2011 Yamaha YFZ450R vs. Kawasaki KFX450R

December 14, 2011
JC Hilderbrand
JC Hilderbrand
Off-Road Editor|Articles|Articles RSS|Blog |Blog Posts |Blog RSS

Hilde is holding down the fort at MotoUSA’s Southern Oregon HQ. With world-class dirt bike and ATV trails just minutes away, the hardest part is getting him to focus on the keyboard. Two wheels or four, it doesn’t matter to our Off-Road Editor so long as it goes like hell in the dirt.

 All of the riders agreed that the YFZ is still a valuable ride off the track  and the Kawi impresses with its easy  hard-working nature.
The Kawasaki KFX450R and Yamaha YFZ450R SE square off in the woods and on dunes in this ATV comparison.

In the current era of specialist rides and niche market segments, it’s easy to forget the value of versatility. ATV models span the breadth of race quads to utility mules, but versatility is highly prized in both segments. So while a sport quad might be purpose built for glory on the MX track, it had better be fit for the dunes and burly enough for bar-banging trail escapades. MotoUSA has sourced two such sport quads this past riding season with the 2011 Kawasaki KFX450R and Yamaha YFZ450R SE.

Our original intent wasn’t to compare these sport quads against the other – one being more of a generalized machine and the other a dedicated motocrosser. But, with the 2011 Kawasaki KFX450R located in our Southern California office and the 2011 Yamaha YFZ450R SE at the Oregon headquarters, we realized that they were both being used for the same types of varied riding.

Yamaha does make a general-purpose 450cc sport ATV for 2012, the YFZ450, which is cheaper and closer to the KFX450R in some respects. However, the fact is that riders are purchasing both kinds of machines and trying to shoehorn them into multiple riding disciplines. We don’t stick purely to the moto track and we don’t hide out full-time in the woods. This was a good opportunity to see which one, if any, is more adaptable. It’s likely that regular owners are using them just like we are, so with that in mind, we got the Yamaha and Kawasaki together and hit our favorite riding spots.

Watch the YFZ450R in action as we take the special edition for a spin in the 2011 Yamaha YFZ450R SE Comparison Video.

Watch the Kawasaki in action with out 2011 Kawasaki KFX450R Comparison Video.

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