The CRF450R comes out on top of the horsepower battle, topping the chart at 49.52 hp @ 8300 rpm. The RM was next with 48.84 hp @ 800 rpm, while the YZ450F churned out 47.22 hp @ 8700 rpm.
“The YZ450F was really narrow and tall,” said Harrison. “I liked the fact that it was narrow, but it felt so tall and puts the rider so high up that it took some getting used to. I prefer the seating positions of the CRF and the RM-Z – they were just more comfortable and gave me more confidence around the track.”
This trio is unquestionably close in all-around performance, and the braking department was no different. There was little discernable difference between the sets of binders and no real advantage was gained by any manufacturer in our shootout.
Honda offers a pair of 240mm discs actuated by twin piston calipers, while Yamaha fits the YZ450F with a 250mm floating disc up front and a single 245mm disc in the rear. Suzuki offers a 250mm disc up front and a 240mm out back.
“They all work really well,” said B.C., who pretty much summed up everyone’s sentiments on brakes. “I couldn’t really tell the difference that much. If I had to choose one set over the other, I’d be making it up. They’re all really good.”
When pressed, our testers said that the YZ450F might have slightly more powerful brakes, while the CRF and RM-Z seem to offer slightly better lever feel. Although, once again, the differences are negligible.
The RM-Z450 topped the torque chart with 34.75 lb-ft @ 7000 rpm. The CRF was second at 33.26 lb-ft @ 7500, and the YZ450F pumped out 31.85 lb-ft @ 6700 rpm.
When bikes are this closely matched in terms of performance, the difference between winning and losing can be come down to accessories and attention to details. This year, Suzuki didn’t do itself any favors by placing the hot-start lever down by the petcock. At first, few of us thought it was a big deal until we stalled the RM-Z. On the motocross track it was less of an issue, but in the woods where frequent stops and stalls are part of a day’s ride, reaching down to pull the start, reaching back up and pulling the clutch, followed by a reach back down to the hot-start was just plain annoying. Honda and Yamaha both place the hot-start lever on the clutch perch, which we expect Suzuki to do on future models (or you can purchase an aftermarket hot-start lever).
Yamaha’s small gaffe is the blue plastic bodywork. It looks phenomenal when brand new, but a day in the woods will quickly scar it with white varicose veins. The Yamaha’s aesthetic shortcomings are even more pronounced when standing by its competition, which looked good even at the end of the test.
All three manufacturers offer Renthal bars as standard equipment, and Honda and Yamaha both offer up gripper-seats on their respective machines.