further elevate its performance and factory racer looks.

For 2023, this high-performance, limited edition Special Racer is now equipped with SHOWA front and rear suspension components.


  • NEW SHOWA front and rear suspension components
  • Braaaawp…


    The 449cc lightweight engine package utilizes input derived directly from the Monster Energy Kawasaki race team. Just like the KX450, the KX450SR engine features an electric start activated by the push of a button and powered by a compact Lithium-ion battery. A lightweight finger-follower valve actuation design comes by way of Kawasaki’s top-level road racing technology and World Superbike engineers, enabling larger-diameter valves and more aggressive cam profiles. The KX450SR features polished intake ports that provide smoother airflow, contributing to increased engine performance. A close-ratio five-speed transmission is paired with a high-capacity coned disc-spring hydraulic clutch that helps facilitate control and provide a consistent feeling even under heavy use.

    Just like the Monser Energy Kawasaki factory race team, a lightweight Pro Circuit Ti-6 Pro titanium race exhaust has been fitted and contributes to increased engine performance. Engine ECU fuel injection settings are exclusive to the KX450SR and match the more powerful engine characteristics, providing controllability and factory-spec high-performance riding for a wide-range of motocross riders.


    A slim aluminum perimeter frame provides precise cornering through excellent front-end feel and agility when riding at high speeds. The frame’s lightweight construction is composed of forged, extruded, and cast parts, while the engine is used as a stressed member and adds to the frame’s rigidity balance. Engineers carefully selected the dimension of the swingarm pivot, output sprocket and rear axle locations to focus on the center of gravity and balanced handling.


    • NEW SHOWA front and rear suspension components

    The KX450SR receives new SHOWA front and rear suspension components with a TiO (titanium oxide) on the inner fork tubes that improves wear resistance and reduces friction. Large-diameter inner fork tubes are the same size found on Kawasaki’s factory racing team and allow for the use of large 39mm compression damping pistons and a 25mm cartridge cylinder, providing smooth action and firm damping. The inner surface of the outer fork tubes feature SHOWA’s Dimplush™ texture, which has a wave-like finish to help retain an oil film for smoother action. The Dimplush texture also has a Kashima coating to create a low-friction surface that helps prevent wear so the sliding surfaces remain smooth for a long time. Suspension settings have been optimized on the KX450SR in order to achieve higher performance, smoother suspension action, and provide a plush feeling. The SHOWA rear shock offers dual compression adjustability so that high speed and low speed damping can be tuned separately. Utilizing feedbck from Kawasaki’s factory race teams, the 22mm front axle enhances front end traction. The New Uni-Trak rear suspension linkage ratios have been selected to suit the chassis.

    Holding up the SHOWA front forks is a set of XTrig ROCS (revolutionary opposing clamp system) tech triple clamps that help to improve fork flex action for more optimal fork function. The upper triple clamp is outfitted with XTrig’s PHDS (progressive handlebar dampening system) handlebar mounts that are lightweight and improve responsiveness of the fork, and is supported by elastomers which are designed to absorb vibration from the engine and chassis. This system also helps to dampen the forces acting on the handlebars in both horizontal and vertical directions, translating into increased steering precision for the rider. With this system, the handlebar can be adjusted in 12 different positions for total rider customization.


    Adorning the KX450SR is a pair of D.I.D. DirtStar wheels, improving the strength and durability under the most challenging conditions on the racetrack. The black coating on the rims emulates the looks of a factory race machine. Further adding to the attention grabbing appearance on the KX450SR is the championship proven combination of a D.I.D. 520ERT3 gold chain fitted to a black Renthal Ultralight aluminum rear sprocket.

    Handling the stopping duties is an oversized 270 mm, petal-shaped front brake rotor from the renowned manufacturer, Braking. The rear is equipped with a 250 mm petal-shaped Braking rotor coinciding with the large front disc.


    Kawasaki continues its unmatched commitment towards providing riders with class-leading ERGO-FIT® adjustable componentsto fit a variety of riders and riding styles. The footpegs feature dual-position mounting points, with a lower position that reduces the standard setting by an additional 5 mm, reducing the knee angle when taller riders are seated.


    In addition to the already sharp, aggressive styling found on the KX450, the KX450SR showcases special colors & graphics that resemble those found on the Monster Energy Kawasaki race team. Also adding to its true race machine looks is a Hinson Billetproof clutch cover featuring the Kawasaki Racing Team logo that improves heat dissapation as well as a Pro Circuit Ti-6 Pro titanium exhaust that features a special green decal.


    Color: Lime Green

    MSRP: $12,699

    Availability: Late Fall 2022

    John Burns
    John Burns

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    • Imtoomuch Imtoomuch on Oct 04, 2022

      The worst part of this edition is the Monster logo. It's so tacky and overplayed and you see one on every WT vehicle on the road. I'd want the price to be lower before buying anything with Monster on it.

    • David K David K on Oct 06, 2022

      Dirt bikes are way to expensive, not just Kawasaki. I am on Team Greens mailing list and they keep sending price rebates for both the KX250 and KX450 models. The 450's depending on the model range from $1,000-$2,000 off. This is like new trucks that are priced 20-30% too high. In the past you could hackle those percentages off but not nowadays as greed is sticking with these companies.