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The stock 2021 Kawasaki KX450 is pretty damn good machine, but that muffler looks atrocious right? We called up on Yoshimura to see if we can get a more attractive aftermarket muffler system that is actually better than the stock system. I will say that the stock KX450 muffler system works pretty damn well, but as always we are constantly looking to try aftermarket pieces because as we all know, you are only as good as what you try!
The Yoshimura RS-12 Stainless System is made in the USA, is rubber mounted to the subframe, its asymmetrical shaped muffler allows maximum capacity and incorporates a resonance chamber for managing sound and increasing usable power, the unique shape also provides more clearance for tire and brake caliper, has a new patent pending Precision Taper Fit (PTF) insert ring that can make it easy for the consumer to install and remove sound inserts as well as spark arresters, comes with a carbon fiber end cap and can be fully rebuilt with repacking kits that Yoshimura sells. If you’re looking to lose a little weight with the muffler, you will have to look towards the titanium system. The stainless system weighs in at 9.12 pounds, which is slightly heavier than the stock muffler, that comes in at 9.1 pounds. We aren’t necessarily looking to lose weight in this instance, as power, sound and reliability are more important to us with this unit.
The stock muffler system is pretty damn good, as the power character of the KX450 is long and linear, but the stock KX450’s engine character could use a little more pulling power and more mid rpm response. Installing the Yosh RS-12 was painless enough and we really appreciated the rubber sub-frame mount that the Yosh muffler comes with. Having a rubber mounted rear muffler mount helps avoid the sub frame tab breaking off due to solid mounting. Once on the RS-12 is visually still big looking, but the RS-12’s exhaust note is so much better to the ears that we lost focus on how big the RS-12 looks. Out on the track we noticed how much easier the KX was to corners because there was less on/off feel from the engine on low RPM because the Yosh builds power a little more smoothly between 5000-7000 RPM. The RS-12 is less touchy to the riders throttle hand and to me that helped calm the chassis down in area 2-3 of corners. You will not get as much throttle response from the RS-12 as you do a FMF or a stock system, but to me this is a good thing. The mid range pulling power is what you will come to love from the Yosh system. Pulling power out of corners is noticeably better than stock and the rider can shift into third earlier without having to use the clutch in order to get the engine to recover (back into the meat of the power). Rear wheel traction was also an improvement on hard pack tracks as the KX450 had a better second gear flat corner sensation to the rear wheel than the stock system. Top end feels as good as stock with maybe a little more over-rev, so if you’re a little lazy the RS-12 can help you slightly in that area as well.
If you’re looking for a more explosive rpm response from your KX450, the RS-12 may not be the muffler you want to go with, but if you want added pulling power out of corners as well as more rear wheel traction with a better exhaust note, then this Yoshimura RS-12 stainless system for your KX450 is a great buy. The benefit about stainless steel is that the overall construction of the muffler will last longer than titanium. Most of my practice bikes over time had stainless systems on it for the sake of durability. Slip fit titanium joints just don’t last as long as stainless. For $850.00, the RS-12 system is a good buy with quality construction that you expect from Yoshimura.