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2010 450 Motocross Shootout

Friday, January 1, 2010
450 MX Shootout

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2010 450 Motocross Shootout
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A fallen champion thrown from the limelight; the brawn of well-sorted EFI, a defiant off-roader crossbreed; one big no-show, and a bike so radical it had the entire industry frothing. This is the 2010 MotoUSA 450 Motocross Shootout.
The 450 Motocross class represents the pinnacle of dirt bike development, providing a platform for the world’s premier outdoor motocross and Supercross series. Wrapped in each manufacturer’s recognizable livery, these thoroughbreds offer powerful-yet-compact engines capable of pumping out over 100 horsepower-per-liter. Carrying no more than 251 pounds, open-class motocross bikes capitalize on power-to-weight ratios that powersport industries, two wheels or four, struggle to match. Not to be outshined, the rest of the technology is equally brilliant with high-tech chassis featuring adjustable suspension and 12-plus inches of travel, hydraulic disc brakes and integrative motocross-specific controls. 
In our 2009 450 Motocross Comparison, Kawasaki bridled the power of fuel injection and reigned supreme with its KX450F. Although it looks virtually identical in 2010, wearing green plastics and black wheels, the KX-F has been tweaked in an effort to defend its crown. (Learn more about the individual changes in the 2010 Kawasaki KX450F First Ride.) Like the Kawasaki, the Honda

Welcome the competitors in MotoUSA’s 2010 450 Motocross comparison.
CRF450R received engine and chassis refinements for the 2010. We came away impressed with the former shootout winner’s enhancements during our 2010 Honda CRF450R First Ride at Racetown 395. Honda tried something different in ’09 and suffered the consequences, but it’s looking for improved suspension and updated engine settings to lead it back to the front.
If any bike has the reigning champ in its crosshairs this year it’s the radically-overhauled Yamaha YZ450F. This is the only bike that comes to the table completely new. With rumors and hype swirling around the unproven machine, Yamaha gave MotoUSA a shot aboard it at the historic Budds Creek Motocross Park. During the course of our 2010 Yamaha YZ450F First Ride, it became obvious that the rest of the 450 class had its work cut out.
Making its first appearance in a MotoUSA 450 Motocross Shootout is Austrian manufacturer KTM and its 2010 450 SX-F. Having never compared the SX-F against anything else, we’re anxious to find out if the Orange machine can truly go head-to-head with the best from Japan. Sparked by push button electric start and blending some of its leading off-road formula, KTM takes a different approach. The Austrians stood up against EFI and continues to employ a carburetor - proving that being different can be surprisingly good.
Notably absent from this test is Suzuki and its updated 2010 RM-Z450. The reason? Reeling from the pulverized economy, Suzuki eliminated its entire powersport press department just weeks ago including the street, off-road, and ATV segments. With the department in limbo, it was impossible to procure a test bike. Word on the street is that Suzuki is still planning on importing the bike into the U.S., in order to meet racing homologation requirements, but it’s unknown when the bikes will actually be in dealerships.
Although, it isn’t legal in AMA Supercross or motocross competition, we still wished to understand how Italian motorcycle manufacturer Aprilia and its unique V-Twin powered MXV 4.5 motocross bike stacks up against its Japanese and European rivals. Unfortunately, Aprilia wasn’t able to supply us with a bike to examine. Likewise, another European class entry, the Husqvarna TC 450 also eluded us this time around.
So with four brand-new MX machines in tow we headed back out to Southern California’s high desert, the location of one of our preferred motocross racetracks - Racetown 395. This desert track offers the widest variety of corners, straightaways, and obstacles - including deep ruts, sharp-edged whoops, loamy berms and small-, medium- and mega-sized jumps. Testing duties were handled by an equally diverse assortment of riders with resumes ranging from ex-Supercross pros to novices—allowing our testers to hone in on the strengths and weakness of each bike. Every aspect of the motorcycle was rated based on rider opinion via a Formula One points scale. We also broke out our data acquisition equipment and conducted a simulation holeshot and third gear roll-on test. We recorded the both the time and speed it took the bikes to cover a distance of 165 feet. Lastly, we factored objective data, including horsepower, weight, price, etc. to determine which of these four dirt bikes belong in your garage.

2010 450 Motocross Shootout HP
2010 450 Motocross engine horsepower dyno graph courtesy of Mickey Cohen Motorsports.
2010 450 Motocross Shootout Torque
2010 450 Motocross engine torque dyno graph courtesy of Mickey Cohen Motorsports.

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g-money -a rookie  July 9, 2010 07:45 AM
im from plilly and i need to come check out the bikes where yall ride at.i gotta Rm 250 2-stroke suki i call it the beetle
mike -kwaka  May 28, 2010 06:35 AM
i just brought the 2010 kx450 and i love it its so easy to ride it feels like a 250
sam -good but not great!  April 14, 2010 07:30 PM
the thing that really gets me is the fact that ktm has come a long way but they refuse to fix the only thing that holds the bike back!! and the winner is suspension!!! if they ditch that junk wp crap they would be #1 for sure!!! it don't pay to keep beating a dead horse!!!
Wes_#10 on GOR -2010 450 Review  March 5, 2010 07:53 PM
Glad to see KTM get the recognition it deserves.... Stock parts that are aftermarket for all the rest.... Custom exhaust,hydraulic clutch and Brembo brakes just to name a few.... Dont understand why everyone that has one of the big 4 japanese gets bent out of shape when a Top notch Euro bike wins a shootout. Im on a blue smoker but agree 100% KTM deserves a top rating..... I do think they should have included the YZ250 and 250SX in the shootout just for fun.... I tried the whole 4stoke thing and dont miss mine (crf250r) one bit..... I love my 2t.
Neal -Turned orange  February 11, 2010 03:31 PM
Been riding Blue and Green for over 20 years, bought Orange this year for the first time and simply cannot beleive how great they are! Turn better, Handle better, Start better, Stop better, and easier to work on. Whats else can I say.
colt allen -list  January 25, 2010 09:24 AM
i think as a racer that ktm should be on the top.
Yellow Man -rmz?  January 23, 2010 03:51 PM
where is the RMZ?
jefF -where's 2-strokes???  January 19, 2010 11:22 PM
where is the 2 stroke??
where did you put it??
tell me?? right now??

I want 2stroke!!
who's agree with me??
KAS -andy  January 15, 2010 12:43 PM
Re-read what I wrote. There is a reason BIG-BORE 2-stroke aren't around anymore (as in, bikes like Nichol was referring to). And yes, this is the same reason Kawi, Suzuki, and Honda have dumped their 2-strokes (at least in the US), and why Yamaha hasn't done anything substantial to theirs since 2006.

Not many people are buying them!

It's a shame. They are great bikes, matter of fact I'm switching back to a 2-stroke next time I get a new bike. Tried the 4-stroke thing, and yeah its nice, but I'm over it.

The Euro brands are still hanging in there, which is nice. KTM is doing a great job with their smokers, and Husky seems to be "full steam ahead" as well.

I don't know where I'm going with this so I'll stop.

andy -well..KAS  January 14, 2010 06:30 AM
not sure what you mean with"there is a reason that 2smokes don't exist anymore" ???
Watch next years lineup...a lot of brands will offer interesting 2stroke alternatives!!

...and about Suzuki...I am pretty sure the new 450 would smoke all the others in this contest ;)
KAS -Nichol  January 11, 2010 02:16 PM
An almost 30-year-old CR480? No, really, please.....yer killin' me.

Lots of power? Sure.

Everything else? No thanks.

There's a reason big-bore 2-strokes don't exist anymore--nobody bought them. Sadly, its slowly happening to ALL 2-strokes. Shame.
motorider126 -Suzki  January 9, 2010 09:36 AM
suzuki is a good bike, you saying they aren't fast and aren't good build quality, you guys are a dumba55. They are very technologically advanced, giving the 450 major revisions and the 250 a whole new fuel injected bike.
Avoman -Kawasaki Reliability Problems  January 8, 2010 05:56 AM
The Green bikes have had some problems with wristpin failures,not good.
Larry -Suzuki  January 7, 2010 05:31 AM
When it comes to excuses everyone has one.
Nichol - 83' CR480R  January 6, 2010 05:12 PM
I love these new bikes I really do. But nothing I have ridden in the last 25 years gives me goose bumps like the mighty 83'CR480R that was given the works treatment by Honda when they literally poured the technology of the world champion CR480 into it's production bike. That's right, the bike you got from the showroom floor was virtually the same bike that won the 500 GP world championship that year and let me tell you if you didn't get a chance to ride one it was bad to the bone. Try 60 horsepower on for size and it was very light. And I could blast off the line in 3rd gear, no problem. I miss the big two strokes
joe -world is full of em idots- right mxyoung  January 6, 2010 04:23 PM
ktm has been trying hard to put together a total package for years!!! and with not much real change!!! WP forks (white-power) may never work right!!! and did they put a linkage in yet??? last I heard all these bikes turn good!!! next year when these shoot-outs come out and they say husky is #1 jump on the bandwagon and buy a husky
mxyoung -MXA said the same thing  January 6, 2010 12:04 PM
Joe -

Hey fool - MXA said the same thing - the KTM is the king this year. Blinded by your allegiance to that POS Honda. I just got rid of my 2008 Honda for the KTM - finally a bike that turns!
KAS -Suzuki......  January 6, 2010 08:54 AM
No, Suzuki is in a hard spot financially, and aren't really in a position to be handing out free bikes for shootouts.

That being said, Suzuki would be the last on my list of brands to purchase, because I believe they are behind everybody else when it comes to build quality and materials. Not that they aren't good performing machines.

Green Guy -No Suzuki  January 6, 2010 07:14 AM
Suzuki's are to slow for a head to head test,so they pussed out.
motocross_rider_180 -motocross  January 5, 2010 09:52 PM
wow nice 4 strokes has a monster machine
Brent -Supercross  January 5, 2010 07:07 PM
joe -big mx bikes  January 5, 2010 06:22 PM
mxster you have to remember these are BIG MX BIKES not 85cc 2 strokes!!! try to keep it real o.k. keep pumping iron you might be able to ride one someday!!!
Mxster -251lbs!!!!  January 5, 2010 05:51 PM
ARE YOU KIDDING? 251.lbs is nuts. i might as well trick a gixxer 600 for motocross and race it. better power to weight ratio!
joe -big time pay off!!!!!  January 4, 2010 06:40 PM
what a bunch of bull @##@! I'm a red rider but thinking about changing to green!!! this shootout is a big payoff!!! KTM what a joke!!! Motorcycle-usa.com get different test riders really!!!!
KAS -Pfffftt.......  January 4, 2010 10:43 AM
"these thoroughbreds offer powerful-yet-compact engines capable of pumping out over 100 horsepower-per-liter."

Two-strokes were doing this long ago. But, y'know....without that whole "251 lbs" issue.
Frankie -paid off  January 4, 2010 06:10 AM
KTM musta paid off the testers to give them these results.
Hurley -Ridden  January 3, 2010 06:17 AM
I rode the Kawwi,Ktm and Yammi the other day at the track.While not an "Expert" tester I do race amateur.I would definetly take the blue or the green over orange.