79 KDX400, any info on them?

Discussion in '2 smokers' started by tHEtREV, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. tHEtREV

    tHEtREV Captain Awesome... tEAM iDIOT.

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    Anyone have any experience with a 79 or 80 KDX 400?

    I'm looking for a bike for VMX and Vinduro to go with my 87 KX125.

    I wanted an earlier bike so I can race both on the same day and I wanted to stay with Kawasaki just because the guy that I usually pit with has two so were going for the unofficial Kawasaki team thing.

    Anyway a 79 KDX400 has been on Ebay for awhile, but I can't remember them, and I can't find much on them on the net, so I thought I would ask here to see if anyone has any lasting memorys of them...

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. nachtflug

    nachtflug infidel

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    I had one, bought it brand new. Great woods bike, and it was the last bike I ever motocrossed on. Didn't need a whole lot of maintenance, strong as a tank. Can't see where you could go wrong with one.

    They topped the IT400 as the best open class woods bike from japan until the next best thing came out.
    #2
  3. rufus

    rufus We're burning daylight...

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    I had a 1980 model. GREAT bike.

    But it had 2 big problems.

    The swingarm bushing were plastic. No bearing, just a plastic bushing. Mine would have slop in about 100 miles. The dealer couldn't keep them in stock. After a few months they were on perpetual backorder.

    The 2nd ( and worst) problem was the shifting drum. They broke easily. The drum was supported on 1 side only. The left side hung in the air. Every kdx 400 I have ever seen had broken at least 1. This was the death of these bikes.
    #3
  4. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    I bet you could replace those plastic bushings with brass or something. Kawak H1s also had plastic bushings that didn't work well, but everyone puts in brass ones. :deal
    #4
  5. JSharp

    JSharp Been here awhile

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    I have an '80 KDX 250 sitting in the shed I bought new. It's substantially similar bike to the 400 but for the engine. The 250 was considered the best of the Enduro bikes in 1980. It was a John Penton design he came up with for Kawasaki. Japanese parts but notice all the aftermarket items too. Vesco petcock etc... I hope you're tall if you buy it. The seat height is 37" and it predates modern progressive suspension so when you sit on it you're still way up in the air. Ride it hard and everything settles in and it feels great. Tool around at low speeds and you'll swear you're riding a barstool with 2 legs...
    #5
  6. eric123

    eric123 Gott Mit Uns

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    A '79 KDX 400 was my first bike bike...Had my first big crash on it too. Never let me down and always started.
    #6
  7. amockalypsenow

    amockalypsenow dirtybiker cam smith

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    any creative ideas on how to efficiently source/fabricate the brass bushings? I'm in need of some.
    #7
  8. amockalypsenow

    amockalypsenow dirtybiker cam smith

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    thanks!:1drink
    #8
  9. eric123

    eric123 Gott Mit Uns

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    lathe...
    #9
  10. BIG ED XT FAN

    BIG ED XT FAN Long timer

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    I had a kdx 400 and a 420 both had there problems. The muffler was very long on the 420 and would brake-off alot.
    Both bikes were sold for a new IT 400!!! :eek1
    #10
  11. BJR KDX400 lifer

    BJR KDX400 lifer n00b

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    I first saw a 1980 kdx400 after my uncle bought one new. I wasn't even old enough to ride a bycycle at the time, but was instantly into it!!! I'm sure a lot of it was watching my uncle, and dad ride multiple mile wheelies on gravel with it, and jumping some 12ft+ deep, and nearly 10' across ditches chasing cattle back to the barn. By now I was 5 yrs old and I was always told still by all of my relatives to stay off of uncle Wayne's big green dirtbike because it's got too much power and it'll hurt you if you try to ride it! Not like a 4-5yr old could touch the ground anyway, but I respected their rule. So fast forward to 1997. Good old uncles bike was sold long ago. But I happened to come across another kdx400 forsale in a trailer court for $200 running/driving. I took it for a quick spin Dow the road lifting the front in 4 of 5 gears without trying I rode it back within 2mins and no doubt bought it. This 1980 kdx400 is by far the most badass dirtbike I ve ever owned or rode by far! I love having a 30yr old bike that everyone talks shit about, but have never to beat it on trails, or co rd hyway
    #11
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  12. Rot Box

    Rot Box Been here awhile

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    Ha! My first dirtbike was a 1980 KDX 250. My dad bought it for me in the mid 90's when I was a young teenager :bmwrider It was a cool bike- I really wish I still had it. I still remember how bad the front brakes sucked! Good power and super reliable..
    #12
  13. Wansfel

    Wansfel 50+ yrs on 2 wheels

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    Had a new one for 19 years . Never let me down. No problem with the swing arm bushings. Only down was crappie valving on rear twin shocks. Easy to start, plenty of power.
    #13
  14. BJR KDX400 lifer

    BJR KDX400 lifer n00b

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    I never knew there were so many kdx400 nuts like myself out there anymore? I know a lot of it is the riders personal riding preference I've rode the new DRZ's, KLR's ect. I know I'll probably hear that I just want to brag about my vintage machine, or it's just because your so comfortable on your kdx if that's all you ride, but as far as through the woods, in my opinion, no 4stroke compares to a big bore 2stroke, on the road it may be different. However the last real grudge match I got myself into was my 80 kdx400 vs a 09 yzf450 in a 1.5mi blacktop county hwy top speed duel. I have 2 1980 kdx's one of which has a speedometer. Off the line the yzf took me out about 20yrds, but as I entered the high end of 4th I passed him, then hit 5th pinned it and never looked back. At the end line my factory speedo topped out at 106mph. Keep in mind, I had full knobbys aswell! I don't care who you are or what bike you have? 106mph on a full knobby dirt tire, you gotta be just a little nutty for that ride! But what a feeling out shining a nearly new top of the line modern day fuel injected full race bike!
    #14
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