Ride Engineering Performance Link For Kawasaki
Company: Ride Engineering
- Drastically improves the handling of the KX.
- No spring rate change needed for the link arm.
- Install on the X models can be a little more troubesome with the kickstand.
- A tad pricey.
What it is
- Lowering link for Kawasaki's.
- Lowers the bike 8mm.
Ride Engineering makes an assortment of products for all bikes and they are one of few companies that put in a lot of testing time before going to production. Whether it’s their linkages, triple clamps, or any other products, they take the time to make it right rather than slapping a sticker on something and sending it off.
The Performance Link for the Kawasaki is designed to lower the rear of the bike a stout 8mm with an aim at improving handling. Ride Engineering claims “less effort is required to initiate turn-in, the shock handles the bumps better, and the rear wheel stays planted in braking bumps.” The link retails for $219.95 and is available in Black and Green.
How it works
- Drives through acceleration bumps better.
- Remains flatter and calmer on decel.
- Increased rear wheel traction.
- Sag change to 102-104mm.
Install is rather simple on the KX450/250, but the X models with the kickstand are a bit trickier by Kawasaki’s design. The left footpeg and peg bracket must be removed to get the link arm bolt out. For the most part, install is nothing out of the ordinary and is just like any other piece.
In stock trim, we were running sag at 106-108mm, but we settled on 102-104mm with the Ride link. We first started at 99-100mm of sag but the bike handled very poorly, riding with the rear end high and unsettled on decel. We then took ~1 turn out on preload to get to the 102-104mm of sag and found the sweet spot here.
Right off the bat, the Ride Engineering Performance Link is drastically different from stock. The bike tracks through acceleration chop much better than before, tracking straight and driving through the bumps while keeping the wheel on the ground. We didn’t think this was necessarily a weak point of the KX, but the Ride link made such a drastic improvement here.
In addition to the improvements made under acceleration, the Performance Link made similar improvements on decel and under braking. The bike maintains a flatter profile on decel and through braking bumps. In general, it smoothes out all the hits in a positive way with transferring less of it to the rider.
Overall, the bike has a better balance with the Ride Engineering Performance Link. With sag at 102-104mm, it handles bumps better under acceleration while improving traction. On decel, the rear end stays flatter and more planted through braking bumps, inspiring confidence to charge harder into the rough stuff. It improved an area that we didn’t think was all that bad with the KX, but once riding, the change was stark and for the better. The Ride Engineering Performance Link is one of the single best mods we've made to the KX450X for an improved handling characeristic and is here to stay on the green machine.