This week the 450 MX shootout really came into focus. Even though we have tested each of these bikes individually, there’s no substitute for back to back testing on the same track, on the same day. With six bikes, that makes for some long days and tired riders. So far we’ve had the bikes at Glen Helen, Milestone and Cahuilla as a group, and several other tracks separately.

Here are some of the facts about each bike. First of all there’s the weight. On the same scale, with the fuel tanks all drained, here’s how they stack up:

KTM 450SX-F: 225 lb.
Husqvarna FC450: 225 lb.
Kawasaki KX450F: 231 lb.
Yamaha YZ450F: 239 lb.
Honda CRF450R: 240 lb.
Suzuki RM-Z450: 240 lb.

It’s interesting that all of them gained weight this year. The Honda and Yamaha got electric start, the Suzuki didn’t get a button , but it did get a coil-spring fork, the KTM and Husky gained a pound in the new battery and tray, and the Kawasaki was a pound heavier than last year, probably becuase of manufacturing variation.

In terms of price, they look like this:

KAWASAKI KX450F: $8849
SUZUKI RM-Z450: $8899
HONDA CRF450R: $9149
YAMAHA YZ450F: $9199
KTM 450SX-F: $9599
HUSQVARNA FC450: $9699

Peak horsepower numbers, as measured on the same day at FMF, stack up like this:

Husqvarna FC450: 58.05
KTM 450SXF: 57.78
Honda CRF450R: 56.99
Kawasaki KX450F; 55.31
Suzuki RM-Z450: 55.02
Yamaha YZ450F: 55.30 (revised, 10-9-2017)

Horsepower peak numbers are, of course, increasingly irrelevant, but fun to look at. The new Yamaha, for example, has less peak power than last year’s model, but it carries that peak number forever. You can see that in the dyno chart below. So far, several impressions are becoming clear. The Yamaha and Suzuki are new bikes for 2018, but they have the same defining characteristics as before. The Suzuki is very good in turns and the Yamaha has outrageously good suspension. Both are heavy, and you feel it. So is the Honda.

The Kawasaki feels light, agile and has no detractors as far as performance goes, but it has that crazy three-chamber air fork, no electric start and some detailing issues. That leaves the KTM and Husky as fairly solid performers, but also the most expensive. We’ll sort it all out for the December print issue of Dirt Bike.


Note: chart revised, 10-9-2017

Key: Honda red, Suzuki yellow, Husqvarna black, KTM orange, Yamaha blue, Kawasaki green.


We’ve had a long-term CRF125F for about six months and it’s performed duty at both my house and the Tilley ranch. The CRF125R is an electric-start and manual clutch five-speed that comes in two wheels sizes. The standard one is a 14/16 combo and the big wheel is a 16/19. A little over a year ago, my wife and my (then) 12 year-old kid took a class at the Honda Training Facility in Colton, California where they both rode the CRF125F. They loved it, particularly the small-wheel version. The low seat height gave them more confidence, and the similar models offered from Yamaha and Suzuki and Kawasaki all are offered as big wheels only. The bike has been great, but its only real issue is that it only fits a kid for about a year. The perfect set up would be to have an extra set of wheels. In the real world, it’s more practical to trade up when your kid outgrows it.


Up front, we admit that we know nothing about short track. But the TM 450 looks so cool that we had to try it. It’s a little hard to believe that an Italian company would know anything about short track, either, but evidently, TM’s experience with Supermoto allowed them to develop the bike easily.

We tired the bike at Milestone’s flat track and learned a lot. Unfortunately, you can’t really get the technique without a steel shoe. Flat-track regulars are rolling their eyes right now. We’re still messing with the bike and will have more to say in the print edition of Dirt Bike.


Jonny Walker has had a rough year, but he was back on top at the last Red Bull Hard Enduro. Amazing stuff.


Gas Gas presents the new TXT GP 2018, the most exclusive and wildly exciting thoroughbred of its trial saga. A special edition, with a markedly sporting character, in which Gas Gas has taken care of every last detail. A limited series committed to excellence and the highest quality of its components to offer our customers the sensations and the feel of an authentic Grand Prix trial bike.

Gas Gas presents the utterly superlative model of its successful trial rangethe newGas Gas TXT GP 2018. At first glance, out of all the wild horses of a herd, an impetuous steed always stands out because of its exultant and arrogant beauty. A born leader the group looks up to for its agility, cunning and resistance. The uppermost pinnacle of the saga, like the new Gas Gas Grand Prix. A special edition, inspired by the great wins, destined to become an object of cult for the passionate followers who strive to experience the same sensations as an official rider competing on an authentic trial thoroughbred.

In its tireless quest for excellence, Gas Gas has made a commitment to a long list of top quality components for its most exclusive trial model, the new Gas Gas TXT GP 2018, a direct legacy of its vast experience in the world of competition. A long-awaited limited series that will only be produced in the Salt factory in the 300, 280, 250 and 125 cc capacities.


The extraordinary quality of its elements is one of the main symbols of identity of this “Special Edition” from Gas Gas, an exclusive series that returns to the emblematic red colour of the brand, mixing small brush strokes of black and white, to highlight still more its racing and sports appearance. A bike in which, at first glance, what stands out is the Renthal handlebar, together with its corresponding protectors as well as the red, high temperature resistant cooling hoses.

Visible details that join others, which may go unnoticed, but are just as important, such as the titanium header pipe or the new aluminium suspension clamps. Elements made with the best materials and compounds on the market to help lighten the weight of this agile, manoeuvrable and powerful new Gas Gas bike.


The new Gas Gas TXT GP 2018 goes to great lengths in the complex matter of balance with the addition of a new Tech front fork and Öhlins rear shock absorber. A gold colour suspension set-up, passed down directly from the racing department, which adopts new springs and adjusters to offer additional stability and traction to this model.

Designed to satisfy the wide range of the brand’s customers without interfering in its strong competition character, Gas Gas has decided to implement a variable preload to the clutch spring of its new TXT GP, so each rider can adjust the clutch to their own type and level of riding, more or less extreme. A clutch preload system that makes an improvement in its sensitivity and feel and in addition helps to extend its life.


The list of new parts increases when we go into the details of the bike and especially of its engine, with the incorporation Boyesen  carbon reeds, dual spark CDI and closed-core coil – both signed by Hidria- and a new air filter box, also made in carbon fibre, which contributes to a greater gas flow throughout. Improvements in torque at both low and medium revs, greater than ever in this Gas Gas TXT GP. A model with a new cylinder head and cylinder head insert system allows an even greater increase in the compression of the engine, accentuating its competition behaviour.

A special edition that complies with all requirements of the Euro4 regulations and which the Salt factory is expected to produce a limited, strictly numbered series easily distinguishable by the identification plate on the Gas Gas TXT GP, available from next month in official brand dealers.


    • Tech gold colour front suspension with a new springs and adjusters
    • Öhlins shock absorber with adjusters specially developed for the TXT GP
    • Clutch spring with variable preload
    • Boyesen carbon fibre reed valves
    • Double spark CDI and closed core Hidria coils
    • Carbon fibre filter box
    • Cylinder head and insert system
    • Renthal handlebar and protectors
    • High strength red silicone cooling hoses
    • Numbered ‘Special Edition’ with identification plate
    • FIM regulation disc brake
    • Titanium header
    • Carbon fibre exhaust protector
    • Lightened suspension clamps

See you next week,

–Ron Lawson


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