2012 450 Motocross Shootout Conclusion

Adam Waheed | January 4, 2012

Suspension was rated mid-pack but still had okay balance and set-up.
The Honda CRF450R impressed our testers with its agility in the air and on the ground.
The KX450F ergonomics fit our testers the best.
2012 Yamaha YZ450F
Suspension action and overall performance is an area of big improvement for the Honda CRF450R.
Test rider Frankie Garcia said hed buy the Suzuki RM-Z450 when it comes time for a new dirt bike.

Scott Simon – 6’3”, 190 pounds – Pro – Kawasaki KX450F

First off, I have to give it up to Honda as the CRF really impressed me this year. I think it’s the bike that has made the biggest advances overall. Plus the quality is there and it’s a bike that you can ride the wheels off of and never have to worry about it breaking. But if I was going to go racing I would want to do it aboard the Kawi. The bike has so much potential and it would require the least amount of work to make it race ready for me.

Chris See – 5’9”, 160 pounds – Pro – Honda CRF450R

I’ve owned and raced a lot of different bikes over the years but I would buy the Honda because it is the most comfortable for me. I just like the way it fits me plus I love how thin the bike is. It’s just a good all-around package for me. And the Honda brand is known for its reliability and re-sale value.

Matt Armstrong – 5’7”, 160 pounds – Pro – Kawasaki KX450F or Honda CRF450R

I really liked the Suzuki out of the box. But I don’t know if I would buy because it seems like its bikes wear out faster than others. I think if it had more durability I’d probably buy one. So for my money I’d get a Honda because they don’t seem to wear out as fast. Plus buying Hondas is like buying a Toyota car or truck. You get a lot out of them when it’s time to sell. That being said, I really like the Kawasaki too. I own a 2010 and it’s held up well, so I’d end up buying which one I could get a better deal on.

Bret Milan – 6’4”, 210 pounds – Intermediate – Yamaha YZ450F
The Kawasaki is the best bike by far. But my Yamaha is built like a tank. I’ve raced it for over a year now and I have no problems with it whatsoever. Over the years I’ve had a lot of broken Kawasakis and while love the brand they haven’t really stood the test of time. If you want something that you can trust, that you know it’s going to start every time then you won’t go wrong with Yamaha.

Rich Taylor – 5’10”, 185 pounds – Pro – Honda CRF450R
If I had to spend my own money I’d buy the Honda, I know that sounds crazy but I know Honda’s durability is good. And I know I could make it work for me even though it isn’t my favorite. But the best 450 out there is the Kawasaki. Unfortunately I wouldn’t necessarily buy one because durability and re-sale is a question mark in my mind. I love the Suzuki and durability is pretty good too, contrary to what some think, but the problem is you can’t sell them for anything at the end of the year.

Frankie Garcia 5’8”, 180 pounds – Intermediate – Suzuki RM-Z450

My personal bike is a ’10 RM-Z450 and I absolutely love it. There are no serious flaws with it. It’s comfortable and easy to ride. I can get parts for it easily and it doesn’t need any serious modifications.


Adam Waheed

Road Test Editor | Articles | Adam's insatiable thirst for life is only surpassed by his monthly fuel bill. Whether rocketing on land, flying through the air, or jumping the seas, our Road Test Editor does it all and has the scars to prove it.

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