2010 Honda CRF450R – 4th – 117 points
For ’10 Honda tried to infuse more balance into its CRF450R, but in the end it didn’t quite achieve the complete result. While there are certain attributes that we love about this motorcycle, including its quick steering, powerful-yet-friendly engine characteristics, awesome brakes and intuitive rider compartment, the chassis shortcomings and high-speed stability issues are too much to overlook. With some more chassis and suspension tweaks, the Honda could be the best bike. It’s got the engine, it’s got the turning, now it just needs some more balance and stability to be next year’s winner.
2010 Kawasaki KX450F – 3rd – 128 points
You’re probably thinking “how can a bike that won last year finish third a year later?” Honestly, the KX450F is an excellent motorcycle—for the right person and the right track. Although it is substantially easier to ride than in years past, it still requires more from its rider than any of the other bikes. With the right rider at the controls at an ultra high-speed track, there is nothing that will touch the KX, plain and simple. If the Kawasaki can shed some weight and become just a little less hard-edged it’ll be right back on top.
2010 Yamaha YZ450F – 2nd – 136 points
We had high expectations for Yamaha’s retooled YZ450F coming into this shootout. Just like during our First Ride, the YZ450F blew us away with its high-end and well-sorted suspension, chassis and engine that allow the rider to ride to their full potential. The problem is that the Yamaha just missed out in the objective performance ratings. While its engine is good, it’s not the best. While it feels light in motion, at a standstill it’s a tank. If Yamaha could infuse a bit
more straight up performance this bike would win.
2010 KTM 450 SX-F – 1st – 148 points
Never in a million years did we think that KTM’s 450 SX-F could outpace the best from Japan, especially with the heavy-hitting class of 2010. However from the minute we pushed the e-start button until we lifted it back on the stand, the KTM shocked us with its deceptively fast and quiet engine, solid handling, killer brakes and clutch response, not to mention spot-on rider controls. If you want the best motocross bike of 2010 the KTM 450 SX-F is it.