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2009 450 Motocross Comparison

Monday, November 24, 2008

Motocross. It’s arguably one of the most hardcore sports in the world. Think about it: You’re in control of a 200-plus pound machine pumping out close to 50 horsepower on fat knobby tires. With that kind of power not only do you have the ability to exceed any posted speed limit, you can do it while barreling towards a massive dirt lip. Enjoy the view from 40 feet in the sky before the cutting-edge suspension absorbs the landing back on earth – like it never even happened. Without a doubt, riding a modern day motocrosser is as close as it gets to flying on two wheels.

And for 2009, it’s perhaps easier than ever for you to achieve your childhood ambitions of dirtbike stardom. Well, maybe not, but rest assured the only limiting factor that separates you from podium glory is in fact, you the rider, because all four of today’s candy-colored 450s are excellent. Yet the question remains—which one is the best?

2009 450 Motocross Comparison
Our testers wasted no time in pounding out the brutal laps at Racetown 395. None of the Japanese offerings in 2009 will disappoint.
The original four Japanese suspects return for this year’s comparison and two of them – the Honda CRF450R and the Kawasaki KX450F – are all-new from the wheels up. Although the Blue guys didn’t completely revamp its rider-friendly YZ450F platform, they still brought an updated gun to this year’s fight. Last year, the Yellow squad was the first to market with the electronic fueling wonder, known as fuel-injection. But delays held-up the machine’s original release which meant they were the last ones ready come shootout time. This year, Suzuki’s got everything sorted and is returning with their now tried-and-true RM-Z450.

To find out how each of the bikes stack up against each other, we assembled the widest possible skill range of test riders, snagged one of the best photographer’s in the dirt bike scene, and moseyed on out to Adelanto, California, to put in some serious motos at one of our favorite motocross tracks in Southern California: Racetown 395. So grab a Red Bull and pull up a chair because we’re going for a flight, err… I mean ride.

Special thanks to the staff at Racetown 395 for the awesomely rough track prep. Also, big thanks to Dirt Digits for making the bikes look so good. Gratitude is also owed to GoPro cameras for enabling us to capture some great riding footage. One last thank you is in order to Mickey Cohen Motorsports who were very generous by allowing us to hog their dyno for hp and torque figures. Thank you to everyone!

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Alexandre R.Jean -Motocross rider  April 10, 2010 08:23 PM
I have a 06 RM-Z450 and I can trade this for a KX450F same year... Its a good deal ? because I allways ride Suzuki's bike and I never have trouble with it.. and I love the drivin feeling of the RM-Z450... ask me plz
Steve - Aprilia MXV 450  May 19, 2009 08:58 PM
Why no Aprilia MXV 450? Twins off limits?
Greg -tricks  November 30, 2008 01:41 PM
Ilike your trick pics
Luciano Diniz -Honda's Suspensions  November 26, 2008 07:22 AM
Are the Honda suspension's as plush as the one's in Yamaha? I mean, both of them use Kayaba, and the one's in the Yamaha have that Speed-sensitive system on them. Did the Honda use that already existing technology on their bike?
Adam - MotoUSA Associate Editor -KTM  November 25, 2008 03:56 PM
Hey guys, I know, it's a real bummer. We'd love to included KTMs in our tests. In fact we invite them each year to participate. Unfortuanetly they're not interested. Maybe next year...adam
Marcel -KTM  November 25, 2008 03:40 PM
BOOOO!! why no KTM in the test? Other than that good review, thanks!
Kyle McClelland -comparisons....  November 24, 2008 09:50 PM
Hey guys ive been visitong your site for a number of months now and have been keeping a close eye on all of your motocross shoot outs and comparisons..I love your site but have only one question.How come you dont include KTM in any of your shoot outs...Cheers Kyle