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2013 450 Motocross Shootout Conclusion

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bret Milan – Vet – 6’4”, 210 pounds – Kawasaki KX450F

There is really only one choice here for me. The KX450F is the only bike I could buy and race next weekend in stock form. The Kawasaki engine was almost magical, as it provided smooth, strong power from the bottom to the top of the rpm range. No other bike in the test could match this performance. The Kawasaki was also the most firmly suspended bike in the test, with a wide range of adjustability thanks to the incredible air forks. Although I wish the Kawasaki turned a bit more like the Suzuki, as the day wore on and the track got rougher and rougher, I really learned to appreciate the stability of the KX 450F. When you combine all the traits mentioned above with an ergonomic package well suited to my rather large frame, I really had no other choice than to declare the KX450F the winner.

Chris See – Pro – 5’9”, 160 pounds – Honda CRF450R

With the bikes being insanely priced these days, you really have to put a lot of thought into this category. What's going to last? What works with the least amount of money put into it? What makes me happy to look at? For me I just can’t go against the Honda. The CRF needed the least amount of work for me to get comfortable; it has Honda's reliable reputation; and damn, it’s good looking. With just minor adjustments this thing could be race ready right out of the box and that is what I look for when I’m going to spend my hard earned money.


Jason Ellis – Novice – 6’0”, 200 pounds – Kawasaki KX450F

For me I just trust the Kawasaki more; after riding all of those bikes for two full days my best laps were always on the Kawi. It had enough power to get over the big jumps, which gave me way more confidence. Everything feels like it should on the Kawasaki – right where it is supposed to be. The only thing with the Kawasaki is that it doesn’t turn as well as some of the others, but I’m not that great in the turns anyway.





Vicki Golden – Pro – 5’6”, 140 pounds – Kawasaki KX450F

If I were to buy a bike with my own money, I would choose the 2013 Kawasaki 450. I was instantly comfortable on the first lap, which made the decision easy for me. The bike was very predictable in corners and handled great down any rough straightaways. It had unbelievable power, and brakes to match. The bike also comes with plenty of extras to make it more customizable to fit my riding style and my body size. Being a privateer racer there are things that I have to take notice in buying a bike to make my sponsors happy. The biggest and most obvious thing that sponsors want to see is there logo as big as possible on the bike. Kawasaki has great shrouds to work with to get my sponsors noticed at big races and even at the practice tracks.

Nick Thiel – Pro – 6’1”, 175 pounds – Honda CRF450R

Although in the previous sections I have been extremely critical, all of these motorcycles are great specimens. It’s the small things that make a huge difference. Reliability is always a major component in my choice to buy a motorcycle. Although the CRF didn’t have the best motor package, it does have a long-standing record of being the most reliable bikes you can throw a leg over. It handles well, looks great and also stayed the same price as in years past with a complete overhaul. It was a difficult choice, but as an overall package, Honda is where I would spend my money.


Frankie Garcia – Intermediate – 5’8”, 190 pounds – Honda CRF450R

If it were my money on the line I would definitely go with the 2013 Honda CRF450R for one main reason. The bike is all new, meaning it is the first year of this new generation 450. The twin pipes and all new plastics design really give the red racer a modern look. Because it is new, resale on the bike would most likely be the best of all the bikes. The Kawi is in its second year minus the PSF fork. Although its engine is updated, the Suzuki is still basically the same. The KTM’s are…well…KTM’s, and the Yamaha received no changes for 2013 besides black handlebars and a white rear fender. The Honda is one cool looking machine and its handling and engine characteristics prove stood out on the track, not to mention that bad dude Chad Reed rides red. It’s a win, win with the CRF.

Justin Dawes – Vet – 5’10”, 220 Pounds – KTM 350 SX-F

As I get older I care less about how fast I can go and worry more about how long I can ride. For me the KTM 350 SX-F makes going to the MX track fun again. It’s not a step behind the rest of the bikes anymore in terms of power, it’s got electric start and it doesn’t wear me out. The power delivery works for me in that I can ride it around and be lazy, but when I want to get with it, both the chassis and motor are more than willing to impress. The Honda has more low-end, and the Kawasaki has more top-end, but the KTM 350 is a Goldilocks bike. It’s just right.



2013 Yamaha YZ450F Comparo Gallery
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2013 Suzuki RM-Z450 Comparo Gallery
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2013 KTM 450 SX-F Comparo Gallery
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2013 KTM 350 SX-F Comparo Gallery
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2013 Honda CRF450R Comparo Gallery
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2013 Kawasaki KX450F Comparo Gallery
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Comments
NorCalJoe   September 11, 2013 10:47 PM
I have always had Honda bikes...started off with an XR 75 in 75 then a CR125 in 78...then 85 CR 250 and so on..till 2005 when I finally got a CRF 450 r.....I read every year what is what and whos in first....but reality is....my honda's all of them were always a kick away from riding....never had any issues....with the exception of the points in my XR 75 when I would dump it in a creek....Now I want another new bike...my buddy got a brand new KTM 450 2013....and he is 40 pounds lighter than me and my bike is 8 years older ,,,,he pulls away barley ....I read about the Kawi and think man I would look good in green....but will I regret that if I can't start it with one kick like all of the Honda's of the past? will I jinx myself by going green? I think the twin pipes sold me......I'm going Honda once again....it's just the attitude I guess....I can't open my garage door to anything else and feel good. It's a red and white thing. JDG
Crossup   November 15, 2012 04:23 PM
After reading the above reasoning of the riders who chose Honda I find that hard to believe. "long-standing record of being the most reliable bikes you can throw a leg over" How about all those valve problems for the last five years? "Because it is new, resale on the bike would most likely be the best of all the bikes" Really? Resale, not performance!?! "not to mention that bad dude Chad Reed rides red" RC rode yellow and smoked him. "it does have a long-standing record of being the most reliable bikes you can throw a leg over" How about all the valve issues? I have owned all 4 brands and it's how you take care of your bike.
ABN2nds   November 13, 2012 07:21 PM
No Husky? The test needs more Euro bikes please!
Justin Dawes   November 11, 2012 08:10 AM
MotoX - We select our test riders for their honesty and integrity, There is nothing dumb about the Suzuki not scoring a win in any category, it pure data and numbers. We take pride in the fact that out shootout results come from data obtained methodically from out riders, and not by personal relationships, favorite color or brands we may have raced in the past. Our scoring system has the test crew taking a very critical look at each aspect of the bike.
motox   November 10, 2012 08:40 PM
the only thing that makes NO SENSE is that the zuk did not even make a 10 on the chart thats just dumb!!! kawie and suzuki have come so far since the 80's and 90's both these makes are on top of the heap!!! honda and yamaha have over done it and are trying to catch back up!!and the ktm's are pluging away at it!!! have some of the test riders had a bad deal go wrong with suzuki because I just don't see suk as second last!!!!
AnthonyD   November 7, 2012 01:09 PM
Awesome work as always guys. Next year, more brands!