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MOTOCROSS ACTION’S BITE-SIZE 2010 450 MOTOCROSS BIKE SHOOTOUT:

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NUMBER ONE: 2010 KTM 450SXF

    There is only one bike in 2010 that can claim to have the most peak horsepower, most top-end rev, best handling, strongest clutch, most powerful brakes, a no-tool airbox and an electric starter?and that is the KTM 450SXF. Even with all of that, it is lighter than the YZ-F, KX-F and RM-Z. The KTM powerband has the hard-to-find combination of an easy-to-use low-end and a top-end that just keeps pulling. It’s mellow in the ruts and then turns into a monster as the rpm increases.
    PLUSES:
Power, handling, brakes, e-start and new five-speed gearbox.
    MINUSES:
We think that the front fenders on the KTM 450SXF and Yamaha YZ450F are downright ugly.
For the full test click here


NUMBER TWO: 2010 YAMAHA YZ450F

    Yamaha took the mild-mannered 2009 YZ450F and replaced it with an incredibly inventive bike. The most eye-catching features are the centralization of mass, downdraft fuel injection, reverse cylinder and “arrow” styling. But the biggest selling point is the superb Kayaba SSS suspension. Overall, it is a vastly improved machine. Yes, it could have more power after the midrange, lose a few extra pounds, track straighter at turn-in and come with ear plugs, but it is a viable race bike.
    PLUSES:
Great Kayaba suspension and a snappy, responsive powerband (maybe too snappy for some).
    MINUSES:
Apart from the suspension, nothing else is class-leading. The cab-forward airbox noise is irritating.
For the full test click here


NUMBER THREE: 2010 KAWASAKI KX450F

    Every MXA test rider loves the 2010 KX450F powerband. It is awesome. Kawasaki knows a thing or two about where to put the meat of the power. The 2010 KX450F has a potent low-to-mid powerband that can’t be touched by any other 450. It rips from right off idle and pulls up to 9000 rpm. Unfortunately, the bike needs some help in the weight, handling, brake and ergos departments. If Kawasaki’s engineers preshrunk the KX450F, it would be the class leader.
    PLUSES:
Engine, engine, engine.
    MINUSES
: Everything that isn’t connected to the engine. It’s too big, too heavy and too recalcitrant.
For the full test click here

NUMBER FOUR: 2010 HONDA CRF450

    For 2010, Honda made three fairly perceptive moves:
(1)
They mellowed out the ignition curve to produce a broader, slower-revving and easier to use powerband.
(2)
They stiffened up the compression damping on the Kayaba forks to help hold the front higher in its stroke (but it really needed stiffer springs).
(3)
They lightened up the compression damping on the rear shock to allow smaller riders to use the stock spring.
    PLUSES:
It’s much easier to ride, and it is almost ten pounds lighter than any other 450.
    MINUSES:
It oversteers, wanders, and hunts and pecks. It generally goes where you ask it to go?but only after you ask it three times.
For the full test click here

The 2010 Suzuki RM-Z450 was not included because Suzuki did not make it available for the same test period as the other brands.


Click here for the 450 shootout

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