Good info on the ride, right here. Author unknown...
Additional info:Well, jet lag and from the riding I'm too dead to go over everything right now but will do my best.
Handling: At a little over 46" wide, it still handled amazingly well. By far better than a YFZ or 450R. The LTR has the edge for the added width in the corners, but I was quite surpised. If the backend gets away or starts to get loose, it's very easy to correct. No matter where you turn it, it'll go. W/it at 50" wide and setup, it will be a HUGE challenge to tune another machine to match or beat it. I still couldn't believe how well it did.
Suspension: stock suspension is good like others, but nothing to go crazy about. Rear shocks felt nice but rebound kept popping me up. Kaw guys adjusted it and nothing changed really. Front shocks were WAY too stiff on the small stuff but bottomed out on the big stuff. Only single compression adjust and they said the stock shocks are valved for about a 160lb rider. So anyone bigger's going to want a revalve immediately on them. But has dual compression rear adjust w/rebound and single on each front setting.
Power: I loved the way the machine made power. It had a huge hit and you had to rev it. If you let off the revs it'd fall on its face. You have to really rev/clutch it alot. Works very well after some ride time though. In stock mode the torque seems quite low and they claim the machine at 29-30lbs torque and 43hp rear wheels. It definately has a lot of mid to top but the low end lacks. It also falls flat on its face near the rev limiter.
Shifting: The shifting is the smoothest of the 450's I've felt. very quick and nice. Way too short of gearing for 1st/2nd but super tall the last 3. The reverse gear is very easy to use, functionable, and came in handy a lot in the woods. Gearing is like all quads w/1st gear being lowest but then below that is reverse. Flip switch and kick down and you're there. Quick and simple.
EFI: The settings worked well but was not C'Dale system. They bragged about the responsiveness but to be honest, it did not have the instant hit the Dales have. Had some hesitation and that was one thing I made sure to let them know when they asked to compare the two. One thing I LOVED was the starting. I have never seen a quad start so easy. Even after running full blast for well over a half hour on a high speed MX track, it would start instantly upon the start button. It was ridden harder than anything I've ever ridden b/c I didn't have to worry about breaking it, and it never failed or had trouble starting.
Problems: I bent a rear wheel in the first hour on a rock on the track, but nothing to worry about. Another rider had a HARD collision w/a rock in the woods and completely bent up an a-arm, broke plastic in the front, etc. I flipped my test quad end over end down a hill once and not a problem. Renthal fat bars held up fine. Oh, I did knock off a sticker, lol.
Cosmetics/ergos: The look is much better IMO in person. However, this is not going to be a comfortable play quad. I am about 5'11 and I felt cramped on the thing. In corners I was tearing up my knees on the front plastics leaning in. The seat makes a YFZ's feel like a pillow too. You might as well sit on the plastic. Racing it doesn't matter but boy was it bad in the woods. The handlebars need to be raised IMO as well b/c they were very low from factory. Also, the clutch is so stiff that it was a pain to use. Powershifting was easy and flawless though.
Air control: Jumping the KFX is probably the easiest quad I've ever tried. You can whip the thing all over. If you make a mistake or go sideways, you won't regret it. It flies w/ease and lands w/ease.
Power-wise I think they are still behind. A stock everything Asso pistoned stroker will still pull one or put up a good battle, but still dominate the low end. The KFX shines elsewhere. Confidence and ease on the track were way higher than on the Dale. Places where I would normally hesitate I would fly through on the Kaw. It really did impress me that much. I can pretty well guarantee that on the track when equally setup, you will cut off several seconds per lap on the KFX over the Dale. I hate to say it but I truly believe after putting quite a few hours on one that it would. It might not have the power but the way it handles, flies, and is so nimble, it just boosts your confidence and improves your riding.
Kawasaki brought a real winner to the table. I guess time will tell to see what happens.
I know if I was looking to get into racing and didn't have a quad I wouldn't even consider going elsewhere for the ease. The people at Kawasaki were amazing as well. First-rate everything, helpful, knowledgable, and just good people. Even the engineers from Japan were on hand and I even got to watch guys like Yokley ride around. Luburgh and Creamer are fast to say the least and definately deserving to be on Team Green. So all in all I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity and they're definately in it for the long haul. Manufacturing all the 450's here in the US and putting some big money into racing.
And the quads were ridden very hard. Hour after hour we all pounded on them. Guys from ATV Scene, Harlan from ATV Riders, etc. There were a couple crashes including my end over end one as mentioned, but they held up well. Some very fast riders on a fast track and huge wooded park too. Was at Carolina Adventure World which isn't even open to the public yet. And I'll say this; that park w/its plans is going to be something to go to. Big money being spent to make it the ultimate offroad park.
As for competition on it compared to the other 450s: I really think it has an edge. It is corked out of the box of course but the handling was suppurb. Brakes I would rate up there w/the best I've ever tried, especially the fronts. It is very comfortable, or was for me for the riding position. Just can't see bigger riders enjoying it. But either way it is definately more worthy than a YFZ or 450R. The LTR would be a good model to compete w/on equalization, but I've never ridden something w/such little bumpsteer. The front end design has to be the reason for that.
One bit of information that was funny. The opening thing that was bragged about during the opening night presentation was the FIRST all aluminum framed quad. Funny enough, the guy doing the announcement was talking w/me shortly after and I mentioned I'd been racing on aluminum framed Cannondales for a couple years. The only thing said was "oh really?", and then a subject change, lol.
EDIT: In response to needing to keep up w/the new quads. I honestly think that in time the Japanese will have a superior quad. IMO that time has not come. The way the KFX was designed makes it a much better competitor on the track, but power delivery, responsiveness, and durability I don't think has been met yet. Kaw has the upper hand on the track now I believe. Until this quad, I would not have given any other manufacturer an upper hand. Others will have to step up. And I don't recall saying about the EFI. You can buy an EFI tuner to use yourself. It is VERY limited but you can adjust the fuel rate and such. The SINGLE fuel injector pumps at 42psi and the control system costs up near a whopping $1000! That's insane IMO but required by racers. Otherwise the pipe manufacturers will be selling their own kits to match certain engine/pipe combos.