ELECTRIC ENGINED COMPETITION MINICYCLE BREAKS NEW GROUND WITH PIONEERING DESIGN AND STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY
Kawasaki NZ have released their new KX and KLX off-road bikes for 2020, including a very thoroughly updated KX250, as well as all-new KLX230, KLX230R, and KLX300R models.
Kawasaki’s new MX2 bike, the 2020 KX250, is being hailed as ‘the most powerful’ to date, featuring a revised bore and stroke for high RPM engine characteristics, as well as a new finger-follower valve train designed by Kawasaki’s World Superbike engineers, aimed at enabling a higher rev limit, and working in tandem with more aggressive cam profiles for harder-hitting power. The chassis has been slimmed down, constructed from lightweight forged, extruded, and cast parts to enable light and nimble handling. Optimized rigidity and a new front engine mount contribute to smoother rear suspension performance, as well as maximum forward drive from the rear wheel. The bike also features ‘Ergo-Fit’, with four-way adjustable handlebar positioning, and two footpeg positions, to allow riders to set up their bike to fit their individual ergonomic requirements.
The 2020 Kawasaki KX250 features new suspension front and rear, with larger 48mm diameter coil-spring KYB forks, and a Uni-Trak / KYB rear shock. The forks have been fitted with large 25mm damping pistons to provide smooth action and firm damping, with improved action at the initial part of the stroke. The rear shock offers dual compression adjustability (high-speed and low-speed damping) to soak up all manner of bumps and ruts.
The brakes have been beefed up too, with a 270mm semi-floating front disc clamped by a dual-piston caliper, fitted with new brake pad materials to offer solid control, while the rear is a larger (than 2019) 250mm petal disc and lightweight master cylinder to give even better rear-end stopping power.
All-new for the trails and adventuring, the 2020 KLX range features bikes to suit all ages and skill levels. The KLX230 is road-legal, featuring responsive power from the 223cc fuel-injected, air-cooled single cylinder. Tuned for low-to-mid range power, the SOHC motor is compact and lightweight and requires low maintenance. It includes an electric start button, allowing for hassle-free performance regardless of altitude or air temperature. The dual-purpose bike also features a large 60/55W headlamp, providing excellent illumination at night or in low-light conditions, as well as an easy-to-read LCD screen displaying all-digital instrumentation.
The KLX230 is built on a rugged chassis, with an all-new compact frame, short wheelbase, and low seat height to allow great handling and confident trail riding to suit a wide range of riders. The long-travel 37mm front forks and Uni-Trak rear shock contribute to a comfortable ride whether on bumpy streets or rough trails. Braking is provided by the 270mm front and 240mm rear petal discs, fitted with Kawasaki’s first dual-purpose ABS system, developed with Bosch. The ABS system provides excellent stopping performance on low-friction surfaces, and offers reassurance to both new and experienced riders. The full-size 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels allow for easy and confident riding over any terrain.
The off-road only KLX230R and KLX300R models take the performance to the dirt, with the KLX230R technically showing the same stats at the road-legal version, but tuned to allow extremely confident and exceptionally balanced trail handling. The KLX300R features a 292cc liquid-cooled four-stroke engine, delivering crisp response, quick-revving power, and strong low-end torque. Built tough for enhanced reliability, the engine is desinged for many long hours on the trails. Bridging the gap between a ‘weekend play bike’ and a full race bike, the KLX300R is fitted with an electric starter for hassle-free riding. It is also fitted with a smooth-shifting transmission and a short final-drive gearing to compliment the engines low-to-mid range focus, allowing riders to maintain momentum when navigating technical off-road trails.
Suspension is taken care of with 43mm inverted front forks, fitted with lower spring rate internals to allow damping to work over a wider stroke range. The Uni-Trak rear shock features full adjustability to allow riders to tune for a range of different styles and terrains preferences. The lightweight and slim chassis is designed to allow riders to grip the bike better for increased control, while the KX-inspired seat design offers great freedom of movemtent for any type of off-road riding. The full-size 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels are slowed by a 270mm petal disc and dual-piston caliper up front and 240mm petal disc at the rear.
The 2020 KLX300R also features Kawasaki’s ‘Ergo-Fit’ adjustable handlebar and footpeg positioning for increased rider comfort.
Photos: Kawasaki Media
Husqvarna have unveiled their range of Enduro bikes for 2020, with developments to chassis, suspension, and engines in the TE and FE range to further improve upon their reputation as one of the top manufacturers.
Aimed at delivering exceptional levels of performance, class-leading power throughout the range, and equipped with updated WP suspension, all of the 2020 models feature updated ergonomics to go with their progressive designs. New chassis technology is the base for a complete redesign, allowing for new shock linkages, updated bodywork, improved fork and shock settings, and premium components to be used as standard.
The new 2020 range continues the brand’s approach to innovation, with the biggest feature across all the new bikes being the hydroformed, laser-cut, robot-welded chassis’, and composite carbon fiber subframes. Along with the extra torsional strength the frames provide, they remain extremely lightweight. New aluminium cylinder head mountings improve handling, added to the updated 48mm WP XPLOR front forks and WP XACT rear shock offering full adjustability, with more consistent damping and better resistance to bottom-out. The forks are split duty, with one side offering damping control and the other providing rebound. The new rear shock linkage system offers reduced seat height, better traction, and improved stability, meaning riding over technical terrain has never been easier.
The all-new TE 150i features TPI fuel injection, adapted from the TE 250i and TE 300i, sharing the same proven 2-stroke technology. Providing all the convenience and simplicity of a modern 4-stroke at a fraction of the weight, the TPI system eliminates the need for re-jetting for ambient changes, as well as including a pump-driven oil mixing system, meaning riders no longer need to worry about premixing fuel. The TE 150i also includes an electric starter, for added ease of use. Combining a nimble, lightweight chassis with a compact and powerful engine, the TE 150i delivers maximum performance.
Both the TE 250i and TE 300i benefit from updated cylinder design, for superior 2-stroke performance, as well as a 1-degree lower engine mounting for improved front-end traction. The entire 4-stroke range features extensive upgrades as well, for increased performance and rideability. The FE 450 and FE 501 both receive new cylinder heads, and the FE 250 and FE 350 both receive extensive revisions, similar to their 2-stroke brethren. The entire Enduro range also features new exhaust systems, for optimal performance and durability.
The entire range features new distinctive slimmed down bodywork and bold new graphics, showcasing Husqvarna’s attention to detail and pioneering design direction.
What’s New For 2020:
- New frame on all models offering increased longitudinal & torsional rigidity
- TE 150i featuring electronic fuel injection
- New 250g lighter 2-piece subframe across the model range
- Updated WP XPLOR fork with new mid-valve piston & setting
- Updated WP XACT shock with new main piston & setting
- New shock linkage dimension providing reduced seat height & added control
- All-new exhaust systems for optimal performance & durability
- New seat that places rider 10mm closer to the ground
- Improved cooling circuit with radiators placed 12mm lower
- Progressive new bodywork design offering new and improved ergonomics
- Updated 4-stroke engines offering improved performance & rideability
- 1° lower mounting on TE 250i/300i engines for improved front end traction
- Updated TE 250i/300i cylinder for superior 2-stroke performance
Photos: Husqvarna Motorcycles Press
For 2020 the all-new YZ450F comes with less weight, more power, and sharper handling, making it the most competitive 450cc model that Yamaha has ever produced.
In order to create a motocross bike that can race and win at every level against the toughest opposition, Yamaha’s engineers have analysed every single component and made a wide range of major and minor improvements wherever possible.
As a result of this intensive part-by-part analysis the entire motorcycle has been subject to an extensive redesign, and the team of engineers has succeeded in achieving significant weight savings together with power gains and enhanced handling performance for the 2020 YZ450F.
More powerful and compact new 450cc engine
Already renowned for its enormous power output, the YZ450F engine has been thoroughly redesigned for 2020 to deliver stronger and more controllable performance. The new engine is significantly more compact and lighter, and the revised configuration enhances the bike’s mass centralized design to make it one of the easiest-handling open class motocross machines.
Featuring a high compression reverse cylinder head as well as a durable forged piston and aggressive cam profiles, the compact new 450cc engine is designed to deliver the best balance of race-winning performance together with ultimate controllability.
All-new rearward-slanted cylinder
One of the key engine improvements for 2020 is the new rearward-slanted cylinder that is both lighter and more compact. Because this innovative design is positioned closer to the bike’s mid-section it helps to achieve an idealized mass centralization, and this contributes enormously towards the YZ450F’s dynamic handling characteristics. The new rearward-slanting cylinder is equipped with a high compression bridge-box design piston, and together with the high-efficiency reverse cylinder head with its long and straight inlet, this industry-leading design produces a fine balance of 450-class power combined with exceptional controllability.
YZ250F: Tune, Race, Win
Following its complete redesign for 2019, the YZ250F is proving to be one of the most competitive 250cc 4-strokes, with Dylan Ferrandis winning the AMA Supercross West Championship. In the 2019 MX2 World Championship Yamaha YZ250F riders Jago Geerts and Ben Watson are amongst the main contenders, and at local and national level the YZ250F continues to impress.
Sporting an electric start, and a 250cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine housed in an aluminum bilateral beam frame, as well as being suspended by industry leading KYB spring type forks and KYB rear shock, the 2020 YZ250F provides the ultimate balance of race-winning performance, rideability and comfort. It also continues to feature Yamaha’s advanced racing technology including dual-mode switchable engine mapping and wireless connectivity for the Yamaha Power Tuner App.
Other models in the 2020 Off Road range
Yamaha’s 2020 range is designed to give everybody the chance to enjoy the thrill of leisure riding and off-road racing, whatever their age or experience level.
In addition to the YZ65, YZ85 and YZ125 youth MX bikes and the YZ250F, YZ450F and YZ250 adult race bikes, the 2020 Off Road range also includes the PW and TTR kids’ bikes. Aimed at younger riders from 4 years upwards, the PW and TTR models are the ideal way to get into two wheels, and many of today’s champions started with one of these user-friendly models.
Words and Photos: Yamaha Media Europe
Kawasaki New Zealand have just sent us through details about the all-new, purpose-built KLX230, a learner-approved street legal trail bike, with an ABS system, jointly developed with Bosch, that has been optimised for both on and off-road applications.
The KLX230 fits in the Kawasaki product line-up above the KLX140, with a quiet fuel injected SOHC, 233cc 2-valve single with electric start. It doesn’t, however, replace the KLX250S. The new KLX230 is designed from the ground up with trail riding in mind. The single-cylinder motor provides ample low-to-mid range torque, and its simple construction makes it ideal for trail runs. The all-new compact frame has been designed to offer stable handling, which is necessary for confident trail riding. Fitted with an 18-inch rear and 21-inch front wheel, and equipped with Kawasaki’s first dual-purpose ABS system, the bike is light, powerful, and maneuverable, making it perfect for attacking the trails.
The long-stroke engine offers robust low-to-mid range torque, pulling strongly and facilitating low-speed control. Fuel injection delivers precise response and linear acceleration. The air-cooled motor requires fewer parts than a liquid-cooled variant, contributing to a lighter, more compact chassis. The all-new perimeter frame has been designed after extensive feedback from Kawasaki test riders, taking great care to optimise the engine height and frame line, to achieve an ideal rigidity balance as well as keeping the seat height at an appropriate level. The bikes relatively short wheelbase contributes to the easy-handling and maneuverable nature, a welcome feature for new and intermediate riders.
Long-travel suspension front and rear (250mm front, 251mm rear) greatly contributes to the KLX230’s ability to soak up bumps on the trail. And, with 300mm of ground clearance, riders are more easily able to clear obstructions they encounter. The 37mm telescopic forks and the new Uni-Trak® mono-shock rear suspension provides superb road-holding and outstanding shock absorption for excellent off-road performance. The relaxed riding position makes the bike easier to ride and control. The footpegs are positioned close to the bike’s centreline for a slim riding position, conducive to both on and off-road riding.
Styling cues have been taken from Kawasaki’s KX motocross range, giving the bike an agile and aggressive image to match its trail-riding prowess.
The KLX230 is expected to arrive at Kawasaki dealerships in August 2019, with pricing to be announced closer to that time. For more information, check Kawasaki’s website.
Words and Photos: Kawasaki New Zealand