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?
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!