If you’re a
then the 2017
is, without a doubt, the best Honda since the fabled,
shootout-winning 2008 CRF450. The 2017 CRF450 feels
powerful, but has issues. It feels light, but it’s 11 pounds
over the mark. It feels plush, but the suspension is mis-
matched. It feels torquey, but it is ragged on the bottom.
It’s a mystery ship.
MINUSES: It’s one year away from being ready for
prime time. The second year will be better.
NUMBER 5: 2017
With a blazing-fast
bulletproof reputation, you’d think the
2017 Yamaha YZ450F
would place higher
than fifth, but you’d
be wrong. This bike
weighs 16 pounds
more than a KTM
450SXF, turns like it has a hinge in the front end and
feels awkward unless it’s going in a straight line. Creative
engineering, but virtually no charm.
MINUSES: Big, bulky, wide and tall. An acquired taste
This is the
for tight tracks,
Supercross layouts and lots of
jumps, but very
We adore the usable power, but it needs more versatility,
stronger brakes, a more reliable clutch, less mass and
forks that actually move. It is true that nothing turns like
a Suzuki RM-Z450‚ but nothing shakes like one, either.
MINUSES: Suzuki has been phoning in the RM-Z450
longer than most people have been racing. ;
There is only
one bike in this
shootout that has
the most horse-
broadest powerband, flawless shifting and excellent
suspension (front and rear). That is why the 2017 KTM
450SXF wins the “MXA 450 Shootout.” Someday, the
Japanese will build a bike with these accoutrements.
MINUSES: It’s pricey.
ever seen a
the KTM and
If you have,
go ahead and laugh. These two bikes are clones, peas
in a pod, kissin’ cousins, doppelgangers. If the KTM
wins, then the Husky must ride its coattails. What the
KTM does well, the almost-identical Husky does well. It’s
because of the “almost” that the Husky gets second place.
MINUSES: The plastic subframe adds weight and
inhibits throttle response.
NUMBER 3: 2017
We used to love
the KX450F’s powerband and think
that the rest of the
bike was mediocre.
Now we think that
the rest of the bike
is brilliant and the
Kawasaki had put 2012’s powerband in this year’s chas-
sis, we would have a new winner. This bike needs a
Vulcan mind meld to get all the goodness in the same
place at the same time.
MINUSES: Very linear powerband that is the
antithesis of a Kawasaki engine.
MXA RODE TEST
2017 BITE-SIZE 450 SHOOTOUT
GOT 60 SECONDS? WE’VE GOT THE ANSWERS