2018 MX SHOOTOUT FACTS
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.
KIDS, LISTEN UP!
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.
THE WORLD IS FLAT
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 AT THE MEGAWATT
Jonny Walker has had a rough year, but he was back on top at the last Red Bull Hard Enduro. Amazing stuff.
GAS GAS TXT GP PRESS RELEASE
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