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2012 450 Enduro Shootout Conclusion

Monday, May 7, 2012


For My Money:




Michael Martin – Age 17 - 6’4” – 185 lbs - AA - Honda
The Honda would be my first choice because I know it’s reliable and it would still be an excellent and competitive race bike. In the Tucson area, parts availability for a Honda is cake. The price is alright, but getting aftermarket parts for this bike is super easy to find and the prices are hard to beat. Plus I always have liked the color red.

Frankie Garcia – Age 20 - 5’8” – 180 lbs - Slow - Honda
This is a hard decision for me. For the test we did, I would definitely buy a Honda for one reason. Riding through the desert 350 miles is a long ride and tough on the bikes. When something breaks, someone is bound to have parts for a Honda because just about everyone has one.

Ken Hutchison – Age 40 - 5’8” – 175 lbs - Amateur - Yamaha
I like all these bikes and I can make a case for each. Beta is Exclusive, trick and comfortable. KTM is good-looking, light feeling and powerful. Honda is familiar, comfortable and does everything ok. But, this new Yamaha impresses me. It’s fast and the engine is impressive despite being corked up. It feels like a race bike and is loaded with cool Yamaha technology. They waited a long time to upgrade the WR450F and it was worth the wait.

JC Hilderbrand – Age 29 - 5’11” – 190 lbs - B - Beta
The Beta was my favorite bike in this particular test. It’s the most comfortable for me to ride and that helps overcome some of the small issues I have with it. I wouldn’t hesitate to own this bike with its quality build. The only bike that can give it a run for my dollar is the XC-W. I have a sneaking suspicion that the KTM would shine a lot brighter at my regular stomping grounds in Oregon. It has the highest pricetag but I’m confident I could get one at a lower price and it has the best dealer support in my area. I’m pumped that the Yamaha is so affordable considering all the changes this year, but it just doesn’t do it for me. I like tight terrain and the Euro bikes are way better for my style than the Japanese.

Justin Dawes – Age 35 - 5’10” – 225 lbs – Washed-Up Racer - Beta
It took some serious consideration which of these bikes I would want to own, but I always came back to the Beta. It looks amazing, it is unique and I just click with it. Sure the high-speed handling is a bit twitchy, but everywhere else it’s the bike to be on. It rails through the trees and tight single-track, it owns the technical climbs and rocks sections and I can throw it around like a 125. It’s not perfect for sure, but it is perfect for what I want and need out of a 450cc enduro machine.


2012 450 Enduro Shootout Score Card


2012 Beta 450 RR Photo Gallery
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2012 Honda CRF450X Photo Gallery
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2012 450 Enduro Horsepower
2012 Yamaha WR450F Photo Gallery
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2012 KTM 450 XC-W Photo Gallery
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2012 450 Enduro Torque

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Comments
Jeff450x   September 18, 2012 07:36 AM
I have owned my 08 Crf450x for over 4 years and it has been nothing but reliable. A friend of mine had an 06 with thousands of problem free miles. In fact, as my 450x sits right now, I would have no problems hopping in my truck and going to Nevada for a week of desert riding.
JC   June 28, 2012 04:28 PM
Alright, madthumper, I slough off hate comments that would make Dolph Lundgren cry, but your particular blend of BS has an asinine and random quality that caught my attention. After sifting through your 1396-word haranguing and deciphering tirades about timing belts, A/C units, Odysseys, beer, drugs, Ducatis, Ferraris, JD Powers and occasionally dirt bikes, here’s what I’ve got for ya. You’d have us thrash test these bikes for a full year before writing a review. For someone who acts like they’ve got a big-picture grasp on things, you obviously have no clue as to how the motorcycle industry, or modern media, works. OEMs have fewer press bikes, smaller budgets and a growing number of bike requests from media sources. We get an occasional bike for a long-term test, but even a standard 30-day loan is getting harder to come by. Arranging a multi-bike comparison over that span of time is basically unheard of. Two-three racing seasons? You’re out of your mind. MotoUSA is the leading online full-spectrum magazine. The site wouldn’t be nearly as successful if we posted articles a year after the bikes came out. How long do you think it takes to plan, organize, execute, photograph, write, cut videos and post a test that “only” rode the bikes for a week? It’s not quick. Trust me, if I could ride these bikes in every conceivable environment, I would. We’re all trying to scoop the competition. You might’ve heard about these things called tweets, blogs and such that make it even harder. Now factor in things like SEO, Google algorithms, etc… Let’s move on. Why have I not responded? Is it a pattern? No, it’s because your rants are disjointed, biased and spread out up to a month after the article posted. I check on stories for awhile and try to address any mistakes or questions that help clarify the article (you can find my replies on Page 1), but believe it or not I’ve got other stuff to do and cannot indefinitely monitor every article I’ve written. But since we’re chatting, here are a couple patterns for ya… You worked in a Honda dealership and saw a bunch of broken Hondas. Well, Sherlock, KTM dealers see broken KTMs and Kawasaki dealers find all kinds of things wrong with green bikes. Something else to consider - Honda and KTM both sell a crapload of dirt bikes – bikes that get raced a lot. Been to any off-road starting line the last 10 years? Lots of Red and Orange, my man. Contrary to the disgruntled, conspiracy-theorist picture you’ve painted, we’re not telling anyone which bike to buy. We’re collecting data and opinions and presenting them as a tool for the reader. We dump a ton of time and money into these tests. How many Honda/Beta/Yamaha/KTM advertisements do you see on our site? You're totally brand blind, buy from experience, talking with others, research and owning these damn things. Good on ya, mate. That’s what we expect from every single reader. Some mags pick a winner and don’t even score the rest, much less provide full scorecards to justify rankings. What kind of comments do you leave for those pusses?
madthumper   June 7, 2012 02:36 PM
If you have questions about Honda as they pertain to this article & my comments, here is a GREAT article. ?http://blog.caranddriver.com/why-honda-is-in-even-more-trouble-than-you-think-deep-thoughts/
madthumper   May 30, 2012 12:22 PM
You'' also notice that this magazine has not commented once on these posts... See a pattern?
madthumper   May 30, 2012 12:21 PM
The "reason" Honda is so heavy in Baja is SPONSORSHIP from the factory and factory money. There is absolutely NO opinion on the reliability of CRF's. They are factually unreliable in several areas. They are better built than perhaps Suzuki or Kawasaki, (that is now debatable, both those have come a LONG way in the last 3 years...) certainly leagues ahead of the European bikes in that regard, but compared to Yamaha for example, they break routinely, in very expensive areas. Now.... I worked for Honda (cars) for many years. There is a GIANT myth about their reliability. Transmission problems have ALWAYS plagued Honda cars all the way back to the late 1990's and up. Loook up a 2000 Honda Odyssey on a Forum. I have seen many go through FIVE or mnore trans in under 100,000 miles. Same with Acura (a Honda product) MDX. See this in any mag article? No. I personally walked to the service bay every day. Transmissions, timing belts, A/C systems. CRAP. JD Powers gets their numbers because they compare to Ford and Chevy, etc. Also, look at their reports. INITIAL QUALITY is the usual. That's a 1st year rating system only. In this regard, Honda smokes the dog crap out of most other brands. That is why they are ranked as they are. In comparison to other brands, yes, Honda is better, among the best. You have never seen, not even 1 year in the last 20, Honda being over Lexus / Toyota (same company.) I will say this after owning well over 40 cars, well over now 50 bikes, that Yamaha is the Toyota of the bike world. Period. Rossi won everything on his Yamaha M1 ... then got his record wiped to crud when he went to Ducati. Ducati has another big "mythical" name just like KTM. But when you look at the facts, race results, expense of repair, longevity... There other large reasons for these "test results"... Just as every common person knows the stock market is rigged, just as you know banks are behind the collapse of the dollar, done on purpose, etc. You know that magazine results and even JD Powers get pressure and results from the equivalent of motorcycle manufacturer lobbyists. If we know the helmet law was passed with what was proven to be fraudulent stats, but then never reversed after the fraud was discovered, one has to know test results or bias in magazines are in the same league. How else do explain that what is common knowledge is devoid in magazine content? Coors pays a bounty to law enforcement for busting Grows. Why? Obvious. If you believe everything in print, you are delusional. Ever notice no long term tests after 2 or 3 racing seasons by INDEPENDENT sources in these bike mags? Do your homework. Walk up and talk to race mechanics, and especially mechanics that work on several different brands. NOT the service advisor, the mechanics in the back. CRF's and KTM's are among the most problematic mechanically in the dirt bike world. I was part owner of a Benz / Ferrari dealer with a service bay. Don't get me started on the crooked ethics in the aforementioned industries as far as big companies and dealerships. I will tell you stories that will shrink your sack. You can win on a Honda. But how much will it cost you? Are they more reliable than most other brands? Yes. Will they cost you a boat load in repairs and possibly a race if you are to poor to stock parts on the spot? Honda in Baja also has another trump card. They are serviced by professional mechanics that keep everything in check and parts in stock. Kawasaki and Suzuki have vastly improved and they win. Suzuki notoriously could care less about pumping money into races. That's why they have few paddock wins, (though that is changing) not because they aren't good bikes. Some manufacturers just don't provide race support / R & D.
KawiWowy   May 20, 2012 10:37 PM
If CRF-X's aren't reliable, why are they so popular in baja?
mtdirtbiker   May 15, 2012 08:26 PM
This shootout lost all cred with me as soon as they said the honda was durable. I worked in a honda/kawi dealer for 5+ years and I cant tell you how many 450x's and r's we had to rebuild and in all that time we did not rebuild one kx or klx450
madthumper   May 11, 2012 04:34 PM
I'll follow up my first post, just because the guys that are blind toi a brand and not actual facts, the mechanics I talk to are professional race mechanics whom work for Privateers, who have seriously stellar, long term reps in the bike mech business. They do not service any particular brand, IE they don't work for a big name, to be biased. Every one of them, without exception was vehement, to the point of nearly getting pissed, about the Euro dirt bikes. There is no source like JD Powers for reliability ratings, but anyone that has been around a long time will confirm every single thing I have said. There are 2 kinds of KTM riders. Those that have one now, and those that had them, never again. In my area it's only KTM/ Husky you see. I talk to these guys all the time. The praise their bikes weakly, with a funny look of "I'm lying to myself" on their faces. What is with the Plastics and motor coatings by the way. Every single current model KTM I have seen looks likes it's been stored in someones back yard for a decade. I am TOTALLY brand blind. I buy from experience, from talking with others, for research, from owning the damned things. I've had almost 40 machines, 2 wheeled alone. If KTM were the best next year, proven, I'd buy one. That's me. I buy what works. I don't like spending time in the shop, I don't like spending for parts that shouldn't have broken in the 1st place, or break easily. You guys know these machines long term. Stop keeping the 2nd half of a story from us in these tests.
madthumper   May 11, 2012 03:25 PM
While I respect all shootouts & opinions in these types of tests / comparos, what irks me is the total lack of ANY opinions, data or real world info on the long term reliability of the machines. There are a lot, possibly the majority of readers out there, whom don't have the research capabilities nor sources for correct info, to know for example how incredibly expensive, & ultimately unreliable for example, KTMs' are. There are a lot of 35+ year old riders out there that don't keep a bike for 1 - 2 racing seasons before selling. Most don't trash a bike then sell it a year later. But what about a Privateer racer? Starving half the time. I'd be dang teed off to spend money on a bike like a Husky/KTM, etc. (I have personally asked over 8 separate mechanics, unrelated to each other, about those two brands. They just smile. Tell me to have a lot of blank checks & also wait for parts on order.) Every single mechanic thought the reliability and longevity of the Husky / KTM were a joke. I can rattle off a list of "used to own a KTM" as well. They're like Dodge Vipers. Flashy to the untrained eye, dream of every plumber or welder, you own one, then never again. The economy is in the tank. People are broke. The difference in someone riding & not, can depend on the expense of the machine's maintenance / parts. Right now everyone is on the KTM bandwagon... & that's what it is. A Group frenzy. Ask about imploded motors, religiously bent rims, plastics /engine coatings that look 20 years old in just a few months, etc... the picture become a heck of a lot different for a buyer. BUT NO ONE KNOWS BECAUSE YOU FOLKS DON'T TELL THE ENTIRE PICTURE. CRF reliability over a Yamaha? Come on. Everyone knows of the valve, power train reliability problems, having to spend a grand on suspension right off the bat, etc. I've spoken to enough racers to know that Honda's reliability may be in the top 3, but they are NOT the most reliable and haven't been in about 10 years. But besides that, unless you have deep pockets & "have to be special" no one in their right mind would pass a Honda/Yamaha as their main, long term mount. Kawai being right in there. Think of the average Joe next time. Please?